Tag Archives: Rules

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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Planning – is it important?

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In PR terms, yes, planning is exceptionally important. It is a perfectly good question to ask though, but the answer to ‘why plan?’ has various different answers. My answer would be to apply some order and organisation to the task in hand. I’m a person who likes to know when I’m doing something and how I’m going to do it. Whether that is in work life, or simply organising a night out with friends!

Planning applies to everything, in most, if not all professions. Whether it is to complete campaigns lasting numerous years, or simple activities such as an event or new publication. Overall, planning is important!

So, here are some different answers to the question:

  • Focuses Effort

It allows you to see what is necessary and what is not when planning PR efforts. It allows you to work on the right things apposed to wasting your time on things that won’t have any real beneficial outcomes. There is a distinct difference to working hard and working smart.

  • Improves Effectiveness

Working on the right things will have a much more valuable overall effect on your workload. Time and money will be saved, thus allowing you to allocate more budget and work hours to bigger tasks. Working to planned objectives gives targets to aim for, a sense of achievement when they are reached and effective benchmarks for measurement.

  • Encourages the Long-Term View

All tasks that you carry out tend to be more successful if you look at the long-term view. If you know what is going to happen if you carry out a specific task, it is easier to predict its success. It helps to produce a structured programme to meet future and current needs of the organisation.

  • Demonstrates Value For Money

Budgeting is extremely important in any business, and even more so in Public Relations as some budgets may be quite small, but the outcome needs to be similar to those campaigns of a huge budget. Planning allows you to be realistic with what is necessary and what isn’t.

  • Minimise Mishaps

Planning allows you to consider different scenarios and the outcomes, which in turn allows you to see which is better suited to the task in hand. It also allows you to consider all the possible problems and issues you could potentially face and put contingency plans in to place in case things do go wrong.

  • Reconciles Conflict

Planning allows for conflict to be rectified sooner rather then later. When working in a team of PR practitioners, there are bound to be conflicts of interest and ideas. This stage allows practitioners to confront these issues and come to some resolution that benefits the campaign.

  • Facilitates Proactivity

It allows practitioners to set their own agenda, which is extremely important. PR is known for reacting to media demands or crisis management but it is also about realising what is important and what is not.

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Golden rules of objective setting

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Every PR practitioner knows that setting objectives is a huge part of planning PR campaign, and if you get this crucial stage wrong, it could be detrimental to the success of the entire campaign.

According to Anne Gregory, in her book, published in 2010, Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns, there are a list of golden rules of objective settings that PR practitioners should take in to account to make sure the objectives are clear and relative to the overall goals.

1. Ally to organisational objectives

In other words, the overall objectives should combine with the overall objectives of the company or client you are working for. If the campaign doesn’t abide with the objectives of the company, it will do more harm than good and wouldn’t be beneficial to your client. A PR campaign should always support the overall objectives so as to not waste anybodies time.

2. Set public relations objectives

It is incredibly important to set objectives that are achievable, this way, as a PR practitioner, you can be safe in the knowledge you can deliver to your client efficiently and achieve what you set out to do. It is important not to promise results that are outside of the control of PR practitioner’s.

3. Link to aims

All objectives should clearly support the aims so they contribute to their fulfilment.

4. Be linked to specific publics

There is no point stating that the people you are aiming the campaign at the ‘general public’ … that could be just about anybody! Ensure you link your objectives at a particular group of people such as ‘people ages 20 – 30’ or ‘people who are employed’ etc.

5. Be outcome focused

Ensure you differentiate the outcome objectives from the process objectives. It is easy to state how many brochures or surveys are being distributed, but it is crucial to have objectives to how the overall outcome is going to happen and how you want it to happen.

6. Research based

It is incredibly important to ensure that all objectives have a research based so you can prove why and how the objectives should be successful. If prior research shows that 30% of the public act in a certain way, it is acceptable to say the campaign will increase that percentage to 50%. However, if you do not know if 30% of the public act a certain way, and you set a 50% target based on no research, it could be very dangerous.

7. Be singular

Ensure you focus on the separate steps to meet the aims of the campaign. Objectives will eventually be evaluated, so objectives with multiple steps are difficult to evaluate.

8. Be precise and specific

It is not good enough to say your campaign is going to create awareness, that is an obvious statement to make. You need to ensure you say who you are going to make aware of your campaign, where, why, when and how. This needs to be incredibly obvious to people looking at and consuming the campaigns efforts.

9. Do what is achievable

There is no point setting objectives you feel aren’t attainable. This doesn’t benefit anybody, your client will be unhappy with the outcome and your reputation will be damaged. If you are ever unsure of the outcomes of ideas, pre-test them!

10. Work to a timescale

This is one of the most important things for a PR practitioner to prioritise at the beginning of a PR campaign. It is better to be explicit about the timescale in order for realist results to be delivered. Allow for the worst and that allows for back up plans to be put in to place with as little stress as possible!

These 10 rules have helped me understand what is important in planning a PR campaign, and shown me that the objectives stage is incredibly important. I have been able to nip bad habit’s in the bud in terms of terminology such as saying the ‘general public’, which I would have done if I didn’t know these rules of objective settings!

I hope this helps any readers!

 

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