Top social media trends for your 2022 marketing strategy

Top social media trends for your 2022 marketing strategy

Social Media Trends 2022

Your customers are already searching, liking and sharing their favourite products, brands and services on social media—and they’re spending more time on these sites than ever before. But this activity doesn’t stop at consumer products, they are using social media in all aspects of their lives. 

Investing in social media marketing can help you grow your business thanks to its cost-effective advertising, smooth eCommerce capabilities, and the ability to give your brand a way to engage with your customers in a  human way. 

If it’s not easy for them to find you online, they can easily become frustrated and find another provider that better serves their needs.

Social media has become an essential part of the marketing mix, with more than three billion people worldwide spending over two hours a day socializing on social networks and messaging apps. Your business can tap into this pool of potential customers to increase user engagement and gain new leads—but you need to build a social media strategy that accurately reflects your business’s goals.

That’s why looking to the experts for their social media top tips and trends can be a great place to start as you begin to build your marketing and social media strategy. 

Hubspot recently shared their top to trends to look out for in 2022 and beyond

  1. TikTok will dominate the social media space.
  2. Reaching new audiences will become the number one social media goal for businesses.
  3. Companies will make more dedicated social media hires.
  4. Augmented Reality will become consumers’ preferred way to try-on products and interact with brands.
  5. Businesses in the B2B space will increase their investments in Instagram and Twitter.
  6. Influencer marketing will mature in 2022.
  7. Social advertising will become more sophisticated.
  8. Businesses will invest in more long-form and short-form content, as well as live audio chat rooms.
  9. Social selling demands will grow.
  10. Consumers will crave snackable content.

 There are many social media trends reports circulating but they all seem to share the same ideas, this is interesting when many brands have written off platforms like TikTok, seeing them as a fast-growing pandemic fad or influencer marketing as low return on investment. 

As marketers, it is interesting to be part of an industry that is constantly evolving, and with now people more than ever using social media to inform their purchasing decisions, it has never been more important to ensure you’re making the most of the tools and platforms available to you. When social media isn’t prioritized, organizations miss out on the 

opportunity to optimize platforms and turn them into revenue generators. 

If you’re looking to reach new audiences, trial new platforms, increase your paid social investments or create snackable content to share your story, then our marketing team which includes experts within the social media sphere can help guide you through the process. 

 

Managing small business cash flow and income in 2022

Managing small business cash flow and income in 2022

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Content from this article was originally posted by XERO.

 While there are many advantages of being your own boss and running your own small business it isn’t always easy and it can come with hurdles you didn’t even know existed. Then throw in 12 months of restrictions, lockdowns and uncertainty.

The scale of the impact felt by the self-employed is abundantly clear in latest research by simply business. They found Covid-19 will cost SMEs an estimated £126.6 billion – double what owners predicted it would cost them. With six million SMEs in the UK – accounting for over 99% of all businesses, 33% of employment and 21% of all turnover – this £126.6 billion hole in the books of small businesses is a huge blow to the economy.

 It’s been a lean time for small businesses, and especially the families supporting them.

Xero’s small business trends report shows that 60% of small business owners are worried about their household finances running low. So while 2022 will hopefully be a year of rebounding sales and revenue, owners really need that to carry through to the business’ bottom line.

What the experts say

“Businesses must analyse margins and focus on the products and services that generate actual profits as they try to restore cash to the business,” says Ya Wen How, an accountant at AccountServe, who participated in the report.

While there will be a temptation to withdraw any spare cash from the business as ‘owner’s drawings’, experts say it’s important to be mindful of upcoming and potentially unknown expenses.

“Owners often overlook upcoming business expenses when taking drawings, which creates cash flow issues later,” says David Stephens, an accountant at Stephens Financial Services. These cash flow issues create further disruption to the household budget because money has to be put back to the business. 

“Rather than clearing out the business bank account, owners are better off paying themselves a modest amount at regular intervals,” Stephens advises.

Takeaways for small businesses

There are a few things small businesses can do to help support their recovery according to Xero’s small business trends report:

  • Analyse your business margins and focus on products that generate the most profit

  • Create a ‘rainy day fund’ within the business so you’re not constantly loaning it money from your personal savings

  • Schedule regular, sustainable drawings to ease home budgeting

  • Keep your regular drawings modest, as you can always give yourself a bonus payment at the end of a good year

Check out other trends for 2022

Read Xero’s small business trends report to learn more about how to manage your cash and income to set your business up for success in 2022.

Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of every business agenda. Now more than ever, HR professionals need to demonstrate the ability to develop D&I strategies to attract, recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

In addition to the moral importance of adopting an inclusion strategy, a study conducted by McKinsey and Company found that businesses with a diverse workforce performed 15 -35% better than the national industry median. In another study, they also found that companies with gender diversity at the executive level were 21% more profitable than their less diverse competitors.

 According to a white paper prepared by Robert Walters, 85% of employers said that increasing diversity in the workforce was a priority. Yet only 46% do not have programmes in place to attract diverse candidates.

When attracting and recruiting a diverse workforce, posting the company’s policy on D&I is simply not enough. Actions and results speak louder than words.

So, what can businesses do to ensure that they are not just paying lip service to D&I and taking positive action?

 

Recruitment tools, resources and techniques

When working with recruitment consultants, ask recruiters to provide a diverse network of candidates. Team up with consultants who have an awareness of current diversity and inclusion best practice and who can demonstrate a credible track record of building diverse candidate pools. Including diversity in your SLA with clear objectives and outcomes and highlighting the commercial implications if these are not achieved, is also a powerful lever in ensuring your diverse recruitment needs are met.

Job ads can be more carefully worded to ensure that the language targets a diverse background of candidates. Proofing tools such as Textio or Unitive can help ensure your job posts and recruitment material covers all social groups, by identifying words or phrases that may subconsciously put off professionals from certain backgrounds from applying.

Using social media as well as LinkedIn to promote your recruitment can also expose you to a wider and more diverse audience.

Other tools such as gamification can help identify skills that may not normally be assessed through traditional techniques. It can also attract skilled candidates who may otherwise be discouraged from applying.

Extending recruitment fairs to non-graduates will expose your company to a wider range of potential talent that may not have academic experience but can demonstrate the right skills, capabilities and behaviours to successfully fulfil the needs of the role.

Consider how accessible your business website is to disabled users. One way to do this would be to have it tested by a group of users with different disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments, motor and cognitive disabilities, then make any adjustments where necessary.

Referral schemes offer a good incentive for existing staff to refer new candidates to the business. However, whilst this is a cost-effective aid to recruitment, be aware that it could also add a risk of unconscious bias through the perpetuation of a particular candidate type or background.

Unconscious bias is an unquestioned or automatic assumption about an individual, usually based on positive or negative traits associated with a group they belong to. In recruitment, unconscious bias prevents the recruiter from treating candidates as individuals and making automatic assumptions about the suitability of the candidate based on factors that are non-role related such as age, gender or background.

Some techniques for overcoming unconscious bias during recruitment involve providing anti-bias training for recruiters and hiring managers. Helping recruiters and hiring managers to identify areas where they may have their own unconscious biases, will help them to approach recruitment in a more fair and objective manner.

Removing certain information from CVs that are not relevant to the role, such as the name and gender of the applicant or the name of the school, college or university, channels the recruiter’s attention to focus solely on the candidate’s qualifications and experience.

Having CVs assessed by a wide range of stakeholders across the business, including staff at the same level of seniority as the candidate, provides a broader and more objective range of perspectives on the candidate’s suitability.

Avoid hiring decisions being made by one individual as this will allow unconscious bias to subtly filter out certain types of candidates who may be capable of performing the role. Include a range of stakeholders in the process to ensure fair and objective decision-making. Ensure any hiring decisions and rationale are clearly documented and transparent so that they can be easily reviewed, challenged or defended.

Finding diverse candidates for senior-level roles can be more challenging as the skills and experience required at that level is more specialised and the membership of certain professionals can be less diverse.

This creates a significant obstacle to achieving a diverse leadership team and there is a clear lack of diversity in business leadership as a whole. In order to create a more diverse workforce at senior levels, recruiters should be open to considering candidates from a variety of professional, industrial and national backgrounds who possess transferable skills, as well as considering candidates from overseas.

Mentoring can help junior employees from all backgrounds to develop into senior-level roles and encourages the nurturing of future talent from within the business. Providing training and development opportunities to all employees for future leadership roles is also an essential long-term solution.

Mentoring schemes that partner with other organisations can help improve diversity for senior management by allowing high potential staff from diverse backgrounds to connect with mentors who are also from diverse backgrounds and who can offer advice and support for their professional career development.

Onboarding can easily be overlooked as a key component to promoting D&I. Communicate your D&I goals to new employees and share any survey results, targets and action plan to demonstrate the company’s commitment.

Invite a diverse line-up to deliver the induction programme so that new joiners feel more welcomed and can see where they can succeed.

Finally, collating, preparing and analysing accurate and relevant metrics can help pinpoint any issues in recruitment and diversity. Hard facts will build support amongst stakeholders and assist in the implementation of any necessary changes in recruitment processes to ensure best practice measures.

