logo-staffordshire@2x

Want A Better Railway? Free Information & Networking Event Stoke Friday 24 October!

The HS2 railway project is a massive subject of debate for all businesses here in Staffordshire.  This Friday, 24th October, there is a free information and networking event being held by our friends in the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce in Stoke.

Details are below:

Business Launch of HS2 Stoke Route – HS2 The Stoke Route – The Smart Way to the North – Better, Cheaper, Faster, Greener

You are invited to join us at Commerce House on 24 October for a free event, the Business Launch of the City’s HS2 Stoke Route business case.  You will hear about this compelling proposal from the Chamber and the City Council and its transformational impact on business and the local economy.

Everyone who registers for this event will receive a copy of the Stoke Route Business Case.

The details for the event are as follows – Friday, 24 October 2014 – Commerce House, Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 5BE

  • 0800 – 0830 Registration, Breakfast and Networking Opportunities

  • 0830 – 0835 Introduction – Sara Williams, Chief Executive, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce

  • 0835 – 0915 Presentation on the HS2 Stoke Route by Dr Alan James and John van de Laarschot, Chief Executive, Stoke-on-Trent City Council

  • 0915 – 0945 Questions & then Networking

To book your place please visit http://staffordshirechambers.co.uk/events/business-launch-hs2-stoke-route/ spaces are limited.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to hear about how the Chamber and Stoke-on-Trent proposes to put itself at the heart of the national transport network and the HS2 project.

If you know of any great Staffordshire / West Midlands business networking or referral marketing events we can share with the world – let us know via LinkedIn.

Watch out for new testimonials page coming soon!

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

Coffee Connects

Want More Sales? Cake & Business Networking Group Stoke – Tuesday 4th November 6.30-8.30pm

A Stoke based open-networking club has launched very successfully through the efforts of local businesses in conjunction with the Coffee Lounge in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent will be meeting again this month, and highly recommended by us to attend.

The next meeting is Tuesday 4th November at the Coffee Lounge, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 2AA from 6.30-8.30pm and every first Tuesday of each month thereafter.

Come along to network, listen to the guest speaker, make business contacts and get to know other professionals living and working in Stoke and Staffordshire in an informal environment + enjoy some great food and coffee from the Coffee Lounge itself.

Arch supports victims of domestic violence and people who are homeless or facing homelessness. Whilst most of the people who are referred to Arch come from Staffordshire and South Cheshire they have referral requests from across the country for support and safe accommodation for victims of domestic violence. The guest speaker will be Ray Elks the Community & Corporate Partnerships Manager from Arch North Staffs.  The cost for the evening is the standard £10 but this will be a donation to Arch.  We also have a special guests Neena’s fresh home cooked Indian Food who will be providing the evening food included within your cost, something not to be missed.

For more information and to confirm attendance on 4th November please contact:

connects@thecoffeelounge.org.uk by email or via www.thecoffeelounge.org.uk

“Coffee and a buffet meal will again be an important part of the evenings activities so please confirm your attendance by e-mailing us and bring £10 to cover the excellent refreshments.”

Please let all your friends and business acquaintances know through the normal social media channels by reposting this wherever you find it – Twitter, Linked-in, Facebook or Google+ – just ask them to confirm attendance with the team.

Peter, Russell, Dave and Jez from the Coffee Connect team look forward to meeting local business on the day.

If you know of any great Staffordshire / West Midlands business networking or referral marketing events we can share with the world – let us know via LinkedIn.

Watch out for new testimonials page coming soon!

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

YouTube

Want More Sales? Do Some YouTube Interviews!

Differentiating yourself from your competitors is one of the biggest tricks any business need to pull off, and your reputation which one should always strive to be positive is a key factor is ensuring you get the referrals and not someone else!  It is one of the 4 low-cost marketing techniques we recommend to all new and small businesses.

Social Media is a powerful way to amplify your reputation through recommendations and testimonials.  One very simple way to get a testimonial is to use your iPhone or Smartphone to take a video of the person who wants to say nice things about you, and then post it to YouTube or Vimeo with little effort to make your channel look professional and easy to reach with loads of social media links, especially to Google+ and Twitter.  Read all about our YouTube Testimonial thoughts HERE and HERE.

