Debbie Does Walking in the Dark

On Saturday 6th May I will be walking 10 miles in the dark! It’s in aid of St. Wilfrid’s Hospice – their annual Moonlight Walk.

My Story

I’ve seen first hand how incredible St Wilfrid’s Hospice Chichester is and I continue to be inspired by their work and wanted to support them by raising money as part of my participation in Moonlight Walk 2017. Please help me help them by giving whatever you can using the ‘Give Now’ button. The more people that know about St Wilfrid’s Hospice Chichester, the greater their impact, so please also spread the word by sharing my page with your friends and family.

DONATE HERE – every £1 helps

Thank you in advance for your generosity, it means a lot!

We need to talk about hashtags

So, where do I start with this one ….


UPDATED 14th March, 2017

Some of you love them and sprinkle your posts with them like an over enthusiastic mother-of-the-bride with a box of confetti, and some of you avoid them altogether.

Perhaps you avoid them in case of an unintended faux pas.  Here’s a true story.  A PR company, a professional PR company, was tasked with promoting Susan Boyle’s launch party for her new album.  So the smart young things got their heads together and came up with a hashtag.  Now, they may have been up against it deadline-wise or there was no sanity check from outside the team – both inexcusable!  

This is what they came up with … #susanalbumparty

Yep, it looks a bit like this, doesn’t it: su’s-anal-bum-party Let’s all facepalm together.

More examples of hashtag fails

Sometimes you can take advantage of a hashtag fail, I don’t doubt for one minute that Ed Sheeran’s PR team knew exactly what they were doing here by using #sheeranalbumparty

What’s the purpose of a hashtag?

It’s a way of grouping together content on a single topic, it’s what will bring strangers to your service or products. Hashtags of your business name are usually pointless and irrelevant and a bit vain, in my opinion.  If a new customer already knows the name of your business, they will go straight to your channel anyway, they won’t be typing in #nameofbiz to find you. Do you get it?

What makes a GOOD hashtag? One that has value and meaning to the reader (your potential customers). Imagine opening a filing cabinet and picking out a labelled file.  From the label, you know exactly what the contents are going to be, what the subject area is etc.  That’s how a hashtag should work for you and your business. Too niche and you’ll be the only item in that “file”, too broad, and you’ll be lost in sea of information.

What makes a BAD hashtag? The opposite of the above! Irrelevant, silly, childish, pointless.  #wastingyourtimehahaha.

Golden rule: do a search using the hashtag you are thinking of using.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you want to be associated with that content?
  2. Does your service/brand or business fit?
  3. Is this conversation and thread right for what I’m trying to achieve/sell/promote
  4. Would I engage with this content?

Doing your homework is key to honing the best tags (if any) for your content.

And finally, the UGLY.  #imagine #trying #to #read #a #post #like #this #quite #bloody #annoying #isnt #it?! I for one would unfollow, block, emigrate etc.

Overusing hashtags can actually cause a decrease in engagement on your posts. In fact there is reportedly a 30% difference in engagement between tweets with 1-2 hashtags and tweets with 3 or more hashtags. Make sure you’re not over doing it.


You are limited to just 140 characters on Twitter – don’t waste them – use them wisely.  Use only RELEVANT hashtags and the general rule is no more than two. Focus on getting your message across – if the addition of a hashtag will add value, do it, if not just leave it out.

You don’t have to use a hashtag. If anyone has told you that you must, they’re wrong!

Still not sure what I mean? Get in touch and we can go through some examples

UPDATED: 2017-03-14

What should my business sound like on social media?

Getting your “voice” right for social is key to increasing engagement.

UPDATED: 1st March, 2017

There can be fine line between authoritative (market leader in your sector) and patronising, which could alienate potential customers. 

Rich Newman, content director for Mazda UK, gives this advice:

‘Imagine it’s Pancake Day and you’re down the pub and someone came up to you and said “Hey, it’s Pancake Day, what are your 3 favourite toppings?”

You’d probably want to finish up and leave pronto. Too many brands/businesses talk to their audience on social media as if they are interested in EVERYTHING they say, rather than actually broadcasting something funny, interesting or useful. Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all.’

Read his post on Medium on this.

How to work out your social media tone of voice

Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 11.50.44.png
Image copyright 2011: Stephanie Schwab

Character / persona – Who does your brand sound like? If you picture your social brand as a person (a character), here is where you can flesh out this identity with specific attributes that fit who you want to sound like online.

Tone – What is the general vibe of your brand?

Language – What kind of words do you use in your social media conversations?

Purpose – Why are you on social media in the first place?


Get in touch to learn more about developing your social media strategy.

Pet Peeve

Personalise your content for the channel

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-11-34-08UPDATED: 17th February, 2017

If you do only one thing today, disconnect your Facebook posts from Twitter (and vice versa).

And why should you do this? Your message will often get truncated (i.e. cut off part way through – Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters) and the lack of imagery makes for a dull post that is unlikely to get much (if any) engagement. It’s also annoying for your followers having to click on a link that then takes them to Facebook to read the rest of the post!

FB on TwitThis is what a Facebook post can look like when automatically pushed through to Twitter.  This was actually a picture of a new product – what a shame. BTW, the one reply was me offering some tips.

1) How to unlink Twitter – login to your Facebook account:

When you’ve done that, switch off pushing your tweets to Facebook. Why? Any account you mention, won’t be a clickable link once it arrives in your Facebook feed, so you’ll miss out on engagement from those you’ve tagged. As above, clicking on the post will then take you to Twitter, which is not where your customer (potential customer) started or wanted to be reading your updates in the first place!

