A prefect's musings on digital and social media

Going Viral: How Social Media Changed Advertising

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Views, likes, shares and tweets – If your campaign is going to succeed these near sacred words are going to define it.  In a media climate in which everyone competes to carve out a digital presence, ‘going viral’ has become the foundation of many marketing strategies.

The essence of creating a viral campaign is the ability to make something shareable. This necessity for the content to be organically shared from person to person usually means it has to be amusing or shocking in some way.

Although this may sound obvious this simple fact has completely changed the style of mainstream advertising. Traditionally adverts were often based around a sense of aspiration, whether its scantily dressed supermodels parading around or coffee being served in the house of your dreams, products sat upon this glossy pedestal. Although this element of aspiration still underpins the messages of modern campaigns, increasingly adverts are tailored for virality by being controversial, funny and most importantly raw.

A good example to illustrate this change in style is delivered by the evolution of Pepsi adverts:

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2013

Here you can see the clear difference the Internet has made. Video hosting platforms, such as Youtube, are at the heart of this change not only in terms of how the advert can be shared but also the aesthetic style of the advert. Very often viral campaigns are centred around a first person or fly on the wall style, tapping into real life experience and ultimately allowing a much more intimate relationship to be made between the brand and the consumer.

As well as Youtube, social media platforms, such as Twitter, act as important catalysts in the modern viral process due to the hash tagging function. This is used to great effect by Pepsi as they deliver their homemade style advert coupled with the hash tag #gordontestdrive. Creating this allows your content to ‘trend’ which essentially means the content becomes popular within twitter, with the activity accumulating under this particular hash tag category. This functionality can be seen below where the ‘Trends’ column shows live updates of the most popular hashtags, whilst the search for #gordontestdrive shows how Twitter users have interacted and shared the content:

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Aside from the advantage of having your message and product rapidly shared across the world, viral PR campaigns are comparatively cheap to make whilst being far more engaging.

To summarise, the most important way to make your material viral is to make it engaging. We all share videos with our friends and family, think of the style of content this is usually comprised of; whether it’s a cute dog doing a trick or someone hilariously falling over, the content is usually relatable, shocking or believable. When it comes to creating your own promotional material the most important thing to remember is to be innovative and imaginative, the sheer scale of platforms such as Youtube means that material quickly becomes copied and indistinguishable, how are you going to make your message stand out?

The PR Show: through the eyes of a fledgling PR

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We sent our intern, Katy Roberts, currently studying PR at Sheffield Hallam Uni, to the PR Show 2013. Finally, (after handing in her dissertation) here’s her take on the trade show’s inaugural run as a fledgling PR professional:  

The first event of its kind for the UK public relations sector, The Public Relations Show was held on the 26th November 2013 at the Business Design Centre in London. The show brought together over 1,000 PR practitioners to share the latest tips and trends currently happening within the industry and was seen as something of a milestone, as an event like this has never taken place before, and yet shows that the PR industry is growing and that the demand for an event such as this is clearly there.

This was particularly exciting for my fellow course-mates and I, because, as fledgling practitioners ourselves, we were excited to have the chance to network with experienced PR professionals and experience the wide range of different areas that the public relations industry has to offer.

The event was hugely popular and the atmosphere was both exciting and slightly overwhelming. Surrounded by various stalls from a range of PR agencies and suppliers, I didn’t really know where to start! The conference was really useful for harnessing my networking skills, chucking me in at the deep end.

Once I’d gotten into the swing of things, I felt a lot more confident. I found myself engaging in conversations with senior PR professionals, and I picked up loads of really useful tips about being a fledgling PR professional, almost ready to go out into the industry. I also learnt about a wide range of different services that the PR industry uses, such as media monitoring and social media management and their importance within the world of PR. I’d heard of some of these, such as Gorkana, but the conference really helped open my eyes to just how broad the PR industry is.

A really great aspect of the PR Show was the wide range of really interesting talks, from a number of leading practitioners and PR agencies about a huge range of different topics. Some of the leading speakers included people such as Alan Aiken, the Executive Director of Communications for the UK government, Peter Bowles, the Creative MD at Dynamo PR and Rob Cartwright, the Global Corporate Practice Director at Ketchum PR.

The talks themselves ranged from “Aligning PR with corporate strategy”, held by Alistair Smith, the managing director of corporate communications for the Barclays group, to “How technology is changing internal communication” held by Malcolm Cotterell and Kate Barnes, Development and Engagement Manager and Employee Engagement Advisor, respectively, at CrossCountry Trains.

