INFLUENCER MARKETING – LESSONS FROM MARCUS RASHFORD

It’s fantastic to hear that the AQA exam board is looking to use Marcus Rashford as a case study on how best to use social media to instigate social change in society.  The 23 year old “black man from Wythenshawe” is not only a role model for many but a brilliant example of what an influencer can really do.

Marcus’ campaign to raise awareness of the issues associated with child poverty is rightfully textbook stuff, illustrating how best to use influence to raise awareness and deliver tangible changes to behaviour.

Within two weeks of launching, more than a million people had signed the petition calling for the government to extend free school meals through the summer holidays of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This was only the 5th time that a petition to parliament raised more than 1m signatures.

His success as an influencer is down to several reasons.  The first is that he has ‘lived experience’ and can relate to the issues he supports.  As a child, it’s well reported that Marcus Rashford had experienced significant poverty and could personally share the role that free school meals had played in his own life.  This meant he was not ‘preachy’ but honest and relatable based on his genuine experiences.

The footballer also has a significant profile on social media with more than 11.8 million followers on Instagram and a further 5 million on Twitter.  His personality shines through his posts and he remains consistently on message, relating to issues and topics that are important to him.  Marcus’ audience also relate to him on several levels whether football, as a young black man or as a role model in delivering social change.

He used his support well and his work was quickly amplified by cafés, takeaways, shops, and other outlets across the country who supported the campaign by pledging free meals to children during the holidays (in defiance of the government’s decision not to).  The campaign quickly built momentum at all levels of society and helped deliver the changes needed.

Marcus Rashford’s influence has been tangible.  He’s not only the youngest person to top the Sunday Times Giving List after raising more than £20 million in donations from supermarkets for groups tackling child poverty, but he’s also actively changed Government policy.

Last summer, Rashford managed to get the government to make a policy U-turn and agree to give free school meals to vulnerable youngsters during the Covid-19 impacted summer.  Later in October he secured a further £170m winter grant to support low-income families struggling with the continued impact of the pandemic.

Although he claims not to have ‘the education of a politician’ it’s clear his messages are simple and, like all good influencing campaigns or PR strategies, designed to engage with his audiences, encourage people to support the cause or even to take matters into their own hands.

This recognition, along with an MBE in the delayed 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, are just some of the accolades he has achieved in his young life.  Let’s hope that Marcus Rashford’s great work continues to shine on the football field and in the fields of positively influencing equality, diversity and inclusion in today’s society.

10 Things We Took Away From BrightonSEO As Traditional PRs

At Source PR, our bag is traditional PR and social media, but we also offer digital services too. With the incredible growth of this industry, it would be crazy not to! With this in mind, we packed our bags and headed south to BrightonSEO last week to meet up with, and learn from, some of the GREATEST minds in search and digital. There’s been a handful of blog posts since rounding up the whole event, and so instead we wanted to focus on today our top 10 actionable takeaways, and how we can apply those not only to digital, but the traditional PR space too.

Digital PR And Its Place In Traditional

But first, let’s quickly talk about digital PR and how it has its place within the more traditional sectors of the industry. Digital PR is prominently focused on building backlinks to a website for SEO purposes, and whilst this is an important exercise endorsed by the likes of Google-whizz John Mueller himself, we like to make our PR efforts work harder. So, whilst digital is one of our focuses, we find it works best when bedded in with a solid social media strategy and more traditional PR activity such as events, features, interviews, and CSR initiatives. That’s the future as we see it, and it’s an exciting place to be!

10 BrightonSEO Takeaways For The Traditional World

Below, you can find out what we learned at BrightonSEO and how we’ll apply it to our PR practices. Afterwards, if you’re wanting to learn even more, we’d recommend heading over to this great blog post by Gemma Flinders which includes a whopping 89 tips.

#1 – You Can (And Should) Optimise For Instagram

Social media is huge for us at Source, and should be part of any good PR strategy. But did you know that SEO and social media can go hand in hand? One of the first talks on Friday morning by the wonderful Freya Jones covered exactly this, and she revealed some actionable tips on how to improve the visibility of your client’s posts on the ‘discovery’ page of Instagram. These included utilising alt tags, being consistent with hashtags, making sure your content is ‘interactive’ and going ‘live’ where you can too.

