Does your Business need an extra pair of hands in the Lead up to Christmas?

Hello there…                                                                                    LisaDurkin_BioPicBW

Does your business need a helping hand right now?  Do you need someone to assist with your Digital Marketing, project manage a new website / event or just need an interim project sorting? Maybe you’ve got a new product to launch, moving business premises or its a really busy time of year and you need an extra pair of hands. Think of me as your Girl Friday – I can turn my hands to pretty much any project.


”As a freelance Business, Digital Marketing and Place Marketing consultant I only get chance to work with a handful of clients and at the present time I have a few days a month spare to deliver some consultancy  or project management services for a new client or two .”

Why Choose PlaceShaper?         

  • I love a business challenge. I’m passionate about places, businesses, event management, retail and all things branding, digital & social – even interior design or retail window dressing. Oh and I’m very visual, I always have my Nikon with me – so I do a bit of photography too – Anything that lets me be creative!    
  •  I live in Burnley and my office is based from home. I’m prepared to travel a bit -but I would need to cover travel expenses. As a Sole Trader -there is just me so you’re supporting an independent business (not a big marketing agency) which means I will go the extra mile for my clients and in most cases give client response 7 days a week and working unsociable hours when required.
  • As a freelance consultant I pay my own taxes, NI & holidays – (which is reflected in my hourly /day rate depending upon the project from £18-25 ph).  I  can work for you on a temporary  or retained basis and invoice you monthly or per job. 

I can pretty much turn my hand to any business challenge, event or interim project and can help out on a temporary or longer term business as long as it fits in with my existing clients! Maybe we can collaborate on a project? 

If you have a project for me or you want me to ‘place shape’  your business or place, drop me an e-mail & we’ll meet up for coffee e:


Finally – Instagram allows Multiple accounts

”You can switch between them by tapping on your username at the top or your profile”

What a relief from someone who manages 8 Instagram accounts for clients  – as finally Instagram is supporting one of its most requested features – allowing you to switch users without having to log in and out each time if you have more than one instagram account. Albeit you can only have a maximum of 5 accounts set up (but at least I can set up my main 5  accounts..)

The photo-sharing app announced Monday (8 Feb) that Instagram users will begin to see support for multiple accounts appear in its iOS and Android app this week.


Add and Switch Between Multiple Accounts

You can now add up to 5 Instagram accounts and quickly switch between them without having to log out and log back in. This is included on version 7.15 for iOS and Android, available in the App Store.

How Do I add and switch between multiple Instagram accounts?

You can add multiple Instagram accounts to switch between them without having to log out and log back in. To add multiple Instagram accounts:

  1. Go to your profile and tap or in the top right
  2. Scroll down and tap Add Account
  3. Enter the username and password of the account you’d like to add

To switch between accounts you’ve added:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Tap your username at the top of the screen
  3. Tap the account you’d like to switch to

Note that you can add up to a maximum of  5 accounts.

If you need Help as a small business with your social media strategy including the use of Instagram – get in touch. I can offer you training to do your own or manage your Social Media and Digital Marketing for you.




Get inspired at the Professional Development Expo -Burnley College

Join me along with other guest speakers,  Burnley College, Themis and UCLan Burnley for the first ever Professional Development Expo a unique event that will give you the guidance and tools you need to get ahead in today’s marketplace.

Where: Burnley College

When : Wednesday 20th January 2016 5.30pm-7.30-pm

  • Drop into one of the 20 industry zones
  • Visit our professional development surgeries
  • Hear from industry leaders at our career seminars
  • Meet old and new faces at the networking hub
  • Drinks and canapés

I’ll be one of the ‘experts’ (allegedly!!) giving you tips and advice on Growing your online network from 6.00pm-6.25pm. I’ll be giving you tips on using various social media platforms to grow your online networks and outlining the power of Keywords, Hashtags, SEO and good content.

  • 5:30pm – How to be the perfect interview candidate
  • 6:00pm – Grow your online network
  • 6:30pm – How to lead from the front
  • 7:00pm – Public speaking for the terrified



See you there

Lisa  x


Digital High Street Skills Trainer to boost Small Business

DigiLisapics 009Lisa Durkin of Place Shaper, a marketing and place management consultant and former town centre manager, is one of the first in the UK to be qualified to deliver an innovative new digital skills course for the retail sector.

Lisa has been trained to deliver the new ‘Digital High Street Skills‘ programme, that aims to conquer the digital divide. Recent research shows that as many as 37% of SMEs still do not have a website!

