A Lincolnshire Christmas Together

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together by LincsConnect

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together

We may not be able to physically spend a Lincolnshire Christmas together but I’m sure we’ll do our best to to make it festive and fun.

If the Covid-19 virus restrictions allow I hope there’ll be some form of limited travel allowed. On a personal note I think I prefer to spend my time with my family at home.  Yes, it’s going to be different and difficult but ‘hopefully’ it’ll be a restriction for just this year.  I’ve no doubt it’s going to be lonely for many people but with a little lateral thinking and our community spirit I’m sure we’ll find a way to reach out.

Christmas Is Coming Early

Obviously Christmas Day won’t be changing – December 25th will still be the day to celebrate with presents.  FaceTime/Zoom/Teamer etc will help with an element of ‘cyber togetherness’ even if we can’t celebrate with physical togetherness. What will you be doing?  You can make time for others less fortunate of course.  I’ve made contact with a few agencies in the County and will post a few links later for those of you who are willing to have a look.

I’ve heard back from Cath who runs the Grimsby Food Kitchen and she told me that the traditional Chinese/Indian buffet will be held on 13 December for the homeless thanks to a generous £500.00 donation y Micky Dalton.  Meat has been paid for by generous public donations and the outstanding support of Gary’s Meat in Freeman Street, Grimsby.  As always though they need donations so please make a donation of £2.00 if you can.  You’ll find more info on their Facebook page.

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together by LincsConnect LincsBlogger - Grimsby Food Kitchen

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together – Click on the picture to go to the Grimsby Food Kitchen Facebook page

Christmas Decorations In November…

Is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ for you? Many people don’t want to think about Christmas before December but we’re in uncharted territory this year!  I’ve been talking about Christmas  since 7 September and trying to get people enthused.  Why? Because it’s been a bad year for most traders and general public alike.  If I can encourage people to plan their online shops early perhaps we can salvage some of the poor sales. In addition, if more people shop early for Christmas and, most importantly, shop locally, we’ll have a better survival rate for local businesses into 2021. ‘A Lincolnshire Christmas together’ really is our key to success.  It’s not just about spending the day with family and friends (or not as the case may be) but making sure we stick together by shopping locally.

Black Friday?

Black Friday is an American tradition so why it’s popular over here I have no idea!  In Britain it used to be the ‘end of season sale’ or ‘the winter sale’ followed by the ‘January sales’ and ‘Boxing Day sales’.  It would be nice  to get back to our own traditions wouldn’t it? At a time of financial uncertainties how useful is a big sale before the biggest spending season of the year? Looking at Black Friday with my cynical head on, it’s just a way of trying to get us to part with our hard earned money in the big stores.

Cyber Monday

The last Monday in November has become known as cyber Monday.  It follows Black Friday and is, for many, the last pay day before Christmas.  Many bargains can be had online but please don’t forget to support our local traders in their online shops and on the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag.  Please be aware that scammers and hackers will have posted ‘bargains’ too and they will do whatever they can to steal your money.  Please stay vigilant and remember ‘if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is’!

Lincolnshire Discounts

How would you feel about having a ‘free to use’ local discount scheme?

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together by LincsConnect LincsBlogger

       A Lincolnshire Christmas Together for all of us

A window, till or website sticker advertising local discounts will be appealing to shoppers. A screenshot of the discount logo presented at the till when making a local purchase will be easy to use.  Terms & Conditions being open to shop and service owners for individual discount as appropriate will be easy to manage.  Each provider setting a specific discount or offer rather than having a set figure imposed will make the scheme more workable too.  Creating a special discount on ‘end of range’ items, ‘buy one, get one half price’, 10% off selected range or donations made to charity etc will give the provider the flexibility needed to make the scheme workable.

Tailored to fit your own requirements, a dedicated App will be the obvious next step.  By working together we can create our own County wide scheme that will benefit everyone. I’ve mentioned it on twitter and it certainly generated some interest so do let me know if you’d like to join in.  I’ll be interested to hear from traders and customers so please feel free to email me with your thoughts: martin@lncsconnect.co.uk

Advert 

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together by LincsConnect LincsBlogger Mandarin Therapies

Mandarin Therapies provides bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home. Gift vouchers are available now and are valid for 12 months. Click on the picture to go to the Facebook page or click on this link @MandarinMothers to follow on twitter.

A Lincolnshire Musical Christmas

If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know that I like to support everything ‘local’ and that includes music too.  The @LincsConnect twitter account has a weekly featured artist, band or choir so that’s definitely worth popping over to see.  With that in mind, I thought I’d share a song by a group of youngsters who’re surely destined for greater things.  You’ll find them on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube so please look them up.  These youngsters hail from Cleethorpes and their average age is 15.  Yes, that’s ‘FIFTEEN’ – unbelievable!

