Tag Archives: Influence

Clutching at straws?

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There are a fair few social media apps that I feel are just around because they’re different to the norm, such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine etc but that doesn’t mean they’re any good.

The latest one to come to fruition is an app called Whisper, it is a free iOS and Android mobile app with an associated paid online service which allows users to send messages anonymously and receive replies, basically Facebook/Twitter without the username. It was first launched in March 2012 under the original name ‘WhisperText’. Users post a message which are then published displayed as text superimposed over an image which are similar to greeting cards like the image below:

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It is doing incredibly well for an app that doesn’t get as much mention as big game players, getting on average 3.5 billion page views each month which has got venture capitalists interested, and no wonder!

In May 2013 the owners of the app added a service cost of $5.99 (around £3.59) meaning receiving messages was free but sending messages required payment. In my opinion that was the beginning of the downfall of the app, and the fact that in February 2014 the service charge was made free for ‘most users’ but paid messaging was something that was required for certain users for certain reasons.

I struggle to see the point in this app, I understand that it serves its purpose of a social media app that allows more anonymity than most others but I just don’t understand. Maybe thats naive of me but I’m sure most people would agree that it is some what unnecessary, then again, a lot of people would say that about social media as a whole.

Even though I am a Social Media Executive Intern, I think social media on a personal basis is somewhat pointless, meaning I don’t think many people actually need to read about what you had for dinner or the fact you’re bored, but social media for a business is priceless.

I suppose we will all find out how popular this app is if Facebook tries to buy it in a few months!

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Are you doing social media right?

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Many people think that I just get paid to sit on Facebook all day and don’t do anything productive, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Social media has to be done correctly to save yourself from the consequences of bad PR for yourself AND your client. There are certain steps in which you should take in order to ensure that you are getting the most out of the tool that has the potential to connect you to so many more people than tradition PR and Marketing allows you to.

A lot of companies who don’t specialise in a communication vocation think that they have to do social media just to ensure that they are keeping up with competitors. What needs to be understood is that it is a free tool and just takes man-hours to make it right. I’ve been to many interviews for PR and Social Media job roles and when I’ve done research in to the company in question I’ve more often than not been left a little let down by the social media already in place.

If you find yourself with fewer followers than everybody else, you need to look at what YOU are putting out on the social media platform, not wonder why people aren’t falling for your spiel. You need to ensure that you are updating regularly, with relevant information to your business (or just what you want to put out there) so that your followers know when to check back with what you’re saying. If you post on a Monday, and then don’t post for two weeks and post on a Friday, followers won’t know when to check back and gradually fall out of the routine of checking back with what you are saying.

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When you think of Facebook and Twitter, chances are you think of your friends or an organisation just broadcasting what they want you to read and there isn’t much room for engagement. In order to gain followers and boost your reputation, you should post content that will generate conversation, don’t forget that this is SOCIAL media and is very much a two way communication channel, use it to your advantage and don’t let it hinder you.

What most companies need to understand is that their Facebook and Twitter feeds are not meant to be glorified ad streams, and need to have good quality content that generates conversation to ensure that followers don’t lose interest. I often find that the easiest way to make people aware of your brand is to not really advertise it at all on social media (within reason, obviously) and a great example of a brand that has got it right is believe it or not, Tesco Mobile. The fact that their Twitter account is more often than not, dedicated to tweeting everybody who tweets the brand with funny, on the line, witty replies is pure genius in my eyes.

Another sin that many people commit on social media, is just auto-post updates across all of their social media platforms. Facebook is incredibly different to Twitter, which is different to Pinterest, which is different again to Linkedin. Look at it this way, you wouldn’t have the same conversation you have with your best friend with your grandma would you? So don’t do it on social media either. Make sure that you connect effectively with each audience to maximise the success of your social media efforts.

It is important to set a social media plan to ensure that there is structure to your posts. Even though many people think that social media is spur of the moment and shouldn’t be thought about to much, there needs to be some sort of similarity in posts so you don’t veer of the mark too much. In order to make sure that there are guidelines, you should figure out the following:

  • Who is responsible for updating your social profiles

Try not to have too many people writing on social media profiles, if your company has a social media team, leave it to them, as silly as it sounds, tone of voice is very important. Consistency is important for keeping your readers interested.

  • How frequently your social profiles will be updated

Figure out a schedule and keep to it, your readers will appreciate the effort of consistent updating and enjoy the content even more.

  • What type of content you will post

It won’t make sense for your readers if you post something extremely serious or sales related to your brand and then post a picture of a puppy with no accompanying copy.

  • How you will use imagery in your posts

Will you include and image in every post? Will your content be mostly images? Imagery plays a big part in how engaging your post is. If a huge lump of copy is teamed with images to break it up, the more likely your readers will finish reading.

