All You Need to Know To Dominate Social Media

Social media

Are you looking to improve your marketing with social media? Here is an overview of the key strategies you should embrace as soon as possible.

Yes, you can boost your marketing result by building up a reputation online. But to get the best returns, you shouldn’t ask “How does social media help?” but rather “What can my brand offer to its followers?”

Establish authority

If you seriously want to improve on your marketing with social media, your core strategy must be to establish authority in your field or niche. All your interactions across all of your social media channels should be geared towards this end.

You want to make your readers feel like you’re the most reliable, dynamic and interesting source of information out there. Once you follow this road, you will be surprised at how much better you will sell. If there’s a secret to online sales, it’s to give on trying to push sales and just focus on teaching what you know.

Read: 4 Benefits of Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses

Telegraphic posting

Writing for social media is unlike writing for a blog or traditional media. Here, most of your readers will be people skimming their feed looking for something interesting. Every time you write a post, you must think of ways to make it magnetic on a glance.

To achieve this, you will have to hone the art of telegraphic writing, to break through the short attention spans of your potential audience. Do not assume people will bother to read a highly inspired but extensive piece of writing you pull out of the blue – they likely won’t. But if you publish that content in your blog and tease virtual passers-by into reading it… that’s another story.

Pictures and Videos

While it’s wise to mix up your posts and publish text only updates mixed with image only, videos, gifs and every combination in between – you should know that images have a huge potential to draw attention.

For this reason, you should put a lot of effort into sourcing compelling pictures related to your niche, as these have higher potential for attracting attention than plain text. Usually, you will get best results by combining a compelling few sentence with an alluring image.

Analyse performance

So you want to boost your marketing result? Then you must get in the habit of continually scrutinizing your past efforts. Facebook and other social media websites avail a powerful suite of analytics tools that give you detailed information regarding everything you have posted in the past and how people responded to each post.

By continually reviewing this information, you will get access to powerful insights that will help you fine tune your campaigns and keep posting more of what your readers like.

Keep conversation going

If you’re still not sure how does social media help your business, then you’re either not doing it or you’re not doing it right. You should think of your social media channels not as an opportunity to sell, but as an opportunity to keep a conversation going with your audience while building up prospects who are interested in your message. To achieve this kind of positioning, no comment should go unanswered, even if it’s something as simple as “thanks for chiming in!”.

Understand social media rankings

Many business owners still get a little confused over the elusive meaning of “going viral”, when it’s actually a straightforward process. When a piece of information has “gone viral”, it simply means that it proved to be highly engaging from the moment it was published: most people who saw that post commented on it, liked it and shared it. This signals the social network that post in particular must be interesting, so the algorithms automatically spread it further.

Now, you can’t possibly expect all your posts to go viral. But by understanding how the process works, you can implement strategies to boost how far your content goes. In simple terms, it’s all about getting your content interacted with. The higher the rate of interactions over the number of views, the more a piece of content will spread. So anything you can do to get people to write comments, hit the “like”buttons or share a piece of content, the better your prospects of social media success.

This is a guest post from Livety – a young startup whose purpose is to help students from all around the world find the best and most suitable accommodation in the UK.

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7 Things To Remember When Shipping Heavy Or Large Items

Tips For Shipping Heavy & Large Items

Are you in need of a courier to ship a large or heavy item?

At NI Parcels, we specialise in shipping parcels of all shapes and sizes, but we are particularly competitive when it comes to shipping larger or heavier items over 5kg. So (not to toot our own horn or anything) we just happen to know a thing or two about shipping large and heavy items all across the globe.

Whether you’re a small business or an individual, if you need to send an item that is larger or bulkier than normal, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure that your item arrives at its destination quickly and safely.

7 Things To Remember When Shipping Large Or Heavy Items

1. Be accurate.

Sending larger and heavier items will be inevitably more costly, so the last thing you want is to face any unpleasant extra charges. That’s why it’s so important to be as accurate as possible when booking your large parcel deliver with the courier. If the item is even slightly over-sized or overweight than what you originally described, you may face these charges or the courier could return the package back to the sender.

2. Secure packaging.

As with an item of any size, it’s important to consider the many stages of transit that the item will go through on its journey to the destination. The reality is that the item will be sorted by machines, before being transported alongside dozens of other packages.

At NI Parcels, we always urge our customers to package their items in strong, double-walled cardboard boxes – this is particularly important for large or heavy items. A double-walled cardboard box is sturdy and durable, and much less likely to collapse, tear or open under pressure.

