Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Natasha Lynch – A Beautiful Soul

February 22, 2021
Image

On Friday, having our one and only outing of the week – shopping in Dunnes –  I kept on thinking I saw a friend of ours, Natasha, when I saw any girl with long wavy blond hair.  

Of course the masks we must all now wear didn’t help, but it couldn’t be Natasha because a few hours before that Natasha passed away, surrounded by her heartbroken family.

I didn’t even know Natasha was sick. Maybe if we were not all in our own lockdown bubbles I’d have known, and I feel terrible that I wasn’t there for her. I know if anything was wrong with me, Natasha with the heart of pure gold that she had, would have checked in on me.

We are all stunned that this bright light is no longer among us. Natasha was one of a kind.  

Greg and I worked close to her, us on the South Mall and Natasha had her business Essential French around the corner on Grand Parade. We would often bump in to her at the end of a long day. She always greeted us with hugs, positivity, full of life and full of chat.

Everyone was drawn to Natasha.  

I first met her back in 2009 through Network Ireland and shortly after this she attended our very first PR course that Greg and I ran for clients of the Local Enterprise Offices.  Seriously – she could have given the course herself – she was a born communicator and marketeer. Back then, it was really the genesis of social media and she was already being so creative about how she used it for her business – and was so giving with her experience, her expertise, her energy and enthusiasm.  

She was great at balancing things – her successful business where she was so passionate about helping kids be the best that they could be, while still keeping Wayne and her boys a priority.

Everyone she touched was the better for being around her – her students, their families, her colleagues and her many, many friends.

She was always so generous with her time, her friendship and her positivity – which was so infectious. 

As I type, and short circuit my keyboard with the tears, today I’m going to celebrate Natasha.  As she wished, light a candle for her, donate to the organisations that helped her on her journey, Marymount Hospice, Mercy Foundation, Arc House and CUH.

Gone way, way too soon, but what a legacy she has left in the hearts of so many people lucky enough to call her a friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Wayne and her beautiful boys and her dad Tony, brothers and sister.

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork.

Groundhog Day!

February 2, 2021
Groundhog Day

Did you know today is Groundhog Day!  A popular tradition centered on the town of Punxsutawney, a borough in the south of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. If a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and sees its shadow due to clear skies it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks;  but if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.

Groundhog Day is also one of my favourite films, where the main actor, Bill Murray gets to replay the same day, over and over again until he gets it right – it’s torture for him, replaying the same day, day after day, but it turns him into a really nice guy, loved by his colleagues and his fans and of course he gets the girl of his dreams – Andie McDowell!!!

Of course since 12th March 2020, we have all been stuck in our own Groundhog Day, which is never ending…. For me its:- wake up, check the Covid app or Fergal Bowers Twitter page for latest Covid numbers, exercise, walk dogs, shower and put on makeup (for me and no one else!), breakfast and commute to work to the music room, lunch, watch CNN or switch to Comedy Central and Friends for a few minutes if I need to smile, commute back to work to the music room, close laptop, walk dogs, cook something nice, usually from James Whelan Butchers (as luckily one of their shops is within our 5k); find a justification with my other half Greg, for having a glass of wine with dinner, celebrate finding a piece of the jigsaw that’s been unfinished on the kitchen table for a month, fall asleep in front of the telly, head to bed, wake up…..

We are all stuck in the same movie, like Bill Murray waking up to the exact same conversation on the radio every morning…..

But on the positive side – sorry it’s soppy but I’m already a step ahead of Bill. Even though I’m stuck in this not so merry go-round, I already have the guy of my dreams, Greg, who I am lucky to be going through Groundhog Day with everyday; our dogs, Honey and Bert, keep us both sane and through the repetitiveness, worry and weight of the world, some real positivity has come about.   

