Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

Advertising: have you got all the facts?

A cute infographic we created at OpenX for New York Advertising Week this year.

This article originally appeared on Social Media Today.

It seems in the space of just a few weeks Pinterest has risen from a little-known site to a front-of-mind social media platform. It’s certainly now considered one that should be in the tool box of any savvy social media pro.

So what really is the significance of this picture-sharing site, and how are people deploying the use of it as part of the social stack?

For those new to the platform, it can be described as a stylish way to share, like and group, images and infographics. You can ‘pin’ content on boards, categorizing and naming in any way you like. You are able to upload images direct from your phone and computer, or simply use images from other Pinterest users. With an estimated 7.2 million unique visitors already pinning content it’s undeniably growing in popularity, despite still having an ‘invite only’ admission policy. (Not a user yet? Drop me an email and I’ll happily send you an invite.)

Pinterest is being used well by brands like Whole Foods

There are limitations for brands using Pinterest, and it seems that users are prevented from simply sharing images of products that are deemed directly promotional. However, creating communities around the ideas or lifestyle of your brand is acceptable. For example, if you’re a property company specializing in seaside properties in England, then you could create a series of boards showcasing some spectacular coastal scenic views to whet people’s appetites.

A good example of creative use is by Whole Foods who have created a series of boards around recycling matters, art initiatives and more as a way to promote its brand values and demonstrate is commitment to relevant associated issues.

I could imagine a brand like TOMS shoes – who, upon purchase, give customers a branded flag, encouraging them to take a picture of it at a unique location – using the best submitted pictures here, offering incentives to users whose pictures are selected. Or perhaps you might consider a series of ‘how to’ infographics that relate to your product and that cover set-up, Q&As and trouble-shooting.  What will you do with Pinterest?

Often the first result that people want from their social media strategy is a mass of followers. Let’s be realistic here – it often takes time to see large levels of growth, and careful planning and development of a social strategy needs to take place before it will happen.

One important thing to mention here is that any social media strategy needs to be developed with full consideration of your business, organisation or mission aims. Without this planning you are simply wasting your time.

Once you – or your consultant – have spent the time building your strategy, and you’re still seeing a slower level of growth than you’d like, there are various ways you can help accelerate your number of followers.

Innovate and be creative
Remember to be creative about how you use social media, and be sure to use it as an opportunity to extend your brand’s personality and message. Spend some time understanding what your competitors are doing, and identify how you can be better and quicker than them. For instance, you may want to explore giveaways, or rewards to those that engage with you on social media – this is generally a fairly good way to build a loyal and engaged following. Perhaps you could host a live Q&A session for your followers to discuss some of the issues affecting your area of focus, or maybe develop associations and partnerships with other prominent players in your space.

Listen and respond
Aside from just listening to conversations and reacting to those discussing your brand or project, explore how social media could assist you in your product development process and offer your followers a chance to be part of defining some part of what you do by crowd-sourcing their input. This was a successful strategy used by Kodak recently as they developed a closer relationship with customers by appealing for, and integrating, suggestions for future product modification.

Still need more followers?
There are a myriad products and platforms out there that will enable you to simply buy followers (just search ‘how do I get 10,000 followers’ in your search bar and see just some of them), but you need to be serious about the quality of followers you are building this way. Having 100 advocates who are regularly discussing you is going to do a lot more for your brand awareness, volume and reach than 1,000 who have no idea who you are or what you do. Another route to generating a community of suitable followers is to take advantage of Twitter’s Promoted Account advertising. Still in beta testing and available to just a select few, this is a way of gaining followers based on pre-determined criteria such as geographic region or keyword relevance. The pay-per-engagement model means that you only spend money as you get results.

A key thing I always advocate is that it’s better to focus on community-building, rather than metric building. If you are using social media as a tool to stimulate discussion, interact and offer valuable content deemed to have high authority in your subject, you will see a healthy level of growth of followers that will be an asset to your community.

Need help building a social media strategy and growing followers? Get in touch.

Well, obviously. Let’s start at the beginning shall we?

This recently re-launched weekly conversation is a must for any communications professional looking to share advice and thoughts with other comms professionals.  Be sure to join the conversation at 8pm (UK time) on Mondays for guest speakers and sessions around topical themes. Originally started by @AdamVincenzini and @EmLeary, it’s now run by Communicate Magazine. for more.

Don’t get caught with your pants down. Learn from others on what to do when you find yourself in a ‘brown-stuff-meets-fan’ kinda situation.

A bit like rummaging in a jumble sale, PRs are sometimes able to pick-up a bargain here. This one is often used by journalists looking for contributors, case studies or spokespeople. Be quick though, the journalist is likely to be on deadline.

Got a PR request or need a contact for a journalist? Share it with your fellow PR brethren.

With the aim of stimulating conversation between PR students and professionals, this is a good one if you want to join in and help inform young aspiring PRs about recruitment, interning and everything else about the PR world.

Hosted by @MarketWire and @Sysomos this weekly chat (Thursdays 12 EST) brings in different experts each week on different themes. It’s been running for over a year now and recent sessions have covered making your real-time content SEO friendly and Twitter for business.

Social media optimization. Learn from those that know how to make the best of your social media content strategy.

The sum of this one is greater than its parts. Even if you’re a solo PR professional, you can join your community here and share insights into working alone as a freelancer.

Hosted by the @PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) and @CIPR_UK (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) this month marks PR ethics month with various chats around the theme of ethics in PR.

Have any more suggestions? Tweet me @JamesAldousPR