Facebook, Social media, Twitter

Marketing a glass of wine at 8am?! Why social media timing is so important

In the early days of social media, we just posted. Had something to post, and clicked “publish”. It was as easy as that.

Then some things shifted and we came to realise that context surrounding your social media content is just as important as the content itself.

One particular context that a lot of social media community managers still haven’t got quite right is time of day. Although, it’s great to see that changing – more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of choosing the right time of day for their social media posts.

When did I see the light? When a social media account I was particularly interested in tried to espouse the joys of a roast dinner – at 6am. It was so early in the morning that it was a major turn off… I was barely thinking of breakfast food yet, let alone tonight’s dinner.

(This was back in the days of chronological Instagram posts – so it was coming through in real time.)

When it comes to social media content – the “when” is just as important as the “what”. Advertisers learnt this many years ago, with fast food ads starting to hit TV screens at 4pm as we’re thinking about dinner, but for some reason social media has lagged a bit in this area.

You need to ask yourself: when is your target audience online? What sort of things are they doing on a typical day? When will they be most receptive to your message?

There are some great tools available to ensure that we post social media content at the optimal time.

On Facebook, check to see when your page audience is online by clicking “insights” in the top business page menu bar, and then “posts” in the left hand menu. You’ll see a graph showing when your “fans” are online, and scrolling over each day of the week will show the difference day by day.

You can schedule posts in advance on Facebook – instead of clicking “publish”, choose to “schedule” instead. This will allow you to choose a suitable time of day, or day of the week, to post.

To schedule tweets in advance, use a tool such as Hootsuite (free), and to schedule Instagram posts in advance, use a tool such as Schedugram (paid) or draft Instagram posts and then set an alarm in your phone to click “post” on the draft!

Whether it’s posting a gorgeous sunset picture at sunset, marketing alcohol later in the day, or making sure you don’t target mothers of school children during the mad school rush drop off and pick up hours, timing can be everything!

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Digital Media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Social media, Twitter

Including social media as part of your company’s DNA

Icons for the application

Kate Potter writes…

There are many workplaces – especially younger start-ups or tech companies – where social media is seen as a hugely important part of the organisation’s brand. These companies have an organisational culture that ensures social media is at the forefront of every employee’s mind – and desktop!

But what if your organisation sees social media as an afterthought – and you are the lone ranger within the company, flying the social media flag?

All employees don’t have to live and breathe social media the way a marketing or communications manager does, but embedding social media into a company culture is an important step to ensuring that everyone in your organisation at least knows how they can play an important role in your social media presence.

Here’s five suggestions for how you can make the culture change within your company, so before you know it you’ll have Alan from accounts sending you a great idea for a Snapchat campaign.

  1. Ask and you shall receive (specifically!)

Sometimes you can feel like a one-woman-or-man-content-creation-band. You source, hunt, photograph, video and post about company news. But everyone else has their own job to do, so it’s no wonder all of their updates don’t come across your desk.

The key is to proactively email or phone key company stakeholders direct and ask them if they have any ideas for content for your social media channels. But get specific about your questions. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Are there any company milestones coming up?
  • What’s the latest projects you have been working on?
  • Have you been to any interesting industry events lately?
  • Where do you see our industry going at the moment?
  • Can you let me know the three key learnings you took away from yesterday’s conference?
  • What was the highlight of the lunch seminar you attended?
  1. Remind people in emails, meetings and phone calls that you’re always open to receiving content

Do you have regular work in progress meetings? Put social media content on the agenda. Do you email your colleagues weekly or monthly reports? Make sure you include the fact that you would love to hear from anyone who has news or updates. You may feel like a broken record but you might find some gold (or at least get some minds turning over).

This might not be as effective as tip number one – there’s nothing like getting right in front of an individual – but it still is a worthwhile reminder for all your team.

  1. Encourage everyone to be paparazzi

As soon as someone leaves the office for a corporate event – it could be a conference, a breakfast, a lunch, a presentation, a seminar or the opening of an envelope – remind them before they leave to TAKE PHOTOS!

Not everyone is a photographer but encourage them to snap away with their phone camera anyway – you don’t have to use all of them (or any of them!) but at least you have them – and your colleague is reminded that what they see in their everyday can be great social media content.

  1. Report in metrics that matter to them.

Reach, impressions, click throughs, conversions and engagement rates are exciting to me, but they may not mean a lot to my boss. It’s time to report in a language they understand. This might mean comparing Facebook advertising costs and results to other media advertising, or it might mean setting up goal conversions on your Google Analytics so you can point to the tangible.

Ultimately, you need to be able to either report on the return on investment, or you need to be able to communicate that the return on investment isn’t always black and white. (← Language warning on that link.)

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

Cultural change within organisations can be a long, slow process. Social media has been around for a decade but there are still people you may work with who don’t even give it a second thought when they consider company communications.

Be the champion within your workplace, and remember that it might take many reminders for change to happen.

And then one day, the social media shy CEO will send you an incredible photo that he “just happened to catch, out in the field” and you can tell him afterwards that it got the highest reach on your Facebook page, ever, in the history of your Facebook page*.