3. Compensation cover.

Whether your item is big or small, it’s always a good idea to ensure it is protected from damage or loss. Otherwise, you may not be eligible for a refund or be able to claim anything back at all. Compensation cover should always be considered when shipping large or heavy items.

Although damage is a rare occurrence when you choose to ship your item with a reputable courier, many couriers will offer compensation cover for that extra peace of mind. At NI Parcels, we offer £50 free compensation cover on every single shipment, which you can increase up to the value of £500 for a small additional fee during the booking process.

Before taking out compensation cover, always be sure to read through the courier’s list of prohibited and no-compensation items to ensure that your parcel contents will be protected.

4. Online tracking.

Having full access to online tracking will allow you to monitor the progress of your shipment as it makes its way to its destination – so it’s always a good idea to send your large parcel with a reputable courier that provides this feature.

At NI Parcels, we provide full online parcel tracking on every single one of our shipments. If you notice any red flags that give a cause for concern, our dedicated customer service team is always ready and willing to help.

5. Courier restrictions.

Whether or not you can send a large or heavy item will of course depend on the courier that you choose. Some couriers may have size and weight restrictions set in place for particular services, so it’s highly important to do some research on this to be sure you’re booking your shipment correctly.

6. Courier comparison.

Be sure to keep an open mind when shopping around for your chosen courier. Do some research and find out which company offers the lowest price and best value for the size of item you are sending.

At NI Parcels, we do all of the hard work for you. We provide a courier comparison service which allows you to view a list of the lowest prices and fastest delivery times from our network of reliable couriers. Booking through a courier comparison website such as NI Parcels can be up to 80% cheaper than booking with the courier directly!

7. Door to door services.

When shipping a large or heavy parcel, the very last thing you’re going to want to do is have to try and shift it anywhere. Avoid the hassle by using a door to door service than can collect the parcel directly from you and deliver it straight to its destination.

Using our network of reliable couriers, we at NI Parcels offer a door to door service to ensure our customers receive the best convenience.

So those are our expert tips for sending large and heavy items. If you have any questions about sending parcels with NI Parcels, give us a shout or find out more below!

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11 Amazing Belfast Food Places To Follow On Instagram

Belfast Food Places

Belfast has a pretty impressive dining scene…

Ranked amongst the world’s greatest, Belfast‘s dining scene is one that is constantly thriving and becoming increasingly more sophisticated with each passing day. The bustling city offers fine dining, brasseries, bistros, local pubs and some of the best coffee shops around.

Instagram gives restaurants and cafes the opportunity to showcase their worldly grub to the hungry eyes of the public through aesthetically pleasing imagery that speaks for itself.

We thought it would be a great idea to show our appreciation for our favourite Belfast food places on Instagram.

Sorry not sorry for how hungry you’ll be at the end of this post…

1. Baker Street

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Located at 20-22 Belmont Road, Belfast BT4 2AN this modern, family friendly bar and grill will win the hearts of anyone who steps foot into its beautifully decorated interior.

Find Baker Street on Instagram @bakerstreetbelfast.

2. Bootleggers

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Located at 46 Church Lane, Belfast BT1 4QN this rustic, comfy bar serves up original cocktails and some of the best gourmet burgers in town. Their Instagram feed is sure to have your mouth watering.

Find Bootleggers on Instagram @bootleggersbelfast.

3. Boojum

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Located at 19-27 Chichester Street and 67-69 Botanic Avenue, Boojum is an award-winning Belfast favourite. This casual Mexican burrito bar is one of the most popular food joints in town, and for good reason.

Find Boojum on Instagram @boojummex.

4. Bubbacue

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Located at 12 Callender Street, Belfast BT7 1JR, founded in 2012, this recently re-vamped American barbecue joint is another city centre favourite. Serving freshly smoked meat sandwiches on a daily basis and showcasing it all on Instagram, this is one aesthetically pleasing feed that will get your tummy rumbling.

Find Bubbacue on Instagram @bubbacue.

5. Established Coffee

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Located at 54 Hill Street, Belfast BT1 2LB this Cathedral Quarter coffee shop is the perfect stop for the finest coffee in Belfast, as well as the tastiest breakfast and lunch options. Their Instagram beautifully showcases the finest choices on the menu.

Find Established Coffee on Instagram @establishedcoffee.

6. Belfast Baking Company

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Located in Titanic Quarter, this irresistible artisan bakery is something to admire. Their Instagram feed gives a glimpse into the pure talent that goes into producing some of the finest patisserie selections the city has to offer.

Find Belfast Baking Company on Instagram @belfastbakingcompany.