The support and friendship of our team at Fuzion has been so fab.   Clients and business associates, some of whom I have never met in person, have become really trusted friends.  We are all going through this together – celebrating the highs – and there have been many, and supporting each other through the lows – personal and professional –  losses, illnesses, challenges, and just days when one of us feels a bit down, we have each others backs. I have never felt so close to my sister and my best buddies as we make a point of checking in with each other. And in the past year our beautiful next door neighbours have become like family.

Greg and I celebrate the small stuff much more – our takeaway from Da Mirco has become our official Friday night date night; we are already planning with other friends Frits and Lara a Cork city staycation at the Montenotte as soon as we get down to Level 3 – I swear that night away I’m looking forward to more than I would have a week in Tuscany before!

Bill Murray, Andie McDowell, Groundhog Day

I hope when we get out of this Groundhog Day that we will remember all we have learned, cherish the small things more, spend less time chasing the “holy grail”, and remember that most of the most valuable things in our lives are our loved ones and our health – villas with a pool, flying first class, having the latest car, bag, shoes – whatever – are just totally disposable accessories to our lives.


Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork.

Managing Remote Working Effectively

March 26, 2020

remote-work-tips

 

Some very practical advice on working from home from our good friends Laura & Frank – HR for Better Workplaces

 

With working from home being a key means for many workers and organisations to keep going during the Corona Virus outbreak, we have collated some top tips to help you and your team get the most from remote working whilst looking after employee well-being.

 

Managing Communication

  • Be very clear on agreeing ways of working
  • Ensure everyone is well informed and aware of company expectations
  • Have very regular meetings to check progress and communicate effectively
  • Embrace the use of technology to communicate on a daily basis.
  • Operating this way helps to maintain and improve communication whilst also creating social interaction to help combat isolation  
  • Having phone, video or group conferencing is an effective and easy method  
  • Test some products like Zoom, Skype, Loom, Webex and there are many more

 

Managing Well-being

  • Try working in different areas of your house until you find the most comfortable setting
  • Adapt your working space from time to time to allow change in your usual routine
  • Make sure you set a daily routine and take regular breaks
  • Set working hours and stick to them
  • Get showered and dressed every day
  • Take regular daily exercise, joining an exercise group online can be motivating and provide interaction with other people
  • Create a healthy eating plan and be organised around preparation of this
  • Go outside in the garden for a break and plenty of fresh air
  • Join remote working communities online for support and social interaction

 

HR for Better Workplaces provides a bespoke consultation service, with over 50 years combined industry experience. They specialise in practical advice and offer a wide range of HR and well-being services.  Laura or Frank can be contacted through their website https://www.hrforbetterworkplaces.ie/

 

Managing Covid-19 from a HR Perspective

March 12, 2020

Laura powney

Laura Powney, HR & Employment Law Consultant, HR for Better Workplaces

 

We just received an ezine on advice for businesses on how to manage Covid-19 from a HR Perspective from our great friends in HR for Better Workplaces and wanted to share it with you .   It’s written by two well respected HR Professionals, Frank Scott Lennon who has over 40 years experience in HR and is a well renowned author on the subject of HR, and his colleague Laura Powney, who has vast experience as a HR and Employment Law Consultant across a wide range of sectors.

Practical Preventative Advice

  • Produce & display signage encouraging all to wash hands in the correct manner
  • Produce & display signage for the signs and symptoms of corona virus and practical advice on how to limit spreading and contracting it
  • Please ensure any signage you begin to use is from a reputable source, i.e. HSE or WHO
  • Provide sanitizer all around the workplace
  • Nominate a coronavirus (Covid19) Go-to-Person as the link person for your organisation
  • Identify any employees who might be ‘high-risk’ and therefore vulnerable, and put specific plans in place for protecting them

 

Business Continuity Plans

  • Ensure that you have an assigned a Steering Group to develop or oversee a plan for the business in all possible scenarios.
  • Now is the time to begin stress testing plans instead of perhaps waiting until forced to put plans into action and then not being able to fix the issues that arise.
  • A good example of this is perhaps stress testing working from home on a rotational basis by staggering groups of employees now, this to assess the effectiveness and to control the amount of people who remain in contact within the business.  It is also a good rule of thumb to assign these groups so they have a good mix of skills and relevant decision makers in each group.