 

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together by LincsConnect LincsBlogger featuring Revivalry

Have a listen to the latest recording by Revivalry by clicking on this picture. Link to YouTube

Lincolnshire Shopping Lists

Do you make a shopping list?  Santa likes a list so when you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas visit the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag on twitter and Facebook.  There are lots of lovely gift ideas so have a look at the posts by our local traders. After all, every penny spent there will be helping someone local and keeping the local economy going.

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together by LincsConnect LincsBlogger #LincsConnectChristmas

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together – Click on the picture to go straight to the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together – #LincsArtCraftHour

If you like arts, crafts and hand made jewellery etc visit the #LincsArtCraftHour hashtag for local inspiration.  We’re really lucky to have such talented people in our County so please do support them.

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together by LincsConnect LincsBlogger #LincsArtCraftHour

Click on the picture to visit the hashtag but better still, please do join us on Twitter if you get the chance

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together – Local Shopping

During the recent #LincsArtCraftHour sessions we have seen quite a few artists and crafters joining in and showing their gift ideas.  The hashtags highlight some of them so please take a look to see what they have to offer. Clicking on the picture below will take to some of our fabulous traders.

After all, Christmas ‘is’ coming and I’m sure that you’ll agree that it’s good to support our local traders:

A Lincolnshire Christmas Together by LincsConnect LincsBlogger #LincsConnectChristmas

For a Lincolnshire Christmas use the hashtag #LincsConnectChristmas and don’t forget to click on this picture to find some local traders who have lots of goodies for you

Dark Side – Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse ….. Rather than going away, this ugly and often hidden form of abuse is now more prevalent than ever.

Locked in together can cause some anxieties and tension for families but we usually have coping mechanisms and rational thinking that allow us to overcome the tensions with simple distractions.  However, abusers and those suffering from abuse (physical, mental, emotional or financial) can really be finding life even more difficult now. Domestic abuse doesn’t have age limits or gender preferences. If you know someone who is suffering call the police today.  You’ll find some useful numbers here but if there is an immediate threat of harm call 999.  The Covid 19 lockdown won’t stop the police from carrying out their duties.  They’re here for us 24 hours a day.

 

#LincsConnect Domestic Abuse

Click on this picture for more information. There is ALWAYS someone to help you

 

#LincsConnect Domestic Abuse

Click on the picture to go to the Lincolnshire Police Facebook page

Help Me Help You In Lincolnshire With #LincsConnect

Help me help you in Lincolnshire with #LincsConnect by interacting with the many local users. It can’t have escaped your attention that I’ve been busy on your behalf. #LincsConnect help and support is a given with retweets on twitter and posts on Facebook to help promote your business and events. Blogs too of course! I know you appreciate what I do and I appreciate the fact that you share what I’m doing too. I still need you to help me, help you in Lincolnshire though.

#LincsConnect – is here to support all things Lincolnshire but it only works when we work as a team. With 11,000 Twitter followers (steadily growing) I know that your help is working for me too.  However, at the risk of sounding cheeky, I still need more help.  We’re heading for a major recession and rise in the cost of living so working together as a team is even more important than it ever has been.  You’re still posting your work using LincsConnect and I’m very grateful.  LincsConnect is trying hard to share your work around Lincolnshire, Newark, Retford and Hull but I really need to ask more people to search the hashtag #LincsConnect (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) to help share the messages and support each other.

Just imagine, if all 11,000 local followers each searched the #LincsConnect hashtag and shared just one message….!

Additional Blogs By LincsConnect

If you would like to read more about the ideas and tips please follow the link in the picture:

LincsConnect blog Help Me Help You

To see more about how you can Help me, Help You In Lincolnshire just click on this picture

That’s All For Now…

That’s it for the blog at the moment but I do intend to update this one and post several more blogs too.  Get in touch with any requests by emailing me at martin@lincsconnect.co.uk

Stay Safe

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 by LincsConnect LincsBlogger. #LincsConnectDiscount

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 isn’t what we want but we can work together to turn it to our advantage. If you work with #LincsConnect we can get results together. As the country enters its second Covid-19 lockdown on Thursday 5 November 2020 we need a plan. Lincolnshire has been in this situation before and as a result we’re better prepared now. Do you have a plan for Lincolnshire lockdown V2.0?  Your first round of plans may have worked well and as a result you’re just needing to make some minor adjustments to keep trading. Perhaps the first lockdown was a disaster for you? As a result you’ve tweaked and manipulated your plan to make it work this time. Good for you, that’s exactly what is needed to keep going.

Free Advertising

We all like something that’s ‘free’ but we probably also know that nothing is truly free! Twitter – that’s free! Facebook and Instagram are also free too so where’s the catch? Simple! If you want ‘free’ advertising you have to invest your time. By investing your time your posts are more likely to be seen and acted upon. Would you like to know how to do it?

Social Media Interaction

I’ve said it many times before; the clue is in the name. ‘Social’ media should be exactly what it says in the title. Actually ‘talk’ to your followers.

