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

The digital playground – when does expressing an opinion become cyberbullying?

Belinda Scott writes…

Firstly, this is not a blog post about a personal stance on the Goodes debate currently dominating TV discussions, talk back radio and social media platforms. As a professional Digital Consultant it’s simply an observation from a bird’s-eye view of some rather heated conversations unfolding online.

Everyone has the right to an opinion whether face-to-face, writing a letter to the editor or sharing a news article on a personal Facebook page. Since the evolution of the internet, we are now able to share images / videos or post a comment on hot topics much more easily, frequently and to a larger audience, joining online communities who share a similar view.

On the flip side, perhaps having a digital playground to passionately vent about issues (often fueled by the media) with other like-minded people enables some people to behave in a manner they would not normally engage with in real life.

The online community has a powerful voice and provides a listening tool into the heart of the community, often forcing the hand of brands to actively respond to their concerns and provide a solution.

We all have those ‘usual suspects’ Facebook friends who pop their head up online whenever an issue unfolds but would they be so vocal in person?

Again, everyone has the right to their opinion but this is a timely reminder that what you share on your personal social media accounts could also be perceived as the opinion of your employer. Most recently, I witnessed a heated conversation between two fans on a business Facebook page with one of the participants threatening to send an email to their employer about their aggressive online behaviour. Suddenly, silence.

Remember, you are communicating on a public platform and what you say can be seen by a lot of people and shared vastly. Sometimes it’s wise to take a pause before posting, the outcome might be different.

Common human decency tells us to be kind to strangers and the same manners should be applied to online discussions. Be respectful and polite.

Posting mean, hurtful and threatening comments is cyberbullying and can have detrimental effects on all parties involved. To find out more about cyberbullying, visit (

Don’t be a poor sport, play nicely.

Does your organisation have a staff social media policy in place? It’s an important tool that can protect your brand, employees and most importantly, the organisation’s reputation in a time of crisis.

Hughes PR

The blurred line

Jamie Hershman writes…

If you thought the boundary between advertising, digital and PR agencies was well defined, think again.

In the last few months Hughes has developed three client websites, shot more than 20 videos, created the social media strategy and tactics for two national consumer focused organisations and written, designed and print managed the production of three magazines, an annual report and a share market prospectus – all in-house!

None of these activities would be defined as traditional PR, but with a growing team that is as comfortable with a media release as they are with design and video production, our consultancy is being asked on a daily basis to cross the divide into the traditional advertising and digital agency space.

As a result of our own experience, we commissioned research from the University of South Australia.

In an in-depth analysis of current marketing and communications trends across a range of local industries we discovered the gap between public relations and advertising is closing, with businesses trusting their PR consultancies with the majority of their communication activities – even those that were once traditionally aligned with advertising or digital agencies.

As the digital world has evolved, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need for timely, credible, conversational, engaging communication delivery – the type of delivery for which public relations is known.

Key findings from the research included:

  • 50% + of SA businesses manage their communications needs via a combination of internal staff and external consultancies
  • SA marketers see PR as best placed to manage approximately 70% of the marketing mix
  • SA budgets are reflecting this support for PR with the PR spend now commanding 28% of total marketing budgets compared to just 16% five years ago.

How does your organisation manage its marketing and communication and which agencies/consultancies do you utilise to meet your communication objectives?

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.

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 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.

Digital Media, Hughes PR, Media, Public relations

20 years ago today…

Tim Hughes writes…

“It was 20 years ago today …” So go the lyrics to the Beatles song “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

The Beatles at a press conference

Twenty years on from establishing Hughes Public Relations, there are few practicing public relations professionals who would ever have known those words, let alone remember them. Similarly, they wouldn’t remember type-writers, teletext machines, and our industry’s reliance on couriers to deliver urgent news releases to clients for approval – and to media for coverage.

A lot has changed – for the better.

Over the past 20 years, I have seen the widespread adoption of mobile phones and mobile technologies (I look back and laugh at the brick phone I invested in when I started the consultancy in 1992!); the advent of the internet; the establishment of email as the instant global communication tool; the emergence of digital media including social media, citizen journalism and the delivery of instant, global news to our fingertips 24/7.

New technologies have brought many opportunities to the public relations profession. We have been able to lift our sights geographically and look after our clients’ global needs from one location; we can reach media around the world at the touch of a button; and demand for our services as ‘brand managers’ as a result of the instant transmission of news, the rapid escalation of issues and their exponential global spread has led to our services being more highly valued by business and government.

New technologies have also brought challenges. In 1992, I personally knew most of the journalists I dealt with; our clients’ marketplace lay largely within 20 kilometres of the office; and most just wanted to see themselves in the Adelaide media. Today, we are charged with delivering communication support to clients around the world; reaching audiences  who today don’t read newspapers, listen to radio or watch free to air TV but who instead glean their information and entertainment from the web, through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and a myriad of special interest blogs and apps on their mobile phones and iPads.

The new global landscape has also placed far heavier responsibilities on the shoulders of professional communicators. Today, we are charged with managing the reputation (and value) of global brands in an unforgiving environment where instantly available information (or mis-information) can have a multi-million dollar positive or negative impact on the value of shares or sales.

Twenty years on, the fundamentals of business communication haven’t changed.