7. Black Bear Cafe

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Located at 17 Stranmillis Road, Belfast BT9 5AF, offers gourmet coffees and speciality dishes, including vegan and vegetarian dishes and baked goods. Their bright and aesthetically pleasing imagery will win the heart of any food fanatic.

Find Black Bear Cafe on Instagram @blackbearcafebelfast.

8. Slims Healthy Kitchen

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Situated in various locations across Belfast, including 20-22 Belmont Road, Slims Healthy Kitchen aims to bring a healthier (and tastier) alternative to fast food. Their Instagram feed is full of delicious food shots, as well as fun behind the scenes snippets.

Find Slims Healthy Kitchen on Instagram @slimshk.

9. Maggie Mays Cafe

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Located in Botanic Avenue and Stranmillis, Maggie Mays is a firm favourite amongst students in Belfast. This quirky, homely cafe serves the best kind of home cooking from early morning breakfasts, lunches, as well as a dinner menu. Just looking at their Instagram feed could cure your hangover.

Find Maggie Mays on Instagram @maggiemayscafe.

10. Town Square

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Located at 45 Botanic Avenue, Belfast BT7 1HZ, this modern all-day dining joint offers something a little bit different in Belfast. Their Instagram feed is full of sleek, professional images that will win the heart of any Instagram lover.

Find Town Square on Instagram @townsquarebelfast.

11. Coppi

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Located at Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, Coppi is an Italian-inspired restaurant in the heart of the city centre. They are at the top of their game when it comes to showcasing their delicious menu on Instagram.

Find Coppi on Instagram @coppibelfast.

Thanks for reading!

You might also like:

5 Ways To Utilise Instagram for Your Business

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Northern Ireland’s 14 Greatest Sports Stars

NI's Greatest Sports Stars

With the Euros in full swing, we’re cheering on the Green and White Army as loud as we can…

National pride is at its peak, so we thought it would be a great idea to keep the patriotism going by taking a look at some of Northern Ireland‘s most notable sportspeople.

Here are a few of the top names. And if you have any more suggestions, be sure to let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Rory McIlroy

Ah Wee Mac. This talented golfer has made us proud on many an occasion, as a four-time major champion  – three of which he won under the age of 25.

Darren Clarke

Another amazing golfer on the list is Dungannon‘s own Darren Clarke. During his career, Clarke has won 22 tournaments worldwide, including the 2011 Open. He has also won two World Golf Championship events, defeating Tiger Woods in 2000.

Dame Mary Peters

Lisburn dwelling Dame Mary Peters is a Northern Irish legend, and most famously the gold medal winner in the womens pentathlon in the 1972 Olympic games in Munich.

Barry McGuigan

The Clones Cyclone is without doubt Northern Ireland‘s most famous and respected professional boxer and has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall Of Fame and the International Boxing Hall Of Fame for his achievements. At the height of his career in the 80’s venues such as the King’s Hall would be packed to the brim with fans travelling from everywhere to see him fight.

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George Best

Probably the most famous NI sportsperson on the list is George Best – we even have an airport named after him! The professional footballer is known as one of the greatest in history, playing for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland team. In 1968 he won the European Cup with Manchester United and was named European Footballer of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.

Alex Higgins

Belfast born Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins is one of the most iconic snooker players of all time. He was known as the people’s champion and is one of only ten players in history to complete snooker’s ‘Triple Crown’, winning the World Championship, the UK Championship and the Masters.

Paddy Barnes

Another much loved local figure is boxer Paddy Barnes. Paddy has won two gold medals at the Commonwealth games (2010 and 2014) and two Olympic bronze medals in his career; the first in 2008 and the second in 2012. He also has the great honor of bearing the Flag of Ireland Tricolor at the 2016 Olympic Games.

via paddyb_ireland on Twitter
via paddyb_ireland on Twitter

Joey Dunlop

Hailing from Ballymoney, the great Joey Dunlop was a world championship motorcyclist. He was regarded as a true working class hero and a legend in his field; being named as the fifth greatest motorcycling icon ever in 2005, by Motorcycling News. He was recognised with an MBE for his sporting achievements and also an OBE for his incredibly charity work for children in Romanian orphanages. Joey sadly died in Estonia during a race in 2000.

Pat Jennings

Newry raised Pat Jennings is a talented goalkeeper, playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and the Northern Ireland team during his career. He had an incredible international footballing career, snapping 22 years. He played 119 games for Northern Ireland and made over 1,000 top level appearances in total.  He won the FA Cup in 1967, the League Cup in 1971 and 1973, and the UEFA Cup in 1972

AP McCoy

Former horse racing jockey, AP McCoy recorded his first winner in 1992 at the age of just 17. He went on to ride a record of 4,358 winners and was a champion jockey 20 consecutive times – every year of his professional career.