There’s a TV advert for a room freshener implying that the character has gone ‘nose blind’.  In social media terms, if you post, post, post with no interaction your followers will see your posts but they won’t register in their mind.  Because of this you need to talk to your followers. Talking and interacting with your followers will help them to remember you as that nice person/organisation/business who takes an interest.  Talking to your followers doesn’t mean telling them how good you are and what you have to sell them.  Instead, you should show an interest to let them know you care. As a result they’ll ask you what you do and what you have to offer.  Regardless of your product or service you don’t need to do the ‘hard sell’.

 

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 by LincsConnect LincsBlogger. #LincsConnectDiscount

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 – Lincolnshire Discount Scheme

Would you be interested in joining a local discount/special offer scheme?  A scheme where ‘you’ set your discount level or special offers.  As a result it could lead to more people visiting your social media pages and/or shop and buying your products. Shopping in your physical store, website or virtual store could suddenly be more appealing.  What if the logo is readily downloadable from social media platforms to be stored on a mobile device ready for use when shopping? Matching the downloaded logo from a smart phone with the logo displayed in your window, on your social media page or website to claim a special offer sounds appealing.

What if the download is free? Surely that would make it even more appealing to the shopper. As a result they try your shop over others because they know there is something in it for them. Store cards sound great but often don’t live up to expectations! What if you offered a 5% discount to customers who present the logo? Perhaps you might prefer to have a special offer on selected items rather than all of your stock. It’ll work for service providers too of course.

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 – Feedback Please

Does this discount/offer idea sound good to you?  I really need your feedback (positive or negative) before I decide to take the idea forward so please do let me know your thoughts.  You can leave a comment at the bottom of this blog or email me at martin@lincsconnect.co.uk

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Help Me, Help You

To help me help you please add a link to this blog in your social media advertising.  If you’re talking about Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas offers and postage you can add a link to this blog to help explain that you’re trying to compete against ‘the big boys’ but at the same time you’ll be increasing readership of this blog.  With that achieved I’ll be able to reach out to more people to help advertise your business.  We really can help each other.

LincsConnect by LincsConnect LincsBlogger

Incase You Missed It

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 – Local Shopping

Below is a list of some local traders taking part in the #LincsArtCraftHour on Monday lunch times. Please take a look to see what they have to offer. After all, Christmas ‘is’ coming and I’m sure that you’ll agree that it’s good to support our local traders:

Twitter, Facebook & Etsy/Folksy          

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 Mel Langton Art

Twitter:      @MelLangtonArt Facebook:                       Mel Langton Art

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 Burton Ward Craft

Twitter: @BurtonWardCraft Facebook: BurtonAndWard      Etsy/Folksy          BurtonWardStudio

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 OriginalArtPrints Fiona Duncan

Twitter:      @origartprints Facebook:        fiduncart

Twitter: @elliestreasures Facebook:     elliestreasures     Etsy/Folksy:    elliestreasuresuk

Twitter    @chrisdobbinart Facebook:     watercolourportraits    Etsy/Folksy:   ChristineDobbinArt

Twitter: @Amanda_Schonhut Facebook:          aschonhutphotography

Twitter:  @jpbphotography Facebook:                 Light And Dreams Photography

Twitter: @Scarletimpress1 Facebook:                    Scarlet Impressions Art                      Etsy/Folksy Scarletimpressions

Twitter:    @EnglandCreate Etsy/Folksy:            Create-England

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 Shalini Austin

Twitter:         @ShaliniAustin   Facebook:      Shalini.Austin

Twitter:       @Blackbird1976 Etsy/Folksy:   HDArtandIllustration

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 KC Braids & Beads

Twitter:      @KcbraidsBeads Facebook:                       KC Braids And Beads   Etsy/Folksy:     KCBraidsandBeads.

Twitter: @Anitas_Cards_4U Etsy/Folksy:  HeCraftsAndSheCrafts

Twitter:         @TuluDraws    Facebook:                                Tulu Draws 

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 Jane Haigh

Twitter:    @JaneHaighArt Facebook:                         Jane Haigh Country Art

Lincolnshire Lockdown V2.0 2021 Visual Arts

Twitter:     @2021VisualArts Facebook:                            20-21 Visual Arts Centre

Twitter:    @MadeWithMud Facebook:                           Made With Mud Etsy/Folksy:               Made With Mud

Stay Safe

Look after yourselves and you neighbours.  I’ll be back with another blog very soon.

#LincsConnect putting the social back into social media

 

Shop Local In Lincolnshire

Shop Local In Lincolnshire

Shop Local in Lincolnshire by LincsConnect the Lincolnshire blogger LincsBlogger

How to shop local in Lincolnshire

Shop Local In Lincolnshire – follow the # Hashtags

Do hashtags really work? The simple answer here is ‘yes’ and ‘no’!

How many times have you seen posts on social media with the hashtag #ShopLocal on it?  As crazy as it may sound, the hashtag really isn’t much use if you’re using it to help people find you.  It’s fine as a statement of fact on your post but when you search for it you’ll find that the posts are anything but local.  In fact, the posts you’ll find are from all around the world! If you’re expecting people to find your cheese that you produced in Sleaford I strongly suggest you think again!  Try using and promoting the #ShopLincs hashtag instead.

