Tag Archives: Social Media

Video is the Future

I recently attended a video creation and distribution workshop looking at how good content is created and then distributed to different news agencies around the world for use on their online sites, their stations or in their papers – and across social media channels. It was interesting as it highlighted what we do already know but sometimes may forget, how important effective and interesting content is and secondly, how important video is to selling a news item in today’s world.

As news outlets are becoming more and more digital, and there is a bigger focus on online content, it is no surprise that videos are becoming a more effective way of pushing news out. However, making sure your content is effective, engaging and draws in the attention of your target audiences is crucial and certainly tricky to get right.

However, brands are creating videos and those who are fast-moving are even creating their own media rooms which store own-produced content for media to access and download. Resulting in marketers  working more closely with content production teams to produce interesting and news worthy materials.

Understanding exactly what will work for the journalist and your target publications, however, is the most important part. Brands need to make sure they focus on the ‘news’ story and not publish a video which is too ‘marketing’ or advertised focused. If you are not targeting the media, then understand what will gain the attention of your social media audiences for example. From this, attention must be given when using banding in the video, as this will ultimately affect the pick up your videos receive.

Below is a great example of creating an engaging and provoking video which worked well to capture the audiences imagination and attract attention towards the product:

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/culture/video/2015/jan/28/polar-bear-tube-london-fortitude-sky-atlantic-video

polarbear2701hA life-sized polar bear is spotted in London, roaming the streets and riding the tube. The 8-foot-long male, controlled by two puppeteers inside, is part of a promotion for Sky Atlantic’s new Arctic crime drama Fortitude.

Another recent example is the Danny Cipriani ‘Welcome Back to Milk’ campaign video… A simple concept, product and ambassador endorsement, but very well delivered in terms of the video creation. One thing is for sure, the video got a lot of pick up in the media landscape and buzz on social channels.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-3009924/Danny-Cipriani-fronts-Welcome-Milk-campaign-following-strong-Six-Nations-showings-England.html

26F46A2A00000578-3009924-England_rugby_star_Danny_Cipriani_promotes_the_Welcome_Back_to_M-a-18_1427271919045However, once you do get this right, the viewing rate of a video press release or piece of video content can be over 50% higher (source: reelseo) than a release without a video and it helps your brand be at the forefront of the industry and establish a higher rate of share-ability.

Surely this all makes it worth it? I think 2015 will see some swift advancements in video production as equipment becomes more accessible, for example the Go Pro and organisations see the importance of video to make cut through for brands and organisations.

Headline image: University of Warwick

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2015 is the year for Snapchat

Each year there are always expectations and research conducted into  which social media app will be the one to watch for brand campaigns. This year, if you haven’t heard of Snapchat, then make sure you sign up and understand what the craze is all about.

snapchat-logoFor brands and organisations which target 14 to 28 year olds – Snapchat is going to be a tool to take seriously when planning communication strategy.

Below – According to Business Insider, Nearly Half of Americans aged 12 to 24 have used Snapchat.

snapchat-growthThe app is developing new features quickly from being a platform where you can send a single image which is displayed for only a certain period of time (seconds), to been able to chat one on one, send videos, edit and scribble.  New developments have now introduced the new story features which are quickly becoming one of the most popular elements of the app.

The new ‘My Story’ feature is attracting over 1 billion views a day and is an exciting element for brands, events and organisations to explore.

There is the opportunity to create a featured video which is a combination of videos or images which will sit on friends timelines and offers brands the perfect chance to advertise to a targeted market. However, the creation needs to be extremely relevant to drive impressions as the Snapchat market is hard to engage with so this takes careful planning and execution.

A new feature and diversion of the app which has just been introduced is called ‘Our Story‘. I have seen many apps trying to create a similar idea however, it requires an app  platform which has very  high user engagement, especially between groups of friends, to make it work. The new element allows friends to create an ‘our story’ group where they can all input their videos and images to create a combined event combination. This is perfect for brands and organisations who focus on or deal with events or festivals. One thing to consider is that the app works on wi-fi geofence to collate the uploads so good connection is crucial. From this, brands can also create their own sponsored Our Story piece to drive engagement and promotion.

