Monthly Archives: April 2017

Trading Places: Swapping the Office for the Showroom Floor at the CV Show

Dan Stead – Digital Account Executive

This year, Acceleris attended The Commercial Vehicle Show (CV Show) at the famous NEC in Birmingham. As specialists in motor sector communications, we were there to support our exhibiting clients and to see what opportunities there were to bring their brands to new audiences.

With over 20,000 business in attendance last year, 2017 was set to be the biggest in The CV Show’s 16 year history. From trucks to tyres, telematics to trailers and tow bars to temperature controlled transportation solutions, we descended on the show to help our clients stand out from the crowd.

Our CV Show clients

Our clients exhibiting this year included Nexus Vehicle Rental, which was launching its unique HGV rental solution and Radius Payment Solutions, there to demo its brand new vehicle checker app.

Nexus – adding weight to the HGV market

Radius reveals its vehicle checker app

Part of our role on the day was using the event to create media ‘noise’ around the launches to trade media, arranging interviews and selling in the stories across client and partner social media channels.

While ultimately our clients were there to push sales, trade shows present a number of ways for businesses to promote their services to new and existing audiences. There are a variety of tactics which should be deployed by anyone attending a show.

Social networking

Growing online audiences should be an ongoing objective for every business and trade shows present the perfect arena to do this. There may be tens of thousands of potential customers at the show itself, but there may be hundreds of thousands following online.

For example, the hashtag #CVShow was used over 700 times in just 24 hours on Twitter during the last day of The CV Show alone, reaching almost 850,000 different accounts! To make the most of this ‘free’ publicity, sound social media strategies must be in place to ensure there is a constant stream of scheduled and reactive posts. This will not only grab the attention of those not attending a show but it may encourage customers on the show floor to swing by your stand in search of the latest live launches

When drafting social media posts, be mindful of which key terms people may be searching for. Similarly, to optimise your copy online for search engines (SEO), you can drop keywords into your social media posts to push people through to your own channels. Use of imagery is also imperative – Twitter spans 140 characters but a picture says a thousand words and gives people a taste of what they’re missing!

While focusing on perfecting your own posts is important, you should be following progress of trade shows throughout their duration via other accounts too. For example, on Twitter, a retweet or reply goes a long way. It’s an easy way to interact with others and presents your business as friendly and open to conversation online.   

A social nexus

Radius reels in the punters

Hit the headlines   

Building good relationships with existing customers is essential but many businesses attend trade shows to drum up new business. One useful tip is to see which representatives from your sector’s trade press may be attending and seek them out prior to a show. Journalists work to tight deadlines and have hectic schedules and it’s all too easy to be ignored. It’s always worth seeking the advice of a PR agency which can help put you pole position in the race to secure media coverage, allowing you to contribute to conversations ahead of competitors.


Nexus Vehicle Rental – HGV launch coverage

So there’s only one thing left, and that’s to share our top tips for social media use during trade shows.

Top Trade Show Tips for Shining on Social

  1. Pre-arrange your meetings – While it’s fantastic to stumble across a golden contact it’s always best to try and arrange a time and place to meet your chosen contacts before the show. Connecting through LinkedIn is a good way to introduce yourself to prospects and following key journalists on social media is advised
  2. Prepare, plan, react – Schedule social media posts throughout the duration of the show but be sure to keep an eye on live social streams before, during and after, responding to trends  and  engaging with others. Posting photos from any event is a must
  3. Tool up! – There is a plethora of free social media tools out there. Hootsuite allows posts to be scheduled from multiple social media platforms with surgical precision while Keyhole enables users to track hashtags, keywords and mentions in real-time allowing you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not
  4. Get Creative – Canva is another great tool for bringing your posts to life through use of creative imagery

At Acceleris, we are constantly on the move. In fact, we are back in Birmingham as early as next week to promote another automotive client, Trusted Dealers, and its roadshows to increase awareness of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).

Follow us on Twitter to keep track of what we’re up to and visit our website to see how we could help boost your business’ profile in the automotive arena.

Rule one in the PR handbook 2017 – don’t follow the example of the US’ Press Secretary, Pepsi or United Airlines

The Pepsi ad fiasco of last week paled into insignificance when United Airlines found itself at the eye of a proverbial **** storm this week. Somehow, it even overshadowed the gaffe from Sean Spicer (The White House Press Secretary) who proclaimed, ‘even Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons’… In a cost saving gamble, the United Airline’s…

‘Weird Freak Omelette’: When a Customer Service Blunder Hits the Nationals

Lisa McGauley, Senior Account Manager

Lisa McGauley, Senior Account Manager

Once upon a time, you’d have had to pen a strongly-worded letter or pick up a phone and join a seemingly endless queue to make a customer complaint.


How times have changed. According to Clicky (2016), 25 per cent of social media users in the UK now make complaints via social channels.


Social media is VERY public and if someone posts negatively about your brand you are judged on several criteria: how quickly you respond, the tone of your reply and the ultimate outcome.


With the rise of social media making everyone a publisher in their own right and in such a public arena, brands big and small have to tread carefully. Even the simplest customer service blunder can hit the national headlines.

Weetons Harrogate Reciept

Case in point, last week, a local independent cafe deli became the subject of a Twitter storm in a teacup that quickly escalated into a tsunami.


When Steve Dempster, his wife and their 11-month-old-child got their receipt at Weetons of Harrogate they were shocked to see what the staff had added to it.


Steve shared a copy of the offending article which featured a message reading ‘small egg and tomato omelette for weird freak’ on his Twitter and Facebook.


They had simply wanted a smaller omelette for the baby who they were just starting to introduce to different foods. No big deal, right? Wrong, apparently. At least for one person who is probably currently looking for a new job, P45 in hand.


A new starter was being shown the ropes by a manager, who thought it would be funny (yes it’s just so hilarious) to add the note to the receipt before sending it to the kitchen. Little did they realise a copy of that receipt would end up in the Independent, the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror, The Star, The Telegraph and Jeremy Vine’s Twitter feed to name a few.


Weetons is actually a great local indie and does a mean eggs Benedict but this case highlights how the silly actions of one individual can spiral out of control. That said, Weetons handled the situation well and issued an apology.


Its general manager, Keren Shaw said: “Unfortunately today one of our staff acted in an incredibly unprofessional way and we are extremely sorry.


“It is not the high level of service that we know our customers expect from us and which we expect from our staff.


“We have made a direct apology to the customer concerned and will be taking up the matter internally with the staff involved.” (Wouldn’t want to be in their shoes!)


As a social media storm could strike at any time, here are my top tips for dealing with negativity against your brand:


  1. Have one person dedicated to looking after social media complaints otherwise you run the risk of them slipping through the net and not being responded to which is the worst possible thing you can do!
  2. Respond quickly. Within 15 minutes is a good timeframe. Any longer and you’ll look like you don’t care. According to Lithium, 78 per cent of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour.
  3. Be sincere and polite, never confrontational. Denial and taking it personally are also definite no nos. Remember the customer is always right 😉
  4. Thank them, apologise and try to take the conversation offline into a direct message.
  5. Never ever delete the complaint!


I think Weetons came off quite well out of this. They shouldn’t be giving jobs to people who can’t spell omelette in any case! But, on a more serious note, this example perfectly illustrates how one seemingly small customer service blunder can escalate from a single social media post to being picked up by a raft of national newspapers, and why it’s important to handle social media complaints carefully and quickly.


Weetons Harrogate