When I set up Lincs Connect in 2012 I experimented with several hashtags and names before settling on #LincsConnect.  Other examples of my trial hashtags included #ShopLocal (ironically I created this hashtag in January 2011 for use on my @MANDARINLEISURE account but scrapped it because it went global) #SupportLincolnshire #SupportLincolnshireBusiness #SupportLocal #SupportLocalBusiness with the latter being shortened to #SLBiz.

Early research made me realise that the ‘Support…’ hashtags were just too long so people refused to use them. Another reason for scrapping them was because they start with the word ‘Support’.  When searching social media for relevant hashtags about Lincolnshire you’ll find that typing the letters ‘Linc’ into the search bar will give you LincsConnect on twitter and Lincs Connect on Facebook in the top three names to visit. Compare that to typing in ‘Support’ which will give you all sorts of connotations from TwitterSupport to a whole host of other national and international business support sites.

It makes sense then that the hashtag to use on your tweets needs to be #LincsConnect as it is at the top of your searches and is truly local to Lincolnshire.

How To Use A Hashtag

If you’re happily adding hashtags to your post but never searching them you’ve truly missed s trick!

Here’s what to do:  Type in #LincsConnect in your search bar then press enter. Don’t click on the account @LincsConnect as that’ll take you to the account only which means you’ll miss all the good information.  Once your device takes you to the messages on the #LincsConnect timeline you need to look for the ‘Latest’ tab at the top of the Twitter page.  If you type #LincsConnect into the search bar on Facebook you’ll need to look for the ‘Posts’ tab at the top of the page (this’ll also show you related Instagram posts).

Once you’ve discovered these pages you’ll realise that there is a huge amount of information, business posts, personal posts, charity posts and requests for help etc etc that are all related to our local area.  Try it now to see what you can find.  It’s a fantastic way to network and find out what’s going on locally.

Shop Local in Lincolnshire by LincsConnect the Lincolnshire blogger LincsBlogger

Supporting Local In Lincolnshire

How do you support local?  Is it as easy as going to the local shops and picking something from the shelves?  In case you hadn’t considered it before, let me share some of my ideas about shopping and supporting locals:

  1.  Shop locally – supporting local traders by buying their produce in local shops, garden centres, farm shops and markets
  2.  Online – Many local traders have online shops.  A more cost effective way of selling may be via platforms like Etsy shops or even selling directly via social media
  3.  Don’t forget the local charity shops.  Dropping off your unwanted items is absolutely crucial but don’t forget they are there to help raise funds for the many worthy causes that otherwise would’t survive without our support.  Buying from the shops is absolutely essential if the charities are to survive.
  4. Social media – Since I’ve been running #LincsConnect I’ve noticed big changes in how people use the various platforms.  I’ve noticed a big rise in the professionally run accounts (some companies run several accounts for different clients) and I’ve also noticed the reluctance of many accounts to share anyone else messages or support others.  I’ll talk more about these two subjects later.

Obviously there are many other ways to support local businesses, charities and organisation but I’ll focus on my main observations first if that’s OK?

Shop Local In Lincolnshire

Shop local in Lincolnshire – this concept certainly isn’t new.  However, during the Covid19 pandemic it became much more important and (thankfully) much more prolific.  We know how important our local CoOp, Post office, newsagent and Spar shops are.  Many of them are in walking distance (for those who are able) and stock locally produced products.

Perhaps, with the use of ‘people power’ they might be able to stock more local produce to help our economy even further.  A polite request from customers or local traders may be all it takes.  It’s worth a try! In addition to helping to support local traders (including the shop owners and staff) it must have also come to your attention that during the lockdown there were less emissions, less fossil fuel burned and less litter.  All of these positives are good for the planet so let’s see if we can learn the lessons.

Shop Local In Lincolnshire online by LincsConnect the Lincolnshire blogger LincsBlogger

If you can’t physically support local businesses you could try supporting them online

Shop Local In Lincolnshire – Online

This isn’t something I ever considered for my own businesses before Covid19 but it is something that I explored during the lockdown.  FaceTime and WhatsApp video calling is still a fantastic way to maintain contact with my clients while reducing my fuel usage in my truck.  It’s definitely a practice that I’m committed to. During the lockdown I was busy writing blogs and searching for companies who sell online.  Some are using Etsy, some use Facebook and others use Twitter.

I’m sure there are other platforms that are equally as good or even better.  I haven’t come across them yet but the obvious choice and probably the most popular is direct selling from personal/company websites.  Many people have their own eCommerce shop on their website which is easily maintained by the trader and convenient for the customer.  If, like me, you’re a bit of a technophobe you’ll be able to find website designers to build a site for you. They’ll even help you with your existing site.  If you’d like to get in touch with any designers please feel free to ask me for some suggestions.  After all, that is what Lincs ‘Connect’ is for!

