In January, a disgruntled HMV head office employee used social media to tweet live as dozens of members of staff were laid-off in a ‘mass execution of loyal employees’.

The meltdown went on for 25 minutes, spread like wildfire on the internet, and earned the retail giant, which had recently entered administration, the reputation of social media incompetent.

Seven months later and the 141 HMV and Fopp stores saved from closure now all run their own Twitter accounts, offering a mix of community engagement, product and store updates, all with individuality and personality.

The turnaround is being hailed as a marketing success, and is based on the type of dialogue you have had with customers for many years.

Social media is the platform to amplify this local identity and engage with a generation of customers who can talk up or talk down your business much faster than the chats of old over a coffee or in the school playground.

If this concept fills you with dread, you’re in luck. This issue features part two of our 10-week guide to social media for independent retailers. Fittingly, this week’s subject is creating consistent messages and projecting your personal brand to a new audience.

Engaging with social media has many other benefits though, and this week’s news feature demonstrates the power of Twitter in diagnosing a problem, uniting with others in a similar position and putting pressure on suppliers.

For some inspiration, have a look at the website of this week’s profiled shop, Orford General Store. It showcases the store’s beautiful produce and services and a blog from Spike the dog adds the personality which owner Penny Teale says her customers really love.