Eddie Irvine

From County Down, Eddie Irvine is one the the most famous racing drivers with an outstanding career. In 1999, he has an incredible season, taking four victories and finished runner up in the Formula One World Driver’s Championship.

Carl Frampton

Another respected ‘People’s Champ’ on the list is Belfast boxer Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton. Carl is a former unified WBA Super-weight and IBF Super-bantamweight champion with a loyal local following behind him.

David Healy

David Healy is a Northern Irish former footballer and the current manager of Linfield. He is the all-time leading scorer for the NI team, with 36 goals and is also the joint goal-scoring record holder of the UEFA European Championship, with 13 goals. During his professional career he played for a number of clubs including Manchester United, Preston, Leeds United, Fulham and Rangers to name just a few.

Graeme McDowell

In Northern Ireland, we’re certainly not short of talented golfers. Graeme McDowell is one of those top names. Most well known for winning the 2010 Open he has also won ten events on the European Tour and three on the PGA Tour. He represented Ireland at the World Cup and has been a member of the European Ryder Cup team three times.

 Thanks for reading!

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More Blog Posts:

Top 50 Northern Irish Foods

43 Things Only Northern Irish Adults Will Remember

40 Things Only Northern Irish People Do

32 Things You Have To Do In Northern Ireland Before You Die

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43 Things Only Northern Irish Adults Will Remember

Things Only Norn Irish Adults Will Remember

For a small country, Northern Ireland sure has a lot of history…

And we thought we’d get all wistful and nostalgic today by looking back at some of our wee country’s most notable moments and memories.

If you can think of any more to add to the list, be sure to let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

43 Things That Only Northern Irish People Will Remember

1. Watching Give My Head Peace on a Friday night.

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2. The horrific anti-terror TV ad that scares the bejeesus out of us all and ruined Cats In The Cradle forever. 

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3. The Kelly show.

4. The John Daly Show.

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5. When May McFettridge was new on the scene.

6. School around the corner.

7. Getting sent home from work or school because of another bloody bombscare.

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8. If you lived outside of Belfast, going to city was like going on a foreign holiday.

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9. Police checkpoints.

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10. Getting your bag checked going into Welworths.

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11. When Welworths existed.

12. Leisureworld.

13. This slide at Newcastle.

14. Getting a beating with one of these if you gave your ma back cheek.

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15. When the first McDonald’s came to your town.

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16. The In Shops.

17. When your TV just stopped working after 12 o’clock.

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18. When you just had three channels on the TV.

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19. When Jim and Our Elizabeth first arrived on the street.

20. When Catchphrase was presented by Roy Walker.

21. When Dale Farm lollies were 30p.

22. When a packet of Tayto was 30p and had that creepy Mr Tayto head.

23. These crisps.

And these.

5s

And these.

6s

24. Taz Bars.

25. Having Creamola Foam at birthday parties (which is now banned because it is basically crack for children.)

26. When Victoria Square didn’t exist and there was basically just a tower block in its place.

27. When Bill Clinton turned on the Christmas lights.

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28. Police 6.

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29. When Eamon Holmes was just a wee young thing with a mop of dark hair presenting GMTV with thon Anthea Turner.

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30. When Patrick Kielty was just a wee young thing.

31. Staying out playing Kerbsy until it was dark.

32. When the Westlink was even more of a nightmare than it is now.

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33. When George Best played for Manchester United.

34. When George Best City Airport was just called Belfast City Airport. 

35. Calling a doughnut a gravy ring.

36. When you were playing outside at tea time and your ma would open the front door and shout your name down the street so you would come in an eat your dinner.

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37. Summer holidays meant a week at the caravan in Newcastle or Portrush, not going abroad.

38. When the lemonade man would come and deliver to you.

39. When you would leave your old milk bottles out for the milk man.

40. When dinner was not dinner unless there were spuds on your plate.

41. The wee fella from the Coleraine Cheddar ad.

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42. Crazy Prices.

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43. Yellow Pack items in Stewarts.

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More Blog Posts:

Top 50 Northern Irish Foods

15 Amazing Beauty Products That Are Actually Made In Northern Ireland

40 Things Only Northern Irish People Do

32 Things You Have To Do In Northern Ireland Before You Die

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14 Amazing Health Food Brands Based In Northern Ireland

Top NI Health Food Brands

Summer is well and truly here…

Which means the impending pressure of having a rock hard beach body is upon us.