#2 – Traditional PR Can Earn Links Too

The one downfall of the digital PR industry, and I’m sure many would agree, is the lack of relevancy in some campaigns. It’s often spoken out about on Twitter and was actually covered in depth by Beth Nunnington in Auditorium 2 at Brighton on Thursday. As traditional PR and digital PR become more and more aligned, gone are the days of campaigns that bear no resemblance to clients. We’ve always been focused on activity that is directly related to the businesses that we work with, and this is important as it works better for your SEO too. With this in mind, it also proves that traditional PR can earn links as well! Where we’re focusing on stories that are very relevant to our clients, industry research covered at the conference shows that journalists are more likely to add links to their piece, as it directly relates to what the story is about. Win win…

BrightonSEO traditional PR

Team Source touches down in Brighton 🌤

#3 – Your Content Might Be A Win For SEO Too

For years, there has been an ongoing thought that traditional PR and digital PR disciplines need to be kept separate, but why should they? Ultimately both efforts (should) work towards improving the performance of your client. Though our type of PR is focused more around establishing a proficient reputation for the businesses that we work with, there’s no reason why it can’t work to achieve links in the way that digital PR does either. In a fantastic talk by Liz Gration, the idea of ‘content that doesn’t need outreaching’ was put to us. Think statistics pages and thought leadership-led content on behalf of contents. The latter is something we do often here at Source PR, so the idea of posting particularly strong comments to static pages and letting them work their magic is very interesting for us.

#4 – Awareness Days Have Multiple Benefits

At the beginning of last year (wow, doesn’t that seem an age ago now?), we wrote about leveraging awareness days in both PR and social. In a talk by Jen Macdonald, the benefits were reinforced and then some. Interestingly, Jen covered B2B industries which are famously harder to market within but are actually one of our specialities here at Source. She spoke about how events such as #MensMentalHealthWeek can be linked to case studies in construction to win trade and national coverage, largely because these awareness days and weeks, especially the very popular ones, provide lots of article opportunities for journalists who want to link into anything topical. Time to whip out our ‘days of the year’ calendar and get planning!

#5 – Journalists Get A LOT Of Content, We Need To Make Our Stories Worthwhile

In a talk by Dan Snow and James Carson of History Hit, the very first one of the conference, James revealed that as a former journalist of the Telegraph, around 250 articles a day was the norm. In traditional PR, creating captivating stories is in our DNA, but we need to take this revelation into consideration when putting together our campaigns, asking ourselves whether our story is not only compelling enough to be covered, but also will it be looked at by readers? Where digital PRs might see links as the end goal, our purpose is to create content that will reach our audiences, and when our PR is competing with upwards of 250 other pieces, stories need to be ‘readable’ as well as ‘coverable’ by journalists’ standards.

#6 – We Could Ditch The Discovery Phase Of The Content Marketing Funnel?

Any marketeer will know the content funnel, which is (or is some variation of): Discovery ➡️ Awareness ➡️ Consideration ➡️ Conversion. In an insightful talk on content strategy by Lucy Dodds, she revealed that we ought to ditch the discovery phase and stop focusing on traffic for traffic’s sake. As PRs, awareness (and generating it) is our thing, but this point sparked an interesting thought process. Whilst we want plenty of people to hear about our clients, we also have a responsibility to ensure that the right people are hearing about them. If your target demographic is retirees for example, is there any point in writing content that will appeal only to teenagers? Absolutely not. Even if there’s low hanging fruit there in the form of website rankings, it’s simply not worth it, as these visitors are highly unlikely to be convertible. We’re glad these conversations are being had more and more often, as it means that our industry is working harder and smarter in its efforts.

#7 – Podcasts Are The Future!

At the beginning of the year, it was predicted that revenue from podcasts would grow by around 35%. This notion was confirmed by the one and only Azeem, who taught us about the exponential opportunities that audio has. As traditional PRs, we leverage multiple channels to build a great brand image, what’s interesting to us is that it seems that podcasting is here to stay. What’s really great is that podcasts don’t have to be about niche topics either, as Azeem explained those that cover a wider range of areas of interest to the audience often do better than those that are hyper-focused. You should always have at least 4 or 5 files in the bank and hundreds of ideas before launching a channel. Certainly food for thought! Watch this space?

#8 – Traditional PR = A Winner For SEO!

A theme we identified throughout multiple talks is that search volumes often have more impact than any number of backlinks to a website. The more your brand is known and searched-for, the more likely it is to rank on Google (and other search engines). This was highlighted in particular by Stephen Kenwright during his talk on getting search, social and PR efforts working together. This tells us that as PRs, our focus remains the same as always: to build an excellent brand for our clients. Though the digital world is fast-paced and we must keep up with it, good old fashion exposure still works perfectly in creating a reputable brand. This in turn has its own benefits online, proving that traditional PR is very much here to stay.

#9 – PPC Can Support Traditional PR Too

One of the reasons that some people think the traditional PR industry is dated (it isn’t, mostly!) is because of the stubbornness of some to stick to what they know. The truth is, we live in a world that is changing by the day and what might work today, mightn’t tomorrow. One thing that was covered by multiple speakers over in Brighton was the idea of using PPC to make your other campaigns work harder. Just produced a banging blog post that you think more people need to see? Put some Google spend behind it! Or if you’re working on bigger campaigns for your clients with an aim of attracting PR coverage, generating views via PPC isn’t a bad place to start first. Speaking more ‘digitally’ (though none of this is linear), this can also help your website’s SEO too.