Lisa has a background in town centre management and more recently running her own company Place Shaper where she is an associate lecturer in Digital Marketing at UCFB university in Burnley and  an Advisor to over 60 Town teams and Portas Pilots in the North West region delivering training sessions and mentoring support to town teams and partnerships with the Association of Town and City Management.

This exciting new programme will help with the up-skilling of the UK’s Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMEs) and all those independent retailers and services on our high streets  looking to make the move into social media , having an online presence or to enter into e-commerce.

Digital High Street Skills is a National Skills Academy for Retail (NSAR) programme, developed and delivered in partnership with the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) who Lisa also works with as a Town Team Advisor. The programme was recently launched  at the Future High Street Summit at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Lisa explained more:“‘Small businesses, independent retailers or market traders in the North West have a huge role to play in ensuring that we have thriving town centres. The objective of the project is to fill the “digital divide” between small and large businesses, and to demonstrate that digital up-skilling will play a crucial role in delivering improved economic results and social experiences on the high streets of the future. ATCM and the National Skills Academy for Retail have worked together, and with town centre and retail experts, to develop the exciting content for the programme.

“It is about bringing businesses into the twenty first century. People who enrol on the courses will learn how to improve sales using e-commerce, social media and the Internet and gain skills to manage a multi-channel business.  Lisa will be delivering courses in the Lancashire and greater Manchester area at various venues  or in  any town centre building, subject to demand.”

The programme will show how multi-channel retailing is relevant to every size of business, and why small businesses need to offer it if they want to be able to match the expectations of modern customers in today’s mobile-digital age.’

Digital High Street Skills Logo

Download the Digital High Street Skills Brochure for more information on course content

For more details about running these sessions in the Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester area contact: Lisa Durkin – Place Shaper on 07970 752989

W: or e-mail :

The Realities of Portas Pilots One Year On

‘We need to create a level playing field for town centre retailers’

lisa durkin mary portas high street nelson portas pilot bbc news

Portas pilots -Why Finding a new Shop can be hard

It’s been a year since Mary Portas led a review of England’s struggling high streets.Twelve ‘Portas Pilot’ towns were given a share of just over £1m in a bid to reverse the decline in the first phase followed by a further 15. As the Town Team Advisor for the North West, I was contacted by BBC News journalist Emma Simpson to assist with a BBC news feature that would highlight the complex challenges facing our High Streets and the fact it takes a longer than 1 year to make things happen.

So on a cold, blustery Friday just before the Spring Bank Holiday in May we set about filming in Nelson Town Centre – a Portas Pilot, interviewing businesses and the Town Team Chair and unravelling some of the complex structural issues facing town centres that are hindering the progress of Town Teams and Portas Pilots- tackling vacant units, high rental values, declining footfall and finding alternative uses for excess retail space.

This BBC news piece highlights the reality of the task ahead for our town centres armed with a token sum of £100,000. High streets are an essential part of town centres and always will be but the current town centre business model isn’t working – high streets of the future need to be different; multi channel and multi functional – so lots of place shaping required. We need to explore opportunities to turn surplus empty shops into service, entertainment, social or leisure centres that are fit for purpose for local communities. High Streets need to combine the enthusiasm generated by Mary Portas and the Portas Review with realistic and well managed plans. A lifeline of support and structural change needs to be thrown to declining secondary and tertiary centres in lower income areas like Nelson which means lower business rates, affordable parking, a retail mix that fits the local community and realistic rents by landlords to attract good  independent businesses like Dave Hartley.

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The work has only just begun for me and fellow Town Team Advisors (at the ATCM) and for the 400 + Town teams and Portas Pilots who are tackling these issues head on and making a commitment to their local High Street. Yes at times our communities feel increasingly powerless to shape our town centres but our High Streets need help now and we’re trying. Don’t knock it, let us get on with the task in hand and lend us your support instead.

Portas pilots -Why Finding a new Shop can be hard  (online video)

lisa durkin love your high street town teams

A football first? A ‘UCFBTWEETUP ‘ Event for fans at Burnley Football Club


A football first? A ‘UCFBTWEETUP ‘ Event for fans at Burnley Football Club

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Placeshaper organised a football fans ‘TweetUp’ event for #TwitterClarets and UCFB students at Burnley Football Club on Friday 10 May with Brendan Flood (Former BFC Director and UCFB co founder). Assisted by the team at UCFB and a few of Brendan’s ‘Friends’ including Michael Duff, Brian Jensen, Danny Ings, Paul Fletcher, Colin Waldron, John Deary – it was a great event for engaging with the local community with over 100 people attending. It was also organised & promoted in just 1 week! Read the full storify for the fun and banter! Football Club ‘tweet ups’ are the future!