An extension of using video to enhance your reputation is interviews.  We have just participated in a fantastic initiative developed by our good friend, Paul Woodcock, Director of top local accountants PJW Accounting based in Rugeley.  He has started to video a series of interviews under the “Staffordshire Business Briefing” series.  He generously asked us to participate in the first set of “tapings” where we talked about our business and “Lets’s Do Mentoring“, and his own business – PJW Accounting.  See the results on a YouTube playlist we created below – (please like and share with your social media fans too!):

This is a fantastic initiative by Paul which will grow his reputation as a connector and expert in his local business community – which will also allow him using social media to amplify his reputation to a vast audience with the eventual aim of creating more and better relationships, generating leads and thus booking more sales and new clients.  It is also a great way to connect on an even more deeper way to your existing clients (and even your business partners) by interviewing them and doing your bit to promote their business – what a great thing all accountants could do for little effort and technical expertise – just a bit of will and determination!

So what are you waiting for – get your iPhone out and get filming testimonials and interviews from your satisfied customers, new friends and business partners – it will help your Reputation no end!

If you want to talk to Paul on more top tax tips to help your business or subscribe to his newsletter then please contact him via LinkedIn, email him at paul@pjwaccounting.co.uk or call him on 01889 586431.  Get in touch with him if you want to be interviewed.

Please check out our YouTube or Vimeo Channels for all our testimonials and STAFFORDSHIRE BUSINESS BRIEFING PLAYLIST – HERE & HERE

If you or if you know of any great YouTube testimonials or interviews out there for Staffordshire businesses – then please let us know via LinkedIn.

Watch out for new testimonials page coming soon!

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the CCBM social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

Twitter Logo

Want More Sales? 7 Things Not To Tweet About On Twitter!

We like to share information on topics from top local experts especially on social media: one of the 4 pillars of low cost marketing we recommend for all new and small businesses that really amplifies your reach and presence in order to grow and enrich your network with your thoughts, ideas and opinions with the aim of having more sales.

Today’s post no exception as it making sure you use Twitter effectively by suggesting 10 things you should tweet about and 7 things you really should not if you want to grow your reputation and sales!  Many people worry about what to say on Twitter or how to use those mysterious HASHTAGS!  Hootsuite even deliver an online scorecard with suggestions on how to improve!

These set of tips are brought to us thanks to RED WEBSITE DESIGN BLOG based in Cheshire, a fantastic digital resource of great hints, tips and tricks on digital marketing that you can follow on TWITTER.

Originally published October 2014 as a blog post on their website, this excellent essay on the topic of writing more effective twittering – “10 Things Your Business Should Tweet About and 7 Things You Shouldn’t” which we think gives some great tips on what to say when approaching someone for the first time whether to connect or once connected to ask them to take the business relationships to the next level!

“Do you find yourself stuck for things to tweet about? Or perhaps you are worried what you are tweeting is doing more harm than good?  Take a look at this Twitter posting infographic from Social Research Strategies which gives you 10 ideas for tweets and 7 things you shouldn’t be tweeting.”

10-things-your-business-should-tweet-about-and-7-things-you-shouldn_t1

10-things-your-business-should-tweet-about-and-7-things-you-shouldn_t1

Some of the 10 things to remember when tweeting include – use proper grammar; use retweets; use “Hashtags”; keep it concise etc – all of which are great pieces of advice.

Some of the 7 things not to tweet about include – too much self-promotion; asking people to follow-you; posting to / from Facebook etc – all of which are great things to remember each time you tweet, and want to get your message across.

 

Go to the main blog post to see this great original infographic in original size with all the 10 things to tweet about and the 7 things to avoid at all costs!

So if you want to tweet in an organised fashion like our friends at WT DESIGN then follow these great tips and get tweeting!

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A+ for @wtdesigns – this is their daily #twitter plan – @letsdomentoring gold star for Oz! :-) #brnuk

View on Instagram

Follow RED WEBSITE DESIGN BLOG on TWITTER for more great digital marketing tips.

If you know of any great Staffordshire,  West Midlands or International experts we can share with the world – let us know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

 

Ted Loves Testimonials

Want To Know Us Better? See Our YouTube Testimonials!

Differentiating yourself from your competitors is one of the biggest tricks any business need to pull off, and your reputation which one should always strive to be positive is a key factor is ensuring you get the referrals and not someone else!  It is one of the 4 low-cost marketing techniques we recommend to all new and small businesses.

Social Media is a powerful way to amplify your reputation through recommendations and testimonials.  One very simple way to get a testimonial is to use your iPhone or Smartphone to take a video of the person who wants to say nice things about you, and then post it to YouTube or Vimeo.  Read all about our YouTube Testimonial thoughts HERE.