#10 – We Need To Talk More About Burnout In The Industry

Finally, let’s end on a note that applies not only to PR, but the whole working world. Since the pandemic, reports of burnout have increased at an alarming rate. In a compelling talk by Sean Butcher, his actionable tips to help combat mental health issues in our day and age included organising your day, managing Zoom time and being realistic with your to-do lists. As we think this is incredibly important for everybody to hear, you can find the full presentation here. Later on the Friday, keynote speaker Stacey MacNaught revealed a stat which I think gave a lot of us that sinking feeling in our stomachs. 32.1% of people say they feel bad at their job every single day. Just take that in for a moment. That’s almost 1 in 3 of us. A further 39.6% said they feel this way at least once a week. No ifs, no buts, this is simply not okay. As an industry we have a responsibility to raise up our peers and our own employees, PR is a tough job but when we’re all happy within it, it’s amazing too.

BrightonSEO traditional PR

A note from me: though most of this blog is written on behalf of us all here at Source PR, I wanted to jump in at the end and say that enough is enough. I’m so fortunate to work in a place that values us and makes us feel rewarded all the time, but sadly this is not as common in our industry as it should be. I’ll forever campaign against this until we see a real change in the industry, and that’s also why I’ve just pitched for my first ever talk for an event proposed by Hannah Butcher. So, keep your fingers crossed for me! 🤞🏻

Featured image credit: BrightonSEO.

Using LinkedIn To PR Your Business

LinkedIn is a platform that we utilise often for our clients, especially those in B2B industries. With an audience of nearly 31.2 million users in the UK, 57% of which are between 25 and 24 years old, it’s hard to deny that there’s an opportunity here to PR your business. But how do you get the message right, and ensure that you’re using LinkedIn in the right way?

Adjusting Your Message For LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not your typical social media platform, it’s a professional networking site and though many argue that it’s becoming “more and more like Facebook” in recent years, the reality is, it hasn’t. From our perspective, LinkedIn is actually set very far apart from other popular social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. Due to this, the content you post and the tone in which it is written ought to be considered. We wouldn’t recommend a ‘copy and paste job’ from one platform to another if you want to yield the best results. Instead, your message should be professional, informative and share all your best aspects as a company. Though a friendly and approachable voice is fine, think about how laid back you want to be, and keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional channel at the end of the day.

What Should You Post On LinkedIn?

Referring back to the point made above, many would argue LinkedIn is becoming more like Facebook due to the content that sometimes goes out on the platform. So, what should you post on LinkedIn? We love seeing stories on business growth, and even personal development. But where to draw the line is perhaps leaving sharing what you had for dinner to other social media platforms. Instead, from experience, the content that tends to perform well includes…

  • Corporate personnel updates such as new hires and internal promotions
  • Positive things happening for your business such as profits and other good news
  • Sharing what you’re up to; if you’ve just attended an industry event – let us know
  • Any charity or CSR work that you or your business is doing
  • Examples of good work from your business, we love a proud and positive post
  • Updates for your stakeholders such as product launches and notable dates

And this is just a starter for ten! In reality, there’s lot’s that can be shared on LinkedIn, so long as the messaging is right. The best way to decide whether content belongs on LinkedIn, is to ask yourself if it will add value? If the answer is yes, then fire away.

Utilising Your Employees As Brand Ambassadors

LinkedIn is a really powerful tool, especially for individuals. Industry influencers such as Steven Bartlett (ex-Social Chain), and James Watt of Brewdog, often use LinkedIn as a way to communicate on behalf of their business. Any company can encourage this, no matter its size or industry. Your employees can act as ambassadors of your brand and share some of your messages so that not everything is being filtered through the company channel. This not only helps diversify content, but it also increases the chances of getting it seen by more people, which is always a good thing. To our clients, we often encourage their employees to get involved with LinkedIn where they can, and this starts with having consistent profiles (team headshots work well) and maintaining a certain level of integrity with the content that’s posted. Having some gentle guidelines isn’t a bad idea, and means that all members of a team are always putting their best selves forward on this platform.

How Often Should You Be Using LinkedIn?

Sometimes, companies get it wrong by posting too often or too little on LinkedIn. Using it as an effective tool to PR your business is achieved by getting the balance just right. Content can be either short-form or long-form (though LinkedIn has a very generous word count – make use of it where appropriate!) but should be posted moderately. We find that 1-2 posts a week work best for our clients; but don’t just post for posting’s sake – always make sure you have something important to say.