  • Reputation (or brand) is vitally important to organisational success;
  • Honesty (as opposed to “spin”), delivery of the “promise”, and transparency remain fundamental to a positive reputation;
  • Effective communication strategies (tied irrevocably to business strategy) – and their timely delivery – are essential tools in promoting and protecting ‘brands’ in an increasingly crowded, competitive and ‘fickle’ global market.

Today, however, developing and delivering these strategies is far more complex – and that’s where experience counts.

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

Crisis management, Hughes PR, Media, Media training, Public relations, Social media, Twitter

Truth, lies and aeroplanes

by Mark Williams

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Merry CrisisWhy do so many companies invest significant time and money on risk management strategies, yet overlook the fact that media-driven public perception, factual or otherwise, can destroy a company’s reputation in the time it takes to type a Twitter message?

Case in point:  On November 4, 2010, an engine on a Sydney-bound Qantas A380 exploded over Indonesia.  The aircraft returned to Singapore and landed safely.  Qantas’ crisis management team swung into action.  It had a written media statement out within half an hour of knowing about the incident, and the company fronted a packed media conference a short time later.

But it wasn’t ready for social media.

Within minutes of the incident, Twitter messages from Indonesia’s Batam Island carried photographs of Qantas engine parts, media speculated the A380 had crashed, and social media followers around the world wore out the ‘Retweet’ button on their phones.

Incredibly, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce admitted the first he knew the media were incorrectly reporting the plane had crashed was when the company’s share price started to collapse.

Now if a company like Qantas, which had a detailed crisis communication strategy in place, can still be caught off guard, imagine the impact on a business that has no such plan in place.

A common company refrain to having a crisis management strategy is “We’ll call you if we have a crisis.”  That’s like saying “We’ll buy fire insurance if we see smoke.”  It’s too late.

It doesn’t matter if the information being posted online and/or picked up by the media about your company is fact or fiction.  If you don’t have a strategy in place that allows you to respond – and quickly – media will run with whatever information it can find.  It may be comments from members of the public, claims by your competitors or an off-the-cuff remark by one of your own employees.

A client recently referred to the Latin phrase ‘Semper Paratus’, which means ‘Always Ready’.  If you were once a Scout, you would no doubt still remember the motto ‘Be Prepared’.

In today’s globalised online society, it can be extremely difficult to counter pretty much anyone around the world with an opinion and an iPhone.  It’s even harder if you’re not ‘always ready’ with a strategy in place to deal with it.

And if you think this is just a new social media-driven phenomenon, think again. The quote at the start of this article was not written by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, but by Mark Twain* in the mid 19th Century.

*This in itself may be a lie.  While the quote is widely attributed to Mark Twain, it may in fact have been first sermonised by a British clergyman named Charles Spurgeon.

– Mark Williams

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.

Hughes PR, Public relations

Walking the tightrope of healthcare communications

The healthcare industry is big business

Simon Hatcher writes…

Today, we’re looking at the use of public relations by the healthcare industry, and how it can be highly effective if used well, and how it can quickly backfire if used badly.

The healthcare industry sector forms a significant part of the Australian economy. Spending on healthcare equates to more than 65 billion dollars per annum, which equals 10 percent of Australia’s gross domestic product across the public and private sectors – so it’s big business.

Like most industries, healthcare has many competing interests, with industry and peak bodies, health funds, pharmaceutical companies and many others all working hard to get their message out and shape the healthcare debate.

Some of the most successful exponents of healthcare communications have been the not for profits and peak bodies. The Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon Day and SIDS and Kids Red Nose Day are good examples.

Both campaigns have communicated an important message and changed behaviour but also given opportunities for people to have fun and engage with the organisations.

In the case of Pink Ribbon Day, a heightened awareness has been created among Australian women of the need for regular mammograms. The SIDS and Kids Red Nose Day has given the organisation a platform to communicate its Safe Sleeping message and this has significantly reduced Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) related deaths by changing the way parents put their young child to sleep.

They’re also similar in the fact that their message is based on peer reviewed scientific and clinical research and therefore highly

Both campaigns have saved lives and public relations had a major role to play.

Good healthcare communication requires sound ethics and some organisations in this sector have come unstuck with their tactics.

Pharmaceutical companies for example have been particularly aggressive with their public relations, in part because they’re legally
restricted from advertising, and the third party endorsement that comes from public relations is highly valuable.

Profit versus ethics

In some cases, pharmaceutical companies have established and funded their own advocacy groups, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars entertaining medical specialists, and even targeted influential academics to act as authors, draft articles, and ensure that these articles include clearly-defined branding messages and appear in the most prestigious journals.

These tactics have been closely scrutinised by the media and put the organisations involved on the back foot. Instead of proactively and positively communicating their message, they find themselves in crisis management mode.

Credibility remains a significant issue in healthcare public relations and campaigns and announcements need to be based on sound research, delivered by credible spokespeople and maintain a respect for the audience and media.

Upholding ethics is key to all healthcare communications. Healthcare organisations need to focus their communications efforts on building trust with their stakeholders over the long term and avoid chasing quick results, an approach that risks putting their reputations in danger.

Healthcare public relations and communications have the power to improve the public’s health, and even save lives.

Therefore, they carry with it a degree of corporate and social responsibility that should be taken seriously.

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.