And you’ll know you’ve got through.

*This actually happened to one of my clients – a very satisfying moment.

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Digital Media, Facebook, Hughes PR, Marketing

Five ways to increase reach to your Facebook audience

Kate Potter writes…

Here are five things you can do today to make sure your content is communicated as effectively and efficiently as possible on Facebook:

1. Upload your videos natively to Facebook, rather than linking to YouTube or Vimeo.

When you upload your video natively, it starts to autoplay when Facebook users are scrolling down their newsfeeds, catching their attention and drawing them in to watch. No clicks required!

2. When uploading a video to Facebook, add subtitles.

Facebook’s autoplay feature plays video without sound. If a Facebook user doesn’t want to activate the sound of the video, make sure you still get your message across by adding subtitles (closed captions) to the video.

3. Use visuals on every post.

Whether it’s a photograph, a video, a slideshow or an image added to a link preview, make sure there is a visual element to your post. A “status update” with no visual, or a link with no visual preview, will not engage users as effectively. If you can’t find a photograph, use a site like LibreStock to find an image or better yet – engage a photographer to create a library for you!

4. Find out when your users are most active online.

Head to the Insights section of your business page and click “posts” on the left hand side of the page. Here you’ll see what time of day your Facebook audience is active on the site – and when you scroll over each day, it will show you the difference day by day. Schedule your Facebook content to coincide with a time when most of your Facebook audience are active. To schedule content in advance, click the dropdown arrow next to “publish” in the update box and choose “schedule” instead of publish.

5. Optimise your graphics for the Facebook experience, particularly mobile users.

Engage a graphic designer to create Facebook-specific graphics promoting products, events and services. By creating Facebook-specific graphics for your organisation’s Facebook page, you are telling your Facebook audience that you are committed to communicating with them in a format that is optimal to their experience.

Hughes can assist you with Facebook strategy and implementation to ensure you’re communicating effectively. Contact us to find out more.

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Digital Media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Social media, Twitter

Can I use this image? You may be breaking the law!

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“Can I use this image?” I have heard this question more times in the last few months than ever before – people are now starting to realise that there are copyright laws attributed to content (including images) on their social media platforms.

By sharing images on social media platforms, you may be breaking Australian copyright law.

The golden rule is simple – If you didn’t create the image, and you’re not aware of the copyright license the creator of the image attributed to their work – don’t use it and don’t share it.

Copyright law is complicated. Plus, copyright laws vary from country to country. It’s no wonder that many people using social media are unaware of their responsibilities regarding copyright.

If you’re a social media community manager and you want to use images, you need to own the image that you are using – or make sure you completely understand the license conditions of the image. Taking an image from Google won’t always be acceptable under copyright law – even if you credit it – because you need to know the copyright license conditions of the image.

So, what can you use? When advising clients, I inform them of the following options:

  • Use an image that you have taken yourself, or that someone you know has taken, who has provided you with their permission to use the image;
  • Use an image that your company has paid for (eg commissioning a photographer), ensuring that the photographer has granted rights for your company to use the images on social media;
  • Pay for a stock image (from a website such as http://www.istockphoto.com/);
  • Use an image that is free for you to use under a creative commons license (from a website such as https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ – check out the different licenses available);
  • OR use an image that is deemed “no copyright” and the creator of the image has specifically said that they waive their rights to the work (such as the images on  http://unsplash.com/ or http://www.freeimages.com).

Google Image Search now also offers advanced tools to help you identify which images are free to use or share – click here for more details.

Remember, if you have specific questions about copyright you should seek the advice of an expert. A good place to start is http://www.copyright.com.au/ or speak to a copyright lawyer. And as always, copyright law is subject to change. So the next time you ask “can I use this image?” remember the golden rule – If you didn’t create the image, and you’re not aware of the copyright license the creator of the image attributed to their work – don’t use it and don’t share it.

Hughes Public Relations, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a communications and PR consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Facebook, Hughes PR, Public relations, Social media, Twitter, Writing

OMG! Using exclamation marks for maximum impact

Kate Potter writes…

Cut out all those exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own jokes.exclamation mark
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

There’s a long running joke that public relations consultants use exclamation marks too much. And it’s true! They sneak into news releases (albeit, usually as part of a spokesperson’s quote rather than as part of the hard facts up front), are sprinkled throughout emails, hugely prevalent in text messages, and nowhere is more exclamation mark rich than social media accounts.

It’s time to slow down and think about whether your message really needs an exclamation mark.

I saw a Twitter account recently – a member of an industry not known for its exclamation marked communication style – and every single tweet included that little joyous punctuation mark.

It didn’t suit the organisation’s brand and style, and gave the Twitter account an unintentionally humorous angle – every Tweet, often communicating serious or routine news, was a celebration.

Now, those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. It’s often difficult to hold yourself back from using exclamation points when writing conversational, casual social media posts.

So let this be a memo to myself as it is to everyone else: relax!  Not every communication needs an exclamation point! (I am a culprit here. Big time.)

Deborah Gaines, in an article for PR Daily, points out the need for balance.

“People who get excited about every little thing are perceived as flighty and unprofessional, and those who never show sparks seem dull and plodding.”