Charities

I often include charities in my blogs because I feel they need all the help they can get.  I’ve focused on very small, medium and large charities and the one thing that they all have in common is their use of social media.  The posts may not raise funds directly but their constant presence certainly helps to raise your awareness of them and they help you to shop local in Lincolnshire.

Share The Love

Looking at the various accounts on social media I often make up my mind whether I should support them or not simply by looking at their posts.  The ones who never share anyone else posts, have conversations or try in any way to support anyone else is a big red flag for me.

Red Flag by LincsConnect the Lincolnshire blogger LincsBloger

I find myself asking the question “why should I support them when they don’t support others and are very unlikely to support me?” I’m a big believer in helping others so when I find someone who shows no interest other than to post their own tweets I tend to move on to find someone who is more sociable and supportive.

Buying And Selling

I’ve noticed Fiona @OrigArtPrints on Twitter while searching the #LincsConnect hashtag and really like what she has been painting on old maps.  Her main sales come from Craft Fairs but during covid she turned her attention to Facebook and Twitter for her sales.  Facebook has been successful but Twitter less so.  However, her Twitter account is a good platform for showcasing what she does and for directing people to her Facebook account.  It’s important to use more than one platform on social media if you want to increase your client base.  It’ll be interesting to see if future sales turn more towards social media and less towards the craft fairs.  Only time will tell.

As a consequence of lessons learned during the covid lockdown I’m pleased to see that Fiona has turned her attention to Etsy for her sales too. An online presence is great way to keep customer engagement. Shop Local in Lincolnshire by LincsConnect the Lincolnshire blogger LincsBlogger I think these paintings on old maps are fabulous.  You have to admit, they do bring the map to life. Here is another example:

Shop Local In Lincolnshire – Use Websites, Social Media And YouTube

I’m no expert of course but it appears to me that one of the best ways to find a website (given that you probably didn’t know the sites name or even that you wanted to make a purchase) is through social media.  I’ll say that bit again just to clarify, “through ‘social’ media”.  Why the emphasis on ‘social’?  Because I’ve noticed far too often that many people are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show off their products but don’t realise that they need to talk to followers to get continued engagement and sales.

Put it this way, if you don’t talk to me on social media I’m not likely to notice you!  Likewise, if you talk to me but I don’t talk back you’ll soon stop talking to me.  Either way, I would be the loser so that’s why it’s always best to be ‘social’ on social media!

While being pre-occupied with social media I almost forgot about YouTube.  Surely I can’t be the only person who searches YouTube on a very regular basis for music and information?  I do think it’s a great platform for showing your products (you’ll have seen some of my YouTube videos if you’ve been reading my other blogs), courses and skills.

While the social media could drive potential customers to your website the same driving force could apply to your YouTube channel.  I sometimes feature a local band on twitter. Invariably I find them on Twitter or Facebook first then either follow a link to their YouTube channel or take a few seconds to search for them in the YouTube search bar.

This band (Saboteurs) from Sleaford have really got my attention .  You can follow them on Twitter @sabsbanduk for regular music posts and updates.  Alternatively go straight to their website www.saboteursband.co.uk for lots more info and a chance to purchase their albums.

Have a listen to one of their albums by clicking on the YouTube link above.

Shop Local In Lincolnshire With YouTube

YouTube is arguably more useful than Instagram.  They are both popular of course and Instagram has a huge customer base. However, YouTube is a constant.  When a video is posted on YouTube it’s there to be found at any time until the originator deletes it.  Finding a specific post on Instagram is much less easy.

As a shopper it’s easy to go to YouTube to search for what you are looking for.  A good video will show you the product before you decide to buy. Subsequently, as the originator of a YouTube post you are able to upload the link to any social media platform or your own website at any time.  An uploaded video can be an ongoing advert for many years because the link can be copied and re-posted multiple times.

Uploading a video to YouTube (this one is about Nordic Walking with @MandarinFitness) can be timeless.  This video is often posted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to help encourage new customers to join the sessions.  Simply following the link from the social media platform takes you straight to the advert.

The videos don’t need to be long or even professionally produced. Simply upload a video clip from your smartphone to YouTube then copy the link and post it onto your social media platform.

I hope you’ve found the blog useful.  Don’t forget to shop locally wherever possible to support our local traders.

See You Soon…

I hope you like my brief blog about using social media for selling and finding new customers.  Please feel free to leave a comment below and share the post with your friends and contacts.  Hopefully I’ll see you when I search the #LincsConnect hashtag again soon.

Additional Blogs By LincsConnect:

Don't rely on algorithms in Lincolnshire by LincsConnect the Lincolnshire blogger LincsBlogger

Click the picture to discover more about this blog and get an insight into being successful on social media

Stay Safe 

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Walking In The South Lincolnshire Wolds

Walking In The South Lincolnshire Wolds

Summer Holiday

I don’t know about you but I’m not considering a holiday abroad this year.  My mind is focused on our present Covid situation so I’m inclined to stay in the UK 2020.  Perhaps Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds might be a good option.

