Clearsilver has been involved with the charity LEAP for more than five years. Louise, Clearsilver’s company director, is a member of the LEAP Board, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to get involved with the charity this year, too. We have sponsored two new awards to support the student enterprise programme in 2015, with both awards offering a significant prize. Students from each of the winning teams have the opportunity to gain work experience here at Clearsilver, where they will get to work on live projects as well as be a key part of our busy PR and social media department.
LEAP – a registered not for profit organisation which works closely with schools and colleges based in Yorkshire – mentors students to give them the knowledge and ability to be able to set up, and successfully manage, their own businesses. The students are responsible for everything from creating and developing a brand to successfully marketing, and selling, their own products or services.
This year there was a wide range of concepts – everything from clothing brands to stationary, to travel accessories and personalised products. The students all worked extremely hard to create, and maintain, a brand identity.
Each year LEAP holds an annual awards ceremony, where companies, schools, parents and mentors, together with the LEAP team, celebrate the achievements and hard work of the students throughout the process. This year, Clearsilver sponsored two awards – the best use of social media overall, and the most improved use of social media.
As part of the process, the students presented their companies’ progress to the LEAP Board, where they were judged on the success of their businesses. On presentation day, I had the opportunity to sit down with each company to ask questions about social media, how they’ve found using and monitoring it during the process, and their opinions about the importance of harnessing social media when building a brand.
Using this information, and the presentations given on the day, team Clearsilver evaluated the entrants and selected the companies that most deserved the two prizes, and we were invited to present both of the new awards at the annual ceremony. I think that Louise and I made quite the double act…
Record Innovations, from St Aidan’s Church Of England High School, won the award for our most improved team. Their business is based on turning old vinyl records into items for the home, for example clocks and wine coolers. Their product range is extremely innovative, and the team used advanced social methods to maximise exposure. With little-to-no social media presence during the first few months, Record Innovations demonstrated vast improvements during the process. They thought outside the box by using some of their budget on Facebook advertising, a strategy which saw the brand achieve significant reach.
The overall winner for the best use of social media was the team High Flyers, from The Grammar School at Leeds, who created a range of stylish travel accessories. They showed fantastic knowledge and initiative from the very beginning, using social channels to give their fans and followers an insight into their company, and themselves as people. They were reactive to events, and successfully used their own company hashtag. They showed an in-depth, analytic understanding of social media, which underpinned their success.
Clearsilver is sponsoring two work placements, which will enable two candidates from each winning company to come and experience working life in our social media team. They will have the chance to work on social media schedules and campaigns for real-life clients, and have the opportunity to gain valuable career advice. We’re looking forward to meeting our new interns in the summer!
Follow Eve on Twitter @EveEastwood