This edition of ‘Engaging Reads’ brings you the most useful digital comms insights we’ve found in the Twittersphere over the last few days, including how social media can add value to an event and help you connect with local consumers, plus what not to forget about when you’re planning your digital comms strategy.

How can social media add value to an event?

The new Leeds Trinity shopping centre launched its new ‘Trinity Kitchen’ today – a monthly event to showcase the best street food available in the UK. Although the promise of seven permanent eateries and five ever-changing stalls offering delicious snacks from around the world sounds like enough to entice people (at least, enough to entice me!), Trinity Kitchen has taken an innovative extrastep to ensure local engagement. A rickshaw service called ‘Tweet to Ride’ will be on hand from 11am today until Saturday to ferry workers and shoppers to Leeds Trinity – and the only payment required is to tweet about it during the ride using the hashtag #TrinityKitchen.  This is a great example of using social media to promote an event because it doesn’t just improve the visibility of Trinity Kitchen on Twitter, it actually enhances the customer experience by making even the journey more fun. It looks like Paul Smith, marketing manager for Trinity Leeds, was right when he said Trinity Kitchen would be a ‘social hub’!

Using Twitter to connect with the local community

Bee costume woman

It’s all happening in Yorkshire this week! You might remember some phone boxes being painted gold last year to commemorate the achievements of athletes in the 2012 Olympics. Telecoms firm KC has kept it up, and this week painted a telephone box in Hull black and yellow to celebrate the achievements of 91 year old Jean Bishop – otherwise known as the Bee Lady of Hull – who has been raising money for charity wearing a bumblebee outfit for the past 14 years. Several hundred people came to watch her cut the ribbon, and soon Twitter was buzzing with photos of Jean and mentions of KC, which just goes to show how effective social networking platforms can be at connecting a business with a community.

What not to forget when planning your digital comms strategy

There’s a huge buzz around digital comms at the moment (see our recent blog on ‘what is digital communications?’ for clarification) and social media is widely regarded as the feather in its cap. It’s true that there’s practically untold value to having the right social media presence, but haven’t we all forgotten something? 800 million people have a Facebook account, 135 million are on LinkedIn, 100 million have Twitter…but over 3 billion people have an email account! It’s not just a larger audience either – as Jeff Bullas’ blog about the ‘humble email’ says, you also have the advantages of further ownership and control than you do on social media platforms such as Facebook. Research by Get Response has even shown that including a link from a social media platform in an email increased the click-through-rate by 115%. So, don’t forget to consider integrating email into your digital comms planning – but make sure you apply the principles of social media (being personal, engaging, useful) rather than just relying on ‘old school’ email marketing methods.