I envisage us coming to an end of this coronavirus lockdown soon but my mind is focused on the safety of home rather than abroad. From conversations on social media I know I’m not alone in my thinking.  As a result I’m wondering where I should be heading to and what I could possibly do in Lincolnshire. I need to find something that I haven’t done before.

Father & Son Promise

Following the recent death of my father, my son and I made a promise to make sure that we keep making memories by doing something together every other month.  The brief is that we take it in turns to organise something low budget.

I organised the first weekend away but I’m afraid his turn has been curtailed by the Coronavirus travel restrictions.  However, it’ll take more than coronavirus to make me waver from the plan so It’s time to plan our next adventure.  Our first outing was a night in Harrogate followed by a walk from Harrogate to Knaresborough along the banks of the river Nidd.  It’s a walk I have done many times as a youngster and I was keen to share it with my teenage son.

Fishing

I’ve never tried fishing before so that was his plan for me.  These trips are designed to bring us closer together but at the same time provide some new experiences.  We both have a love of walking so my first choice was quite easy.  Fishing…. Well, that is his idea of fun so I’m duty bound to go with him so that he can teach me. I’ll experience something new and it will have been together.

March came and went but we were still in lockdown.

Low Budget

Trips to London are something we both enjoy but, even on a low budget, it’s an expensive area.  Travel costs, accommodation, a few cups of coffee and meals out will soon eat up several hundred pounds.  The point of the exercise is to enjoy our time together and not spend lots of money.  With that in mind, and with it being my choice of activity in May I’m choosing a walk in the Lincolnshire Wolds.  We both have walking boots and all the clothing so the only expense will be meals and accommodation.  I have a plan!

The Southern Wolds

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect

As I work on Saturdays the chosen location for the weekend has to be reasonably local.  The idea is to travel on Saturday afternoon/evening,  B&B overnight if needed, spend the day walking on Sunday and return home refreshed in the evening.  However, being so close to home (half an hour) an overnight stay isn’t really necessary.

My plan is to walk from Bolingbroke Castle to Snipedales Country Park via Hameringham with our return leg being from Snipedales Country Park to Hundleby via Hagworthingham and Raith and back to Bolingbroke. Time permitting we’ll partake in afternoon tea at the award winning Elm Tree B&B in Hundleby.  Well, why not?  We are both busy and it’s not often that we get to spend quality time together.  I haven’t worked out the mileage yet but we are both fit and very fast walkers.

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds – Bolingbroke Castle

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect - Heritage Lincolnshire Bolingbroke Castle

If you haven’t been before I highly recommend a visit. It’s ideal for picnics and local walks and the children will have great fun playing and reenacting battles as knights of old or perhaps hide and seek. The postcode for your sat nav is PE23 4HH

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect - Heritage Lincolnshire Bolingbroke Castle

Bolingbroke Castle outer wall

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect - Lincolnshire Heritage Bolingbroke Castle

For more information and details of events visit Heritage Lincolnshire. Access their website by clicking on the picture or why not pay them a visit on twitter @HeritageLincs

Onward then to Snipedales Country Park (Follow @LoveLincsWolds on Twitter). Here we’ll be able to explore some of the 220 acres of the country park and nature reserve with it’s steep sided valleys, wildlife, a variety of trees  and streams.  If we can get the timing right and restrictions are lifted we may get chance to join one of the guided walks.

If you’re interested why not click on the picture below to go to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website where you’ll find up-to-date information.

 

Click on the picture to go straight to the Lincs Wildlife Trust website and why not follow them on Twitter too? Here they are: @LincsWildlife

Snipedales Country Park will probably make an ideal stopping place for a packed lunch.

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Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds – Hagworthingham

After Snipedales it’s onwards to Hagworthingham where we’ll stop to photograph the Stockwith Mill.  This picture is from the internet and I’m afraid there is no reference to credit the original photographer.  It is a lovely picture though and I hope we’ll be able to do the Mill the same justice.

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect - Stockwith Mill, Hagworthingham

Hagworthingham. Click on the picture to find it on Google Maps

There will be plenty of photo opportunities during our walk so a timetable isn’t really going to work!  However, I know it’ll be fun and worth the effort.  About 2.5 miles (by road) to Raithby

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds – Raithby

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect. Methodist Chapel, Raithby

The small Methodist chapel at Raithby Hall in Raithby by Spilsby is one of the oldest in England.

The small Methodist Chapel (on the far right of the building in the picture above) is the oldest Methodist Chapel in Lincolnshire and is still in use today.  It was opened by John Wesley on 5 July 1779. That makes it even older than me!

With a bit of luck we’ll be able to take a picture or two before heading off across country to Hundleby for afternoon tea at The Elm Tree B&B (time permitting).

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds – Hundleby

The Elm Tree B&B, Hundleby. Click on the picture to go to Google Maps

If you’re looking for an underlying motive for our walk, ‘this’ is it!  Or rather, the Afternoon Tea is.  I suspect we will already have covered something around 10-15 miles (or more). An afternoon tea treat for father and son seems like a perfect reason to break the journey.  Boasting a full 5 Stars and having already seen pictures and read revues I’m really expecting great things.