 

Coronavirus and Illness Benefit Temporary Changes

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a new illness that can affect your heart lungs and airways.

The Government has announced that the rules for Illness Benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance will be changed to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus. The changes mean that if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate, you can get income support. 

Legislation is required to implement these changes and emergency legislation is being prepared.

The main changes are:

  • You will not have to wait 6 days before you can apply for Illness Benefit. This means Illness Benefit can cover the first week of a COVID-19 diagnosis (or medically-required self-isolation) and any subsequent weeks.
  • The personal rate of Illness Benefit will increase from €203 to €305 per week for up to 2 weeks if you are medically required to self-isolate, or for the duration of your medically-certified absence from work with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • The normal social insurance requirements for Illness Benefit will be waived, if you are medically required to self-isolate or diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You can get Supplementary Welfare Allowance without having to pass a means test, if you don’t qualify for Illness Benefit and you are medically required to self-isolate or are diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Government has also stated that self-employed people will be able to get either Illness Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

If you have coronavirus symptoms or you have been medically required to self-isolate, you should not visit an Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office. You can get information about applying for social welfare payments through My Welfare and you can call 1890 800 024 or (01) 248 1398.

If you are already getting a social welfare payment or you are on an employment programme such as Community Employment (CE) and Tús or a funded training and education programme, you do not need to apply for Illness Benefit. Your existing payment will continue to be paid if you are affected by COVID-19. 

You can find information for employees and employers and income supports on gov.ie.

 

Payments relating to coronavirus (Covid-19)

Employee self-isolating by their own choice and not government guidelines or medical requirement:

No payment is required by law as this is the employee’s own choice

Employee self-isolating by government guidelines or medical requirement:

Illness benefit would be payable to the employee from day 1

Government have now urged all employers to support national public health objectives by continuing, as a minimum, to pay employees who cannot attend work due to Covid-19 illness or self-isolation the difference between the special Illness Benefit rate and their normal wages. This may be achieved through the employer considering a range of flexible working arrangements with their employees such as:

  • compassionate leave
  • allowing the employee to work remotely
  • allowing the staff member to ‘work-up’ any time taken at a future date 
  • allowing the employee to avail of annual leave entitlements
  • rearranging parental leave

A number of income supports are available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for people whose employers do not continue to pay them during a COVID-19 (coronavirus) related absence or temporary lay-off from work.

Employee self-isolating because employer requests when government guidelines or medical requirements do not exist

Full payment to the employee would be required by the employer

 

Other methods of Leave

If you are considering the option of lay-off or short-term working please observe all points below and consider carefully:

  1. It may not be seen as the most supportive measure
  2. It has to exist as a policy in employees signed contract or handbook
  3. If it exceeds a 4-week period an employee can apply to seek redundancy

This measure is a little less appealing in our opinion and should only be used as a last resort when the organisation has explored all other options.

HR for Better Workplaces provides a bespoke consultation service, with over 50 years combined industry experience. They specialise in practical advice and offer a wide range of HR and well-being services.  Both Laura and Frank have been great friends of Fuzion, supporting and working in partnership on many projects and we couldn’t recommend them highly enough.   Laura or Frank can be contacted through their website https://www.hrforbetterworkplaces.ie/

 

 

Ireland 2040? More like George Orwell’s (Ireland) 1984

March 19, 2018

George Orwell, 1984

Over the last few weeks, the Government has taken some heavy criticism for its newly founded Strategic Communications Unit’s attempts at communicating the ‘Ireland’s 2040’ plan to the masses.

Following the launch of the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan in February, the Government embarked on an extensive PR campaign that had a large focus on advertisements in the form of paid-for newspaper articles and cinema advertising, amongst others.

Reports that came out after these were submitted to local newspapers suggested that many of the advertisements that were placed promoted Government politicians, non-office holders and, in at least one case, a current councillor.