View original post

A football first? A ‘UCFBTWEETUP ‘ Event for fans at Burnley Football Club

A football first? A ‘UCFBTWEETUP ‘ Event for fans at Burnley Football Club

photo (30)

Placeshaper organised a football fans ‘TweetUp’ event for #TwitterClarets and UCFB students at Burnley Football Club on Friday 10 May with Brendan Flood (Former BFC Director and UCFB co founder). Assisted by the team at UCFB and a few of Brendan’s ‘Friends’ including Michael Duff, Brian Jensen, Danny Ings, Paul Fletcher, Colin Waldron, John Deary – it was a great event for engaging with the local community with over 100 people attending. It was also organised & promoted in just 1 week! Read the full storify for the fun and banter! Football Club ‘tweet ups’ are the future!

Tips for Successful Marketing Using Instagram


I love social media but I have to admit I’m an Instagram addict and have been for almost 12 months now. If like me you enjoy capturing life with photos you’ll love Instagram. It allows you to shoot and publish online to the social network of your choice in less than 60 seconds and quite creatively too.

Modern photo technology now embedded in smart phones allows us to take photos, add special filters and effects and view them instantly.

Not only that, you can also tweet, Facebook, Flckr and email that photo to friends and family (or strangers) all around the world in seconds. It’s also a great way of marketing too for brands and businesses. I have set up Instagram accounts for some of my clients who I feel will benefit from it – mainly restaurants and retailers as part of their digital marketing strategy. As a Place Manager you could also use Instagram for a Place too such as a town centre or  high street.

Here are my 7 top Tips for Using Instagram for Marketing:-

1. Create a plan outlining the goals that you want to achieve. This could include be the goal of increasing “Brand” awareness or your ‘‘offer’’ through creating conversations online on Facebook and Twitter

2. Ensure photos from Instagram are being shared on all your appropriate social networks. Instagram supports the following social networks in their mobile app:- Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare

3.  Make it fun – social networks are social so it gives you an opportunity to put aside corporate formality and experiment with pictures bringing out your personality and creativity – make it exciting.

4. You can have your Instagram photos fed into your interactive website but you’ll need to arrange this with your web developer and set it up.

5. Reveal “behind the scenes” or ‘’funnies’’ – photos that humanise your brand. Or share exclusive content. My favourite celebrity instagrammer is Jamie Oliver the celebrity chef who does this regularly with Instagram.

6. Use Instagram to increase engagement on Facebook by asking open ended questions when posting a photo. This can be as simple as “What do you think about this Instagram Photo of the Day?” On facebook you can add an ‘Instagram’ link on your page as an app.

7. Use #hashtags and Comments on the pictures –by using a # before a key word – this will help users  and search engines find you and categorise with your subject or photo. You could also create a hashtag for an event. Only hashtag the most relevant and important words.

If you successfully use Instagram for your brand or business I’d love to know what works best for you. Leave your comments below.

Look out for the Instacube gadget coming soon! I’d love to get my hands on one of these launching soon!

Burnley College /UCLAN 0c522c6cffda0a1af0d3ffe881ab8b5c_large

What Does ‘MT’ mean on Twitter?

Have you ever seen ‘MT’ in the initial position of someone’s tweet and thought: ‘is that a typo or did they mean ‘RT’ ?’

It can all get a bit confusing this Twitter mullarkey – you think you’ve sussed it and you pick up on new things! But I’m all for sharing new tips so we can all enjoy a very powerful social media tool in a respectful way.

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MT‘ means ‘modified tweet‘.

‘MT’ is a signifier of the fact that the poster has added a little something of their own value to the tweet in republishing it by modifying it.

‘Why would you want to modify a tweet?’

There are many reasons why you may tweak a tweet to either boost its value or add a view whilst still respectfully attributing it to the original ‘poster’.

These could include:

  • Changing a hashtag in order to share the content with another Twitter chat community
  • Indicating that you have added (or perhaps deleted) an element of the tweet, usually indicated by placing the altered element in [square brackets] to offer another angle, challenge an assertion, or confer approval.
  • Correcting a typo or factual error (be sure it is actually an error; again, flag up the change you’ve made).

Regarding the question of respectful attribution: you may ask ‘isn’t it rude to modify someone’s tweet?’ Ultimately, this is a matter of personal opinion. Personally I’m delighted to see someone MT a tweet that I have posted on the basis that it indicates to me that the original publication triggered a chain of thought, a pattern of association, or a new conversation.

For me, the MT encapsulates the benefits and virtues of social business and polite etiquette in two letters.

If you’re a small business or place and you need help with your social media strategy get in touch via my contact page.