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.

Hughes PR

How the public consumes news

Did you know that only 6% of Australians now read newspapers as their primary source of news? Or that social media is now the main source of news for Millennials?

The latest Deloitte Media Consumer Survey (access here) contains some fascinating facts about Australia’s changing media consumption habits, including an ongoing shift towards social media and online newspapers.

The research documents the speedy transition from an era of information scarcity to one of abundance (primarily driven by social media platforms, better and cheaper access to high speed internet as well as higher quality smartphones and tablets) to a media landscape which gives consumers much greater access to news than at any other time in history – via the channels they choose.  A consequence of this high-choice environment has been reduced loyalty to any individual news brand.

At Hughes, we saw this coming and over the past five years have adjusted our focus and broadened our expertise and services to meet our clients’ communication needs in this changed environment.

Today, we continue to differentiate ourselves in the market by providing experienced and strategic communications with a focus on results – but with the benefit of a broader range of in-house services than ever before to ensure we tell our clients’ stories where they’ll be read by those we need to reach.  By backing our strategic experience with services including social media delivery, graphic design, digital video and training (for traditional and social media) we are able to maximise and protect our clients’ brands across all media – consistently and cost effectively without our clients needing to brief and manage multiple agencies.

Check out the infographic below (developed by our graphic design team) and contact us if you’d like to discuss the best way for your organisation to communicate effectively to your target audience in the modern media landscape.

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.

Hughes PR

Making the most of your conference sponsorship

Jamie Hershman writes…

Our consulting team has been hungry for knowledge recently, attending a number of conferences.

As well as learning more about digital and social media trends, communication strategies and wider industry and economic futures, they’ve also picked up some tips on how to make the most – or not – of event exhibits or sponsorship!

As a result, we’ve put together a few tips for your next conference sponsorship or exhibition:

Be prepared

When you haven’t exhibited before, it’s easy to get it wrong. Don’t show up on time, only to find out that there are no extension cords and no lighting or seats in your display.

Communicate with the organiser well ahead of the conference to ensure that all the basics will be set up before you arrive, and then make sure you arrive early on the first day to manage the display preparation!

Bring the right people

It’s not just about the physical items needed to put your space together, but having a clear strategy for interacting with your target market.  It should go without saying… but know your audience before you go anywhere, because your strategy will not always be one-size-fits-all.

Make sure you’re sending the right person or people to represent you. Your representatives should always have energy and speak confidently and accurately about your business in a way your target audience will relate to.

Create memories

Whether you’re an industry leader or a start-up, you need to excite attendees. It’s not just about the information you provide, the brochures you hand out or giveaways; it’s about being able to engage and resonate with your audience – in a way that they remember positively, well beyond the event and well ahead of others they’ve met. The most effective way to do this depends on your industry and product, but a simple and effective approach is as easy as ‘show and tell’. Take it a step further and offer trials or personalised experiences. If you’re a technology company, bring something to try out. If you’re a product based company, bring samples. If your services are difficult to explain, show them a video. Telling is great, but showing is even better. 

Continue the conversation

Every conversation needs a plan to follow up that will allow you to build the relationship and ultimately create a new client or positive influencer so make sure you find a way to follow-up – by email, by letter or even better, in person.

While sponsorship and exhibiting is simple on the surface, it’s not to be taken for granted. If you do, you may not create the brand impression you desired, and the conversations and new clients may never eventuate!

Hughes PR

What will PR look like in 2020?

Tim Hughes Writes…

What will public relations look like in the next five years?

I delivered a speech on this topic recently to the South Australian Marketing Summit, with my personal view being that a dominant place in the future marketing mix for the PR sector is ours to lose.

The re-shaped PR industry has the potential to ‘own’ strategic communication and reputation, and that means having significant influence over the work of advertising agencies, marketing agencies and digital agencies – possibly including taking some of their work from them.

I’ve formed this view because:

  • Our profession is trained to get to the point;
  • We are fleet of foot – that’s the nature of news and the nature of issues and crises;
  • We’re story tellers; and
  • We’re about more than marketing and play a key role in brand building. We know how to build and protect reputations.

