Top tips from BP, Deloitte, Freshfields & Visa Europe to help develop successful social media strategies

This July we hosted our second masterclass, connecting senior business experts with representatives from 18 arc social enterprises to guide and advise them on key topics relating to social media. Read on for a teaser tip from each panelist and which social enterprises were lucky enough to attend….

It was really informative and I realise how lucky we were to have such great experts willing to give up their time for us. There was such a wealth of information that is really going to help us launch our Social Media strategy.”

Kim Hulse, Eco-Friendships


The Masterclass was structured around four main themes with a specific theme assigned to a panel member. Small groups of delegates met each expert through a series of rotating and interactive round tables discussions, learning tips such as:

  • Ben Jefferies, Director of Social Media, BP 

Developing a social media strategy

Teaser tip: The strongest content is timely (“related to real-time news”), resonant (“what the audience wants to hear”) whilst also being relevant (“to do with the company”).

  • Marcus Butler, Social Media Manager, Deloitte

Platform selection/usage

Teaser tip: The most shared facebook posts are just one sentence and one image – images are key! Use Facebook to generate dialogue with your customers – but time it carefully and don’t forget about weekends!

  • Sarah Cook, Social Media Manager, Freshfields

Content Strategy

Teaser tip: Don’t be afraid to re-post content; as long as it’s relevant and interesting, re-posting can widen your audience reach and lengthen your content lifespan.

  • Andy Donaldson, Senior Digital Comms Manager, Visa Europe

Attracting and retaining the right audience

Teaser tip: Use your twitter profile to outline the typical content of your feed, rather than what your organisation does. This will help you attract and retain the right audience – assuming your content matches what they want!

“The event was pitched at exactly the right level for K10. I didn’t feel like I was covering ground already trodden, but have learned about strategy and tools we can literally start actioning today to support our existing social media activity. Very useful! Thanks again!”

Lise Evans, Communications, K10

It also provided a great opportunity for arc social enterprises to network with each other, with the session attended by Divine Chocolate, Circle Sports, Poached Creative, Bikeworks, Creative Process, Gasworks Docks, Healthy Planet, Insane Logic, Triforce Recruitment, Crisis Skylight Café, bMoneywize, K10, Impact Hub Westminster, Evolve Careers UK, Eco-Friendships, Staying First AND Stickyboard

To stay up to date with arc social enterprises on Twitter check out our public list –

To find out more about the arc Masterclass series read about our Marketing Masterclass from September 2013. 

K10 and Handmade Alliance ‘Big Tick’ success

At the BITC Awards 2014 two arc social enterprises took the spotlight, receiving the distinguished ‘Big Tick’ recognition as runners-up in the Santander Responsible Small Business of the Year Award.

This award recognises smaller businesses that are integrating their thinking on the most critical sustainability issues into the core of their business. The judges consider their marketplace, environment, community and workplace activities, and how these are transforming both their business and the communities they work in.


K10’s construction apprenticeship scheme was praised for tackling unemployment with training and jobs for disadvantaged groups; enhancing and growing essential partnerships; and helping developers meet legal and CSR objectives.

“K10 are delighted to have been recognised by Business in the Community with a Big Tick. The BITC awards are so respected and well recognised that we see it as a huge milestone in the development of our company, alongside the impressive support we have been provided by BITC through the arc programme. The application process itself was also very useful in terms of understanding the positive impact we have. I would encourage any company passionate about having a positive impact in society to enter the awards“

Tom Storey, Director, K10


Handmade Alliance were recognized for creating training and employment opportunities for ex-prisoners that promote reintegration and reduce reoffending; creating an ethical trading brand that supports British design and manufacture; and impressive partnership working that supports their social, environmental and business activities as well as saves money.

"We’ve been overwhelmed with messages of congratulations from our ‘allies’ in the design, criminal justice and education fields. It’s a major achievement to be recognised by the business community as a Responsible Small Business, and to reach the shortlist was amazing for a two-year old non-profit social enterprise. So we are very proud and happy."

Mairi Duthie, Founder & CEO, Handmade Alliance

To find out more about the BITC Awards 2014 visit  / #BITCawards

To find out more about K10 visit

To find out more about Handmade Alliance visit / @HandmadeAlly

Social Saturday - a day to celebrate buying from social enterprises

The 13th September 2014 is the UK’s first Social Saturday - a national day to celebrate and buy from social enterprises.


Led by arc partner Social Enterprise UK, the day will drive the buy social movement and sales of products and services from the UK’s 70,000 social enterprises. Events across the country will be supported by an exciting social media conversation, recognizing individuals and organisations that use their purchasing power to make a difference. The day was officially launched in the House of Commons yesterday.

