A prefect's musings on digital and social media

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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:

1992

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:

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 10.26.42

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?

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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
photo (3)

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?


Amy, who interned with us last month, has written a great post about her time here at Twelve (couldn’t have written it better ourselves!) and reflects on what work experience means to fledgling PRs. You can also read her last guest post here – Instagram vs Vine: Battle of the movie clip
Thanks for your help Amy!

My Time at Twelve - amytortoishell.wordpress.com

My Time at Twelve – amytortoishell.wordpress.com

 

AmyTortoishell

My July was spent riding for forty minutes everyday through the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside as I cycled to work at Twelve PR.  Somehow I only fell off once, only hit one pedestrian and got rained on only once.  I reckon those are pretty good odds!

Other statistics include: 19 coffees ordered through the office window, 11 phonecalls with some of Twelve’s amazing beekeepers and 16 Twelve tweets.

Having already spent sometime interning at PR companies I thought I knew what to expect from a month’s internship.  It turned out that at Twelve everything was very different;  I didn’t spend all day and everyday doing tea rounds or sorting the mail.

Instead I wrote press releases, feature articles and drafted newsletters and reports.  The group at Twelve gave me more responsibility as an intern than other agencies give to their actual employees.  From my point of view it worked, and hopefully…

View original post 224 more words


With the new year often comes new years resolutions – and if yours was to improved your understanding of social media and you are starting to flounder already, I thought it might be useful to highlight a few books that can give you a helping hand!

Understanding Digital Marketing – Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones

A useful resource for outlining potential digital marketing strategies – this provides a more general overview of various different digital marketing platforms such as search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, social media etc, which is a very useful starting point.

My favourite thing about this book is that it provides you with a ‘chapter pledge’ at the beginning of each chapter, which is really useful if you want to pick up the book at various points for advice, rather than read it all the way through, it helps you identify what the chapter will teach you and whether that is relevant to what you are looking for.

 

Once you have drilled down on the particular areas you want to focus on, it might be worth getting a book dedicated to that area for some more in-depth information.

This is Social Media: Tweet, Blog, Link and Post your Way to Business Success – Guy Clapperton

This book is a really good starting point because it provides a brilliant overview of a wide range of social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ecademy, Flickr, YouTube, Bebo, MySpace, Blogs, Podcasts, Mobile and more)!

The steps are easy to follow and there is also a really useful ‘jargon buster’ feature, which can help you to understand some of the technical (or not so technical) terms that are regularly bandied around.

Definitely a good start point if it is social media in particular that you are looking to crack!

Twitter Power – Joel Comm

The Twitter bible for businesses wanting to try out the microblogging phenomenon!  This is honestly the most useful social media book that I have read (and believe me I have read a fair few)!  It provides real examples and genuinely useful hints and tips.  The book is split it into bite-size chunks that take you through the process step by step – from setting up your Twitter feed and establishing a following right through to the legal considerations.

It also has a useful ’30 day plan for domination Twitter’.  Seriously, if you want to join and understand Twitter, this is the book for you.

Others

Other books that you might find are worth checking out, but weren’t quite the ones for me:

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott – whilst it had some useful hints in it, I found this one a bit of a hard slog.  However, does provide some good blogging tips in Chapter 5.

Social Media 101 – Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online by Chris Brogan – a really interesting read for those particularly interested in social media, but the ‘101’ format means it is probably not the best starting point for beginners!

Public Relations and the Social Web – How to use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications by Rob Brown – another really useful overview!

So hopefully in the above you will find something that will keep you on the straight and narrow with your digital media strategy this year…

 


Today we have a guest blogger on Digital Prefect – Laura McNally is a PR and communications student studying at Birmingham City University.  She is currently completing a 3 week placement at Twelve PR. 

I’d thought I’d be topical with my blog choice and analyse the use of social media with the upcoming elections.

My PR class (which is part of the Media school) received a guest lecture from a teacher at the Business and Marketing School. As a proud American democrat, it wasn’t surprising that her chosen subject was President Barack Obama’s election campaign.

Although Obama had the advantage of being a naturally likeable character, which in my opinion cannot be said about most of the British politicians, his mass social media campaign was the winning element that helped him to reel in those crucial extra votes. Every form of social media you could possibly think of was embraced, meaning his presence was almost inescapable. Although this may sound excessive, it was widely welcomed and carried out in such a way that the online community felt a mutual and honest relationship rather than a flood of cheap marketing tactics shoved down their throats.