But let’s face it – no one can bare the thought of going for a run, munching carrot sticks and chugging coconut water in this weather. We’d much rather be enjoying a big old poke in the sun (with a chocolate flake and sprinkles, please and thanks).

So to help motivate you to get in shape for your holidays abroad, or your next trip to Portrush strand, we thought it would be a great idea to take a look at some of Northern Ireland‘s top health food brands, that aren’t just good for you, but taste amazing too.

Get some of these names on your shopping list and you’ll have abs in no time without even trying. We promise.*

*This is not an actual promise.

1. Forest Feast

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Based in Portadown, Co. Armagh, Forest Feast are a supplier of healthy fruit and nut snacks that you’ve probably seen on the shelves of your local supermarket or corner shops. Their Street Food nut packs are a great substitute for a naughty bag of Tayto and their Sour Mango (a firm favourite among the NI Parcels gang) tastes just like Haribo!

Find them at Forestfeast.com.

2. Suki Tea

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There is nothing better than a nice hot cup of tea (milk and two sugars if you’re offering), but if you’re gulping down multiple cups a day, you could be unwittingly adding a significant amount of calories to your daily intake. For instance, of you like your tea milky and sweet, each cup will contain around 50 calories!

Suki Tea, however, is a much healthier and more delicious alternative. Based in Belfast, they produce an enormous variety of ethically sourced loose leaf teas in an abundance of flavours.

Find them at Suki-tea.com

3. Linwoods Health Foods

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Linwoods, based in County Armagh, produce these incredible varieties of super seed packs which are incredibly good for you. Put them in your porridge, on your cereal, in your yoghurt, use them to bake break or pour the packet directly into your gub if you want – they are jam packed with nutrients to fuel your body.

Find them at Linwoodshealthfoods.com

4. Abernethy Butter

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In 2005, Will and Allison Abernethy decided to take their buttermaking skills, learned from previous generations, and turn it into a family business. Now based in Dromara, County Down, and sold in the likes of Fortnum and Mason (grocer to the Queen, don’t you know), Abernethy is a well respected brand with many fans. Not only is it the most delicious, luxurious butter ever, but it is handmade and additive free and comes from grass-fed cows which is known to protect against colon cancer.

Find them at Abernethybuttercompany.com.

5. Keen Nut Butter

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Bangor based brand Keen Nut Butter will be favourite among any peanut butter addicts out there. We swear, when you buy this stuff, you’ll be tying your hands behind your back just to stop yourself devouring the whole thing with a spoon. Founder Aimee Beimers is a nutritionist and sought out to replace traditional sugar laden nut butters and spreads with something much healthier and tastier. And, by God, she achieved it.

Find them at Keannutbutter.com.

6. Skinny Malinkys

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Skinny Malinky’s are NI’s premier raw cold pressed juice providers. And if you’re in need of a bit of a detox or cleanse, this is the answer. The juices are full of yummy nutritious goodness to fuel your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. Based near Titanic Quarter in Belfast, owner Paula uses NI Parcels to ship bottles daily to her hundreds of happy customers across the UK and Ireland.

Find them at Skinnymalinkys.com

7. That Protein

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Created by Northern Irish nutritionist Darlene McCormick, That Protein gives you premium organic plant protein powders and superfoods in one product, completely natural and organic, cold pressed and pure. They are free from sugars, sweeters, GMO and anything artificial. That Protein have some irresistible recipes on their blog too, which will make you want to buy the whole range and try everything at once.

Find them at Thatprotein.com

8. Flavour First

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We’re all for convenience here at NI Parcels, so Flavour First’s delivered fresh fruit and veg boxes are a godsend! Order your selection online from products grown on the family run businesses’ Donaghadee farm. Your box will then be delivered to your home or work address. It costs from as little as £9 and delivery is free!

Find them at Flavourfirst.com.

9. Free’ist

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We could probably all do with cutting some sugar out of our diets but stepping away from the biscuits and snacks to go cold turkey is a terrifying prospect. Thankfully, local brand Free’ist have created a range of yummy sugar free snacks to satisfy even the sweetest tooth. This means you can have your daily dose of chocolate, cookies or popcorn and not feel even the slightest bit guilty about it.

Find them at Freeist.co.uk

10. Oh So Lean

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Oh So Lean are a Northern Irish company which provides premium low fat products including beef, chicken, turkey and pork as well as soups and sauces and easy cook meals. They also have a gluten free range to serve those with more specific dietary requirements.

You can find them at Ohsolean.co.uk.