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improving communities, people’s life chances, or the environment.  They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market and across all sectors, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. When they profit, society profits. Find out about social enterprises on the arc programme.

Buying from social enterprises is easy for both consumers and organisations, with many resources available to help - such as the Buy Social Directory, Social Enterprise Saturday Directory, or our Guides for Businesses. So join the movement today - buy more from social enterprises, support the campaign and share your stories (#socialsaturday).

Visit the website to find out more about how you can get involved, with specific tips for Social enterprises, Charities and Businesses.

A new start - for employees and employers

Are you interested in a unique source of talented staff for your organisation? Or supporting people in need to access the labour market? Then check out Ready for Work - Business in the Community’s (BITC) national programme that engages businesses to support disadvantaged groups (particularly people who have experienced homelessness) into employment.


With the Ready for Work programme,149 businesses in 20 locations collaborate to provide training, work placements and post-placement support to equip people with the skills and confidence they need to gain and sustain employment.

Employers that recruit from the Ready for Work candidate pool access new staff members that are enthusiastic, hard-working and 100% committed to embrace any workplace opportunities. Furthermore this cost-effective recruitment programme offers direct links to the local community, enabling businesses (including charities and social enterprises) to connect with their local area in new ways, as well as improve the lives of people in need.

There are many other opportunities for businesses to get involved, such as providing training, work placements and volunteers to act as job coaches and buddies, or even sponsorship of the overall programme. Organisations can also refer clients to join Ready for Work and it’s wide-range of employment and personal development support.

 “Businesses must not underestimate the power of Ready for Work. The pleasure our people get from helping someone change their life is enormous and translates into building a motivated and loyal workforce.”   Partner business

Find out more about how your organisation can get involved - visit the BITC website or get in touch.

15% discount on venue hire at Oxford House

Are you planning an event this summer? Check out the many options at Oxford House


This beautiful east London venue can host all types of events including workshops, exhibitions, meetings, dance events, theatre, performance and more.


Furthermore, this summer customers can enjoy a fantastic 15% saving on any bookings for 10th July - 31st August. 


To get a quote or make a booking email quoting ”summer offer” in the subject line. 

Impact Hub King’s Cross and arc partner to scale social innovation in the UK

Impact Hub King’s Cross and Business in the Community's arc programme have partnered to support social innovations that plan to scale in the UK. Through the Building a European Network of Incubators for Social Innovation (BENISI) programme, social enterprises from the UK and other European countries will be able to benefit from the arc programme as a scaling pathway.


“We are excited by this partnership with BENISI to support social innovations from EU countries spread their impact to the UK. arc has a proven track record in supporting social enterprises to grow and look forward to using this support network to help BENISI social innovations.” Jane Pritchard, Enterprise Director, Business in the Community

The aim of the BENISI trans-European consortium is to identify and highlight 300 of the most promising, impactful and employment-generating local social innovations – in the public, private, third, social enterprise and cooperative sectors – that are yet to be scaled, either significantly within their originating country or internationally. The consortium will create the conditions for these solutions to be strengthened locally and transferred to other European localities.

“We are proud to announce that arc will be part of the SIAN, the Social Innovation Ambassador Network, made up of 50 organisations across the EU working to scale enterprises and strengthen the scaling infrastructure of Europe”  Alberto Masetti-Zannini, Impact Hub BENISI Lead

The new partnership between arc and BENISI will allow for a more expanded network and better links between the two programmes. A selected number of social enterprises hoping to scale to the UK will be able to apply to get access to business support services offered through arc. arc will also be able to refer social enterprises on arc who are interested in expanding to other European counties to the BENISI programme.

“Networks are already structured in a collaborative mode; they are more able to spread knowledge and practice horizontally and they are the perfect ally when trying to develop a Europe-wide programme that needs to balance local action with continent-wide strategy and vision,” says project lead Max Bulakovskiy of i-propeller

The project will involve six Impact Hubs: Amsterdam, Bucharest, London-Kings Cross, Milan, Stockholm, and Vienna as pivot points within five different geographic clusters of EU and neighbouring countries. These Hubs will collaborate within the Impact Hub network and with partners to encourage social entrepreneurs to scale-up their ventures for positive impact in Europe.

If you would like more information about BENISI, please visit and/or contact Maria Trindade at 0207 841 3450 or email at

If you are an arc social enterprise interested in applying to join the BENISI programme contact Mike Freeman to discuss your referral

New Buy Social Directory to drive sales for social enterprises

A new online directory of social enterprises designed to encourage the private and public sectors to ‘Buy Social’ is now live. The Buy Social Directory ( ) is a free resource that offers an easily accessible central hub for the products and services available from over 10,000 UK based social enterprise suppliers.