Making Use Of LinkedIn’s Content Tools

Another thing worth considering when using LinkedIn to PR your business is the tools and capabilities it has as a platform. The site has the functionality to host blogs that sit on your page, and can be shared on to the feed. Though this isn’t (unfortunately) yet a feature available for business pages, it’s something to consider for individual members of a team. Powered through LinkedIn Pulse, blogs are a great way to craft long-form content that can be easily accessed on the app or on desktop. Some might think that blogging is dead, but we have to disagree. Despite obvious SEO benefits when writing content for your own site, even blogging on LinkedIn has its benefits. Not only does this give you a chance to talk at length about your thoughts and opinions, but every month, an average of 409 million people view 20 million blog posts and 77% of people say they read them – numbers don’t lie!

Strike The Right Balance Between Sales & Exposure

It was found by Hubspot, that LinkedIn is around 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter – so don’t discount it as a marketing and sales tool. For B2B businesses in particular, there’s a big audience at your disposal. Thinking back to blogs and the power they can have, it was found that 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading about it online. Reach those audiences with the right messages and you’ll not only grow your brand, but you may even pick up more business in the process. You can’t go wrong with that! We often talk about how PR isn’t about generating sales, and that social media activity should not all be about ROI. However, when it comes to LinkedIn, we are aware of its capabilities as a sales vessel, and do consider this in our strategies. Striking the correct balance is a good way to go. Keep most of your content informational to help build your brand’s exposure, but then also take advantage of the opportunity every now and again to help market a new product, or your services.

We use LinkedIn every day for our clients, and it’s an area we’re well versed in here at Source PR. If you’re looking for social media assistance for your brand, then get in touch with our friendly team.

Which Social Media User Updates Should Just Stay In The Drafts?

Last year, we talked about the possibility that the ‘big three’ social media companies might have run out of ideas. Various changes that Twitter, Instagram and Facebook had made to their interfaces indicated that the things that were making them so unique initially – Twitter’s tight character limit and lack of stories (amended to ‘Fleets’ and 280-character posts), Instagram’s focus on photos only (it now has its Tik Tok-esque ‘Reels’ function, as well as a marketplace) and Facebook’s distinctive look (it introduced a bolder design that some suggested echoed Twitter’s user experience).

 

A fleeting success

 

It’s been almost a year since they were introduced, but it seems that Twitter has finally admitted what we were all thinking: that Fleets were, to put it bluntly, a bit of a rubbish idea. On my own personal account, I’ve seen one, perhaps two of the 300-ish people I follow use Fleets semi-regularly. And if that trend is reflective of the wider Twitter-sphere, it’s easy to see why the feature is being retired. It was an idea that simply didn’t stick.

 

Twitter’s decision to axe it shows that, as a company, it is willing to listen to its users and respond accordingly: a far better policy than simply trucking along with features people don’t want or use. Users want to know they aren’t just a number to the people upstairs, and by adapting to people’s preferences, Twitter has challenged that idea perfectly.

 

However, ‘Fleets’ have now been replaced with ‘Spaces’, which will be launching next week: these are, according to Twitter’s website, ‘a new way to have an audio conversation on Twitter.’ Have we seen this one, before, too, with the meteoric rise of Clubhouse during the pandemic?

 

Time will tell if the Spaces feature sinks or swims – but it’s likely that, if the former happens, the company won’t have qualms about ‘deleting’ the mistake.

 

Plus or minus?

 

Another new feature that has shaken the bedrock of its user base, is the announcement by Tumblr that the site is implementing a pay feature. Called ‘tumblr+’, accounts can now treat their content as a subscriber feature if they wish, with posts, gifs and imagery behind paywalls.

 

Tumblr might not be one of the ‘big three’, but it’s certainly a major player in the social media sphere, with around 472 million registered accounts on the site. A little like a cross between Pinterest and Reddit, the site has frequently faced issues regarding its financing. But this latest solution has been seen by many of its users as a step too far, with some suggesting that the move be immediately withdrawn. As a largely anonymous site, the ‘+’ feature feels too similar to Twitter’s blue tick: and, when the fine print suggests that once a post has been reblogged (the same concept as retweeting) it becomes visible to non-payers, the question becomes: what is the point?

 

Feedback loop

 

Tumblr has responded to its users’ outcry with a feedback form, which suggests that, like Twitter, it values feedback and might amend, or remove, the feature – according to the consensus.

 

While the biggest social media platforms rightfully feel the need to innovate their features, it’s imperative they listen to their users. At the end of the day, they’re not simply just tools to share our photos, musings, jokes or ideas: they’re businesses, and we users are the ‘customers.’ And, of course, businesses that listen and react to the needs of customers fare far better than those who are slow or unwilling to change.

 

At Source, we can help your business with its online presence. Contact a member of our experienced team today.

 

 

 

 

From Journalism To PR: What Have I Learned During My First Month At Source?