11. Moditions

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Moditions gluten free baked goods started out as a bit of a passion project when founder Christine wanted to create some delicious food for her coeliac husband. As interest in her food grew, a business was born and now her amazing baked creations are stocked in Tescos stores as part of their Local Choice options.

You can find them at Moditions.com

12. Heavenly Tasty Organics

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Shauna McCarney-Blair started Heavenly Tasty Organics shortly after weaning her first child. She wanted to feed her baby the best, most nutritious and fresh allergy sensitive food but as there was nothing on the market, she decided to create her own. Heavenly Tasty Organics then became her newest baby and her delicious healthy foods for kids are now available nationwide.

Find them at Heavenlytasty.com

13. Mash Direct

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Ah the humble spud – you can’t beat ’em! If you’re a fan of a good creamy mash, you’ll love Mash Direct. Launched back in 2004 they are the market leader when it comes to convenient vegetable and potato dishes. If you’re in a rush and on the verge of stepping foot into the takeaway for a portion of chips, Mash Direct could be the healthier alternative you need. Their products are made fresh on their County Down farm and are free from artificial preservatives and low in salt.

Find them at Mashdirect.com

14. Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil

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Here’s a fact for you – Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil was actually created by accident. When Leona Kane and her husband Richard were preparing dinner one night, they ran out of olive oil for the salad dressing. So, Richard brought up some unfiltered cold pressed rapeseed oil to use instead. They were immediately hooked to its gorgeous nutty flavour and developed the idea to create a healthy all-rounder oil for cooking, frying or making dressings. The company have gone onto win numerous awards and have a long line of fans, including Obama!

You can find them at Broightergold.co.uk

 

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More Blog Posts:

Top 50 Northern Irish Foods

15 Amazing Beauty Products That Are Actually Made In Northern Ireland

40 Things Only Northern Irish People Do

32 Things You Have To Do In Northern Ireland Before You Die

 

Learn more:

Parcel Delivery Northern Ireland

Cheap Shipping To Northern Ireland

International Parcel Delivery

Small Business Shipping

NI Parcels – Our Couriers

Import Services To UK

12 Really Weird Customs Regulations That Make No Sense

Bizarre Customs Regulations

We’re going to admit something here…

Even though we’re in the business of delivery (some would call us experts), when it comes to customs, there are a lot of rules and regulations that leave us scratching our heads.

Most of the time, it’s common sense – don’t send guns or weapons, drugs or perishable foods etc. But in other instances, the laws are really and truly bizarre.

So we thought we’d take you through some of our favourite weird customs regulations from around the world.

1. If The Shoe Fits…

Weirdly, it is forbidden to import matching shoes to South Africa, Mexico or India. This is in order to maintain control of their own shoe market and applies manly to shoe manufacturers – so don’t worry about having to wear odd sandals on your upcoming Mexican holiday; personal shoes are fine.

shoes lol humor circle rotation

2. Pencil It In

For some reason, pencils are banned in Tunisia.

3. Something To Chew On

You can not send chewing gum to Singapore, nor are you even allowed to buy it or consume it there. This is due to a 1992 ban in order to promote civic cleanliness.

gum bubblegum movie grease stockard channing

4. Sink Your Teeth Into This One

The country of Algeria has put a ban on the import of toothpaste and all dental products. This is down to the use of fluoride, which is regarded as poisonous by many nations.

5. An Unholy Rule

Pilgrims of Fiji can not bring back more than one pint of Holy Water after a pilgrimage. If  your amount of Holy Water exceeds one pint, you will require a certificate to say that it is disease free. This is in order to prevent the spreading of water borne diseases.

6. Milking It

Milk powder and baby formula can only be imported to China as personal effects and you can only bring around 5kg (or about 6 cans) with you.

milk piglets baby pigs

7. Wheely, Wheely Weird

Thinking of sending a wheelbarrow to Nigeria? Eh, you might want to rethink that as they are strictly forbidden in an attempt to strengthen the country’s own manufacturing industry.

8. Feeling Horny

Saudi Arabia has many restrictions on noise and loud items, such as car horns, have therefore been banned from entering the country.

9. An Eggcellent Law

The beloved (overpriced) Kinder Egg that children beg their parents for, is unfortunately banned in America, as the yellow plastic part is considered to be a choking hazard. The American Federal Government take the ban so seriously that a Canadian family was once fined $12,000 for trying to take ten of these chocolate eggs into the US.

chocolate food easter kinder egg

10. Not In The Mood

We’re not exactly sure why, but Malawian authorities have completely banned the import of any and all aphrodisiac products. Sorry lovers…

11. Quit Clowning Around

If you’re travelling to the lovely village of Vendargues in the south of France, don’t take your clown costume with you. Due to a wave of panic, caused by pranksters in clown costumes, they are now banned. These incidents have lead to a wide-spread anti-clown vigilante movement across the whole of France, which may soon see the costumes banned throughout the country.

