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THE LIFE OF A SOURCE PR INTERN – BY BRIDIE BUCKINGHAM

As part of National Careers Week, our intern, Bridie Buckingham wrote about her experiences of being a ‘sourcerer’ intern and the pros of work experience.

Bridie also gives her own to advice for those who are thinking about their future career aspirations.

I’ve been a PR intern at Source PR for over seven months now and I must say they have been some of the best and busiest months of my life. A lot has changed in that time, I moved across the country, started at a new university and changed my degree to a completely new field of study.

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CORONAVIRUS CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLAN: HOW TO USE PR TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS

The rapid spread of the Coronavirus has pushed the WHO to declare a pandemic.

To date, there are around 139,075 cases of Coronavirus (also known as COVID-129) globally, 5,117 have died and cases are now found in almost every country in the world.

Stock markets have been hit and the International Monetary Fund has declared that the world’s ‘fragile economy’ could be derailed if the virus is not contained.

Coronavirus Crisis Communications Plan

Source: Worldometers

Now, the question to be raised is “how can businesses deal with the Coronavirus outbreak?”.

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LESSONS FROM A BOOKSTORE: HOW EFFECTIVE IS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING?

How effective is social media marketing? Well, we could tell you that it’s super worthwhile, but why not show you how effective it is instead?

Never has a story better demonstrated the sheer power of social media than that of Petersfield Bookshop. A story that we at Source PR have had the pleasure of following right from the beginning, and one that we’ve really enjoyed watching unfold.

It started like this…

Petersfield Bookshop – The Power Of A Tweet

Tumbleweed

Not a single book sold today…

£0.00…

We think this maybe the first time ever…

We know its miserable out but if you’d like to help us out please find our Abebooks offering below, all at 25% off at the moment….”

This was the tweet put out by @The_PBS, better known as Petersfield Bookshop, on the 14th January this year. We doubt whoever sat down to type it would have known just how much of an effect it would have.

Thanks to the ever-gladdening honourability of Twitter and the general tenderness of the British public, a few months down the line and the Bookshop is not only surviving but thriving.

petersfield-bookstore-how-effective-is-social-media-marketing

The tweet caught the attention of many and managed to rack up a little under 20,000 likes, supported by 9300 retweets. It attracted not only many verified accounts who further spread the notion that you should support small businesses, but also attained worldwide media coverage too.

It really has been a snowball effect; and is a true testament to just how powerful social media marketing and the right media exposure can be.

We may complain about the internet sometimes, but despite all its flaws, it really does have its advantages too. How effective is social media marketing? We think this short Twitter story demonstrates that it is entirely effective, when gotten right. Who can disagree with that? This story is just one glowing example of many.

Petersfield Bookshop went from having literally no customers on a single day, to having orders placed all around the world, along with an abundance of well-wishes and attentive followers.

Knowing exactly how to retain their audience too, the Twitter account manager for Petersfield has done an excellent job of keeping interested parties up to date. From charming acknowledgments to those who’ve supported the small business, to endearing posts that update us on how the store is doing now.

petersfield-bookstore-how-effective-is-social-media-marketing

We for one hope they never stop!

How Effective Is Social Media Marketing?

Adding to the engagement enjoyed on social media, the business has also seen quite a significant uplift in Google searches too. Thanks in no small part, we would presume, to the virality they relished just a few weeks ago.

how-effective-is-social-media-marketing
Google searches for ‘Petersfield Bookshop’ over the last 12 months… Spot the spike!

But perhaps what we love most about this whole affair, is that thanks to the updates on social media, you can actually really see and feel the benefits of the social media engagement that the Bookshop enjoyed. If you’re ever looking to answer the question “how effective is social media marketing?” then here’s your case study.

Not only is this total proof that social media truly works, but it’s also just so fantastic to see. We at The Source really love to see any small business burgeoning.

petersfield-bookstore-how-effective-is-social-media-marketing

Here’s to one of our absolute favourite Twitter stories of all time, long may Petersfield Bookshop continue to prosper and demonstrate how effective social media marketing is.

Are you looking for assistance with your social media marketing? You’re in the right place. Get in touch to find out how The Source can strengthen your reputation and grow your social presence. Or, why not check us out on social media?

Instagram: @PRSource

Twitter: @Source_Tweets

Facebook: Source PR

LinkedIn: The Source

This blog was adapted by PR Executive Jessica Pardoe from her personal PR blog.

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS DAY: HOW CAN BRANDS GET INVOLVED?

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the UK, and ever interested in Awareness Days and how they can be leveraged in PR and Marketing campaigns, we thought we’d take a look at how brands can get involved.

