Concise Learners – Interview with Gwen Stephen Jones


We recently caught up with one of our former learners Gwen Stephen Jones.

Gwen, you recently completed our 12-month Diploma in Social Media qualification.  How have things changed for you since you started?

Excitingly I have my own private clients for whom I manage social media as well as starting a new company with my business partner Philippa.  I have been able to do this thanks to the knowledge and confidence gained from doing the course.

I have contributed to a couple of website builds based on the knowledge I gained from the course about website optimisation – and I seem to be getting more of this project work to optimise websites going forward.

Tell me more about your new business

Indian Experiences offers two products:

  • Marketing consultancy to the Indian travel trade. We help travel Indian businesses and hotels develop optimised websites, learn how to manage their own ongoing social media and help them to develop digital advertising campaigns.  We also help with their copywriting requirements, not only on websites but also blog posts and email newsletters.
  • We offer handpicked, smaller experiential providers in India a place to showcase what they can do. Companies will include walking tours, cooking classes, treks, river rafting and more.  We will promote these providers to the overseas travel industry (US, UK and Europe) by newsletter, social media and personal relationships.

Going forward we want to be able to showcase experiential hotels in the country too.

We are focused on presenting all that India has to offer to the travel industry outside India to change the negative connotations that have developed about India and share our passion for the country.

Can you remember why you choose our course?

Yes, I can. I spent a year in India on a project opening a new hotel.  We outsourced our social media management and copyright and I found there was a massive gap in the market.  The social media company did not have a clue what was different about experiential hotels and I had to rewrite much of the copy that was provided.  I felt that there was a gap between digital marketing and the experiential tourism market in India.

I selected the Concise Training course as I liked the fact that it was distance learning – so I could do it wherever I happened to be, but there was also built in contact with the trainers.  The webinars were live and run by people – it wasn’t all video training.  The course is all about the importance of engagement and it was essential to me that I could have direct engagement with the tutors.

So, what are your plans for 2018?

Currently, I’m home in Wales but will be returning to India soon to take part in some big travel trade events.  During the heat of the summer, I’ll be back in the UK looking to have face to face conversations with UK and Europe travel agencies to build more awareness of Indian Experiences and change the way India is thought of as a travel destination. In October, it will be back to India to build links with amazing experiential hotels and providers.

Around all this, I will continue to manage social media for my clients and build the brand of Indian Experiences across the digital space.

You can contact Gwen


Skype: gwenii72

Tel: +44 (0)7861 427 648





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Facebook – New Charity Updates Launched


Facebook has unveiled some new charity updates to help any charities using its platform.

Facebook has unveiled changes concerning charities using its platform.


Facebook has announced that charities using Facebook’s payment platform to process donations do not pay a fee. 

Charities will need to:

  • Have a Facebook page with a category of Nonprofit Organisation’ or Charity Organisation’ and will need to include an address on the page.
  • Sign up for Facebook Payments for a page admin account
  • Accept Facebook’s terms of service

You can apply to accept donations on Facebook here.

Note, during the sign-up stage for Facebook payments, you will need to supply the following information:

  • Date of birth and address of the charity’s CEO
  • Bank account details and bank statement within the last 3 months

Personal Fundraisers

As an individual, you can create a personal fundraiser to raise money for yourself, a friend or any of the following categories:

  • Education: such as tuition, books or classroom supplies
  • Medical: such as medical procedures, treatments or injuries
  • Pet Medical: such as veterinary procedures, treatments or injuries
  • Crisis Relief: such as public crises or natural disasters
  • Personal Emergency: such as a house fire, theft or car accident
  • Funeral and Loss: such as burial expenses or living costs after losing a loved one
  • Sports: such as equipment, competitions or team fees
  • Community: such as neighbourhood services, community improvements or environmental improvements

Personal fundraisers can be created by going to This is now going to be rolled out to the UK.  Note: A fee will be deducted from donations. (6.9% + $0.30)

Are you going to use either of these services?  Let us know.

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Facebook changes how pages appear in Newsfeed


Facebook - Friends firstFacebook has announced a major change to how its algorithm works in this post.

In the announcement, Facebook has said that during the coming weeks content between people that sparks conversations with friends and family will be prioritised over content from businesses, brands and media. 

This will mean that pages are likely to see a decline in organic reach, referral traffic and video watch time. Pages who do not get any engagement will see the biggest impact.  Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect”.  

What is this going to mean for business use of Facebook?