This however isn’t the crux of the issue.

If subsequent reports are to be believed, and local papers were instructed by the “powers that be” to make government advertorials look more like independent stories, this – as one sitting TD eloquently put it – is “akin to something from the Third Reich, Goebbels territory.”

As a communications professional, I can fully understand the valuable role a comprehensive communications plan and activities can play for the government to convey its messages, especially one as complicated as this.

However, communications is one thing, but state-led propaganda is entirely different.

Patrick Jones - Fuzion CommunicationsPatrick

Patrick Jones is an Account Manager in Dublin with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR & Graphic Design 

A Woman’s Place is in the House, Leinster House

February 25, 2016

aine in the house

Áine Collins TD, Letting everyone know where a woman’s place should be!

I am so proud of my friend and my TD Áine Collins.  

She is one of the most honest, tenacious, intelligent and loyal people that I know – which are all great traits for a politician and for a friend.

I have seen first hand how much she cares for the community and bearing in mind her background as an accountant, entrepreneur and farmer’s daughter, how she has fought hard for the SME and farming sector and for safeguarding our rural communities and smaller towns that are just as relevant to the future of Ireland as the big cities.

For any undecided’s out there in the Cork North West Constituency, I would like to ask you to please vote for Áine.  Even if you have promised your No 1 elsewhere (why?), if you could give her your second or third preference.

During the last general election, Greg and I reached out through social media to candidates of all parties (well bar Sinn Fein – but that’s another story!!) just to get conversations going around the election.  Post election Áine was one of the few who continued the engagement, even after she got our vote she genuinely wanted to know what she could do for us SME owners in Leinster House and Greg and I have both seen first hand, if we put an issue in her direction, she is like a dog with a bone trying to get it sorted.

She always listens and she is like that with everyone she comes in contact with.  She has done some amazing and often unsung work including setting up the Cork Foundation – totally her idea – which very successfully now reaches out to the Cork business community at home and abroad and she has personally cajoled them into helping fund new enterprises and community projects.

In my home town of Ballincollig, when all sources of possible funding were exhausted she managed to secure €5k for the inaugural Ballincollig Music Festival, which thousands attended free of charge on a sunny Sunday in August in Ballincollig Park. It would not have happened without her.   Also in Ballincollig she secured funding for a vital research project by international experts, which will help the development of the business proposition in the town.

I could go on, but I don’t want this to seem like a party political broadcast.  

I am so proud to call Áine my friend and over the past five years she has also been a valued colleague on various projects, she was even a client for a short while and I am honoured to have been along a little of her journey so far, representing us in Leinster House.

Aine Collins TD294.jpgI believe, in our constituency of Cork North West and in particular in the fantastic place I call home, Ballincollig, that Áine, is really the best option.  Not just because I am her friend, but because I believe that she is the best person for the job and that the best place for Áine is in the house – Leinster House.

Announcing Networking hub for Entrepreneurs – NOTwork!

May 19, 2015

DKANE 18/05/2015 REPRO FREE. Ernest Cantillon, Director at BTS Recruitment, Eabha OÕLeary Fitzpatrick, BTS Hospitality, Edel Cox, Fuzion Communications, Gillian Keating, Chair Cork City Centre Forum, Raymond Alcom, Exceedence, M‡ire Ni Cr—in’n, Manager Gateway UCC Business Incubation Centre, Alice D'Arcy, STEAM Education at the launch of NOTwork, a new social hub for young entrepreneurs. The first event which is being hosted by Ernest Cantillon in Sugar Cube from 6pm to 7:30pm on Thursday 28th May, will be free of charge and will offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to come and mix with like-minded local and international entrepreneurs, all at various stages in their businesses. ItÕs the brainchild of Gillian Keating, Chairperson of the Cork City Centre Forum.  ÒThere is a growing momentum to show just how much is going on in the city centre, from recent high profile commercial and retail developments, to businesses connecting more with festivals and events and I just thought that with so many young entrepreneurs working and living in the city centre, it would be a good idea to bring them together in a strictly social arena to enjoy each otherÕs company and the buzz of activity on the South Mall. Pic Darragh Kane.

