Social Media

oscarWWhen Highland Titles began in 2006, social media was in its infancy. Even eBay and Amazon were new and valuable ways of getting the word out about how to become a laird or lady.  Since those early days, various platforms have been launched to inform and motivate our supporters. The main difficulty now is that there are too many ways of creating communities and tempting the public to support our movement. We have had to choose what to use, what to ignore and what to use sparingly.

The main contenders that we have included in our marketing plan are Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest. Strategies for these may differ, but overall is our core vision to build a Community rather than maximise the number of followers. This led to us create two Facebook groups, one of which has a general interest in Scotland and things Scottish. The other is interested more in our conservation and all things to do with nature.

Our big break with Facebook was to secure the services of Stewart, a Scot living in Ballachulish and a volunteer on the Nature reserve at Duror, as our Facebook Admin. He was able to insert personality, humour, and local knowledge into our Facebook pages. After all, social media has the word “social” in it for a reason. More often than not social media works to entertain and kill time.  The education has to be worked in carefully. Our messages need to adjust according to our audience and we publish new content every day. Our followers can experience what we are doing in their name. They learn who is visiting, what the wildlife is doing and can actually see them in photographs and media clips. Most of our customers will never be able to visit in person. Multimedia and Facebook bridges that gap.

The massive amount of interactions and shares not only establishes the authority of the Highland Titles brand, but also drastically increases chances of this post showing up on a friend’s newsfeed (therefore gaining brand awareness, followers, leads, and customers).

Also vital, is that we converse directly with our followers: Literally we converse with them, and comment on their posts,. They directly interact with our content and any questions can be quickly addressed.

We want our audience to stay engaged, and so we engage them in two additional ways. Firstly we have a huge mailing list and inform our supporters with monthly mailings, but more importantly, we ask their advice on matters of importance. Everyone with a plot gets a voice within the community. Not just on social media, but directly. Our attention to customer support, with a great head office team that responds instantly to the telephone, emails and live chat, is also a vital tool. And finally, we have our very own blog site ( with rich content for those with the greatest interest in our operation.

Our Pinterest is an evolving platform ( which has yet to prove its value. With less than 100 followers it is not able to serve any valuable purpose. We have created a number of boards and time will tell how best to develop it.

Which brings us to Twitter, which has some interesting limitations. All tweets are 140 characters.
It is possible to add a photo, a video, a poll, or a gif, and hashtags can be used for adding to a larger conversation. For several years we had no success, in part because it is so difficult to include serious content within the limitations of a Tweet.  At the start of 2015 we still had only about 100 followers and it seemed impossible to create a community or interest in the platform. Three months later, thanks to an enthusiastic campaign by several “Twits” with large Twitter followings (and a legal bent), we had increased our following to thousands and Twitter was finally starting to make sales. It is now worth our while to use Twitter sparingly to create some content and with only occasional prodding, our enthusiastic “partners” continue to drive new followers to our Twitter account ( and our website.

Oscar Wilde was certainly right.


From the House Magazine

Peter-BevisSo, Dr Bevis, can you please tell us something about yourself?

I am Director and Chief Executive of Highland Titles. I was born in Yorkshire, but raised first in Scotland and later in Kent. My first job was a paper round that I took over from my big sister, who had developed an inability to get up early enough. When I was 16 I took a part time job as a forecourt attendant, back in the days before self-service pumps. After university, I spent ten years in research and academia before joining the pharmaceutical industry.

What inspires you?

I am inspired to leave the world better than it might have been.  I have added to our collective knowledge and worked on some fantastic medicines and medical devises. But rewilding is more urgent and relevant.

Best thing about your job?

Being able to take decisions without having to go through a series of committees. In my former life working for large pharmaceutical companies, nobody was able to take a decision. Being the boss is very liberating.

Who was your first employee?

Our first “employee” was my wife, Helen, who was head packer for almost a year. Once we moved out into offices we employed two people to do everything; Fran and Jenny. Jenny is now the General Manager.

Why Scotland?

Why not? I grew up there. It is “God’s Own Country”. I spent a summer climbing and walking in Glencoe aged 8 and never forgot it. Fortunately Glencoe itself is owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland.  But all around is land once forested and species rich, now reduced to bare land by sheep and deer, or worse, smothered in sterile commercial forestry.

Would you do anything different another time?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Knowing now, how successful we have become, I would be more proactive in explaining my plans at the beginneing. In the first years I had nagging doubts that Highland Titles would be able to grow as large as I wanted it to and conserve as well as it has been able to. Another time I would risk the possible accusations of hubris and call public meetings at the time we bought the land. Not going public left some people wondering what our plans were? One local, now a firm supporter, feared we planned to use the land to run quad bike tours, simply because we used a quad bike to help with our early tree planting.

What makes you angry?

Life is too short to get angry. However, government grants that encourage only habitat destruction and jobs for the boys are a provocation

To what do you attribute the success of Highland Titles?

Highland Titles has been a success in part because we have always done what we said we would do. Honesty in all things is the best policy. Always.  Never make a promise you can’t keep is good advice for anyone in business.  But more than that, we have risen above all our imitators who have simply tried to make a quick buck, or who need to fund the repair of their house by being welcoming. Inviting people to the nature reserve from day 1 and finding local volunteers to show them around when they visit has been key to our success. Sharing ownership of the land is beneficial in itself. But we have worked hard to conserve what is good and restore what is not. The wider community has also benefited greatly and we have always relied on local support.

Paradoxically those who have been openly skeptical, even hostile, to our business model have helped us the most. They have worked very hard to raise our profile. To quote Oscar Wilde, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about“.  Recently we have had a great boost from several well connected Scottish lawyers, who have driven a lot of traffic to our websites and the increased sales in 2015 are largely thanks to their hard work.  Social media has played a very large part in our success. In fact I doubt that Highland Titles could have succeeded without Twitter and Facebook.

What do you do in your leisure time?

Once I spent every spare weekend walking, but I am no longer able to walk as far as I once did. I am fortunate to have family close by. Lovely children and grandchildren. And I ring church bells and hand bells whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Have you plans to retire?

I almost feel I have retired, because I love what I do. I hope to fade away gradually rather than actually stop work. I hope to be still involved in my 90s.


Thank you Dr Bevis for talking to me. Congratulations on all you have achieved.