So, this is not a call to end the use exclamation points. Instead, ask yourself:

  • Is this message exciting to the target audience? (Rather than: is this news exciting to me / my organisation?)
  • Is this message emotional?
  • Is this message surprising?
  • Where else in the communication have I used exclamation marks? (Choose the most exclamation mark-worthy message and stick with that, rather than every message.)
  • Is the style of the communication more conversational and casual, or is it more corporate and formal?
  • What is the “personality” and “voice” of the organisation I am communicating on behalf of?
  • Do I need one exclamation mark or two or three or four? (Hint: unless you are sending a personal email or text message to your friends, the answer to this one is “one”. Always one!)

In another great article from PR Daily, Laura Hale Brockway reminds us of the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine breaks up with her boyfriend over his failure to use an exclamation mark. So perhaps don’t let your eschewing of the exclamation mark go too far!

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Digital Media, Facebook, Hughes PR, Social media, Twitter

Timehop – letting me relive my social media brilliance

Kate Potter writes…

About 18 months ago, I signed up to a little service called Timehop. First available as an email service and now available as an iPhone app, Timehop allows you to travel back in time – reliving your online life!

Timehop – originally called 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo – allows you to look back on this day one year ago on social media. But it doesn’t just stop there – it gives you two years ago, three years ago… even “on this day” six years ago!

It shows your Tweets, your Facebook posts, your Foursquare check-ins, Instagram posts and Flickr uploads from this day in social media history.

I find it absolutely fascinating. I relive funny links, interesting posts, personal thoughts and fantastic photos.

Interestingly, Timehop makes me want to use social media more. In particular, I have been prompted to use Foursquare much more thanks to my Timehop experience, and I love adding photos to my Foursquare check-ins. When I signed up to Timehop my Instagram use had also fallen by the wayside a bit. I was encouraged to use Instagram a bit more thanks to Timehop and many months later, it’s now my favourite and go-to social media network.

I’d love to see Timehop link in with other social “apps” like Nike+ or RunKeeper (this day in your fitness history!), and blogging platforms like Tumblr or WordPress. YouTube might be fun too – what were you watching on this day one year ago?

The downside? You need a Facebook account in order to sign up. If you’re a die-hard Twitter / Instagram / Flickr user but you don’t have a Facebook account, then Timehop doesn’t accommodate you.

If you’re an iPhone user, give Timehop a try and be entertained by your past social media self. It’s like a time capsule for the digital age!

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Digital Media, Facebook, Social media, YouTube

You don’t have to be a twit to use digital media

The juggernaut that is social media has created a myriad of communication opportunities for businesses globally.

Leading sites Facebook and Twitter have both become vehicles used to share and deliver information. But multimedia opportunities such as YouTube, weblogs and websites coupled with online video are now emerging as the major player in this new world of internet marketing and communication.

Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube, with over four billion hours of video viewed each month. In addition, 72 hours of video are posted online every minute – and you can bet that businesses are taking over as the predominant contributors.Youtube

Why? These days, it’s simply not enough to create a relationship through text. Shareholders, investors and consumers want to see and hear who and what is behind the organization they may be considering investing in or the product or service they are buying into.

Research shows that after viewing an online video advertisement, about 46% of viewers take some sort of action – whether it’s visiting the company’s website, requesting additional information or purchasing a product or service. As a result, it is expected that approximately $4.3 billion annually will be spent thanks to businesses taking advantage of online video.

The power that social media and online video communication has to influence people can be an exciting yet scary concept, particularly for smaller players.

Social media and online video are both powerful ways to promote your organization, its prospects and its achievements. These platforms can also be used to discuss more in-depth facets of the company such as the background or potential of a new project through to employment opportunities and community service initiatives.

The benefits of promoting your organisation via social media are two-fold. Not only do you reap the obvious rewards of heightened awareness, but you can also test your investment by monitoring exactly who and how many people you are reaching through social media monitoring systems designed to automatically analyse every hit or mention your page/account receives. This provides you with audience insight not only for your business, but also your competitors’ businesses.

In order to make the most of social media, post impressive and insightful photos, and create online videos that showcase your organisation and staff. We live in an age where images are in high demand, and fantastic imagery has come out of the industry.

Another visual opportunity lies in shareholder presentations and annual reports, which can be particularly dry reading for stakeholders. A video annual report lends itself to footage of the action as it’s being discussed.

There are production companies that deal specifically in online video and DVD creation, but if the concept of burning a hole in your company’s finances has you heading for the door, don’t worry. Online video need not be a huge investment.

Online video can actually be simple, cost-effective and push the message you want to get across to the people you want to reach, and communication consultancies are now offering in-house production for a fraction of the cost that might once have been incurred by using specialist film production houses or even advertising agencies.

Social media and online video will increasingly grow in importance for businesses – big and small – but whatever you do ensure its part of a well-considered strategy – because once something’s online, it’s there for everyone to see.

Hughes Public Relations is an Adelaide-based communication management consultancy that offers social media services and online video production. Visit www.hughespr.com.au

View some of our recent videos on the Hughes PR YouTube Channel.

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