It’s been roughly a month or so since I started my role as an Account Executive here at Source, and the time has flown!

So, with that in mind, I’m going to try to give you a brief synopsis of what I’ve learned during my first month.

One thing has become immediately clear since moving over from journalism and into PR and marketing – I’m having to employ a high level of proactivity that, perhaps, my previous roles didn’t necessarily require.

I’m no longer reacting to press releases appearing in my inbox, interviewing business leaders, or hounding the phones for potential news stories.  Instead, I’m having to think outside of the box a bit, juggle different client needs, and deliver on the campaigns in place – all of which is an enjoyable challenge.

What does that involve then?

Well, rather than searching for stories, I’m searching for publicity opportunities for my clients at Source. For example, interview or feature opportunities for client businesses or submitting awards as they’re a great way to enhance their reputation and build credibility.

Social media is also increasingly important to client businesses and to ignore it would be suicide for a company looking to broaden its customer base. At Source, I research and create posts for my clients that cover a wide variety of topics, from industry news, people developments to charity initiatives.

Writing social media posts is a small contribution, but a few posts a week can keep your followers in the loop with regards to what’s happening on the inside, and what a company is doing to either improve its reputation or give back to the community.

It’s also been rewarding to get a better feel for some of the company’s software which helps identify and target key journalists or influencers and the social media scheduling and analysis tools which ensure we target the right post at the right time and to the right audience.

Time allocation

At the moment, I still feel like I’m getting to know Source PR, how we operate and, of course, my clients, but everyone here has been really helpful since I’ve arrived and I’m certainly starting to find my feet!

So far, I’ve also spent time has been spent writing blogs and building content for client websites, which has also really helped me get to know them. Curating the weekly social posts for the clients I look after is another great opportunity for me to familiarise myself with them, their industries, and the top industry publications.

But, because of the more proactive nature of PR, I’m starting to realise that the sooner the more ‘scheduled’ tasks can be done, like the socials, for example, the better! This then allows more time to look for new client opportunities or to add value to campaigns which helps cement existing relationships.

How’s it going?

In summary, I’m really enjoying it so far! I know which aspects of the role I can make my own and where my strengths lie, but I also know what I need to do to become a proficient Account Executive. Hopefully, with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, I’ll be able to head out and meet with some of our clients, too – it will be good to put some names to faces! So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s onwards and upwards from here.

 

Managing And Leveraging Online Review Platforms For Your Business

Review platforms can divide opinions – some see them as positive, a tool that allows a business to receive feedback from customers to improve performance or to be recognised for their good work, while others view them as potentially damaging and often unfairly given by disgruntled customers or competitors.

 

Whatever your opinion, it’s important to know how to handle them to protect your reputation or to maximise the positive benefits.  Here we outline some top tips and best practice for handling reviews.

 

Keeping on top of reviews

 

To keep on top of review submissions, it’s a good idea to check the various sites that your business is listed on every few days.  Replying to 5-star reviews is just as important as replying to 1-star reviews – let your customers know that you appreciate their feedback and use the channel to build relationships.

 

Updating your business information

 

On review platforms such as Google and Tripadvisor, you can also add extra information about your business and keep information accurate and up to date, such as opening times, news and imagery.  As restrictions slowly lift, it may be worthwhile sharing your policies and procedures in helping to make potential customers feel secure when visiting your businesses.  You can also display Covid measures on your Google/Trip Advisor listing.

 

Maintaining quality in replies

 

Replies should always be kept consistent, in line with your brand and use the same tone across all review sites.  Where relevant, you may also want to sign off a response with the business owner’s name to make it more personal.

 

 

Dealing With Negative Reviews

 

There are many different approaches that can be taken when responding to negative reviews, largely depending on your brand and how you would like to be perceived.  Rather than publicly call out a reviewer you don’t believe it’s fair, we’d advise to take it away from the site and offer to discuss further via email or on the phone.  Washing your dirty linen in public is rarely good for a business and can even cause greater reputational damage with an online argument.  Take it offline and if possible, engage in a one-on-one conversation with the reviewer before deciding on how best to respond.

 

Overall, we’d always advise that businesses address negative reviews, so you can be seen to be proactive – even if you don’t agree with the reviewer’s side of the story.  In this digital age we live in, all eyes are on your business, so it’s important to make a good impression as review sites are often visited by potential new customers.

 

When dealing with a fabricated review, depending on the platform, you can usually contest it and have it taken down.  In more serious cases, for example if a customer has been asked to leave your establishment and left a bad review to punish the business, we’ve successfully worked with the platforms in removing defamatory and unfair reviews.

 

 

Using Reviews As Part Of Your Social Media Strategy

 

Sharing positive reviews on your social media channels is a great way to showcase what your business has to offer, whether it’s to current followers or new customers who have just discovered you.