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds – Afternoon Tea and B&B

I’m looking forward to this as at just £20.00 each (£25.00 for the Prosecco version) and our only expense of the day I think it’s a bargain.  Can I tempt you?  Well, probably not but Chris and Jonathan certainly can with this picture from their website:

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect. Afternoon tea at The Elm Tree, Hundleby

Afternoon Tea Vouchers are available too and are on sale NOW! Wouldn’t it be lovely to give someone a gift voucher during our lockdown to show them how much you care? £20.00 each for a selection of 5 different sandwiches, homemade cakes, scones & jam plus a selection of Stokes Teas.

Being less than half an hour away from my home we won’t need to book in to the B&B. I very much doubt my son would want to share a four poster with his dad anyway!  However, if you’re making the trip and fancy staying over, this is what you’ll be treated to:

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect. Bed & Breakfast at The Elm Tree, Hundleby

A Four Poster bed – suddenly you can understand why The Elm Tree has 5 stars and glowing revues. Click on the picture for a direct link to the website or send a message on Twitter @TheElm_Tree

This really is a trip that I’m looking forward to so I hope the travel restrictions and social distancing rules are lifted in time for the end of May.  However,  I do have a plan B – organise another date for June or July to make sure the whole trip goes ahead!  Perhaps a follow up blog will be in order to show off my own pictures and include some countryside images too.  After all, it ‘is’ the Lincolnshire Wolds – an ‘Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ so it would be amiss of me to deprive you of our experience.

Can’t Wait?

Walking in the South Lincolnshire Wolds by LincsConnect. Takeaway afternoon tea from The Elm Tree, Hundleby

Not everyone has the patience to wait until the social distancing rules are relaxed so, just for you, there is a special take-away afternoon tea available too.  It’s the same great choice but without the hot drink.  At £12.50 per person I think it’s time to get the kettle on and get your order in don’t you? Don’t forget to check to make sure the prices and availability are still current.

Until Next Time, Stay Safe

I know we are all looking forward to the end of the ‘lockdown’ but I think it’s important to have something to focus on don’t you?

How Secure Is Secure?

How Secure Is Secure?

How Secure Is Secure?

How secure is secure? Information on your computer, smartphone or TV could be at risk. There is some fantastic support around to help and guide so read on to discover what I’ve found:

How Secure Is Secure? Cyber Security

How secure Is Secure? – Suspicious emails

Having had a few comments on my blogs my suspicions were raised as I noted the addresses of the emails.  It’s nice to think my posts have reached a large global audience .de (Germany) and .xyz (who knows where?) but beware!  Don’t approve comments without first checking their credibility.  How? I put the question out to social media and as a result I received an interesting tweet from Liam @ZaddleMarketing

Liam advised me not to click any links or email addresses in those suspicious comments, confirming my fears that these posts were SPAM. A good security plugin for my WordPress site will solve the problem. Thank you Liam for your sound advice.

There are lots of good people on social media who can be trusted of which Liam is one. It’s always best to ask the question of your contacts if ever you’re in doubt.

Lincs Connect How Secure Is Secure?

Thank You Kerrin

Thank you Kerrin @Kerrinwilson999 for your hospitality (and the lovely cake of course).  It was lovely to meet you and I’m looking forward to extending the reach of  LincsConnect to include regular posts by you and your team.  Thankfully I have already had some security tips from some of your colleagues and that information has proved invaluable.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy my short post here today and will have time to add a comment too.

Lincs Connect How Secure Is Secure?

Meetings always seem more productive with cake!

Getting It Right By Chance

I’ve heard that smart speakers listen to our conversations. It’s not uncommon for adverts to pop up on our social media platforms directly relating to a conversation the previous day. It’s extremely uncommon (I’m led to believe) that an iMac can be infected but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it’ll happen to me!

Technology and I don’t always gel I’m afraid.  Having feared the worst following a rash of phishing emails (ransom emails sent to my inbox supposedly from my own address) it was time for action.  The safest solution was to contact Lincolnshire Police Cyber Crime Unit who responded very quickly with a visit to my office.

A full inspection of my computer confirmed that the emails were really just phishing emails and should be deleted.  A nagging feeling that something wasn’t right remained after several other incidents with my computer. As a result I contacted Apple who decided a full restore and section by section re-build was required.  I’m happy now that my computer and details are safe once again. If you’re worried about your online safety and security don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help.

What If…?

What if it’s true that the smart devices can leak our information?  A recent BBC Panorama programme about Amazon revealed that they knowingly and openly harvest and use our information. I don’t think the machines (or people) are listening to every conversation but when key words are detected the link is made with you and your devices.

Recent news reports highlighted that smart devices can be hacked and accessed remotely.  The video doorbells, video baby monitors and even smart TVs and smart fridges are all susceptible to hackers.  Accessing our personal data can be very upsetting and worrying of course so we need to protect ourselves.