Post-pandemic Accountancy support and HMRC changes for 2022

Post-pandemic Accountancy support and HMRC changes for 2022

finance designated

Over the past few years, it has been difficult to keep up with the ever-changing landscape that is, business finance. There have been several schemes announced by the UK Government to support both businesses and their employees but staying on top of all the changes and keeping everybody informed hasn’t always been easy. There have been several changes that come into effect this year, from the end of the Coronavirus working from home tax concessions to the commencement of tax digital and an increase in HMRC’s late payments interest rates. Not to mention 2021 IR35 announcements. We have discussed some of these changes before but we thought as we are hitting a busy time of the year for accounting, it might be useful to share information and resources about these upcoming changes.

Coronavirus working from home tax concession to stop in April 2022
If you or your teams have spent some time working from home since the start of the pandemic, you probably already know about the Coronavirus working from home tax concessions. From April 6 2020 employees have been able to claim some tax relief if they have needed to work from home because of the pandemic. The tax relief is worth between £62 and £125 pa. This is based on 20% of £312 pa or 40% of £312, depending on whether the employee was a basic rate or higher rate taxpayer in the tax year. The allowance can be claimed in both tax years 2020-21 and 2021/22 if an employee was required to work from home at some point during each of the two tax years. By concession, whilst the amount is defined as £6 per week, it allows the full £312 pa to be claimed for the full tax even if the employee only spent a single day working from home. If an employee chooses voluntarily to work from home then they are not entitled to the concession allowance.

As the UK government are no longer recommending businesses to ask their staff to work from home, the scheme will be ending on 6 April 2022. After 5 April 2022, if an employee wishes to claim tax relief for employment-related expenses they will need to comply with the well-established strict traditional tax rules, and only if they have to work from home. Furthermore, claims can only be made for the actual time they have to work from home and the concession that even working from home for one day permits a whole year’s claim will stop.

HMRC says that to be able to claim tax relief, if applicable, an employee can only consider costs like gas and electricity, metered water business phone calls, including dial-up internet access etc.
HMRC say that you cannot claim for the whole bill, just the part that relates to your work i.e. the extra costs incurred by working from home and that you’ll need evidence, such as receipts, bills or contracts, to be able to claim tax relief.

Making Tax Digital for VAT affected companies
From 1st April 2022, all VAT-registered businesses will have to submit their financial accounts information via software that is compliant with the UK governments Making Tax Digital scheme. Since 2019 only businesses which exceeded the VAT threshold of £85,000 have needed to submit their tax details in this way. From next year, however, an additional 7,000 registered VAT businesses will be eligible.

To comply with the new HMRC Making Tax Digital rules, these businesses must have a cloud computer software package – one which is compliant with the government’s Application Programming Interface (API) system. It will no longer be possible for VAT-eligible businesses to submit via the HMRC website.

You are probably wondering whether the government is recommending a particular piece of software, they are not. But businesses that don’t have an accountant will be required to find their own third-party provider to provide the appropriate software and meet the new regulations. The majority of current desktop accounting software won’t be compatible with the government’s system and will likely need to be updated. The same applies to older accounting software packages. Cloud-based software packages should automatically update for HMRC’s Making Tax Digital system. At Designated Medical we are already helping our clients transition to Tax Digital. If you would like accountancy and compliance support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team at Designated Medical.

The changes to IR35 and how it could affect you or your employees
Not necessarily a change for 2022, however, it is something we are still being asked about and something people are still getting their heads around. IR35 is tax legislation that ensures that contractors who are knowingly or not working as ‘disguised employees’ pay the correct tax.
You may have applied for contract jobs in the past where the company said they wanted to pay you under an ‘umbrella company,’ i.e., an agency. This is because it is more tax-efficient for them to do so. You become what is termed a ‘disguised employee’, and the company doesn’t have to pay your National Insurance contributions, nor do they have to offer sick pay or holiday leave. That’s because the agency pays it.

Equally, when you’re a contractor working as a limited company, you can pay corporation tax at 20 per cent on your profits, claim business costs against your tax bill and avoid making National Insurance Contributions (NIC) by paying yourself through dividends.

Gordon Brown introduced IR35 back in 2000 when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. That’s because when working as it should, HMRC IR35 tax can protect both the contractor and company. Crucially for the government, it also means HMRC won’t lose out on tax. This year though, changes to the rule have come into place.

When you are determining whether or not IR35 applies to you, you will either be found to be ‘inside IR35’ or ‘outside IR35’. These phrases are crucial to defining and understanding your status, and considering whether or not the legislation will impact your future contractual work.