 

If you’re a restaurant/pub/bar, sharing positive Instagram story content from customers is a perfect way to illustrate what other customers think of their experiences and also provides fresh new imagery for your social channels.  This type of content is just as important as a review on Tripadvisor or Google, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on your social media activity and opportunities.

 

To find out more about Source PR and how we can support your brand or business with its online presence, drop us a line!

Is There More To Social Media Marketing Than Going ‘Viral’?

Often, the brief to social media managers is “make me go viral”. For businesses, it certainly does seem attractive, tweets with thousands of likes or TikTok videos hitting a million views. Going viral has its perks of course, but there is so much more to social media than this. Today, we wanted to discuss the importance of a steady social media strategy and why interactions aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Why Virality Might Not Be ‘All That’

For many, the holy grail for Twitter users is virality. Did you know the most engaged with tweet ever was in January 2019, and was by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa who tweeted offering £725,000 to 100 people who shared the tweet? It racked up 4.68 million retweets. The tweet was made to celebrate his fashion website Zozotown making 10bn yen over the Christmas and New Year period. However, for most this was simply an afterthought. The reason for engaging, for the most part, was to be in with a chance of winning that very attractive prize. Herein lies the issue with social media virality, and why it may be hollower than it seems.

Many brands want virality, but for what reason? In most cases, it can be seen as no more than a vanity metric. Competitions, for example, can be a great way of raising followers for a business, but unless your prize is focused towards your target audience, the likelihood is that most of those interactions will slowly begin to drop off. Oftentimes, the tweets that go viral aren’t strictly related to a brand and therefore are generating the wrong kind of engagement, or garner superficial interactions that actually will end up having very little impact on the brand, once you overlook the numbers.

For example, it’s become a growing trend for fashion retailers to post about memes, TV shows, even food. These posts tend to get plenty of shares, likes, tags, comments and so on. However, they often don’t relate to the brand itself and therefore the engagements are with the content itself, not the business who posted it. The numbers are great, but they tend not to be indicative of brand support, but rather how many people actually were interested in the content posted. If that content does not support your brand in any way, then is there anything to be gained from this?

For us, it’ll always be engagement with intent > interactions.

Are Interactions All They’re Cracked Up To Be?

Likes, shares, comments etc. are always reported on, but how important are they?

These interactions show that a user has not only just glanced at your content, but paused to read it, engage with it, and perhaps even share it with others.

But does the absence of them mean your social media content has not been successful? No.

Plenty of interested stakeholders can still engage with your tweet, without clicking that ‘like’ button. There is often more value in link clicks from genuinely interested parties and general exposure of your brand, than there is in getting a tweet with 100 meaningless likes. This is something we bear in mind when completing social media audits and strategies – we focus on content that appeals to the right demographic, and that helps build a better brand with an engaged audience.

To summarise, interactions are great, but there’s no need for concern should they not be there either, so long as you’re building a great social media profile and communicating to the right people.

The Importance Of Consistent Communications

With 45 million active social media users in the UK alone, having an airtight strategy is important. We believe it’s time to focus on meaningful interactions as opposed to the aim of going viral, as the latter is only likely to return short term success. There is far more value in an ongoing strategy that consistently delivers.

We recently published a case study on our work with client Combermere Abbey. Through consistent communications, even throughout the pandemic whilst the venue was closed, the business was able to reap some pretty impressive results upon reopening. This is thanks in no small part to an ongoing strategy that focused on consistent brand messaging, as opposed to chasing short-term wins.

Going ‘viral’ is certainly exciting, and we don’t complain when it happens. But we believe that consistently good performing social media content, that doesn’t focus on individual metrics, is important because:

  • It helps to build a reputable and well-known brand
  • It establishes your tone of voice and market position
  • It subtly markets to your consumers, time after time
  • It focuses on relevant content that meets your goals, be it exposure or conversions
  • It produces content that people engage with beyond a simple ‘like’
  • It puts you ahead of your competitors that are chasing viral posts without substance

We love a good social media result in any form, but we think there’s a lot of underrated beauty in an ongoing strategy that ticks over and consistently does favours for your brand and your business.

To find out more about The Source and how we utilise social media channels for our clients, please get in touch. We’re based in Cheshire but operate nationwide.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DOING A SOCIAL MEDIA AUDIT

There’s been an exponential rise in businesses using social media platforms to excite, entice and engage with audiences as more and more consumers turn to social media during the recent lockdowns.  To maximise performance and ensure you are on brand and have a strong message, now is the right time for companies to undertake a social media audit.

Research suggests that just under half of consumers (43%) said they were spending longer on social media because of the outbreak, and 19% say they’ll carry on spending longer on social media once restrictions lift. There has never been a better time to audit your social media than now.