12. Eye Can’t Believe It

Imports containing eyeglasses and foreign spectacles are completely banned from entering Uruguay.

cat frustrated glasses

 

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Write For Us

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Write For Us

Interested in writing for the NI Parcels blog?

We accept good quality guest posts on a wide range of subjects, so if you have some content you’d like to submit, get in touch!

About The NI Parcels Blog

NI Parcels is a Belfast based online courier service which helps small businesses and individuals save time and money on their parcel deliveries.

We also happen to have a pretty nifty blog. We know – parcel delivery doesn’t seem like the most fun and exciting topic on the planet but many of our blog posts have been hugely successful and a handful have even gone viral!

While we do like to write about the courier industry, shipping and parcel delivery, we write blog posts on many subjects, such as:

What we’re looking for…

So if you think you could write a great blog post on any of those subjects mentioned, here are a few things to bare in mind.

Originality 

We will only post content that is original. This means it must be your own work and it must not be published on any other websites.

Value

The one thing we’re looking for is value. If you want to write a post for us, it must add value to our audience. It must be worth reading. It doesn’t matter whether it’s funny, inspiring, informative or education – if it adds value in any way, we’ll be happy to publish it.

Guest Posting Tips

Format 

We prefer to publish posts that are over 800 words. It’s also best to break your post into sections so readers can scan it easily if they have to. ‘How To’ and ‘listicle’ style posts are really popular among our audience, but if you have any other ideas, we’re very open to them.

Links

You can include outbound links in your posts but ONLY if they add value to the reader. If you are including 10 links to your own website, just for the sake of linking to your website, we won’t publish your content. If you’re linking out, it must be to a good quality website and it must be beneficial to the reader. If you want a link to your website, we will put on in your author bio.

Images

You can include your own images, but they must be free to use. If you do not have access to your own images, that’s no problem – we can source them for you.

If you would like to guest post for the NI Parcels blog, please send your ideas or completed content to our blog editor Katy: [email protected].

 

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6 Tips To Ensure Your Parcel Arrives Safely

Ensuring Your ParcelArrives Safely

Without question, ensuring your parcel arrives safely at its destination is the priority when shipping items.

Whether you’re a small business needing to ship and distribute products throughout the world, or if you’re an individual sending a gift to a loved one – you want to make sure that the parcel arrives safe and sound. As the sender, it’s your responsibility to complete all of these necessary checks before handing your item over to a courier.

At NI Parcels, we know a thing or two about shipping packages all across the globe. So we’re here to shed a light on how you can do all that you can to ensure your parcel arrives safely.

6 Tips To Ensure Your Parcel Arrives Safely

1. Secure packaging.

Securely packaging your parcel for transit is absolutely vital. It’s important to take into consideration the many stages of transit that your item will go through on its journey – it will be sorted by machines and loaded on to a van for delivery alongside dozens of other items, big and small.

Although damage to your item is extremely unlikely when you choose to send it with a reputable courier (like our providers) it’s still a good idea to take extra precaution, for that extra peace of mind.

We always advise our customers to send items in strong, double-walled cardboard boxes as these are sturdy and less likely to collapse, tear or open under pressure. You can read more of our tips on how to properly package your parcel on our blog: How To Properly Package A Parcel – 8 Expert Tips.

2. Attach labels securely.

Once you’ve got your item all packaged up, it’s important to make sure that your shipping labels are securely fastened on to the item. You don’t want to risk these labels coming off, as this could cause problems during transit and may result in the item being severely delayed or even lost. Place the labels inside a poly-pocket and secure them with packaging tape.

3. Do not send prohibited items.

One very important factor in shipping parcels is ensuring that your items can be carried on the service. Particularly when you are sending items overseas, as every country has different rules and regulations about what can and cannot be imported. Sending items that are restricted or prohibited can cause all sorts of problems with your shipment, and may result in packages being refused at the point of collection, returned to the sender, or even destroyed.

Most couriers will have a list of these items that are easy to view. If you need to take a look at our list, you can find it on the NI Parcels website here.

4. Take compensation cover.

Following on from that, if your courier provides a form of compensation cover (most do), be sure to take it to make that extra step in protecting your parcel against damage or loss.

Again, before booking your compensation cover, it’s so important to read through that list of prohibited and no-compensation items to ensure the items you are sending will be covered.