The Source are an ethical PR and marketing agency, we’re heavily invested in the rural community and work with brands who care deeply about their CSR and reputation. As such, days like Random Acts of Kindness Day are the exact kind of events that we’d look to include in our PR strategies.

Here’s a little more on why exactly we do this… 

Managing CSR For Brands

PR is all about brand reputation, it’s building and maintaining an image for a business and positioning them as ethical and responsibility. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) plays a huge part in this. For us, we like to make sure that the brands we work with are well versed in being involved with local communities and that support charities too.

It’s really important for your brand to have a great CSR strategy, as this can make or break your business’ reputation. Days such as Random Acts of Kindness Day can help to do exactly this…

How To Get Involved In Random Acts Of Kindness Day

Random Acts of Kindness Day is just one of the many Awareness Days worth getting involved in if you’re wanting to improve your brands CSR and overall reputation. What’s more, these kinds of Awareness Days are abundantly spoken about in the media, so it’s also a great PR and marketing opportunity for getting your brand some media coverage too.

Here’s some of our ideas as to how your brand can get involved in Random Acts of Kindness Day this year:

  • Donate some money to a local charity, such as an animal shelter or food bank. Don’t pre-plan the donation, just head in and leave a cheque (and ask if they wouldn’t mind a quick photo, of course).
  • Get some of your team out doing a litter pick or beach clean-up, showing kindness to the environment and to the earth.
  • Visit a local nursing home or children’s hospital and drop off some bits and bobs that you’ll know they’d love. This one might be a little harder to be ‘random’ as you’ll probably have to get in touch with a co-ordinator first, but it’s still a kind thing to do.
  • Email a small business or charity and offer an hour or two of your services for free, they won’t be expecting an email like that and if you work in a service-led industry (such as PR like us) that extra hour or two might benefit their business more than you could ever anticipate.
  • Ask your staff members to bring in a few items of food, or some clothing that can be donated either to a local food bank or charity shelter, helping out small businesses is a really nice idea for Random Acts of Kindness Day.
  • Shout about a small business on social media, if you have a great online presence – this could mean a world of difference to them in getting them some great exposure for their brand. Take for example the ‘Hinch Effect’, not too long-ago famed influencer Mrs. Hinch posted a story of the company who fitted her a loft ladder. And the results, well, click here to find out what happened.

Want help utilising strategies like the above, and turning your kindness into coverage, as well as a strong brand image? Get in touch with The Source to find out a little more about what we do, and how the ‘Sorcerers’ can support your brand’s marketing strategy.

Call us on 01829 720789. Or, see what we get up to on social…

Instagram: @PRSource

Twitter: @Source_Tweets

Facebook: Source PR

LinkedIn: The Source

STAKEHOLDER COMMUNICATIONS – FIGHTING FOR FARMERS

The high standards of British agriculture will be heralded at a London rally organised by the NFU in a bid to make the Government think twice about allowing food into the UK which is produced to lesser standards in any trade deal.  By undertaking a programme of effective stakeholder communications, the farming and food community is set to raise awareness and deliver the results and assurances they need.

The rally, on March 25 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster, aims to secure a commitment that UK standards will be safeguarded in trade deals to be negotiated this year with Europe and the rest of the world.

It will feature speeches from environmental and consumer spokespeople, animal welfare professionals and farming leaders. The message is that UK farmers produce safe, traceable food and this excellence must not be sacrificed in the necessity to strike free trade deals.

MPs will be invited and the event will undoubtedly put pressure on Government to avoid kow-towing to other countries. The Conservative manifesto also pledged to not jeopardise UK animal welfare standards; further influence comes from a letter to the Prime Minister signed by over 60 groups including the RSPCA and Soil Association urging the protection of food standards.

Campaign publicity

Farming is not generally an industry which takes to the streets of the capital to make demands. There’s a swathe of public support for maintaining our food standards and not allowing items such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef into the UK. The unpalatable history of big landowners receiving the largest subsidy payments is now receding, which may also generate support for the industry as it adjusts to provide public goods in return for subsidy payments: this bedrock of support lessens the potential for cries of self-interest to be levelled at farmers.

The publicity campaign surrounding the rally has already succeeded in highlighting the standards of UK farming and coverage in the weeks before the event could add further weight: the power of the campaign will undoubtedly exert pressure on Government.

For advice on successful campaigning and strategic PR, contact the team at Source PR.

POSITIVE PREDICTIONS IN DIGITAL MARKETING FOR 2020

According to a report by PayPal’s Commerce Index, the number of businesses in the UK expected to begin marketing on social media is set to double in the next six months – a huge increase from the approximate 600,000 businesses that already do so. British businesses are finally set to catch up to the rest of the global average of 35%: currently, just 24% of UK businesses use social media to market their products.