It is likely that ultimately organic business posts will be moved to a separate feed which Facebook experimented with last year in six countries.  Not surprisingly pages in those countries saw a dramatic decrease in reach.  This news broke this morning so the jury is still out on exactly what impact the changes will have.  However, in the meantime, we suggest you:

  1. Train your community to use First News to see your post.  Watch this video to see how to do that.

  2. As always on Facebook create engaging content that hasn’t changed.
  3. Be prepared to use Facebook ads to get your Facebook posts in front of the right people (use the Ads Manager rather than Boost)
  4. Consider whether Facebook groups might be a way to continue to talk to your community
  5. Ensure Facebook really is the right social media channel for you.  It is going to take more work so you need to make sure your audience is active on Facebook – it might be a case of using LinkedIn or Instagram or even Twitter more – depending on who you are aiming at.
  6. Make sure your marketing strategy includes a marketing mix (content marketing, email newsletters, LinkedIn, an optimised website, offline marketing) this hasn’t changed – we have always been a big advocate of creating email subscriber lists.
  7. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you get the latest information about what these changes mean for you 🙂

More to come over the next few weeks as we learn more.  Let me know what you think about the changes in the comments below.

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Concise Learners – Interview with Joe Morton


Joe Morton recently completed our Digital Marketing Diploma.

Joe you recently completed our 18-month Diploma in Digital Marketing. How have things changed in your businesses since you started?

Things have changed massively in the business, with us both moving premises and hiring two new Level 3 Apprentices. It’s been great for me to be able to teach the new apprentices new things and see them develop as I did in the 18 months of my first apprenticeship. 

Tell me more about your business

We help companies, mostly in the Chesterfield area, with all online and digital marketing as well as press releases and editorial work. Whether it’s social media management, website content creation, press release writing or any design work, our team will be able to help. We generally look at building long-term relationships but still do plenty of project work such as social media management through a hectic time or designing websites. 

Do you remember why you took our course?

I took the course to make sure I could learn the skills I needed in order to work efficiently in the office and to develop myself as a marketer. With the knowledge I gained throughout the course, I have become much more useful to the company. 

What are your aims for 2018?

I aim to continue working hard at my Level 4 apprenticeship to further develop my knowledge of the sector and the work involved in it. Also, I hope to have another successful year with the business as we will hopefully see it grow even more.

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Concise Learners – Interview with Jennifer Corcoran


Recently we caught up with one of our past learners; Jennifer Corcoran.

You finished working through our training courses about 8 months ago.  How have things changed in your businesses since you started?

I can hand on heart say that doing my training with Concise Training has literally changed the course of my professional career.  I was an Office Manager within Financial Services in London when I first started training with you guys back in 2014. I’m currently a Solopreneur working out of TMRW which is the largest tech hub in South London in my home town of Croydon. In August 2016, I quit my role of 11 years to do some continued professional development and in April 2017 I launched my first business.   I have drawn on my extensive experiences in the provision of high-level, high-quality executive support to set up My Super Connector.

Tell me more about your business

My Super Connector is a Social Media Consultancy.  In a nutshell, I help passionate people in business to polish their social media profiles and connect with finesse.   I cover the platforms of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Blogging.  By using my social media and social media management training, I’m able to engage Personal Assistants, Solopreneurs and small companies to review and assess their social media offerings and provide valuable advice and training on how to improve their presence in order to drive growth, productivity and profitability.

Do you remember why you took the Concise Training courses?

I was fed up of feeling out of the loop and wanted to feel comfortable online and doing your courses gave me that much-needed spring in my step.  I loved the e-learning platforms as I could do them at my own pace and in my own time.  It’s safe to say that to cut through and add value in this digital age you must increase your visibility and improve your chance of being heard.  Social media is not going away anytime soon and it’s a perfect platform for introverts like myself to shine and make an impact.  Thanks to you guys I’m an award-winning entrepreneur as your training enabled me to connect, collaborate and thrive.

Going forward, I’ll be keeping in the loop in the Concise Social Networking Support Club which keeps me abreast of all developments in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as Social Media, as you know, is ever changing at a rapid pace.  I especially love the monthly update reports which help to keep my finger on the pulse.   It’s reassuring to know that I can get my social media enquiries answered by experts in a fun and informal way and I’m forever learning from the engaged community members.

What are your aims for the rest of 2017?

My mission for My Super Connector is focused around the fact that you don’t have to be the loudest person to get noticed, you’ve just got to be the most effective.  2017 for me is about getting the word out that I’m in business and hoping to help as many people as I can reach their target audience and business/career goals.  I’ve two speaking gigs coming up and some potential podcasts and guest blogs so the future is looking exciting.  There is a lot of networking and connecting on the horizon!

You can contact Jennifer


LinkedIn: Jennifer’s LinkedIn Profile

Twitter: Super Connector

Facebook: Super Connector

Instagram: Super Connector

Pinterest: Super Connector

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Concise Learners – Interview with Gregory Blackett


Gregory Blackett recently completed our social media for business diploma.

You finished your 12-month Diploma in the last couple of months. How have things changed in your businesses since you started?

