PHOTOGRAPHER : DESIGNER : LIFESTYLE BLOGGER
On a fine May day, Liverpool played host to one of the biggest tattoo conventions in the UK held at the infamous Adelphi Hotel. Artists from all over the world came together to show off their expertise, passion and pure unadulterated talent. This was my first time at Liverpool Tattoo Convention which was organised by local tattoo company 'Design For Life' (put their web address in brackets). Kicking the event off on Friday was an artist-only admission where I'm told a mass collaboration was held along with some networking and mutual appreciated for individual work and styles. Saturday welcomed us non-artists with open arms with the popularity of the event prominent by a queue that stretched half way round the block. Upon entry, we were greeted by friendly panel of staff issuing information and directions. We were now entering a temporary cave full of savlon, vaseline and the harmonic buzzing of ink needles. As we walked around the stalls, this year we noticed that there seems to be an increase in female artists and in what is always been known as a predominantly male orientated field over a quarter of the artists at the convention were female. With this in mind, I wondered what it was really like to be a woman in this industry. Are they really stereotypical butch burley Androgynous type? Not that there's anything wrong with that, we love you too! However, in this case it was ar from it. I was quite taken aback by the quantity of powerfully stunning women working at the event. As a photographer who loves shooting colour and beauty it was incredibly hard not to just walk around asking people about the opportunity to model for me but luckily their work shone as bright as their beauty and I was able to capture both!
The Fuel Girls undoubtedly stole the show attracting a few hundred people to the front of the stage along with Dr Strange and various artists like our very own Matchstickmen. The itinerary for the day was packed and everyone in attendance appeared thoroughly entertained.
As much as I love tattoos, I'm not exactly inked-up myself but I am avid lover and appreciator of others and their body art, so to those who make it possible. With that in mind, if I see a raw and undisputed talent, I'll shout about it so without much further ado, may I introduce 'Banana-Ink'!
Banana Ink is run by Przemysław Sasor He is one of the most sought-after exhibitors at conventions across Europe for his family-friendly teaching Tattoo Artistry Basics 101. His stall was set back from the regular artists giving him a little more space to talk to people and showcase his talents.
The principle behind his stall is to tattoo a banana. You read that right, a banana! This being due to the fact that a banana is one of the nearest natural vegan substitutes to real flesh and is great for practicing with ink needles. He takes the time to show adults and children alike how to set up the tattoo gun, prior preparation of the area that will be inked and how to actually use the gun. He is patient, enthusiastic and obviously passionate about what he does, making it less daunting and more fun for all to see and learn
When you have finished your piece of skin he takes a lot of pride in wiping down your banana with vaseline to clean off any excess ink, guide lines and then photographs every single piece of art that has been created to put in his gallery. Przemyslaw was happy to entertain my questions on how he got into such a fascinating job role and where had the path taken him, you may be shocked to here that this season alone he will attend and feature at over 50 conventions world wide and simply started out by asking his own tattoo artist what it was like to tattoo!
Social Media is an amazing platform for business… If you know why you’re using it. But, a lot of the time, people don’t actually know WHY they’re using social media, and that doesn’t help with their results. Having an end goal in mind (to any strategy) is important so that you know what steps you have to benchmark to achieve your goal.
If you haven’t had time to think about why you’re using social media for your business, then I hate to tell you this, but a lot of your efforts have most likely been wasted. Visualising your result will allow you to know which exact steps you need to put into place to achieve it. That’s where results happen. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, then neither will your audience, and chances are you’ll be running in circles.
Benchmarking is what makes a successful campaign, whether it’s a social campaign or any other campaign. To benchmark, you must set yourself a goal that is not only realistic and achievable but also something that will truly be of benefit to you.
You could look at some of the following goals to get started:
- Drive more traffic to your website or any other pages
- Turn followers into REAL sales
- Create a ‘brand buzz’, getting people talking about your business
- Increase your SEO and referral marketing
- Create some really good key contacts in your industry that may be of benefit to you
So, how might you benchmark one of the above end goals? And just to be clear, when I’m speaking about an “end-goal”, it doesn’t actually end there. The end-goal will always be in play. You will continuously be going through your benchmarking cycle to ensure that you repeatedly achieve your goal, which is what makes a successful social media campaign.
The art of benchmarking
Let’s imagine your end goal is to drive more traffic to your website, or any other pages. Here’s what you should be thinking about:
- How am I going to drive people back to my website?
- Why will people want to visit my website?
- Where will these visitors be coming from and how might that reflect their decision to click?
- Who will be visiting the company website?
- When will they be most likely to visit the website?
Once you identify each of your questions that you ask yourself, it will break the process down for your social media campaign.