2) How to unlink Facebook – login in to your Twitter account > Settings > Apps and disconnect.

Facebook and Twitter aren’t friends – they’re competitors.  They’re never going to share content “nicely” between each other.

Instagram is a different story – Facebook owns Instagram – so it will present your image in your Facebook feed as you intended. A further top tip if you are going to share your Instagram posts direct to Facebook from within the app, make the photo caption sharp and succinct and then add any relevant hashtags as a secondary comment to keep the post “clean” looking but still searchable.

My advice is to switch off the auto-posting & invest in 5mins to edit your content to suit the channel; you’ll reap the rewards.


Not sure what I mean? Drop me a line and I’ll share some examples that break my heart.


Networking via Twitter

hello-worldUPDATED: 15th February, 2017

Using weekly regional networking slots on Twitter to join the conversation, find other local businesses, share your own news and updates. Getting involved and sharing updates from others means  they are more likely to then share your tweets. No-brainer, isn’t it.

@Chichesterhr – Networking for the Chichester area every Tuesday 8 – 9pm and every Thursday 12-1pm. Post a simple tweet introducing yourself and your service(s) and include the hashtag #chichesterhour

@Bognorregishour – Networking for the Bognor Regis area every Monday 7.30pm – 8.30pm. As above, post a tweet and include the hashtag #bognorregishour

@SussexhourUK – Sussex-wide chat every Thursday 8.30pm – 9.30pm. Include the hashtag #sussexhour

Follow the accounts and add a reminder in your phone for the day/time.

You can also save a feed based on a hashtag, which will update in real-time for you to review whenever time allows if the evening networking slots aren’t great for your own schedule:

Type in the hashtag you’d like to save a search for


View results – you can toggle (switch) between Top, Live, Photos etc. Click on More Options and select Save this search:

Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 09.01.33.png

To revisit your saved search, click in the search box and you’ll see a quick link there:




List of Twitter networking groups, compiled by 87Tangerines – correct as at April 2016

Get in touch to to learn more about engaging with the right audience/potential customers via social media.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses


Here are my feeble excuses for the past month for not getting through my to do list quicker:


  • Relaxing after a record-breaking Film Festival at New Park – I’m pleased to announce that admissions were up 10% on last year (which was our previous best year ever).  Who said summer film festivals don’t work 🙂
  • It was my 46th birthday and I’ve just discovered the Hugo cocktail
  • Glorious, wonderful, tremendous Goodwood Revival
  • A health scare (St. Richard’s hospital has a lot of my blood!) – which reminds me, Draper’s Yard are hosting a “Cake Off” this Friday to celebrate the Macmillan Coffee Morning and to raise vital funds for this wonderful organisation
  • Working at Chic Boutique (Draper’s Yard – again!) – helping out my friend Debs whilst she suns herself in Cyprus
  • Arguing with BT about about their shocking customer service and in particular them taking almost a month to diagnose a faulty router (a week on, and I’m still waiting on a replacement)
  • New business meetings and the joy of collaboration and getting organised using tools like Google Docs and Asana
  • I’ve discovered mindfulness and Hygge
Not really great excuses – that still leaves many hours where a strong cup of coffee would’ve got this post out sooner!  Let’s move on.
One of the major topics that came out of our August meeting was around bringing in new customers by improving your “storytelling” ie the power of your content. Ben of Pallant Digital shared his case study of working with the Natural Navigator and Kylee of Shotgun PR offered some great advice too.  Johnny, a freelance copywriter, is our member expert in this regard and created a simple “TOP FIVE TIPS for writing better business blogs” which I’ve shared in the members group page too.  Please add your comments in the thread.
In this past month I’ve also delivered a bespoke How To workshop on getting the most out of your social media channels.  Again, this is a popular topic at our meetings, so I’m looking for support from our digital marketing members to develop a 2-hour session that we can deliver – my weakness is LinkedIn business pages. Can you help?
On to our next meeting, which is being hosted at the Real Burger Kitchen on South Street.  Going to kick off at 9am again, as this seemed to suit many more members – over 20 attendees in August, which we’re really proud of.
If you’d like to share any questions/points of discussion ahead of Friday’s meeting, then please do post  on the group page – if you’re not already a member, click on the Join Group button.
Have a great week and I’d love to hear about your woes and wins. Hopefully see many of you on Friday morning.
Photos from the August meeting of the Last Friday Club, hosted by Draper’s Yard

Learn more about Chichester networking via the Last Friday Club

Debbie Does Muddy


I’ve done the regular 5K run/stumble/stroll before, but this year I thought I ought to try something a little more challenging – so a muddy obstacle course it is!

I know you’ve probably been harangued by plenty of friends already to ‘dig deep” but even a quid helps, it really does. Forego that latte and donate to this amazing charity instead, I will be eternally grateful.

I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you that events like this are vital in funding Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work into preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. By sponsoring me, we can unite and create an army that cancer can’t ignore. By sponsoring me, we will beat cancer sooner.

You can also sponsor me by text: SBED88 £5 (or any value) to 70070

Don’t forget to add Gift Aid

If you’re a UK taxpayer, please remember to tick the Gift Aid box as this will increase your donation by at least 25% at no extra cost to you.

Sponsor me now via the JustGiving site, and help me show cancer that hell hath no fury like a woman in pink.

You could also join me – still slots available 🙂