  • What tone of voice you will use when posting

This, to me, is the most important of all. If you are writing on a blog and using the tone of voice you would use when talking to your clients, you’re doing it wrong. Figure out whom you are speaking to and adjust accordingly.

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The worst thing a company can do, and I’ve been subject to it, is to delete negative social mentions. It WILL happen, you cannot please all of the people all of the time. I had a dragged out argument with Boohoo over the terrible customer service I had received regarding a problem on their end, and when I commented on their Facebook wall asking for some help because I didn’t know who else to speak to anymore, they messaged me privately and deleted my comment off their wall in order to save their reputation from taking a knock. I personally think that if you publically handle a negative situation, the better you appear to your consumers.

I am no professional when it comes to social media, and I don’t confess to be. I don’t think anyone should say that they are and if you find a method that works for you and your business, stick to it. There are no ‘rules’ that you should follow, and this post isn’t to say that you are doing your social media wrong, but simple hints and ‘guidelines’ to help improve your social media presence. I’ve done extensive research in to social media for the past year and a half, and always kept up to date since starting university in 2010. I did my dissertation on how to be influential on Twitter so I feel I do have some insight in to making it work!

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Clever Social Media

I love nothing more than when I see a well known brand getting over its big name and just being funny. I personally think being PC (within reason) takes too much effort. PR executives can spend forever and a day trying to please all of the people all of the time, but whats the point in coming across like a suck up? I’ve been to many interviews and had some great conversations with some key players in the industry and a common theme has been that they wish they could say what they wanted but don’t due to the fear of losing followers/loyalty. I say throw caution to the wind, it’s a well known fact that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, so theres no point in trying to be honest!

The best social media conversation I’ve ever read in my life occurred in the beginning of November last year and it came to my attention today via Buzzfeed.com and it involved some major players in the UK! To sum it up, Tesco Mobile, Cadbury’s, Jaffa Cakes, Sainsbury’s, Phileas Fogg, Yorkshire Tea and Walkers have some of the best social media executives in the world in my opinion!

It all started by somebody showing Tesco Mobile a Facebook post of somebody dissing their brand (may I just add that Tesco Mobile do not take lightly to people doing this! Just take a look at their Twitter feed, it’s fantastic!) and it escalated quickly from there on out.

Take a look at the images below of the unreal exchange between some of the biggest brands in the UK! It really is great to see such a relaxed and funny stance on social media that people genuinely enjoy reading!

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Christmas Spirit

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So it is that time of year again, the Christmas tree’s are brought out of their boxes, glitter covers the entire house, tinsel as far as the eye can see, and of course the obligatory Christmas TV advert from our favourite brands. There are plenty of new adverts this year, from the nations favourite Coca Cola advert to a brand new tear jerker from John Lewis, and it is nice to see big player getting in the Christmas spirit!

Coca Cola

Coca Cola always do a fantastic job at creating different variations of the classic advert. Coca Cola really pulled it out the bag this year though. After hearing the devastating news regarding the Philippines, the huge company decided that they were going to suspend their ad campaign this Christmas in the Philippines in order to donate all the money that would of otherwise been spent promoting their brand. So far Coca Cola have donated $2.4million in cash and in-kind contributions. There are still some cynics about who think that Coca Cola have done this as a marketing strategy to make them look like do gooders, but in all honesty, if it raises over $2million for the Philippines, who really cares what the motive is?! From a PR perspective it is a fantastic move, considering the sales for Coca Cola are falling, this stunt will really work in their favour!

John Lewis

Following John Lewis’ 2012 Christmas advert where we seen the heartfelt relationship between a snowman and his snowlady, I thought it would be pretty hard to follow that up with something of the same level. The powerhouse department store threw a massive £7,000,000 at the advertisement this year which is aptly called Bear and the Hare:

This extremely expensive advertisement sees the unlikely friendship between a bear and a hare. The beginning of the ad see’s the run up to christmas and that the bear hibernates so has never had a Christmas before. The hare then hops off to John Lewis and buys the bear a present, long story short, it’s an alarm clock that wakes the bear up on Christmas day and all the woodland creatures have a fantastic day and enjoy the festivities. The slogan of the advert is ‘Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget‘, it is a really endearing advert and attracts all ages, so it’s a job well done by the creative teams over at John Lewis, is it worth £7million though? Probably not!

Sainsbury’s

Now, this well known supermarket decided to go one step further than most brands we have become accustomed to, and created a 50 minute feature film that can be viewed on YouTube and actually premiered in a cinema in London. This cleverly heartwarming advert is constructed of short video clips that have been filmed by real families in the UK around Christmas time to show what real Christmas looks like.

