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, 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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Hughes PR, Public relations, Social media, Twitter

Twitter strategy brings cheer to Cellar Door Wine Festival

This article originally appeared in The Advertiser on 20 March 2012.

Cellar Door Wine Festival Twitter wall. Photo by Simon Casson

Cellar Door Wine Festival Twitter wall. Photo by Simon Casson

SOCIAL media strategies for a wine festival made it a top 10-trending tweet in Adelaide for a weekend.

Hughes PR analysis of the festival held last month showed its dedicated hashtag, #cdwf, and username @cellardoorfest were used in almost 1500 separate tweets during the event.

Digital and media consultant Kate Potter said the agency calculated that event publicity reached more than 98,000 people on Twitter and created more than one million impressions.

Ms Potter said the figures were boosted by the Convention Centre marketing team installing a giant projection screen to create a Twitter wall at the event that showed tweets in a rolling feed.

“You could see it from anywhere at the event so that whenever people mentioned the cellar door handle or hashtag their tweet would come up on the Twitter wall,” Ms Potter said.

“It created this huge traffic at the festival and then to all of the followers of those tweeting.”

The carefully orchestrated digital and media strategy started with a specific hashtag being chosen for the event so it had a clear Twitter and Facebook conversation that could be followed.

Ms Potter said after this, each winery involved with the event was contacted to ensure it used that specific hashtag when tweeting about the event.

This included about 90 of the 150 wineries involved who were already on Twitter.

The next prong in the marketing approach was to invite recognised social media “influencers” to the launch, those who have large followings and those who were well-known wine bloggers.

“We needed the initial boost from wineries and social media influencers to push the hashtag to the top of the Adelaide Twitter conversation,” Ms Potter said.

There was also a dedicated website and a Facebook site.

The convention centre used the Facebook site to run competitions and it provided an avenue for social pictures of the event so people could tag themselves and share the photographs.

“People could also go onto Facebook and ask for information or provide feedback,” Ms Potter said.

The same hype is being created around other big events during March with Ms Potter saying at various venues around town there were constant tweets to follow, helping festival or fringe visitors choose their next event.

“At Womadelaide you could see a tweet from someone saying they had just sat down and the artist was awesome … there was a big conversation happening in real time,” Ms Potter said.

“For these events it’s word of mouth, when you hear something is awesome from one person and then another you think `they must be awesome’ and you go across to that stage.”

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Digital Media, Hughes PR, Marketing, Pinterest, Social media, Twitter

Are you Pinterested?

Natalie Ciccocioppo writes… 

Pinterest: it’s the new black of the social media world.

With over 11 million unique visitors per month, Pinterest became the fastest standalone website in history to generate more than 10 million page views per month.

The estimated unique visitors to Pinterest.com increased by 429 percent over a three month period from September to December 2011.

And did you know measurement data has shown that last month Pinterest drove more traffic to online publishers than Twitter?

So, what’s Pinterest all about?

Pinterest describes itself as ‘a virtual pinboard’,

“Pinterest allows you to organise and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

Like Twitter, people can ‘follow’ users on Pinterest. Pinterest users create boards, and bookmark, or ‘pin’ the content that they like to those boards.

From a user perspective, Pinterest can be a particularly useful bookmarking tool to gather ideas, for example, when planning an event big or small, a holiday or a craft or home decorating project.

You can ‘pin’ images of a particular style or fashion era that interests you, your dream car, or it might even be the place you find the dish that will impress your friends at your next dinner party.

As it continues to grow, increasingly more and more brands are recognising the opportunities that the platform presents and embracing all things Pinterest. Pinterest provides a platform for brands to engage with followers and build brand awareness and identity, while not necessarily being a direct sales tool.

International companies that have recently established a Pinterest presence include designer brand Kate Spade New York.

On Pinterest, Kate Spade New York is engaging with its followers by sharing imagery that appeals to them, all while remaining true to their design aesthetic and Kate Spade’s fun and playful brand personality. Kate Spade’s VP/eCommerce Johanna Murphy talked about using Pinterest in this Business Insider piece.

Just last week, Tourism Australia became one of the first major Australian brands to launch a presence on the popular site and at the time of writing had over 400 followers. A spokesperson explained their motivations behind this decision in this recent Mumbrella article.

There’s little doubt that the statistics are impressive and Pinterest can be an effective online marketing tool but before brands decide to start pinning, it’s important to assess whether Pinterest is a good fit with an overall communications and digital media strategy.

Does Pinterest tie in to your communications objectives? Does Pinterest fit in with your brand personality? Are your key demographics using Pinterest? What sort of content would you share? These are all questions that should be addressed before a presence is established.

Questions have also been raised about Pinterest and copyright. Last month, attorney and photographer Kirsten Kowalski made the decision to delete her Pinterest inspiration boards due to concerns of copyright infringement in pinning other people’s work.

It’s definitely one to watch – things could get very pinteresting!

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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