The Basics Of A Social Media Audit

The good news is that a social media audit for businesses is not as painful as it sounds when left in the hands of professionals.  It’s a very worthwhile exercise to ensure brands are making the most of their opportunities, reflecting best practice and also keeping pace with the evolving social media trends and algorithms.

The basic role of an audit of all social media accounts is to help you better understand what’s happening on each network and to see at a glance the following key metrics:

  • What’s working and what’s not
  • Whether impostor accounts are stealing your followers
  • Which profiles you need to revive, repurpose, or shut down
  • New opportunities to grow and engage your audience
  • Are you being consistent and considered with your messaging

At Source PR, we’re often asked to complete company social media audits as it’s critical to understand the key elements mentioned above before embarking on developing an effective social media strategy.  To constructively move forward with an effective social media strategy it’s important to first know where you are before you determine where you want to go.

What Does A Social Media Audit Look Like?

Visibility

When undertaking a social media audit, first look at what @handles are you using, over what platforms and who has ownership or control.  Is there brand consistency across the platforms, what do the biogs say and where are you directing any subsequent web visitors?  Also, look at the imagery you’re using and check that the pages are verified to prevent imposters.

Needs & Wants

From this point you can determine what platforms and handles a business needs / wants as well as determine what’s working and what’s not.  Take the time to look at what are the most engaging posts, who is engaging with you and on what platforms as well as which networks your target audience is most active on.

Competitor Analysis

We would also recommend that you compare your approach and outlook to the competition, evaluating how you compare to them and whether you are missing any opportunities to engage with audiences or simply getting the best out of the platforms. At Source PR, we have social media tools that can track and monitor in-depth competitor activity as well as physically doing the legwork ourselves.

Identify KPIs

When auditing you social media platforms remember to stay focused on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you want to measure.  Some of the more popular measurements can be increases in followers, link clicks, profile visits, likes / comments and other engagements.

Social Media Audit Services

Undertaking an effective social media audit for business helps determine where you are before you develop the strategy and pathway on where you want to go.  Get in touch with our team if you’re looking for support with your social media audit.  Once this is done, the real fun can begin with the development of an effective and fun social media strategy to better excite, engage and enthuse your audiences.  Watch this space and follow our social media accounts for future updates where we will share some of our social media success strategies.

HOW POETRY CAN BE USED IN COMMUNICATIONS

This article first appeared in Creative Moment and was written by Janet Hare.

Poetry has been around for thousands of years and has given the UK alone heaps of famous and infamous poets such as Chaucer, Keats, Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas, Robbie Burns, Sylvia Plath and many, many more.

Typically though it is known as a niche market, with long-form novels selling far more copies than even the most popular poet. Although Nielsen BookScan did report a 12% increase in poetry book sales in its 2018 report.

Most people see poetry as something they had to learn at school and were pleased to leave behind as they reached adulthood.

And it’s definitely not known as the dominant written form in our lives today. That accolade probably belongs to text speak, alas.

So, if that is the case, then why is poetry being used so much these days in marketing and communications?

Many big UK brands and their ad agencies have taken to using poetry in their broadcast advertising over the last 12 months or so. Nationwide and Co-op are two such companies., as well as EE and OVO.

Starting in 2016, Nationwide ran a series of ads along the theme of ‘voices’ which were designed to highlight the life and diversity of British society. The campaign was brought to life by 31 spoken word poets who lived and worked across the UK. They were given broad themes to work from and wrote original poetry under the subjects such as home, family, friendship.

The campaign apparently helped the building society grow its share of switched accounts to 20%.

It was during that year that I first saw and heard Matt Abbott’s ‘This place is ours’, his poem for Nationwide on what home meant to him. It totally held me captive whilst he talked about his Mum’s roast dinner and dressing gowns being worn all day in his Yorkshire tones. This was real life. This spoke to me.

The Voices campaign has been so successful for Nationwide that it’s still running now. In 2020 it even featured poems about the Covid pandemic from the likes of Matt Abbott and his partner Maria Ferguson, titled ‘A message to ourselves/myself in 6 months’ time.’ The Covid-time ads focussed on the theme of how things would be different in the future.

Nationwide The Voices Campaign

Image credit: The Drum

Since then, and particularly in the last 12 months, I have seen numerous other companies take to poems to express themselves in TV ads, such as the Co-op with its ‘Power of hope’ campaign which used a poem based on spoken word artist Sarah Adedeji, ‘All the people giving double’, about people’s struggles and double efforts during Covid. Even Coca-Cola has got in on the act using spoken word artist George the Poet in its TV ad marking the cultural significance of the pandemic.

So why? Why is poetry suddenly being used to communicate messages?

The answer seems simple. Empathy.