I’ve applied the principles covered in the program from the outset and continue to refine my approach. I now have a much clearer understanding of the ‘technical’ aspects of the various channels, and how to leverage them effectively. The reach, following and level of engagement with our audiences have significantly improved resulting in a number of deals sourced directly from social media.

Tell me more about your portfolio of businesses

Advantage Caribbean Institute Ltd. offers a range of training solutions in information technology, management, productivity, performance enhancement and career development in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Kinetic Sales Solutions provides sales, business development, outsourcing, social media and digital marketing services. Working with partners in various sectors the business connects clients with customers.

Olexis Enterprises LLC owns Lake Cay Condo, a luxury vacation condominium rental in Orlando, Florida

Do you remember why you took our course?

I recognised the growing importance of social media for professionals and businesses and the potential for career development. The field is gradually maturing in the region and there is a need for qualified practitioners. To my knowledge, this program provided by Concise Training through Advantage Caribbean Institute Ltd is the first City & Guilds social media and digital marketing qualification in the Caribbean.

What are your aims for the rest of 2017?

The businesses are in various stages of developing their overall strategies. As the year progresses the aim is to achieve the established benchmarks for each. Social media is key to maintaining viability and building the respective online presences.

You can listen to the rest of our interview with Gregory below.


You can contact Gregory

Telephone: 246-249-7774 / 860-924-6639


Skype: gregory.blackett

Twitter: @gregoryblackett

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Are you using the right social media channels for your business in 2017?


Are you using the right social media channels for your business in 2017?

As I’m sure you are aware, social media marketing never stands still.   Not only do you need to have an always on” presence but as social networks continue to develop and evolve (join our Social Networking Support Club to keep up to date with the changes), it is worth regularly checking whether you are using the right channels for your business.  You are investing a great deal of time nurturing your online presence you need to be engaging with the right audience!   Take a look at our 5 tips to ensure your social media marketing will be successful in 2017.

Tip 1

Have a social media strategy and keep at it. Social media takes time and effort over a sustained period to achieve results. If you need help with this, take a look at our popular Social Media Strategy online course or ask us about our social media strategy services.

Tip 2 

Consider your audience demographic.  Trackx has created this infographic which provides an overview of some of the key audience stats for all the major social platforms.  This can help you determine which channels will work best for your business in 2017. There is no point spending lots of time on a channel if your audience is not going to be there but on the other hand don’t use too many channels there is a time/resource/investment balance required.

The infographic is as from Social Media Today and was created by Trackx.Source

Tip 3

Social Media may have changed since you started to use it. Let’s look at some of the key trends in 2017, as these may influence your decisions:

a) Social isn’t just for Millennials anymore According to this study by Pew Research, social networking use among Internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled—from 22% to 42% over the past year!

b) The line between Internet user and social network is becoming less distinct. In the same study, in 2009 only 46% of online adults used social media; this figure has now risen to around 70%. In a recent conversation with a friend of mine who runs a karate club, he refers to his Facebook channel as his website’ and uses this to good effect to advertise his business and keep his followers informed of events and classes together with useful tips.  Not every business needs a website and a Facebook page these days.

c) Video remains king Facebook has enjoyed considerable growth since its launch of live video streaming earlier in the year.  According to Social Media Week, the algorithm puts more emphasis on longer videos as long as they have relevant content.  We will only see more brands experimenting with this why not give it a try?

d) Increase in personalised content With the ever increasing amount of content published online, it is more important than ever to make sure your content is seen by the right people at the right time.  Collect data about your audience and create targeted content that really appeals to them. In a simple format, you could use Facebook remarketing to advertise to people who have visited your website or send targeted e-newsletters to different segments of your database.

Tip 4

Take another look at your social media profiles and make sure they still represent your brand. Check whether the cover photos need a refresh or whether the bios still accurately represent what you do and contain relevant keywords, and, if appropriate, hashtags.

Tip 5

Plan your content.  Create and plan content ahead of time.  We have started to use Content Cal to plan content across the brands we manage.  It is a visual tool that makes it easy to post and schedule updates in different categories to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  They offer a free version for 1 user perfect for small businesses.

What changes are you going to make?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Have You Created a Thunderclap?


Have you created a Thunderclap? Our latest blog posts explores the use of Thunderclaps.

Have you even heard of a thunderclap?  A thunderclap is a way of getting lots of people to post the same update on Twitter and Facebook at the same time to generate the maximum impact. This works particularly well for a cause.  More than 12 billion Thunderclap messages have been seen in 238 countries and territories shared by over 7 million people.  Thunderclaps have been used by event organisers, charities and brands to promote their message.