The advert really pulls on our heart strings when at the end of the advert, a family with three young children are filming a message to send to their father who is currently on tour with the Army. I thought that this was a clever PR move for Sainsbury’s, especially how they handled the bomb shell that someone over in the editing team failed to spot the Co-Op lemon torte, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding in plain sight behind an unsuspecting gentleman explaining his Christmas dinner! Wouldn’t have liked to be the person who must of been the topic of conversation in that meeting!

Marks & Spencers

Marks & Spencers always puts on a great Christmas Advert, and this year doesn’t disappoint! The theme this year is Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood and The Wizard of Oz and features some famous faces that must have cost a fortune to get on board! From heart throb model David Gandy, to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to the hugely loved Helena Bonham Carter, it has it all! It is a truly magical advert that fits right in with Christmas, it is beautifully executed and definitely draws you in to watch the entire advert without turning over! Very well done M&S!

Debenhams

Debenhams have tried to replicate the success of their 2012 advert with the statement red coat this year, which features two beautiful coats, one male, one female. I find that this is one of the only adverts that is obviously advertising their own brand, which isn’t a bad thing, I just think it is missing something special even though the advert is beautifully shot and edited. The advert contains the singer, Foxes, who has done a slow, Christmassy version of her well known song Youth, but again, it lacks a special Christmas element for me personally!

I must say that all the big players have pulled out all the stops to get in the Christmas spirit, but my favourite advert this year has to be John Lewis’ The Bear & The Hare, there has been so much effort put in to the production and the story is sentimental and has a great Christmas story at the centre of it all! £7million well spent!

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Britain’s most influential tweeters

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I recently read an article published on the Telegraph online, about Britain’s most influential tweeters today. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I am extremely interested in social media and my dissertation topic was how to be classed as influential on Twitter, so this article was right up my street!

There is a huge mix of people on the list, which is constructed of 140 Twitter users. I have a problem with the way the word ‘influential’ is thrown about, when really, I think the word ‘popular’ is more suited to the users in the list. The meaning of the word influence is ‘the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.’ and the meaning of popular is ‘liked or admired by many people or by a particular person or group.’

As you can see, there is a fine line between the two words, and yes, I’m sure the One Direction boys are influential to their fans, but I don’t think they have the power to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour on someone who is not a fan of their music, or them as people.

There is an obvious correlation between popular celebrities today and the most ‘influential’ tweeters today in the article and the top 5 in the following order, are low and behold, One Direction members;

  1. Liam Payne
  2. Harry Styles
  3. Niall Horan
  4. Louis Tomlinson
  5. Zayn Malik

Move down the list to the 7th spot, and you find our Prime Minister, David Cameron. He is meant to be the most ‘influential’ person in our country, as the political leader of the United Kingdom, I find it hard to believe that Liam Payne has more power to influence a group of people than the Prime Minister does.

In the 63rd spot on the list, comes Anne Twist, for those who aren’t die hard fans, that is Harry Styles’ mother. Bringing back the notion of perhaps this list is for popular people, and not influential content that has the power to change the way people behave.

The whole list from 1 through to 140 is constructed from a mixture of people, ranging from politics to vloggers (mentioned in a previous blog post), and I have no issue with this information being formulated in to this article. I just think the word influential should be used in the correct manner, as Harry Styles’ tweeting about his dinner isn’t really ground breaking, thought provoking content is it?

As I found out when writing my dissertation, everyone is influential in some capacity. I am influential to my followers, but I may not be influential to yours. One Direction are influential to their fans, but they are popular on Twitter, and so forth.

To sum this post up, I believe the Telegraph published a list of popular people with a lot of followers, they did not publish a list of Britain’s most influential tweeters like the title would have you believe!

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What is the deal with social media?

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Do we need social media in PR? In short, yes, we really do!

During my final year at university, I chose to write my dissertation on social media and how to be influential to your followers. By choosing this topic, it allowed me to research many different reasons why somebody can be classed as influential on social media, but specifically, Twitter. 

As an up and coming PR professional, I can see where the need for social media comes from. It allows people in this profession to target audiences and markets that were not achievable before. A standard traditional PR campaign that doesn’t involve social media can only reach as many people that you target, whereas by introducing social media, it allows for a much bigger campaign for a much smaller cost.

Before social media, PR executives would have a much bigger work load in order to be able to target the volume of people social media allows. I found through my dissertation research that the pro’s completely outweigh the cons in social media and there are so many more opportunities with social media than without.

This is not to say social media doesn’t hinder our work though, with one little tweet or blog that criticises a brand, it can cause worldwide negative press, which is devastating to a brand. While we are sleeping, someone in Australia can tweet something about a client that we are dealing with, and by the time we have woke up and had time to read in to the situation, we are left with seconds to try and rectify the problem.

All in all, I like to think that social media has revolutionised public relations, and will continue to do so.

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