A new social hub for young entrepreneurs is launching on the South Mall, called NOTwork.  The first event which is being hosted by Ernest Cantillon in Sugar Cube from 6pm to 7:30pm on Thursday 28th May, will be free of charge and will offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to come and mix with like-minded local and international entrepreneurs, all at various stages in their businesses.

It’s the brainchild of Gillian Keating, Chairperson of the Cork City Centre Forum.  “There is a growing momentum to show just how much is going on in the city centre, from recent high profile commercial and retail developments, to businesses connecting more with festivals and events and I just thought that with so many young entrepreneurs working and living in the city centre, it would be a good idea to bring them together in a strictly social arena to enjoy each other’s company and the buzz of activity on the South Mall.

Gillian added “For the first session we are going to bring some well-known entrepreneurs to the event, who are really excited about having the opportunity to just hang out and chat to the people, we will have some music, a few board games and cards, table tennis going on, no real agenda just a chill out space which encourages rather than forces connections, chat and a bit of craic.”

“I got the idea from talking to a few people who feel the same as me; that if we put on activities, people will come; and where better than in the heart of our business district, the South Mall.  When I approached people like Greg and Deirdre from Fuzion and Ernest from Electric they immediately came on board as all are strong advocates of promoting just how great a place the South Mall is to work and to play.  Myriam Cronin, Manager of the GATEWAY UCC’s Business Incubation programme also has been very proactive in her support as has Ronan Murphy from Smarttech who is also Chairman of it@Cork, Jerry O’Brien of Radisens Technology and Pat Phelan of Trustev who have already agreed to come along on the night and connect with other Cork entrepreneurs.”

Entry to NOTwork is free of charge, but as space is limited people are being asked to pre-register for the first event on Thursday 28th May.  Just follow @NOTworkHub on twitter and facebook for further information and to book online go to https://notworkhub.eventbrite.ie

Things you didn’t know about Jonathan Leahy Maharaj!

August 27, 2014

Trinidad

In this series of blogs we thought it might be a good idea to let you get to know some of our team a little bit better…already we have told you a few things about Edel Cox, Ali O’Brien and Basia Kozlik.

This time round it’s time to get to know our fantastic Creative Director (the ‘colouring-in’ expert as he calls himself), and chief nice guy Jonathan Leahy Maharaj a little bit better!

My favourite holiday…
Jonathan Leahy MaharajEveryone needs a hero. In 2001 I got to spend 2 weeks with mine, my father, in Trinidad, an island with roughly the population of Munster, a love of food that would feature on a nuclear version of the Scoville Scale and a climate that when it rains the sun comes out to dry you off again.

I got to see flying fish, humming birds, 360° rainbows at the bottom of a 300 feet high (91.5m to all you metric fans) waterfall. I got to hear the incredible sounds of 200 shell drummers at pan-yard and we ate the most incredible food in the most incredible of places (by incredible, I mean it was incredible that they were allowed to open, hygiene and H&S seemed like something not quite invented in some of the “restaurants”).

I met family who I had only seen in photos, I took so many photos – out the window of a moving car mostly, our hosts were not as inclined to stop as I was due to a phenomenon they refer to as bandits, (quite confusing when the holy men out there are called Pandits!)

And more importantly, I got to spend time with a man I knew little enough about, and learn about him, his culture (human barbecues are a riot) and his love of whiskey and coconut water (Try it. No, seriously, go somewhere with real, fresh coconut water and try it. I’ll give you his address and you can post him a thank-you card.).

Finally, my Trinidadian family home is across the road from the local Rum factory. Its like having Willy Wonka’s factory next door, the smell of the burnt sugar cane going through processing is olfactorial heaven.

My dream car…
Well I’ve had the Raleigh Strika, the Raleigh Winner, the Raleigh Amazon, the GT Agressor and my current beast, the KTM Ultra3.29, an animal of a bike.