Here is one of our recent testimonials we received for our business mentoring from Ross Lowe & Brian Milman-Hurst from Down Stage Centre (christened by us the IMDB of AmDram)!  Its a fun and very warm testimonial given by our two friends in the style of Penn & Teller!  Please follow them on Twitter (CLICK HERE) and remember their Twitter hour each week – Tuesday 7-8pm.

See the whole Playlists we have developed for our testimonials we have received, and the ones we have given.  Please like and share them to your contacts.

So what are you waiting for – get your iPhone out and get filming testimonials from your satisfied customers – it will help your Reputation no end!

Please check out our YouTube or Vimeo Channels – HERE & HERE

If you or if you know of any great YouTube testimonials out there for Staffordshire businesses – then please let us know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the CCBM social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

Outserve Web

Want More Sales? Hurry – Get An Introduction To Social Media Marketing Now!

On Tuesday 21st October between 9am & 12pm, The Staffordshire Chambers Of Commerce’s Chase Chamber is putting on a FREE social media seminar in Cannock, delivered by our old friend Phil Oakley from Outserve Web with Andy Harrison.

Due to enormous popularity, the venue has been changed to accommodate even more attendees.  The venue details are at the South Staffordshire College- Rodbaston Campus, Penkridge, Staffordshire, ST19 5PH and booking can be made online here – CLICK HERE

6xOFc

Event Description

Social media marketing has been around for over a decade generating millions of conversations, billions of shared pictures and even more in sales for companies around the globe.  Although, when asked, the majority of UK businesses say that they plan to use social media in their marketing activities, however it is still only a minority of businesses who are receiving significant benefits.  Millions of Twitter accounts have never sent a tweet and have no followers. Thousands of Facebook business pages are lying dormant, unloved and uncared for, engaging no-one with no conversation.

How can you maximise your social media marketing potential?  What platforms are the most effective?  How are you going to improve your customer relationships and increase your sales and profitability?

Attend this Introduction to social media marketing to learn how to use social media as a competitive weapon including:

  • What social media platforms should I use for business?
  • How can get followers and build a community?
  • What do I say and when do should I post?
  • How do I engage prospects?
  • Learn the social media do’s and don’ts

Read the Blurb now watch the fun video, that Andy and Phil have done to promote the event on YouTube!


So if you have been thinking about using social media, have dipped your toe but got stuck or want to learn new him, tips and tricks then you must TAKE ACTION & BOOK NOW to hear what the No 1 Social Media Strategist in the region – Phil Oakley – has to say!

See everyone on the 21st – It promises to be a fantastic learning & networking event all at the same time!

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands networking events we can share with the world – let us know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

Want More Sales? Don't Make These LinkedIn Mistakes!

Want More Sales? Use LinkedIn Messages More Effectively!

We like to share information on topics from top local experts especially on social media: one of the 4 pillars of low cost marketing we recommend for all new and small businesses that really amplifies your reach and presence in order to grow and enrich your network with your thoughts, ideas and opinions with the aim of having more sales.

Today’s post no exception as it making sure you use LinkedIn messaging more effectively to connect with new people or reconnect with old contacts you have met along your business journey.  That way you will increase your connections more effectively by giving people a real reason to accept your request and subsequent messages, which multiplies your opportunities, conversations, potential leads etc. onto actual sales.

This is also great for your old LinkedIn connections which you have accumulated by hazard that you have done nothing with!

These set of tips ate brought to us thanks to RED WEBSITE DESIGN BLOG based in Cheshire, a fantastic digital resource of great hints, tips and tricks on digital marketing that you can follow on TWITTER.

Originally published October 2014 as a blog post on their website, this excellent essay on the topic of writing more effective LinkedIn messages – “4 Steps to Writing LinkedIn Messages that Actually Get Read” which we think gives some great tips on what to say when approaching someone for the first time whether to connect or once connected to ask them to take the business relationships to the next level!

Are you using LinkedIn’s messaging function to connect with new people and re connect with old contacts? Are you fed up with people not reading them and not responding?  To get more people reading your LinkedIn messages follow the simple 4 step process in this infographic from Zeemo.

Zeemo

4 Steps to Writing LinkedIn Messages that Actually Get Read

Some of the 4 steps on how to get read include: start with a specific title e.g. “following up from last night’s event” which is crucial as the fortune is in the follow-up.  Because you should be asking yourself each time why you are reaching out – to connect, to ask for advice, to do them a favour etc.