As we say at Hughes, “we have the power to influence action and opinion”. Others say it in other ways but as an industry we have the ability to do it, and I believe, better than any other component of the marketing mix.

Not that we’re the be-all and end-all of marketing – yet! It’s just that we’re going to play an ever increasing role.

For the PR industry to realise its potential, I see five key areas we need to focus on:

1. Global industry positioning – we must earn the right to own responsibility for organisational reputation, and as part of this we must address the hoary chestnut of our industry: measuring value. As a profession, we haven’t been good at measuring the benefits we provide organisations, but as David Rockland – CEO of Ketchum Global Research & Analytics – said: “If we want a seat at the grown-ups table, we have to earn it via metrics.”

2. Technology – all the technology and social media platforms in the world are just toys – not tools – unless we can measure the significant positive contribution they make to business bottom lines: financial, social and environmental.

3. PR teams – what will PR agencies and in-house communications teams look like in the future? Will we limit ourselves to one geographic market? Will we specialise in an industry with universal needs around the globe? Will we have an office with a bunch of staff in it, or will we be networked to the best (or cheapest) talent the world has to offer, perhaps calling them in on a job by job basis? These are questions we need to answer.

4. PR people – who do we need in our profession in the future? A major part of our role is story telling so those who can do this will continue to be sought, as will those who can proactively identify issues; honestly appraise reputational risks; fearlessly advise on addressing those risks and effectively assist in neutralising or managing them to the benefit of an organisation.

5. Future services – my view is that the PR industry will be delivering the services it’s delivering now, including publicity, reputation management, publications, training, stakeholder relations, social media management, video production and graphic design. But we will have greater control over the strategy that drives them and the way in which they’re integrated with an organisation’s brand building and reputation protection strategy.

As for future trends to keep an eye on:

  • Mobile – we must think mobile and deliver our content to suit;
  • Virtual reality – these devices will soon become mainstream, so similar to mobile devices, we’ll need to deliver our content to suit; and
  • Big data – who owns data collection, interpretation and delivery? Big data is certainly not a toy – it’s a tool – and may require a specialist operator to serve the country’s PR players.

In summary, the PR industry is going to be increasingly responsible for developing and delivering business strategies. Our industry’s influence is set to grow, and while our core role and services won’t change in the immediate future, the tools and how we use them will.

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, video production, graphic design and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Hughes PR, Marketing, Writing

Five tips for beating blog burnout

Jamie Hershman writes…b

It’s fair to say that at one time or another, every blogger reaches burnout.   Check out these handy tips for beating burnout with your company blog.

  1. Find inspiration

One of the keys to successful blogging is a clearly defined niche. We find that knowing what’s happening within the communications / marketing sphere as well as in specific client industries and in current affairs, helps us to create relevant, quality content.  We start by looking at our favourite blogs, reading news sites and examining social media – basically, if it has anything to do with us, our clients or current news, we’re on top of it.

  1. Get personal

Exposing yourself to new opportunities, can go a long way towards keeping you inspired.  We find that regular networking as well as meeting personally with clients and other key stakeholders (rather than just relying on phone, email and social media) is often a great place to find inspiration.

  1. Give yourself a break

Every now and again you will need to take a break. Powering down and rebooting sounds simple enough, but forcing yourself to do it occasionally, can be challenging. Our advice – Just do it! You’ll come back recharged and with a few ideas up your sleeve.

  1. Invite some ‘friends’ to collaborate

Often your followers or friends (your biggest advocates) will have great content, but no platform to publish.  By partnering with them to create a new post it can often be a win-win.

  1. Use the flood to make the drought easier

There are times when you are just ‘on’ and the great content is flowing.  Rather than posting all of it in a huge rush, hold back some of the less time sensitive posts.  These can always be used when your creative reservoir has dried up. Make sure you give them a final edit before posting at a later date – they still need to be authentic and relevant to the time they are posted.

Good luck!