The increase could partially come down to the rise in millennial business owners and marketing heads – with the younger generation being more app and social-media savvy, it stands to reason that millennial-owned businesses would use tools they already know and love to market their services. Yet it’s not only the increase of millennials in the boardroom that are to blame – success stories of brands who invest wisely into the digital sphere and see great returns have spurred interest in the less traditional methods of marketing.

An example of a business that has begun to take digital marketing more seriously is Pandora, which has hired London digital marketing agency Fifty-Five to further enhance its social media and overall online presence. According to The Drum, Pandora is ‘in the process of increasing its investment in digital media as a way to build its brand and drive sales, as well as attract new and loyal customers instore.’ Pandora’s inclusion of the digital sphere as a crucial aspect of its branding is indicative of the turn towards less-traditional marketing techniques that businesses have been embracing more and more over recent years. Despite the brand already being a household name, Pandora is evidently interested in the further capabilities that digital marketing can provide.

If its experience will be anything like the retailer Oasis, it’s likely to be worth it. The clothing store has turned to more savvy digital marketing technique after it faced multiple store closures throughout the UK. Despite the setbacks, Oasis saw an extraordinary 175% increase in revenue and an overall 20% rise in customer engagement after it circulated an email with an ad video featuring Frankie Bridge, former member of The Saturdays. Sophia Holland Thomas, Digital Marketing Manager at Oasis, said, ‘Videos are capturing consumer attention like never before and video marketing is becoming an increasingly important vehicle for companies looking to engage with a millennial audience, where they can enhance their outreach and revenues.’

If that wasn’t enough, the data insights and consulting company Kantar recently released a report that offered its predictions for the upcoming year in the technology and digital world. Duncan Southgate, Global Brand Director at Kantar, wrote, ‘Digital is set to consolidate its dominance in 2020, with 84% of marketers planning to increase spend in online video, and 70% planning to increase spend in social media, according to our recent Getting Media Right report.’

All evidence seems to point to the growing importance and prevalence of digital marketing, and businesses are expected to invest accordingly. And if the success stories of the likes of Oasis are anything to go by, it can be assumed that this will only be good news for those brands that take the leap from traditional, linear marketing such as TV, radio or billboards. At Source, we embrace both traditional and the digital world, where influence and recommendation is key. We’re fluent in the world of online marketing and provide a tailored approach to brands and businesses that look to increase their online reach.

Get in touch on 01829 7208789 to learn more, or follow us on Twitter (@source_tweets), Facebook (@SourcePublicRelations) and LinkedIn (The Source).

MORE PR ‘SOURCERERS’ JOIN THE TEAM

We’re excited to announce that four new PR ‘Sourcerers’ have joined the team to meet client demand and to grow the business through a new specialist Rural Division.

The new appointments include Janet Hare who joins as client director, Gill Broad who joins to head up the company’s new Rural Division, Sarah Larkin who joins as an account manager and Jessica Pardoe who also joins the team to meet the growing demand from clients for social media management and digital PR campaigns.

Janet is an experienced PR professional having previously held senior media positions with BT, The National Lottery and The Millennium Dome.  Janet joins the agency and takes responsibility for client management, managing the growing team and overseeing the successful delivery of client campaigns.

Gill Broad has been appointed to head up Source PR’s newly created Rural Division.  The division has been specifically created to provide strategic communications, PR and marketing advice to rural and agricultural businesses or those seeking to engage with the sector.  Gill joins from Fisher German and prior to that worked as a senior reporter for NWM Media.

Sarah Larkin joins the team to manage the company’s consumer team.  Sarah has extensive experience having previously worked as marketing manager and Kings School Chester and with Marks & Spencer Money where she managed a range of financial services products.  Sarah also founded So Baby, a range of organic baby food that was sold in Waitrose, Tesco and Ocado.

Growing Team

The team has also been bolstered by the arrival of Jessica Pardoe who joins as a PR & Digital Media Executive.  Jess joins from Techmark and will now support the Source PR teams with digital PR, content marketing and social media management.

Louis Hill, Managing Director of Source PR, says: “These are exciting times for Source PR as we grow the team with some senior appointments and launch a new division specifically targeting those operating or looking to influence the rural sector.  We are well positioned for continued growth and to support our client’s ambitions.”

Source PR, located near Chester, is one of the region’s leading PR, marketing and digital agencies.  The company operates across the property, manufacturing and professional services sectors with clients including; Meadow Foods, Miller Homes and British Pipeline Agency.

If you’ve got a positive can do attitude and are looking for a career in PR or social media, contact us today.