Watch the below video to understand:

 

Also, if you are an entertainment or media brand, make sure you check out the new Discover element of Snapchat. Young and creative news agencies or platforms such as lifestyle magazines are jumping on board to incorporate Snapchat into their digital strategy. The feature allows you to send news information which remains visible for 24 hours before disappearing and updating.

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a BIG year Snapchat.

Let’s Focus on 2013

Check out my recent blog on Hatch Communications Blog, or read below! Let me know what you think.

…Well, what a year 2012 was! It was bursting full of big events with the Jubilee and the Olympics certainly dominating the media platform and keeping us PR professionals very busy.

Is 2013 missing that crucial event? Or is being ‘Olympics-free’ more liberating for PR’s? We think it will open the doors to new communications strategies and campaigns and with this freedom, it lets PR’s forge their own narrative. It will however be a difficult task, especially with the economic climate still on tenter hooks and the lack of a major events for brands to link into. It will also be a tasking job to generate the nation’s sentiment but, with the right tactics, brands and PR’s can hit those headlines.

With big events lacking during 2013, us PR and Comm’s professionals can focus our time on growing themes and technologies which are continuing to quickly develop, such as the increased use of mobile marketing. For brands, this has not only created another platform for communication, it has also increased the importance for them to have updated websites and creatively-targeted campaigns – the multi-channel opportunity is more important than ever! It also means that consumers are available for experimental activity from brands at any time of the day and any location – leaving open another avenue for PR’s to explore.

As the traditional press continue to be the subject of increasingly major changes structurally and reductions in resources, journalists are becoming more targeted with what they print in order to help their publication survive the unstable environment. A landscape very unfamiliar to the years where brands messages could be seen in the forefront of major PR stories.

On the other hand, consumers are becoming more and more savvy with brands and diluting messages they don’t want to see or hear. They are also becoming increasingly interested in what goes on behind the scenes of major brands and with the access to self-publishing through social media channels this is much easier. Consumers are also pushing brands to become even more transparent than first expected. This generates challenges and new opportunities for PR professionals, as brands can now interact even more closely with their fans and audiences. If done correctly using mirco-targeted campaigns then this can open doors for great PR campaigns.

PR’s mustn’t also forget that stakeholders need to be taken into account even more in 2013, as more and more realise how their financial concerns are affected by people’s perceptions. It is not something which can be easily tamed, and if a corporate reputation is not managed well it can be a dangerous environment to deal with.

So whatever 2013 brings to us in terms of the media environment to major national events, the PR industry certainly has many opportunities to cut through and make an impact for their brands. Keeping on top of new trends is just one job for the year ahead!

Can a viral video stop a killer?

Invisible Children charity have produced a video which has been watched nealy 74m times. The Hollywood-type video has been created to highlight African warlord Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) guerilla group and his rebellion and criminal activity against humanity.

Although the charity has received backlash for the amount of money spent on the video, the video has seen Twitter takeover and one of the fastest ever YouTube take-offs ever known.

The video has certainly gone viral, and has caught the attention of the world! With the hope of lobbying and pushing the arrest of Kony, Hollywood celebs such as Angelina Jolie have shown their support for the campaign. And according to a recent report on the Guardian website, “The group raised $5m (£3.2m) in just 48 hours after uploading the film, which makes an explicit call for contributions. What will happen to those funds is unclear: financial statements for Invisible Children show that only 32% of the $8.6m it raised last year went to services in northern Uganda.”

The campaign certainly shows the power of social media in creating attention, drawing people in, shouting out… but we shall see what power social media has in creating change and actions. The world is a changed place, so the question we are all asking is, can a viral video stop a killer?!

I’m sure you will have already seen the video, but if not then watch it here:

*Image from Google Images

2012 Predictions: The World of PR

The world of PR has changed drastically from when some of my team started out in their careers… some remember when press releases were printed and posted out, when the telephone was the only way to communicate with journalists and when the main stream media was the only medium to target. Well, I’m sure you have noticed that things are vastly different now and year on year, elements of PR change – so I have pulled together a quick over view of what could be the main changes in 2012.