Go to the main blog post to see this great original infographic in original size with all the 4 steps  You will see something you can action today when using LinkedIn messages that will get you more connections and more reaction.

Do remember not to just connect to people without giving them a reason that they can understand – it is only polite, and avoids a count, especially if you have not met them yet and agreed to connect.

Some great phrases (which we have used with great success) might include – “I am new to the area, and would love to connect with you as I am told you are a person who has his finger on the pulse of the local community and would love to pick your brains” or “I have been seen some of  your posts on LinkedIn with great interest and would welcome the opportunity to share your thoughts with my connections more easily” or “as a board member of the Chamber I would like to connect with you to gauge you opinions on business” etc etc etc

Follow RED WEBSITE DESIGN BLOG on TWITTER for more great digital marketing tips.

If you know of any great Staffordshire,  West Midlands or International experts we can share with the world – let us know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

Auditel

Want To Save Money? Get Your Energy Costs Audited!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

These great tips are thanks to Chris Wheeler, Director of top cost saving consultants Auditel based in Staffordshire.

Today is no exception with excellent cost saving case study which Chris done with a client who is  a manufacturer in the Automotive sector.

The Client was spending £150Kpa on Electricity and Gas for heat and power used in the manufacturing processes.  The Management team busy meeting production schedules and looking after customers and had limited resource to manage energy supply contracts effectively and monitor their ongoing costs.  Auditel were referred to the client by another supplier and had a free audit on their energy costs from Chris himself.  The result was a spectacular result – a massive cost saving and a 120% ROI on their investment with Auditel.  Not bad for simply letting an expert review your bills for you and sort out the negotiations with the energy suppliers.

Read more about the case study here on Chris’s SLIDE-SHARE account:

If you want to talk to Chris on more top cost saving tips tips to help your business save money on a whole range of items on an ongoing basis then please contact him via LinkedIn, email him at chris.wheeler@auditel.co.uk or call him on 01785 812250.  Subscribe to his SLIDE-SHARE or connect on LinkedIn to see more great case studies from him on how he has saved local businesses in Staffordshire and the West Midlands like you save money!

Watch out for more top tips on all sorts of subjects from local experts.

If you know of any other great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world on any subject – then please let us know via LinkedIn.

If you are an accountant or in a another profession and if you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the CCBM social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

PJW Accounting Logo

Want To Avoid Paying More Tax? Get Your Gifts Right For Christmas!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

These great tips are again thanks to Paul Woodcock, Director of top local accountants PJW Accounting based in Rugeley.

Today is no exception with yet another excellent LinkedIn & email newsletter post on this topic – “Getting a tax deduction for your Christmas Gifts”:

“I know it’s only October – but I feel it’s important to get in tthere early and remind you all that It’s coming up to that time of year again. So, I thought I’d try and focus your attention on the tax rules regarding Christmas gifts, just in case you were feeling generous and wanted to treat you’re customers/suppliers. Because, although it’s the season of goodwill to all men, don’t expect the Taxman to extend it to the business community if you fall foul of his rules.

So What are the rules?

As you know by now I’m a big fan of knowing what the rules are. The rules give you certainty and keep the Taxman in his place should he come enquiring into your affairs.

Fortunately the rules on getting a gift deductible are not that onerous and can be summarised thus:

  • giving away free samples of your products is 100% deductible
  • gifts carrying a conspicuous advertisement for the business are tax-deductible, but only up to £50 per person.
  • Warning. Gifts of food, drink, tobacco and vouchers receive no tax deduction, even if less than £50.

What about the rules on VAT?

That £50 – does it include or exclude VAT? You’ll be pleased to know that it excludes VAT! So, you can buy up to £60 of gifts per person and still be under the limit.

What’s more – the Vatman will allow you to claim the VAT back on those gifts of food, drink and tobacco that the Taxman won’t let you claim as a deduction from your profits! Isn’t he nice!

To summarise: here’s a list of my Top Christmas Gift Tips:

Christmas Tip 1. Keep your purchases of gifts to under £60 (incl VAT) per person

Christmas Tip 2. Give away bottles of whisky, brandy and sherry and claim back the VAT on the purchase price. But don’t claim it as a deductible expense from your profits
.
Christmas Tip 3. The £50 (£60 gross) limit applies to the total value of gifts made to one person in a year. So you can give away a number of small gifts throughout the year. Just make sure that the total does not exceed £50/person for the year.