At Designated Medical, our objective is to allow you to focus on growing your business whilst we provide the business support services you need. We offer a full range of services including Medical PA, marketing, accountancy HR and Recruitment.

We provide you with the expert financial support you need for your business, flexibly and cost-effectively, so that you can ensure you deliver the greatest client experience. Our team of Designated Medical Accountants are fully qualified and licenced and will take responsibility for the professional management of your finances. They will be supported daily by our team of qualified bookkeepers who will handle the day-to-day transactions.

If you would like to know more about our Accountancy services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly finance team who will be more than happy to answer any enquiries you may have.

 

Finding the perfect personal assistant

Finding the perfect personal assistant

EVP

I need to employ a PA, but I have never employed anyone before. What are my responsibilities?

Becoming an employer is an exciting part of your journey and creating good processes as an employer from day one will ensure a positive experience. As an employer, you have responsibilities from a financial and accounting perspective as well as from an HR and management point of view. You must register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as an employer before you are able to pay your first employee. You will need to decide what salary to pay and ensure you adhere to the Government rules regarding minimum wage. You will also need to check if you are responsible for registering your employee for a pension. Check that your employee has the right to work in the UK and also arrange any checks; for example, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.  All employers must have employers’ liability insurance with a minimum cover of £5m.  

Employment contract

Every employee must have a written statement of employment or contract of employment. This should confirm salary, holiday entitlement, sick pay arrangements and all other relevant terms and conditions. You must state clearly if the offer of employment is subject to any checks, which may include qualifications and reference checks. It is very important to ensure the contract is signed by your emp­loyee as soon as possible. Many employers produce a solid contract but then fail to follow through to the signature. 

As an employee and manager, you are legally responsible for providing a safe and secure working environment and you should check whether you are responsible for having a first aider. You must also ensure all of your employee’s personal data is stored securely. 

Given all of these responsibilities, you might wonder whether you are better to employ someone on a self-employed basis, but be aware that you need to take care to avoid falling into problems.

Employed or self-employed?

HMRC advises that you must check whether an individual is self-employed in both tax law and employment law. You can be held responsible for unpaid tax and penalties if a mistake is made. According to the HMRC website, an individual is probably self-employed if most of the following statements are true. 

The individual is:

 In business for themselves, responsible for the success or failure of their business and can make a loss or a profit;

 Able to decide what work they do and when, where or how to do it;

 Able to hire someone else to do the work;

 Responsible for fixing any unsatisfactory work in their own time;

 Paid a fixed price for their work by the employer – it does not depend on how long the job takes to finish;

 Using their own money to buy business assets, cover running costs and provide tools and equipment for their work;

 Able to work for more than one client.

The use of the words ‘probably’ and ‘most’ by HMRC make it hard to have 100% clarity and so it is best to proceed with caution. If you are in any doubt, please take professional advice. Becoming an employer for the first time is an involved process and it is important to make sure you get everything right from day one to avoid issues later on. 

If you are uncertain about the best way forward for you, then you would be wise to take expert advice which could save you time and money in the long term. 

How do I interview for the role of medical PA? What questions do you suggest I ask?

When interviewing for a medical PA, it is important to ask questions to understand experience and expertise.

You need to ensure an individual is qualified to do the role, but also to focus on the softer skills relating to dealing with patients, working with others on the team and dealing with the wider community, including insurance companies and hospital booking departments. 

Interviewing a PA

Ideally, you are looking to find the best medical PA to suit your practice, with the skills that you need and the attitude and behaviours that fit well within the culture of your team and in line with your values. 

Every individual in your team has an impact on the quality of patient experience that you deliver and choosing the right team members is of the highest priority.

Prepare for the interview by re-reading the candidate’s CV, highlighting any areas where you would like to explore in more detail or any gaps between employment that you would like to understand. 

Write a set of questions that ensure you explore the candidate’s CV. This will also provide a gentle opening to the interview by focusing on the individual’s past experience. 

Secondly, consider your job description for the medical PA role and highlight areas that have not been addressed by the CV. 

Start by ensuring the candidate has an adequate level of expertise and experience to undertake the role. Is there evidence of working in equivalent roles? 

Does the candidate know the systems you use? 

If typing is required, has the candidate confirmed their capabilities? You may want to test typing skills separately. Create a list of questions that allow you to check thoroughly for experience and expertise. 

Are your values aligned? I believe the best way to assess this is to use the competency-based interview technique. You should ask relevant questions about past experiences and how the individual handled them.

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