Smart Speakers - How Secure Is Secure?

Basic Protection

How secure is secure? If we can access any devices from our smartphone it’s a fair bet that the unscrupulous criminals can do the same.  The smart fridge, smart monitor and smart TV come with factory settings and passwords. These settings can be found easily online so to prevent hacking make sure you change the passwords immediately.

Hacking your fridge isn’t too much of a problem of course but accessing your router from your fridge or your smart TV etc may be more sinister.

How Secure Is Secure? Passwords

The obvious and most basic form of self protection is strong passwords.  Do change the passwords from factory settings to something that you can remember.  Family, friends or pets names do not make good passwords. These names are likely to crop up on your social media pages at some point so can easily be guessed.

Random passwords are by far the best option. For the best security have different passwords for different logins.  There are some very clever Apps around that can store your passwords for you but I’m sure you’ll have a system that works for you.

Privacy

You can secure your devices by making sure they are protected by a security password, facial recognition, finger print and VPN (I’ll cover VPN later).

It’s better to be safe than sorry!  Keeping your personal information safe should be a high priority and simple precautions may be all you need.

If you have data stored on you mobile device make sure it’s protected with a security code and backed up regularly.  Some devices can be deleted remotely; Check so see if you can do that with your own device and make sure you learn how to do it.

How Secure Is Secure? Two Factor Authenticaton

LincsConnect Two factor authentication

Added security comes with two factor authentication – that’s when you get an alert on your chosen device to tell you that someone is accessing your other devices.  My iPhone will prompt me to confirm that I am who I say I am when I log onto my computer. As a result I have to type in a ‘one time’ code before the computer will let me in.  It takes seconds and provides an extra level of security.

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How Secure Is Secure?

Change your passwords from factory settings to secure ones that aren’t easily guessed.  Use a different password for every device.  So you’re good to go….?  Well, not quite!  Your router may not be secure so if you’re not sure ask your provider to guide you through changing the factory set password.

You’re ‘almost’ there…  You’re now safe in your own home but not when you’re out and about if you’re using public WiFi.  How secure is that system?  Your final piece of security is VPN.

VPN

What is VPN?  This is the explanation from Wikipedia: “A virtual private network extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.”  You might want to look this one up for yourself.

A ‘belt and braces’ approach to security but if you have any private or confidential information on your devices do read a bit more about it.  It is a ‘paid for’ service so you’ll need to be aware of that and you’ll also need to be aware that not all internet routers are capable of installing it. Once installed on your home router ‘all’ devices using that WiFi connection will be protected under the higher level of security.  I have it installed and the one I chose covers six devices. I have it on my iPhone and iPad so that I know I’m secure whenever I log into a public WiFi system.

It’s Good To Share

All of this information comes from trusted people I’ve spoken to who have been kind enough to guide me.  I’m not an expert but some of the things I’ve learned along the way and printed here will no doubt be useful to you.  If you are able to share other tips that may be useful for other users feel free to add a comment and send a message on twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #LincsConnect

Helping each other is always good of course. If you need additional help contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or local IT specialist. If you’re worried about cyber security contact @lincspolice and ask about their Cyber Security courses.  I’ve been on one and can highly recommend it.  After all, these are the experts who really want to help you to prevent crime.

Back Soon

Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings.  I’ll be back soon with more blogs of course but keep watching as they are about to evolve into something quite unique.

Best wishes

NEW WEBSITE…

NEW WEBSITE…

The Lincs Connect website will soon be undergoing a significant update and this is your chance to say what you would like to see included.

Perhaps it would be best if I explained what the site will be for before you start sending ideas though!  The main aim of this site is for it to be a ‘landing site’ for all things Lincolnshire and local.  With 10,000 local twitter followers it’s time to create a central hub for us all to get together to show off our businesses and network together.  To do this there will be a series of new pages, each with their own category.  Some good examples include ‘The Authors Page’ where there will be space for authors to provide links to their blogs, short descriptions of their latest books, poetry features, printing advice, publishers advice, workshops, book signings….. Hopefully you get the picture now?  Talking of which, there could be a ‘Art Gallery’ page where artists can showcase their work.  There will be a nice link from the artists page to the authors page as some books will need illustrations.

This is my latest book purchase by local author Lisa Marie Gabriel.  It promises to be a good read with lots of local references in it.  If you want to find out more about Lisa you can follow her on Twitter @persimew where she tweets under the name ‘Lisa the Bard’

Can you imagine how useful the Lincs Connect website can be for new and aspiring authors who would like help and advice about writing and getting published?  Sharing information between established authors and publishers with the authors of tomorrow can be very helpful.  After all, Lincs Connect was set up to help and support all local businesses and charities so this is the obvious step forward.

Please leave your positive comments, ideas and messages so that I can take the site forward.  Lincs Connect is here ‘for’ you and ‘by’ you.  Together we are stronger.

Martin