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TAKES A NEW TWIST

Social media management takes a new twist as Twitter announces plans to ban political ads from its service globally, with the action to come into force on 22 November.

The broad ban will cover all adverts specific to candidates and issues, however some ads will be allowed to remain, including those encouraging people to vote. The organisation says, via a tweet, that they ‘believe political message reach should be earned, not bought…?’.

This comes ahead of the US Presidential election campaign as well as the General Election here in the UK.   Although on one level it makes sense and provides more of a level playing field for campaigners, regardless of their financial backing, it does open a whole area of debate.

Some of the key points that come to mind, include whether it is right for a media outlet to ban all political advertising or would it be better to implement the existing guidelines on advertising that prevent false claims, libel or malign forces acting inappropriately?

There are also a number of very grey areas including; what exactly determines a political advert?  Should the ban cover all topics relating to racial equality, women’s rights or even climate change?  It’s clear that an all-out ban would be hard to police, subjective as to what areas are covered and could pose more problems than it answers.

There is no doubt that ‘fake news’ or worse still intentionally deceptive stories should be more effectively managed on-line or at least come with an open disclaimer.  There is a growing problem of fake news as it polarises opinion, misleads and unduly influences susceptible voters – often even making the news in more genuine outlets.

The Conservative Party has also recently been told off for doctoring a video of Sir Keir Starmer outlining Labour’s position on Brexit.  Anyone with a modicum of intelligence could immediately tell it was a ‘joke’, however there is a fear that over policing of such activities or such extreme social media management could both dry up political debate but worse still put politics above mockery – at a time when our political leaders are opening themselves to satire and Spitting Image is making a timely comeback.

Twitter exemptions

As we wait for the full details of Twitter exemptions next month, it’s a shame that a media outlet is planning to unilaterally determine what advertisers can or can’t say and to therefore ironically have an influence on a political outcome.  Perhaps it is because they simply want to apply pressure on competitors like Facebook who secure significant revenue streams from political advertisers?

The media is no doubt changing and rightfully so.  We must however welcome, embrace and use new digital communications platforms but it’s critically important that the media operates to a level playing field where rules regarding false promises or advertising are closely monitored and managed.  If that is the case then there would be no need for media outlets to take matters into their own hands and influence their own audiences by determining what they’re willing to share with their customers.

WHAT’S THE INFLUENCE OF INFLUENCER PR?

Public relations has always been about influencing audiences and ensuring a brand or product is portrayed in the right light – the secret now is to use influencer PR.

Ensuring you are able to influence those who have influence over others is a crucial part of the work whether targeting journalists, MPs or celebrities.  The advent and exponential growth of social media has however seen the emergence of ‘influencers’ whose sole purpose seems to be to share their experiences and influence others.

Admittedly, the successful influencers focus on a market segment as their area of authority, whether mums, teens, fashion bloggers or people with a passion for their homes to name just a few sectors.

‘Being an influencer’ is now one of the most popular career options for primary school children. Gone are the days of kids aspiring to be lawyers, astronauts or firemen – it’s now all about becoming an online influencer.

A survey by  global affiliate network www.awin.com showed that one in five (17 per cent) of kids now wants to be a social media influencer and 14 per cent wanted to be a YouTuber – only doctor (18 per cent) scored higher.

The role of influencers is can pay dividends for the individual as well as the brands looking to engage with audiences.   A Marketingcharts.com surveyfound 22 per cent of 18-34 year-olds made a large purchase after seeing an online influencer endorsing the item – be that games, fashion, make-up or hotels.  The challenge however is finding the right influencer, with a genuine following and who has authority and an ability to engage with their audiences.

This year’s Love Island is already spawning a new wave of ‘influencers’ with huge numbers of followers.  However, research has revealed that many of their followers are in fact fake, undermining their credibility.

Tommy Fury, the most-followed contestant, has 971,000 followers but well over half (60%) of those are fake.  The contestants whose Instagram profiles have the highest concentration of fake followers are Amber Rose Gill and Jordan Hames, at 65% each.

Six of the 17 contestant accounts were reported for suspicious activity, just weeks before the contestants were publicly announced. Strangely Anton Danyluk would appear to have great influencer and support in India, Brazil and Mexico – some of the most common countries where ‘bot farms are commonly located.

Last year, Instagram claimed it was intending to target fake likes and comments from users who use third-party apps to boost their popularity.  The issue is a serious one as research from Social Chain has reported that brands are being defrauded by up to 96% of what they spend with some influencers.

The message from this seems to be clear that when used correctly, influencers have a key role to play in successfully targeting audience groups.  However, remember to do your research to ensure you know exactly how much influence your influencer actually has.