Oh wait – you said “Car”… It’s a late 80’s, early 90’s Saab 900. Lets leave that there.

The part of my job I love most…
Designing. As designers we get a little precious about what we do, because we genuinely love what we do. By love I mean Adore, with all our hearts. So to be allowed to actually do what we do is a gift in itself. To be paid to do it? (Almost) a bonus!

My worst habit…
Not getting my hair cut more than the 4 times a year I have religiously stuck to over the past number of years. There comes a time (well 4 times year) I look like a cross between a Wookie and a homeless person.

If I’ve turned up to a meeting and you’ve seen me at that point, I apologise, but we all have our rituals, and the (4xhaircuts/12months) is one of mine.

My best habit…
Giving my all. I had an incident once with someone where I asked for 110%, to which she replied that it was mathematically incorrect and impossible to give 110%. So, maths not being a strong point of mine, I give my all.

Beastie Boys - license-to-ill-cassette

My first album…
We were too poor for a record player (I grew up in the great depression years of the late 70’s/early 80’s) so it was all about cassettes. So my first album (on cassette that I bought) was The Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill. Still have it, still play it, still rocks. There was another, earlier album that I received as a gift, but I chose to ignore it, now that I know better.

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj

My hobbies are…
Who has time for hobbies? ..Ok, in my spare time, I read design blogs, look up design inspiration websites, read about design software, do some digital illustration and pester the hell out of my family for being on twitter (@jlm_cork BTW, sorry in advance about the cursing), and I photograph & Instagram the hell out of everything (@jlm_cork as well). Not so much our cat/dog or my dinners, although they do make an appearance from time to time (not in the same image, that’d be weird).

Jonathan Leahy MaharajDescribe yourself in 5 words…
Shorter than I think I am. (sorry, that’s 6.)

If you could be invisible for a day what would you do?
Short story: London will always be my City of Choice to live in. It has a buzz and an atmosphere like no other place, and a culture that embraces design as an entity that is both tangible and valuable, more so than any other city I’ve ever been to or lived in.

I believe that part of its allure is that it’s a place where you can be as anonymous as you want to be, so with headphones and sunglasses, I believe that invisibility is already possible in a place like that.

So… I’d do the Tate, the National Portrait Museum, some Tube/bus surfing (my old man was a bus driver, so theres a small obsession with transportation going on) the Design Museum, back to the Tate’s bookshop (heaven pt1), a bookshop called Magma (design bookshop heaven pt2), a restaurant in Norbury called Mirch Marsala, and some lounging about.

If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you bring?
An iPod for music, a solar charger for the iPod, my wife for company. (the kids will be grand, we’ll be back in a fortnight, three weeks tops)

The best advice I was given…
I’m not sure that I have ever been given “advice” as such that I’d count as life changing… I think that you should be true to yourself in everything that you do. Life has taught me that. Is that advice? If so then does that count?

Otherwise, there’s loads (I mean LOADS) of cursing on this website, so excuse my including this, but it really does have some of the best advice on it: Good Advice!

Jonathan Leahy MaharajJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads our creative Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland 

Website use and Promotion 2014 Survey

March 28, 2014

Domain Registry

We are conducting  a survey about the use of websites, SEO and the promotion of websites using other tools including Google Adwords and social media activity.

We would be very grateful if you could take just two minutes (we promise!)  to complete the survey by clicking on the link below.

There is a €10 voucher off the price of new  .ie web domains for every survey completed.

Web usage survey

Thanks a million!

 

Facebook Business Page Changes – March 2012

March 23, 2012

Show me the money!

We thought we should put out a blog post dedicated to Facebook seeing as it has been going through a few major changes that will affect everyone that has a Facebook business page.

If you haven’t embraced the changes they are due to be imposed on you on the  31st March.

With over 1.8 million people using Facebook in Ireland we would suggest that every business should be being proactive about the platform. In this article we will take you through some of the business page changes and the impact of these.