Other talks focused on the challenges of healthcare PR, successful creative campaigning on a low budget and quantifying success by monitoring social media measurement, to name but a few. I feel like the talks on creative campaigning on a low budget and on social media management would have been especially useful for a fledgling practitioner like myself just starting out in the industry.

My only wish is that some of these talks were made more accessible for students of the PR industry, maybe by providing a season ticket or concession rate for some talks would have been incredibly useful. There is also far more scope for engaging students, break out sessions or fringe events covering topics such as graduate schemes, professional membership and talks from specific PR areas, would be widely welcomed.

All in all, I really enjoyed the day – it was incredibly interesting and provided me with a useful insight into the industry that I’d not had before. Did you attend the PR Show 2013? What did you think?

#TEAMNIGELLA: A lesson in crisis media handling

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As the 6 ‘o’ clock news bulletin ran across the TV screen back one rainy day in December with the latest update on the Grillo sisters fraud case, I felt a congratulatory punch in the air was needed in solidarity to #TeamNigella, as the domestic goddess walked head high, well-heeled into court to give evidence.

Now, I hasten to add, that this is not a piece that condones illegal drug taking in any shape or form, and indeed, Nigella is being investigated for her substance usage and I shall leave any necessary punishment up to the legal system and the Metropolitan police; yet for her media handling, I feel Nigella should be applauded.

As the Grillo sisters were being tried for their crime, media focus switched to Nigella’s drug habits, creating an environment as, she would later be quoted, being ‘maliciously vilified without the right to respond’.

Her success remains in the detail, even down to her courtroom makeover as dubbed by the Daily Mail.  Her understated, nude makeup shades, the sombre well-cut suit treaded the line between the domestic-goddess we all know and love and the more recently exposed mistreated wife. The entire image giving her an appropriately serious yet confident manner.

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Even before the trial at the time of the divorce, Nigella’s composure has stood at odds against Saatchi’s own erratic behaviour, which brought an intensely personal period into the public eye.  Although some reported Nigella’s lack of response to Saatchi public accusations as a mere admission of guilt, it also rings true to my mother’s playground mantra – ‘if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all’. Avoiding a public mud slinging match, dwindled the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills effect.

Only recently has Nigella spoken publicly about the trial, after a respectful-yet-not-too distant time period, the celebrity chef spoke to Good Morning America as part of her publicity tour for her new show, the Taste.  Under this gentle grilling, her considered answers demonstrated her own humour, ‘I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate’, whilst recognising the distress caused to her family as well as showcasing a humble sense of self perspective:

‘To be honest, to have not only your private life but distortions of your private life put on display is mortifying but, you know, there are people going through an awful lot worse…to dwell on any of it would be self pity and I don’t like to do that.’

I feel that Nigella’s composed and ‘attention-to-detail’ handling of the media furore surrounding her over the last few months has only added to her strength of character; fans rushed to buy the royal blue Diva frock she wore on the opening show of the taste. As David Cameron was so publicly rebuked for stating, I’m still ‘a massive fan’.

Five Social Media Measurement Questions I Hope (NOT) To See in 2014

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A great summary on social media measurement!

Originally posted on :

I get asked lots of great questions about social media measurement. Following are five not so great ones I hope not to hear in 2014. 

How do you measure social media?

I get this question quite often and I enjoy it each time because if provides me the opportunity to make an important point about measurement and be a little snarky at the same time. Good stuff! When I get this question, my answer is always the same; “I don’t measure ‘social media’, I measure what you are trying to accomplish with social media.” This may seem like I’m playing semantic games, but the distinction is very important. Measurement is fundamentally about performance against objectives. So, we measure our performance against the objectives established in the social media plan. A lot of what passes for measurement in social media is really data collection – tracking Followers or Likes, blog traffic…

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Facebook Privacy & Social Media Etiquette

FACEBOOK PRIVACY SETTINGS

“And so it’s goodbye from Graph Search.” The newest privacy shift from Facebook involves the site doing away with the setting that allowed people to be able to choose who could see their profile when they type their name into Graph Search (search your timeline by name).

SCREENSHOT OF FB PRIVACY SETTINGS

However, even though it can be frustrating when Facebook makes changes to privacy settings, it’s actually incredibly easy to get things back to normal – so don’t panic. Here’s a really useful blog post on how to make sure your Facebook privacy settings are exactly how you want them.