Christmas Tip 4. You don’t have to go to the expense of getting calendars specially printed or glasses/tankards engraved with your company logo. Why not just get some stickers printed with the company details and stick them on the gift.

Christmas Tip 5: Don’t forget that you also have a Christmas party to pay for. Make sure you keep the spend to below £150/head. If you do this the event will be entirely tax deductible. If you spend less than £150/head you can spend the unused element to entertain your staff later in the year. Just make sure you keep the annual spend below £150/head.

Ted is a tax scrooge

@TedTheMktgBear Hates Christmas! Tax

So although it’s the season of goodwill to all men and bears, don’t expect the Taxman to extend it to the business community if you fall foul of his rules….!”

If you want to talk to Paul on more top tax tips to help your business or subscribe to his newsletter then please contact him via LinkedIn, email him at paul@pjwaccounting.co.uk or call him on 01889 586431.

Watch out for more top tips on all sorts of subjects from local experts.

If you know of any other great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world on any subject – then please let us know via LinkedIn.

If you are an accountant or in a another profession and if you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the CCBM social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE

 

Ted Loves Referrals & Networking

Want More Sales? 9 Tops Tips For Being “Effective” At Referral Marketing

As we say the 4 best low-cost marketing techniques available to all new and small businesses are:

  • networking (letting people know you exist);
  • reputation (building up perceived expertise, endorsements and recommendations);
  • social media (amplifies everything to the widest audience possible);
  • referral marketing (through asking for referrals, prospecting etc.)

Referral marketing is the hardest one to describe in simple ways but every business, particularly small or professional businesses, must have a strong referral network.

You are unlikely & expensive to “advertise your way to success” because without substantial working capital, it can’t be done.  The number one cause perhaps of business failure for start-ups?

Networking & referral marketing is more effective and fun than other things you can do.  Doing it well allows you to create an effective network that increases your client base, supports your business, and makes you money.  Most business owners confuse effective networking with passing out business cards. This is simply not true!

Below are 9 tips we have put together from our networking and referral marketing experiences to allow you to create a network that will help you build your business.

  1. DO: Be visible and well-liked! Know lots of people and be sure they know you – use LinkedIn for example or do a public talk or two!
  2. DO: Join and contribute to worthwhile groups and causes. You have to “put in” before you can “take out.” Be known as a generous person with a lot to give to your local community via charity, local groups or business organisations eg Chamber of Commerce.
  3. DON’T: Grab the spotlight or Chair every committee you can. But don’t turn down positions of leadership or responsibility, but don’t be pushy either. Let people discover you!
  4. DO: Show up! Whatever your current circle of friends and relationships, this week go someplace else to network or meet new friends! Continue to add new circles of influence and expand the range of your interests and involvements. Keep growing the circle by actively networking!
  5. DON’T: Expect colleagues with similar expertise to be referral partners. They have their own businesses and are unlikely to share clients with you. Be realistic in your expectations but keep up the good relationships for mentoring and coaching input.
  6. DO: Reach beyond your profession or your circle of contacts for business connections. Look to all influencers, local politicians, business owners, salespeople, educators, and managers. Anyone who connects with many people and who does not compete with you is a fantastic potential referral partner.  Don’t waste this chance!  Again use LinkedIn!
  7. DON’T: Rush into business relationships. Have a drink, lunch or coffee to get acquainted, but never push a business card or brochure on anyone who you meet in a random way. Be the person who shares great tips and helps others grow their business!
  8. DO: Make sure your business connections run both ways. Referring clients must make business sense to both sides – to quote BNI “givers gain”. Make sure your work provides increased income, more convenience, better outcomes, or other benefits for your referral sources. This is only fair.  But prioritise those who are clear in their referral demands – don’t waste your time on people who are not clear on what they want.
  9. DON’T: Panic or try to rush. Most successful businesses only need 5-10 great referral sources. Select and cultivate them wisely and patiently. It pays huge dividends inthe long run!

Try some or all of these 9 tips to grow your relationships, and measure how they improve your referred sales through ROI.

If any one has any more tips please let us know through the comments or LinkedIn.

If you want to book us to speak at an event in Staffordshire and surrounding counties to speak about networking, referral marketing, reputation and social media the please get in contact via LinkedIn.

If you know of any great Staffordshire / West Midlands business networking or referral marketing events we can share with the world – let us know via LinkedIn

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with us LinkedIn, subscribe to our newsletter or our Superstars of Networking tips series via this website.

Don’t forget the CCBM social media challenge for a great free prize from us – DO THE CHALLENGE