For example: HOW are you going to drive people back to the website? Will it be through continuous posting, articles on the website, offers and competitions, live updates, direct contact, backlinks, etc.?
All of the above can be considered a benchmark. Writing articles for your website doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s something that you have to work toward. You must take the time to come up with interesting and engaging content for your audience to want to read.
The blogging process could look something like the following:
Brainstorming articles to post -> Research -> Content generation -> Post to website and other relevant pages -> Posting article directly onto your social media channels -> Continue to post using various summaries and at different times -> Directly engage with prospects, directing them back to articles -> Posting your articles to groups and forums -> Resulting in successful traffic.
The above process might seem long winded, but this is how you will get organic and successful lead generation back to your website. You must remember that not everybody is online at the same time reading every single one of your posts, so capturing as much of the market as you can is important. Yes, there is such thing as overkill, and that’s why strategizing for each social platform is key. Your social strategy should never be the same across platforms as they all work differently.
If you’re not sure where to start with benchmarking and goal setting, why not try with the above example I have given you? I can guarantee it will deliver results if executed effectively. If you monitor your results successfully, then I would love to hear all about it. You can e-mail me directly to Hayley@thesocialgeeks.co.uk
Hayley Jenkins is the Owner and Director of Social Media Marketing Agency, The Social Geeks. Hayley is a Social Media Expert specialising in content marketing and campaign strategies for businesses across the UK. Visit her website http://www.thesocialgeeks.co.uk/
Liverpool house prices up or Liverpool house prices down? … and if so, by how much? Those of you who read the Liverpool Property Blog will know I am not the sort of person who pulls punches nor someone who ever fails to give a forthright and straight talking opinion – so here are my thoughts for the 120,531 Liverpool homeowners and landlords.
The average Liverpool property is 2.8% higher today than it was a year ago, which doesn’t sound a lot, but when you consider inflation is currently running at -0.1% (ie consumer/retail prices are dropping) and average salary growth is only around 2.5% pa, this is bad news for first time buyers as property affordability continues to decrease (although I was reading in The Times the other day that wage inflation (ie salary growth) is showing signs of weakening).
Some commentators have said the higher stamp duty taxes announced a few weeks ago in the Autumn Statement for buy to let landlords, concerns over first time buyer affordability and the outlook of UK interest rate rises in 2016 will really dampen the property market. I hope you all read my previous article about what the new stamp duty rule changes would REALLY mean for Liverpool landlords in my blog, but I believe the real issue in the Liverpool property market is the shortage of property to buy, as people either worry there will be no suitable house to move to, or cannot afford to upgrade. However, on the supply side, Mr Osborne said in his Autumn Statement that he will change the planning laws to ensure the government meets the pledge made at the General Election (back in May) of 200,000 new homes a year. All I can say is .. good luck George hitting those numbers!
Why? Because houses take years to build .. not months .. so George and his fabled house building aside …. where does that leave us in Liverpool in 2016?
Well, talking of supply … whilst Mr Osborne builds his properties (and let’s be honest – a week doesn’t go by without him being filmed on a building site with a high viz jacket and hard hat building a house here and there!), let us look at the shortage of properties for sale. Back in November 2011, 12,877 properties were for sale in Liverpool .. today that figure is 8,855. On the face of it, this means there is less choice for Liverpool buyers – but it also means with a restricted supply of properties for sale .. it keeps property prices high for Liverpool house sellers.
Everything isn’t all doom and gloom though … again back in November 2011, the average property in Liverpool took 164 days to find a buyer .. latest figures state this has dropped to 131 days .. a drop of 20% in how long it takes to find a buyer. However, when you delve even deeper, the best performing type of property today in Liverpool is the 3 bed, which takes 119 days to find a buyer (on average) compared to the 2 bed, which takes 136 days. It just goes to show, even though the average has dropped since 2011, how varied that change has been!
So, back to the question everyone is asking …. What will happen to property values in Liverpool in 2016? I am going to suggest they will rise between 1.5% and 2.5% … nothing out of the ordinary, but unless something cataclysmic happens in the world, 2016 will be like 2015! For more thoughts, opinions and views on the Liverpool property market .. visit www.liverpoolpropertyblog.com
‘My Six Degrees of Separation – 2015 in a nutshell’ T S Harvey
‘We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will’ Whitney Houston
In 2013, having finished my first novel, I started on a journey into a world I’d never in my wildest dreams ever believed I’d be a part of. My eldest granddaughter, Sarah, and my daughters Tracy and Su-Ellen suggested I write something for a teen / Young adult audience and so it began.