We will also discuss the running of competitions and how to generate more interest  in your page.

The biggest change of all will be the new Facebook philosophy – since  the Initial Public Offering in February 2012 Facebook will now be under pressure to deliver financially for its investors.

We will see the platform becoming more and more monetised and we predict that many of the tricks and gimmicks that we have all been using to boost our page fan numbers will be outlawed and in future if you want to do this you will have to advertise – pure and simple.

Facebook need to start delivering for their investors and will have to manage the balance between maintaining a credible and enjoyable social platform and a place where advertising will be pushed more on all of us.

This change of dynamic will affect how we use Facebook and the March changes are the first big hint of this.

Business Page Changes

The whole look and feel of your Facebook business page (personal profile pages have already changed) will change totally on the 31st March and some of your previous features will not work any longer.

You will need to do a few things to maximise the opportunities here. Besides some new visual changes a timeline has also been introduced where at a glance you can view a chronological history of posts on the page.

Our view is that these changes if embraced properly will deliver an even more impactful page for your business.

(For those of you operating your business from a personal page we would advise changing over immediately as this is not allowed – it is possible to convert from one to the other with friends coming across as fans).

Visual

Your own key visual identity will be delivered by two key visuals.

A (see image above) – Thumbnail

Your thumbnail will more than likely be your company logo and this appears on the bottom left of the main image that a viewer will see on your page. This should be 180 x 180 pixels in size.

Every time the page owner makes a post this thumbnail will appear alongside the post.

B (see image above) – Cover

The main banner image is a new feature introduced by Facebook. It is referred to as a “cover” and it stretches above the thumbnail across the page. This image can be a maximum of 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high.

Facebook have very specific rules about the content of the “cover page”.

It should be an image that captures the business as best as possible but must not include offers, contact details, web address or any “like” us text. The basic logic here is that this information is available elsewhere on the Facebook page.

Starbucks on FacebookIt is clear that the new rules prevent the business from advertising or encouraging the user to “like” the page on this cover page.

Our design team are currently preparing new cover pages for a number of clients.

This is a really good opportunity to make your page stand out from competitor pages – grab it!

Landing Page

Before it was possible to specify a “landing page” (see example below) that a new user on your business page was directed to when they first visited.

This was often a customised and highly visual promotional landing page, which encouraged likes, promoted the business or offered the user the opportunity to enter competitions.

Facebook landing pages

This is not possible now using the new layouts and these customised landing pages will be redundant. It is still possible to have a tab that will host competitions and promotions but you can no longer dictate that a user of the page will “land” on this page.

Menu tabs

The menu tabs that were available on the old format on the left hand side of the page are now displayed as tabs in the main display just below (see Starbucks example above) the new cover visual.

It is only possible to display four tabs across the page. The other tabs/applications are available from the right of these displayed tabs by selecting the “down arrow”.

At any time it is only possible to display a maximum of 12 tabs/applications. It is possible to select your own choice of tabs to display on the main page except for photos, which will always display first.

You can do this by clicking on the “down arrow” which will display all the tabs. From here you can swap between tabs that you wish are displayed in the main view.

Posting

You can post as normal but there are a few new features.


Pinning a post – It is now possible to pin a post, which effectively means it will be featured and stay at the top of the page for 7 days.

Other subsequent posts will appear below this post in the stream. This is done by selecting the “pin to top” option (see visual above) that is available to you at the top right corner of each post. You would use this to position your most important post at the top of a page for each new visitor to see first.

Star post – when you “star” a post it will stretch across the full display instead of appearing on the left as a normal post. This will give that post more prominence on the page and it is very useful if you have posts with a lot of content.

Hide/delete post – it is now possible to hide a post (& unhide after if required). When you hide a post it will still display in the  “activity log” as a post. As before it is also possible to permanently delete a post.

Change date of post – it is possible to alter the date of a post so that it will appear in a different position on your timeline.