Pitching will get stronger

At Hatch (my work), we are constantly reviewing how we speak to journalists about our client’s stories, we must keep things new, fresh, news worthy and relevant to the current market. This is becoming more important than ever, as main stream media has seen many cuts to their publications from staffing to distribution, as exemplified by the Liverpool Post changing from a daily to a weekly publication. It’s very important for PR’s to keep up to date with all the changes in the media world.

Social media will increase in strength

It is already apparent how social media has changed the role of ‘influencers’, and how consumers now practice on a new platform to air their views, concerns and delights. This medium is fantastic for PR’s to utilise in their work for brands, however it is also a concern in terms of crisis management – as bad news travels even faster, therefore enhancing the need for brands to have PR support!

Who owns social media?

The debate surrounding who social media belongs to will continue to shine. It is predicted by the Hatchlings that social media and the world of online communications will become so vast that only professional communicators will know how to manage, intervene and create online communication. Technological skills are being picked up quickly by communication professionals, meaning specialist digital agencies may be left behind.

The role and understanding of PR will grow

The increasing understanding of the importance of online communications and the impact of vastly spreading messages will mean there will be a greater need for Public Relations professionals. We will bring our views on the changing media world, reputation management, crisis communication, internal communication, and community relations.

New news mediums and apps will grow

We can already see how news mediums are having to adapt their online viewing, how they interact with their readers and how they are used by their audiences. We have seen how the Guardian is working with Facebook to allow readers to view what other people are reading and share their stories, and the BBC has adapted their website for mobile/tablet viewing, and over in the States, the Washington Post is adapting the way it is viewed and shared. This is only the start. More and more news publications will need to be advancing and moving into more social ways of spreading their news and we believe 2012 will be the year for this.

How will we purchase in 2012?

It has already been tried and tested to buy things using your mobile phone, and websites can now hold your details, making purchasing easier.  2011 saw a dramatic increase in online shopping, as more savvy online shoppers are already using mobile coupons which are delivered directly to mobile phones, and group buying techniques are on the rise, for example, successful discount website, Groupon. Companies such as Innocent Smoothies have being testing the water by using Twitter as a way of offering group discounts depending on how many people click on a certain link – the more people that do, the more discount they offer. We can certainly say that 2012 will see a dramatic increase in social buying and online shopping – it will be exciting to see what new developments are occurring, and if Facebook develops more into this.

Overview

These are only a few pointers about how the role of communications and the day-to-day role of PR will be affected in 2012. This may sound daunting to some, but as long as you as agencies and PR professionals keep up-to-date with how the world is changing, they can advise their clients correctly. It will be interesting to see how 2012 will change the world we work in today.

Check out my company website Hatch: here

The future of social media… What’s new?

Social media and online marketing are a crucial part of any clients communications strategy, and it’s a vital area that PR agencies need to be on top of. Brands need to understand that they are being talked about online whether they like it or not, and being a part of the conversation is (in most cases) the best strategy to have.

I have put together a little list tools and trends which I believe PR’s and those pulling communications strategies together need to be watching out for…