There are a number of steps required to create your own Thunderclap:

Set up the Thunderclap

  1. Go to
  2. Login with Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr
  3. Click Start
  4. Fill in the profile details about you
  5. Fill in the status update you would like shared along with the link you want to share and a photo. Note the status update (link not included) needs to be a maximum of 118 characters to allow space for the Thunderclap shortened version of your link.
  6. Fill in any information about the cause or reason for the Thunderclap.
  7. Choose how many supporters you will be able to get. You need to achieve the number of supporters or your Thunderclap will not be posted so it is best to aim for the minimum of 100 supporters unless you are very confident.

Get Supporters

  1. You now need to get people to support your Thunderclap by sharing a link to the Thunderclap. People can support using Twitter, Facebook personal profiles or Tumblr.
  2. It can take some time to get people to support, so it is a good idea to set up your Thunderclap at least a month before you want it to go out.
  3. As people support the Thunderclap, you are given the potential reach of the status update.

The Day Arrives

  1. When the day of your Thunderclap arrives, assuming you have reached the minimum supporter numbers, your status update will be shared automatically at the same time by all your supporters. As you can imagine this could reach thousands of people.


This is a Thunderclap I have set up for a charity we are working for.

An example of a Thunderclap which we have set up for Walk with Me.

We would be grateful for your support.  You can experience ThunderClap (and support #WalkWithNyasha) by clicking this link

Let me know about any Thunderclaps you set up.

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Concise Learners – Interview with Joanna Dorrington Brook


We recently caught up with our former ITQ Social Media Learner; Joanna Dorrington Brook

Joanna, you finished your City & Guilds ITQ Social Media Certificate in November last year, how have things in your career changed since?

Studying for the course helped me get a new job in May last year and I have been able to utilise the skills I learnt on the course within my new role. I have also recently launched a social media management company with my husband called Willow Social Media.

Tell me more about Willow Social Media

After many years of friends and family asking for help with either their own social media accounts or with their businesses social media accounts I decided to set up Willow Social Media.

“I had learnt so much on the ITQ Social Media Certificate that I really feel that I have the necessary skills and experience.”

Willow Social Media by Joanna Dorrington BrookWillow Social Media is a social media management company for individuals and small businesses. We offer professional social media marketing tailored to individual requirements and we offer 2 great package options that will get their social media activity up and running.

We can also offer bespoke packages to suit individual needs along with special training packages to take you through setting up and maintaining your accounts, using social media management tools, monitoring brand chatter and reputation monitoring and management.

What are your aims for 2017?

My main aim is to continue to grow the customer base for Willow Social Media. I am also currently working on the website for Willow Social Media and I hope that will be live in the coming week. I hope to continue to implement my learning from the City & Guilds ITQ Social Media Certificate.

You can contact Joanna

M: 07527181215


F: @Willowsmmarketing

T: @Willowsocialme

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Concise Learners – Interview with Roxanne Lawrence



In the latest of our interviews with past Concise learners, we catch up with Roxanne Lawrence.

You completed our Diploma in Social Media around 6 months ago. What have you been up to since?

I spent the first few months after finishing figuring out what I needed to do to build my confidence. I know I completed the course, but I still felt I needed more confidence to be able to sell my services. I have 3 children – aged 11 months, 1 ½ years and 6 years old and enjoyed spending some time relaxing with them and letting what I had learnt sink in.

I then started looking at jobs and realised that I really would be able to achieve my ambition of earning money and still being able to work around my children. I updated my profile on LinkedIn and applied for a part-time social media content manager role which I got. I was then headhunted through my network and have just got an additional part time role working for a new brand – We Grow Daily. I am initially creating the social media strategy and policy for them and then will implement the strategy. I have realised that I just know the right things to include in the strategy – because of the course. I hadn’t realised quite how much I had picked up! I’ve also been contacted by a recruitment company – due to having the qualification. I really can now build a career as a social media strategy consultant as well as training people to use social media.

Doing the course has opened up these doors – 100%”

Do you remember why you took our course?

There were a number of reasons.

  • I wanted a recognised qualification. People have heard of ‘City & Guilds’ so it makes it more credible on my CV. There are lots of social media diplomas out there – but they are just names rather than an accredited qualification.
  • I also wanted to know how to do social media for business properly. People think it is easy, but I wanted to have the underlying business aspects of social media. I felt it would offer more flexible opportunities to have a career.
  • I liked the detail of the course. It seemed like it would give me a lot of information.
  • I felt that I could get it done – even though I was pregnant with my third child. This turned out to be correct, My tutor, Di, was very accommodating and helped me get the course finished – even if slightly late and ensured I still had access to the e-learning for a couple of months after the course.

What are your business / personal aims for 2017?

I want to build the brand of Grow Daily which is an online portal bringing together inspirational videos, books, podcasts into one place to help people develop both personally and in business. I also want to build upon what I learnt in the course to see it in action.

You can contact Roxanne

Roxanne Lawrence



T: 07940 707783

T: @WeGrowDaily

L: @glamroxanne

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