Source: The Numbers

Clearly it would be a wise choice for our UK parties to follow in the US President’s footsteps, but whether they have or not is a different story. So far I have not been targeted by any party online (which says something already) so I decided to check them out for myself. All of the three main parties are on Twitter and Facebook, and post blogs and videos on their websites, however I am disappointed by the overall lack of creativeness. 

Although I must give it to the Tories, http://cash-gordon.com, despite being a cheap shot, is something a bit different. However it didn’t take long for hackers to realise that the posts were unmonitored, allowing html and JavaScript codes to be inserted which resulted in various stunts by Tory-haters, such as redirecting the site to labour.org.uk and plastering unmentionable insults about Cameron in big red letters on the front page. The timeline of events can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meg/4453821027/sizes/l/, it’s worth a look if you want a giggle.

Matching up to Obama’s campaign may be a difficult task, but come on, at least give it a go!


Social media is regularly utilised to promote and engage with brands.  But often marketers and PR professionals neglect to promote their own personal brand alongside that of their company. 

I recently attended an extremely useful training session from Sarah Castle at Think Big Training on ‘Selling Brand You’.  It was a sales focused session, but the main premise can be adapted to social media, people buy from people, not companies.  The same is true online

Source: classroom20.com

Why is ‘brand you’ important in social media???

Brand you is important in any environment, not just because people buy from people, but also because people employ people…you might be doing an amazing job of producing your company’s Twitter feed and contributing to the company blog – but your potential clients and potential employers want to see the personality behind the brand as well, and that’s you.  Here are four quick tips to ensure that you are making the most of your social media presence:

  • Even if you manage your company Twitter feed, make sure that you have one of your own.  This can be slightly more informal, to highlight your personality, but should still have some focus on your professional life and not too much detail on your personal!  (Try and keep just one of your social networking sites as entirely personal, there can be some crossover but it is nice to have somewhere that is just for socialising with friends …I use Facebook for this)

 

  • Make sure that you keep the social networking sites that you use for your personal networking exactly that, personal.  Use the privacy settings to ensure that only people you are friends with can see the content – you don’t want potential clients or employers to see you drunk, passed out under a chair with obscenities scrawled all over your face in permanent marker courtesy of your ‘friends’ (not something that has ever happened to me I hasten to add….), it’s not a good look and probably not quite demonstrating the type of passion and commitment that they are looking for.

 

  • If you contribute to your company blog and enjoy doing so, why not set up a blog of your own.  It still needs to have an element of professionalism in it, and it needs to be interesting and engaging.  If you are lucky, your company might let you write a blog for the company, but with you as the figurehead and this can work just as effectively and more efficiently than having two blogs – as long as you are clear where the ownership for that blog lies; with you or with your employer.

 

  • Your LinkedIn profile should include reference to your current company and your work there, but it should primarily be about you as an individual.  It is your online CV, not your companies, that’s what a company website is for.  Make sure your tagline refers to your expertise, not your current position within your company…that is all included in your employment history.  Your past work experience can also include some reference to how your work has developed you as a person, as well as the specific tasks you carried out.  Use the links to promote your own Twitter feed as well as your company’s, and if you have your own online ventures or blogs, include those too.

These pointers are not just important if you are thinking of changing jobs, they are important if you are looking to sell your company as well…a company is only as good as the people it employs, potential leads will want to know more about you before they decide if they want to work with you as well as your company.

Hopefully this post has encouraged some of you to go out into the world wide web and shout about…you!!

 


Being a relatively new blogger myself, and also a PR practitioner, I probably fall on both sides of the fence for this.  DigitalPrefect is by no means established enough to receive unsolicited approaches – but I find myself wondering how I would feel if I did.  To begin with I imagine I would feel flattered that some dashing PRO had considered my blog influential enough to approach with topic suggestions.  Then I imagine how I would feel if it happened every day…ten times a day….and I probably come a bit closer to the mark of the frustration felt by many of today’s most influential bloggers.

On the other hand, as a PR professional, I am always on the look out for interesting, influential and innovative blogs that might be relevant to my clients.  I for one would certainly welcome feedback from the blogging community on how best to make approaches when I do come across them.  We all know the rule about not sending generic releases to blogger, making sure you are familiar with their blog etc. etc. but I suspect what is needed here from both camps are some guidelines and some hints and tips (I am a lover of helpful pointers to start you on your way….).

So I second Cate’s suggestion (or probably tenth or one hundredth it by now I imagine) – bloggers and PRO’s let us unite and start on a happy journey towards successful collaboration…



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