At NI Parcels, we provide £50 free compensation cover on every single shipment. This value can be increased right up to £1,000 for a small additional fee during the booking process.

4. Correct address details.

Although it sounds fairly straight-forward to ensure that all of your address details are correct, mistakes can be easily made. Surprisingly, incorrect delivery addresses cause the majority of courier issues. To prevent this, always be sure to double check the address details you are providing.

The format of addresses will vary depending on each country, so if you’re feeling even a little bit unsure, always check with the recipient or try researching the address yourself to make sure it’s absolutely correct before handing it over to the courier.

4. Book with a reputable courier.

Before selecting your courier, do some research to make sure that you’re getting the very best value for your money. Taking the time to find a reputable courier means you have that extra peace of mind knowing that your items will be handled with the utmost of care and will be in safe hands during transit.

At NI Parcels, we work with only the best couriers in the industry to ensure our customers receive the highest quality delivery services. You can see a list of the couriers that we work with here.

5. Online parcel tracking.

It’s always a good idea to send parcels with a reputable courier service that provides online tracking. That way, you’ll be able to monitor the progress of your shipment as it makes its way to its destination and so will be able to see any potential issues for yourself. You’ll also be notified when your item is out for delivery, so you’ll know exactly when to wait in for it.

If you spot any red flags, contact your courier provider immediately and they will be able to offer guidance and help resolve the problem.

At NI Parcels, we provide full online parcel tracking on all of our shipments. And if you happen to have any questions or concerns at any time, we have a dedicated customer support team who can help via phone, email and live chat.

6. Fill in customs documents.

This will apply if you are sending items outside the EU. In this case, you will be legally required to complete customs documents in order to declare the contents and value of the items contained in your parcel. Taking the time and effort to accurately fill in these documents will ensure a smooth process as your item travels through customs clearance. If you do not include these documents or do not fill them in correctly, this can cause serious issues with the shipment and may severely delay the parcel.

At NI Parcels, we will provide you with customs documents if you are sending an item outside of the EU. However, it is always the sender’s responsibility to complete and attach these documents to the item being sent.

So that’s our expert advise on ensuring your parcel arrives safely at its destination. If you still have any questions after reading, please get in touch with us and we’ll always be very happy to help!

New to NI Parcels? Learn more about our low cost courier services…

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21 Things Northern Irish People Do When It’s Sunny

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Let’s be honest, it’s not often that we’re blessed with sunny weather in poor wee Northern Ireland…

So when it reaches over 15 degrees, you can be sure we’re going to make the most of it.

15 Things Northern Irish People Do When It’s Sunny

1. The taps come aff.

The Sunflower Bar, Belfast
The Sunflower Bar, Belfast

2. Sunbathing knows no limits.

sunbath

3. Seriously, we’ll do it anywhere.

Even outside the Mater Hospital, apparently…

via @an_fear_ciuin Twitter
via @an_fear_ciuin Twitter

4. We start the day with a good tanning sesh in the garden.

5. The entire population then flocks to the shores of Newcastle or Portrush.

6. The entire city of Belfast ends up in the Botanic Gardens.

7. When it reaches a socially acceptable time to drink (after 1pm), we go to the nearest pub with a good beer garden.

beer chihuahua dachshund national beer day thirsty

8. It’s too hot to eat food, so we feed on pokes.

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9. And complain about how expensive they are nowadays.

poker

10. Or we buy a bunch of Dale Farm ice lollies for everyone.

11. And complain about how expensive they are nowadays.

dale farn

12. The entire day is spent talking about the weather.

weather chat

13. The only story on the news is about our ‘heatwave’.

And the front page of the Belfast Telegraph will undoubtedly list all the European countries we’re currently hotter than.

beltel

14. You hear  this at least 1,000 times during the day.

heat

15. Even though we’re delighted, we’ll still complain about it.

swet

16. People will blast horrendous dance music from their cars.

music video demi lovato car cool for the summer devonne

17. For tea it’s either a barbecue…

The Simpsons happy season 11 episode 7 apu nahasapeemapetilon

18. Or a ‘Northern Irish Salad” (ie. few leaves, coleslaw, ham, boiled eggs and chips)

food honey boo boo salad here comes honey boo boo i hate salad

19. You put about ten washes on because, let’s face it, thon’s quare dryin’ weather.

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20. Everyone and their ma will be posting pictures of their ‘fun in the sun’ all over social media.

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21. Meanwhile everyone in work is counting down the seconds until the working day ends and reading posts like this to make time move faster… we feel ya.

 

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Learn more:

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