Having written the first two books in the Four Seasons supernatural series I approached my local TV station, BIG Centre TV with a view to getting my work publicized. My ‘first degree’ was Monica Price. Monica is an experienced broadcaster with her daily programme on CUPPA TV which she invited me onto.. On the day the show was recorded I met a lovely lady called Rose Monk. Rose was one of the country’s most successful Debbie Harry tributes and is actually married to the country’s most well known Simon Cowell ‘double’. This meeting was ‘degree number two’.
At this point that my daughter Tracy’s mantra comes to mind ‘The Universe always sends someone’. This isn’t a mantra that always appealed to me. I’ve always thought that if you want something you have to go and get it yourself, that ‘the universe’ has no say in it. But I don’t believe it’s that simple anymore. If the last two years have shown me anything it’s that yes, hard work is important, vital actually, but luck – or ‘the universe’ – is also a necessary ingredient.
Following that initial meeting with Rose we got chatting on social media – as you do! Rose had attended a charity fashion gala, The Lord Mayor’s Charity Fashion show, at which award winning designer Erica Wildflower was exhibiting a collection. As a result of that meeting they too became friends on social media which led my ‘third degree’.
Erica had designed a collection of clothes, on a nautical theme, and when I saw the photographs online I was in awe of her talent and commented to that effect. Erica and I got chatting and hit it off straightaway. I’ll never forget our first conversation. She’d noticed that I was an author and said she wished she could tell stories to which I replied ‘you do tell stories, but with your designs and your fashion shoots’. It came as a surprise, and an honour, when she came back a little while later and asked if she could design a collection of clothes based on my books!
Over the year’s fashions have come and gone, but some, such as the LBD have stood the test of time and will forever remain classics. Music, such as Whitney, literature, like Dickens, in much the same way as fashion has its classics so when the opportunity arose to have my books ‘immortalised in fabric’ by Erica I jumped at the chance.
To be perfectly honest, in the beginning, I expected the resulting collection to be exhibited in a school hall, or on a village green somewhere. However, that’s when ‘degree number four’ stepped up. Amanda Moss!
The nautical collection of clothes that had first attracted me to Erica’s work went on to win her the award of Best Designer in the North West. Part of her prize was to exhibit her designs on the opening night of Liverpool Fashion Week. When Erica contacted me to say she would be exhibiting both the collection that won her the accolade and the collection based on my books you could have knocked me down with a feather. Even someone like me, who has the fashion sense of a tree stump, knows that Liverpool Fashion Week is the most important show outside of London and is fast becoming one of the most sought after shows for upcoming designers in Europe. The collection she produced was amazing and mirrored the personalities of the characters in my books so well you’d have thought she was the author. It was one of the most emotional nights of my life, culminating with walking down the catwalk with Erica at the end of the show. Amanda Moss advocates ‘Inspiration – Not Thinspiration’ which is just as well as my 5ft, size 14 frame isn’t what you’d normally expect to see on the runway! If Amanda Moss hadn’t created this amazing, awe-inspiring show, then Erica wouldn’t have exhibited there and I never would have met ‘degree number five’ - Reza Kio.
Reza Kio is an award winning photographer and short film maker. My ‘first degree’ Monica Price travelled up to Liverpool to cover the opening night and whilst there invited Reza to appear on the follow up show she was planning for BCTV. Erica and I appeared on the same show, at which point Reza stunned me when he announced he wanted to take my books to screen – introducing me a short while later to Victoria Bajic, a talented screenwriter who wants to adapt them for TV.
According to Wikipedia: ‘Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.’ This explanation brings me to ‘degree number six’. I’ve taken a little poetic license with this step, in so much as this ‘degree’ is not a person. It’s a magazine. Lifestyle magazine to be exact. By allowing me the opportunity to blog on here, Lifestyle introduces T S Harvey to a whole world she could only before dream of being a part of. I know that’s referring to myself in the third person and not something I’d usually do, but to be honest this whole journey has such a surreal quality about it that at times I have to pinch myself to be sure it’s really happening.
‘2015 is going to be awesome’ said my good friend Pauline. Well she wasn’t wrong. I published the final two parts of the Four Seasons series in 2015, I met strong, independent and inspiration women in Monica Price, Erica Wildflower and Amanda Moss. Women that prove ‘you can have it all, you just have to want it enough, and work hard enough’. So what is 2016 going to bring for T S Harvey? A TV series maybe? More inspirational friends, whose enthusiasm is gloriously infectious, like Reza Kio? I certainly hope so. But whatever it brings, my outlook on fashion is changed forever. No longer is it just for the tall and skinny, no longer will I hide behind my books and my PC. I’m Julie, I’m 52 years old, carrying more than a touch of holiday weight but I’ve walked down the catwalk at Liverpool Fashion Show – after that, I can do anything!