Of course, one way of making sure you don’t have to do a mad scramble to reset your privacy settings after every change is to always be aware of what you’re posting on Facebook in the first place. It may sound obvious, but with our world becoming more and more digital and employers increasingly using social media to check out candidates ahead of interviews, we need to be more aware than ever of the persona we’re putting across online.

One of the best ways to figure out whether something is appropriate to post online is to ask yourself, “Would I want my Gran to see this picture of me plastered at V Festival?” And if the answer to that question is no, then don’t put it on Facebook! Oh, and the same goes for status updates – if you’re angry, upset, intoxicated (or all three at once!), it’s probably not a good idea to use Facebook as your venting platform, because someone will see it before you manage to take it down, and you never know who that person might be.

TOP 3 TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR FACEBOOK PRIVACY SETTINGS

1) To access your privacy settings, click on the small cog-shaped button at the very top of the Facebook screen, on the right-hand side. From there, you should be able to see a section labelled “Privacy Settings”.

2) A Restricted list is for people you’ve added as a friend on Facebook, but whom you just don’t want to share with, like your boss, for example. When you add someone to your Restricted list, they’ll only be able to see your Public content or posts that you specifically tag them in.

3) To add people to specific lists, scroll down to the Friends section on your Facebook home page, then click on the name of the list you want to edit, such as Restricted, or Close Friends, etc. Then, in the top right corner, click on “Manage List” then select “Edit List”. Then simply enter the names of friends you want to add to this list in the “Add friends to this list” box.

What do you think of Facebook’s privacy settings? Do you have any other tips for improving social media etiquette?

Twelve PR Days of Xmas Quiz

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Celebrating our move to Chipping Norton next week (eek!) to No. 12 High Street on 12/12, Twelve PR are running a special ‘Twelve PR days of Xmas’. (With all those Twelve’s aligning, we thought we should do something rather special…)

Each day we’ve been posting a daily Chippy themed question on our Facebook page with chance to win a local prize everyday.  Congratulations to all our winners so far!

But fear not! There is still time to enter just visit our Facebook page here and click on the competition tab in the top right hand corner, underneath the cover photo.

Plus, there’s also the chance to win the Grand Prize – A Daylesford Xmas Taster Hamper for the person who enters the most correct answer across the 12 days.

Good luck everyone!

Bloglovin’ vs Feedly

Bloglovin-vs-FeedlyJuly this year saw the well-loved Google Reader shut down, leaving many people bereft of a way to read all their favourite blogs in one place. So I decided to compare two alternatives: Bloglovin’ and Feedly. Both have free iOS and Android apps available.

Bloglovin’

How Bloglovin' looks on the computer

How Bloglovin’ looks on the computer

With Bloglovin’, you create an account and add the blogs you want to follow, getting all their new posts in a feed. Through the site, you’re able to search for new blogs and see what’s popular in different categories. The Bloglovin’ interface is clean, minimalist and incredibly easy to navigate.

Use Bloglovin’ if you:

  • Use Tumblr and/or Twitter and like their similar layouts
  • Want a reader that is well-known and popular
  • Primarily view your content on iOS or Android devices (the iOS app is wonderfully simple & looks great on the iPad)
  • Aren’t interested in customisation options
  • Don’t mind receiving a daily email with previews of unread posts
  • Like to share posts across the most popular social media platforms
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How Bloglovin’ looks on IOS

Feedly

How Feedly looks on the computer

How Feedly looks on the computer

Like Bloglovin, you create an account & then add content by searching for your favourite sites in different categories. Upon login, you’ll see a Pinterest-like preview of all unread posts, as well as options in the left sidebar such as “Saved for Later” and “Themes”. Feedly offers more layout customisation, such as changing the background colour & viewing style. Feedly also has more sharing options, to sites such as Buffer, Evernote, Pocket and Instapaper.

Use Feedly if you:

  • Want lots of customisation options
  • Want to be able to read full posts in the reader itself
  • Want to move between posts quickly (this is great on the iPad app as you just swipe upwards)
  • Like posting comments to blogs – the “preview” option is great for this
  • Want to be able to share posts to a wider range of different sites aside from Facebook, Twitter etc

photo (2)Personally, I think I’ll stick with Bloglovin’ – it’s really easy to use, looks great on my iPad and – maybe this makes me lazy! – but it’s just the one I’ve always used. Feedly looks great, but the customisation is really the only main difference between the two. I don’t see any need to change over to Feedly from Bloglovin’ unless customisation is a must. 

What are your thoughts on Bloglovin’ and Feedly?


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