Milestone – it is now possible to create a “milestone” post, which is a way of marking special events in the life of the business such as a product launch or key event. This feature allows you to upload a photo and specific the milestone date.

Personal User view

The display of your business page is totally customised for each user.

MadMen on facebook
When a user visits a business page their own friend’s activity with that page will appear on the right hand side (see Mad Men visual above) making their experience with the page more informed and personal.

Display View

A user can view different aspects of the business page by choosing from the menu that appears at the top of the page once you start (see image below) scrolling down.


From here the user can choose from the menu of Apps/tabs, choose from the timeline or select different types of highlights.

The timeline can also be accessed directly from the time bar on the right hand side of the page.

Messages

The messages facility is new to Facebook business pages and is a very significant development. Fans of the page can now send a “message” to the page directly if they want to communicate as an alternative to posting directly on the page (which would be visible to all users).

These messages can be viewed and responded to in/from theadmin panel (top of your page). It is possible to shut off this feature preventing fans of the page to send messages.

It is really important that messages are responded to promptly.

Other Features

There are a few new features worth mentioning.

Approval of Posts – it is possible that you can change the settings so that all posts require approval before appearing as posts on the page (this feature can be accessed by going to the  Admin Panel, choosing Manage Page tab, Edit Page, Manage Permissions menu)

Activity Log – from the admin panel it is possible to access a log of all posts by type

Insights – there is now more data available to track the success of your activities

Competitions

This is now a very tricky area for every business who has been building numbers of fans on their page by offering prizes.

The facebook guidelines are quite strict and the new format, which cuts out landing pages where businesses have typically hosted competitions will make it even more difficult.

If you want to run a compeition you will need to:

  • Host it on an app/separate canvas page
  • State clearly that it is not endorsed by Facebook
  • Ensure that the entry criteria does not involve a Facebook activity such as “liking”,”sharing” or “commenting” – for example it could involve answering a question
  • Ask each entrant to give seperate contact details
  • Inform the winner independently of Facebook (by email or phone)
  • Only announce the winner on Facebook once they have been informed and have given their permission

Rozanne Stevens Cookery School
The competition can be mentioned on the wall of the page but cannot be featured on the page.

It would be an idea to mention the competition in a post and then to pin the post to the top of the page, keeping it there above other posts for at least 7 days.

Winning on Facebook

So – with all of these restrictions how can you build your numbers on your Facebook business page and really start engaging with fans?

Facebook Like Button
Content, content, content is the answer…

Without any big fancy tricks or gimmicks you need to give fans good reasons for coming onto your page.

Maybe it will be ..

Because they like you and like what you say

Because they are the first to learn about new products, events and sales?

Because you ask for their opinion and they enjoy giving it

Because you say really interesting things that they enjoy

Because they learn things from your page

Because you give good advice, provide useful tips and information

Because you are really funny and cheer them up

Because you run good competitions and promotions

Because you operate a really great business and they want to express their thanks – a live testimonial!

Because there are really useful Apps on the page

Because they want to feel part of something special

Its important that you achieve all of this through regular posts that are varied, visually interesting and not at all “spam like”.

Over 29.2 million people “like” the Starbucks business page – that’s a lot of coffee drinkers!

“Like” – If you want to boost your page numbers think of this simple word!

While we are having this conversation why not Like the Fuzion Facebook page – we need to catch up with Starbucks!

Social Media Training

If you require assistance with your Facebook activity or any other aspect of your Social Media presence including your overall strategy, blogging, Twitter or LinkedIn use please give us a call.

Fuzion provide Social Media Consultancy, one to one training and run courses for various organisations incuding the Enterprise Boards and the Digital Marketing Institute.

Your 31st March to-do list

We have mentioned a lot of issues and changes but the main things that you need to concern yourself with for the 31st March are:

  • Maximise your visual opportunity through a customised cover age (851 x 315 pixels)
  • Decide on the tabs that you wish are displayed on the main page
  • Review your settings that allow visitors to post
  • Decide if you wish to allow fans to leave messages

Until next time !!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion



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