Advertisers and communicators recognise that people have turned introspective during the pandemic, spending more time contemplating. Contemplating what is important in life. And spending more time at home has given people more time to be aware of their feelings. They’ve had time to stop and think. Advertisers have recognised this. They have read the room and realised that empathy is where it’s at with good communication right now.

And it’s not only advertisers that have become aware of this. President Biden’s inauguration in the US didn’t just feature pomp and ceremony and politicians giving speeches and elbow bumps. It featured a young, black, female poet, Amanda Gorman delivering ‘The hill we climb’ poem she wrote for the occasion.

In the hours following the ceremony, social media erupted with astonishment at how powerful the poem was and how amazing Amanda, the US youth poet laureate, was in her delivery. The positive media coverage continued the next day and beyond. The impact it made was incredible.

Why did the Biden administration decide to use poetry for this world-stage event? Because they read the room and knew with all the turbulent times the country had seen, what they needed to do now to appeal to the population was show what hadn’t been shown before. Empathy.

I fully expect that Amanda Gorman’s performance will only further propel the use of poetry in communication and as an English Literature grad, that’s something that I look forward to very much.

HOW TO BE AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITION BY 12TH APRIL

If the Government roadmap goes ahead as planned, then 12th April is set to be an important date for the hospitality industry. Not only can self-catering accommodation open once more, but also outdoor attractions can reopen, as can gyms, leisure centres and beer gardens. This means that between now and then, it needs to be all-hands-on-deck for those businesses to ensure that come 12th April, you’re ahead of your competition and ready to welcome your customers back with open arms once more. Is your business ready for the lifting of lockdown?

To be on the front foot amongst your competitors now, you need to be looking at a PR, social media and marketing strategy – don’t wait until April to start communicating. If you were really on the ball, you may have already been communicating through lockdowns, as we can’t stress enough the importance of keeping in touch with your consumers, even when you’re not open for business.

If you’ve not started yet, then now is the time to. Below we’re laying out some tips and advice for how to be ahead of your competition by 12th April – especially if you’re in the hospitality industry – with the help of a little PR magic.

Beating Your Competition With Communications

Plenty of businesses have been communicating with their customers throughout lockdown, but not all have. Those that have continued to retain a PR strategy, have already started seeing the benefits of it as restrictions ease. Our client Combermere Abbey, for example, in the last lockdown enjoyed almost 100 bookings in the first few weeks after reopening them; and they’re set to enjoy similar successes this time around too. Don’t wait to start talking to your consumers, start now. This is what we’d advise.

Spend time on CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is often wrongly overlooked as a PR exercise. Brand reputation is so important, and you want to be getting your name out there for all of the right reasons. You might not be able to trade at the moment, but what’s stopping you from supporting your local community or charities? We actively encourage our clients to get involved with local schools, care homes and other organisations as much as they can, not only does this open them up to new audiences and reinforces their brand reputation; but it also heightens the chance of some great regional media coverage too.

Become a regular on social

If you’ve not already been utilising a social media strategy, then now is the time to start. We’d recommend communicating with your customers regularly every week – talk about what’s coming up, what they can expect when they return and what you’ve been up to during lockdown. Everybody wants something to look forward to at the moment, and you have the potential to capitalise on that. For hospitality businesses, we’d recommend focusing on Facebook, Instagram – and perhaps Twitter and LinkedIn. Don’t forget about TikTok too – a relatively new platform but one that can do your business many favours if you get it right.

Jump on every press opportunity

Press opportunities are coming thick and fast at the moment, in only the last few weeks we’ve landed client coverage on big publications such as The Telegraph and the Daily Mail to name just a couple. Look out for where you can insert your business into the media and generate some extra exposure, either locally or nationally, to help put yourself in front of your competitors come April 12th. To speak to the team about how to jump on press opportunities like this and get your business some great media coverage, get in touch with us via our website.

Start direct communications now

If your customers are signed up for an email database… Then they’ll want to hear from you! Start putting together a plan for newsletters, but don’t overdo it either. It’s good to give your consumers an update, but make sure you’re tying it into something important, for example, you might have opened reservations or given the go-ahead to open from 12th April. Keep your communications consistent but relevant, and always on-brand.

Work on your website

Finally, don’t waste this period of closure – use it to put your business in a great position for when you can reopen. We recently wrote about how to navigate through the third lockdown and part of this included working on your website, optimising content, updating meta descriptions, page titles and so on. Also, put together an SEO blog strategy that focuses on relevant long-tail keywords, as well as including content that your customers will want to read about. With the right strategies in place, the work you do now may well be ranking where you want it to be by mid-April.

Ready, Set, Go…

If you really want to get competitive and have a great communications plan in place to ensure a successful spring and summer, then why not get in touch with our team of experts? We have a wealth of experience in hospitality PR, and would love to chat about what we can do for your business? Get in touch now, or why not check out the case studies on our website?