The site is free to use for buyers and suppliers. Interested buyers are able to search the directory using keywords, location or CPV codes – an internationally recognised procurement classification used widely across the public sector.

arc social enterprises such as ABI associates (business consultancy), Calverts (design & print), Crisis Skylight Café (café and event catering), Cockpit arts (art & design pieces), Growing Concerns (horticultural services), Renaisi (community development) and Triforce (ex-military recruitment services) are listed.

The directory - the largest of its kind in the UK - is designed to boost activity in social procurement by also providing educational materials to support social enterprises to enter corporate supply chains, as well as case studies of successful supplier relationships. arc has supported the development of the directory, which has been produced by the City of London Corporation, Cabinet Office, Aspire Group and SEUK. 
Jane Pritchard, enterprise director at Business in the Community commented: “We are delighted at the launch of the new Buy Social Directory.  Larger businesses have been asking for a directory for some time so this is a really welcome initiative that complements our work to open up supply chains to social enterprise.”

Following the launch, there are plans to continue developing the directory into an end-to-end procurement portal that can support electronic requests for tenders. Feedback from users will also help to improve the directory and ensure it meets the requirements of both buyers and social enterprises.

Social enterprises can register for free to become a supplier on the Buy Social Directory.  Check the directory first in case your organisation is already listed. 

Find out more about how arc and Business in the Community support buying from social enterprises, including arc social enterprise listings, the map to arc social enterprises and our white paper series ‘Buying from social enterprises’ – containing a Guide for buying and procurement professionals and a Guide for suppliers to businesses.

Handmade Alliance receive Big Tick in BITC Responsible Business of the Year Awards

We are delighted to announce that arc social enterprise Handmade Alliance have been awarded a Big Tick and been shortlisted for BITC’s Santander Responsible Small Business Award, which recognises smaller businesses that demonstrate an holistic responsible approach to business in the realms of community, environment, marketplace and amongst their workforce.


The social enterprise designs and manufactures a range of high quality textile goods, such as homeware, soft furnishings, bags and accessories. It supports prisoners and ex-offenders with innovative pre and post-release training programmes and work experience at their King’s Cross based ‘enterprise hub’.

Selling their own-brand range online, Handmade Alliance also offer British textiles designers high quality manufacturing, pattern-cutting, sampling and product development services. This enables Handmade Alliance beneficiaries to gain production, retail and merchandising training and practical experience leading to jobs and reduces re-offending rates.

Read the case study on the BITC website to find out more about their social and business impact, and what the judges were impressed with – from the replicable business structure, to high quality production techniques and training courses.

Congratulations Handmade Alliance, and good luck at the awards ceremony on the 08 July!

How great is your social enterprise?

The Social Enterprise Awards recognise organisations for their business excellence and contribution to society, as well as the achievements of people working at the heart of the social enterprise sector.


The awards are open to social enterprises and include specific awards that investors, corporates, public sector bodies and charities may also apply for. Now in their 16th year the awards will be building on the success of previous years by continuing to celebrate the pioneering work of Britain’s social enterprise movement. Check out how arc social enterprises did last year….

This 2014 there are 11 categories open for social enterprise applications so with just 3 weeks left until the deadline 11 July what are you waiting for?! APPLY TODAY

Category 1 – UK Social Enterprise

Category 2 – One to Watch

Category 3 – Prove It: Social Impact

Category 4 – ’Buy Social’ - Market Builder

Category 5 – Social Investment Deal

Category 6 – Health & Social Care Social Enterprise

Category 7 – Consumer Facing Social Enterprise

Category 8 – Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise

Category 9 – Environmental Social Enterprise 

Category 10 - Inspiring Youth Enterprise *NEW FOR 2014*

Category 11 – Social Enterprise Women’s Champion *NEW FOR 2014*

The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday 26 November.

Good luck!

Special offer for arc social enterprises - Websites from just £715 

arc social enterprise, Stickyboard, is offering 10% off bespoke website design and development for arc members.


Built using the same technology which powers Stickyboard’s UK wide village noticeboard, each site is optimised to work on all devices, comes with social media integration, and has an intuitive admin dashboard as standard.

Customised functionality and support is offered too. Specific packages are industry competitive and range from a small trader site (£715) to larger enterprise platforms (£5,000 and above).

To take advantage of this discount, just get in touch at quoting “BITC2014” to arrange a project start meeting.