  • Geolocation – Tools such as FourSqaure and Facebook Places have adapted to an increased usage of mobile internet which is now becoming more and more advanced every day. New tools keep appearing every day such as Bizzy, a check-out switch on the traditional FourSqaure idea. There are also many recent developments with Groupon, who have launched Groupon New, which is based on their ever so successful deals and special offers. You highlight your preference ‘hungry’ or ‘bored’ and based on your location Groupon will give you a range of activities or places to visit. (Image from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com)
  • Keep you eyes open for new developments and news on this ‘Geo-location’ based topic which could change ways brands can interact. This is especially interesting for the tourism industry’s point of view, as many are using this to rate places people visit e.g. restaurants, bars, museums etc. On the other hand, read the recent news regarding iPhone’s Tracking device… this privacy issue could cause problems to these types of apps in the future.
  • Crowd Sourcing – Not a new idea, but one which is constantly been developed through the use of social media and online communications. Large brands such as Starbucks are engaging with customers through allowing customers to share their ideas and views, and therefore feeling apart of the brand. As people become more experienced online, this concept will be reachable to a larger audience and not just the social media experts.
  • Likeonomics‘ – Is a term used to describe the way the public interact with brands and push their options out into the open, this is done through ‘likes’ on Facebook and personal comments through Twitter. Consumers are constantly looking for personal recommendations and what our peers are commenting about, sharing and ‘liking’. Therefore if done well, brands can inspire ‘word of mouth’ through social media platforms and encourage further brand awareness and loyalty.
  • Near Field Communication Technology – This advancement is said to lead to half a billion people worldwide using their mobile devices as travel tickets by 2015. This technology is already in use, but is a working development. Retail outlets such as McDonald’s are already in progress in using this technology to purchase products. Certainly one to watch out for!
  • Quora – This site is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. An important tool to consider key ‘influencers’.
  • Scribblelive – I have added this little tool in as it’s a great tool for keeping up to date with the ‘culture’ of now. This tool enables real-time journalism and audience engagement without any delays. Brands can also publish live real-time content and reach internet consumers demands.
  • Zipcast is a relatively new online meeting programme. This works through SlideShare, so you can not only just upload your presentation, but can now hold an online conference and speak through your presentation with your audience. This tool is a competitor to the previous Webex online meeting device.
  • Bar code scanning is a development which could change the way we shop. You have probably already seen recent adverts on TV which highlight how iPhones can add products to an online shopping list. Apps can now compare in-store prices whist you are shopping. E.g. Tesco iPhone app: Again, these developments are taking on ‘recommendations’, so when you scan a product you are subject to a world of peer / consumer feedback. It’s these changes that brands need to be aware of, as consumer comments can be extremely powerful – you can see this through sites such as Tripadvisor.

This is just a little list of developments which I thought would be useful to highlight. Do comment or let me know about any more advancements which you feel should be included within this list. There will be those that I have missed as the internet and social media is changing vastly and quickly and keeping up with all changes is a challenge, but an extremely interesting one.

Keep up to speed on the Battlefield, SONY…

The recent news outbreak about Sony’s security crisis has taken them over a week to respond. Why do we keep seeing scenes of top-end brands fall down the wrong path of not being able to manage and respond to their customers fast enough through social media! We saw a very similar dilemma during the Toyota crisis over a year ago.

These issues and public backlash are showing the importance of ‘getting social media right’. The tools may not be new, but the strategies behind managing certain brand are not equip enough. Large brands need to make sure they have the monitoring tools in place to ‘see, decide and act’ as fast as the public are commenting.

It all came a little too late. And making comments such as this: “We are also going to continue to post updates to this blog with any additional information and insight that we can over the next few days.” may or may not be enough to put the public and Sony fans and users at ease. We will have to wait and see how it goes.

Advice to PR Students for a Dream Dissertation

It is coming to that time of year when PR students start thinking about what else they have to finish on their dissertations… or hat they have to start in some cases. With only a few months left and much research to be finished and analysed, notes to be typed out and checked, bibliography to be finalised, appendices to be organised – the end only seems a million years away. But I promise you not, the day you hand in the 3-inch thick bible will soon come!

I have pulled together a few top tips which I think helped me get through the endless amounts of paper and sleepless nights.

Don’t panic

It is important not to panic about how much time you don’t have, but think about what you have left to do and plan your time around this. Take a deep breathe and think happy thoughts about how good you will feel once you hand your final piece in.

Be organised

I believe that the most important element of getting through your dissertation is to keep organised. You can waste so much time if your papers are not organised or your documents aren’t saved correctly – so as it’s a new year, take a few hours to organise all the work and reflect on what you have done so far. Put it all into files which state what your research is; interviews, questionnaires, discussions, findings, journals etc… Before doing anything else, I assure you that this will help clear your head and put you in the right frame of mind to continue.

Timetable your work

You may find it useful to keep a calendar on your wall where you work, as this lets you see how much time you have left, and helps you section off different periods of work. Draw one up and try to stick to it!

Keep writing

Most of you will still be researching, whether it be primary or secondary, I found that the best way to keep your thoughts was to write it all down. As you read, discuss and interview make sure you are keeping a track of everything. This can be done in the style of a log book or just in your research file – which will help you when you come to writing out your findings.

Talk to professionals

Alongside conducting your dissertation methodology, it may also help if you chat with professionals on your topic. It is classed as part of your research and can still be counted. If you have a placement position, it would be recommended to talk to the team – gage their views, opinions and advice. They may let you in on something you never thought of.

When conducting my research, I used Linkedin to speak with professions around the country about my topic – I even gained a great contact in Spain who helped me find the information I needed. Therefore, use your professional social media tools and engage with people. The other advantage of this is it lets people know what you are doing and allows them to see you working… you never know where this may lead.

Time to check

The worst thing you can do is to not leave enough time to check your work efficiently at the end of writing your 15,000 words. Make sure you leave enough time for this, and ask friends or relatives to read your dissertation through for you – as they will see mistakes you won’t.

It is a difficult process but you will get to the end – Good luck!

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS… CONSIDER YOUR VIEWERS

Following on from my previous post on managing your social media foot print, I thought it maybe beneficial to look at a selection of different social media tools used for networking, how they are used, what their audiences are and how they will portray you.

Facebook is a very ‘friendly’ platform, where as long as your settings are tight, you can display funny images, quirky comments which you use when around your close friends. They have also introduced ‘Private Groups’ which can be used for creating personal pages for just you and a select group of friends. This way, you are not showcasing your whole life on Facebook and leaving yourself open to any negative comments or mistaken reputation issues.

It is important to realise that Facebook is a showcase into your private life, so do think twice about what you display online.

Twitter is a more professional tool than Facebook, and I think this has not been understood and realised by many students. There is the temptation to use Twitter as you would your Facebook updates, but the problem with this is – Twitter is visible to EVERYONE! Therefore, finding things out about people is easy.

I believe the best way to use Twitter, especially for young professionals and PR students is to use it as a sharing information tool. Share stories in the news, comment on discussions of a professional nature, connect with potential employers and most importantly network.

Linkedin is a tool which is very similar to that of Facebook, but again more professional. I think of Linkedin as a professional Facebook page, where my main aim is to connect with those I work with or want to network with. It is a great way to see how well-connected people are in your business area and a great way to find out who works at which companies. From this, I recommend that this tool is used in a professional and career-developing way.

Another concern I want to highlight, is that a lot of students, young professionals use their Facebook pictures (images of them out on nights out), as their Linkedin profile picture. I wouldn’t recommend this, as it does require a more professional image which can portray your employability.

I think blogs are a fantastic way of showcasing your work. This is especially relevant for PR students, as they are asked to produce a PR portfolio, therefore having this online is a great way to publish yourself. Again, this is a great way to show potential employers what you are capable of doing, your past projects, what work you have been involved in and also how you write and communicate.

It is crucial that when starting a blog you decide what your blogs aims are, and how you want to show this. I read many blogs which are just career-developing, or used to showcase work, but I also I read blogs which have specific topics, are for comedy value or are serving a purpose of discussing a certain topic.

Following on

All of the above tools can be linked together to increase your SEO and your online footprint. Although, you may want to think carefully about linking Facebook to your professional tools. Facebook can be altered by other people, for example any of your friends can tag you in stupid pictures, write things on your wall  and comment on anything they want. Therefore, for me, this is too uncontrolled to be seen in a professional light, as someone else could do something which damages your reputation. It may not be the fact that you have anything to hide, but for your own career development I think access to your personal life should always stay private until you know people really well! But obviously you can all judge for yourselves…

I hope this has been useful in deciding which tools are relevant and for what reasons, what to consider and what to watch out for. Any comments or questions please get in touch.