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Elon and Twitter – A Match Made In Heaven… Or Hell?

On Monday, the board of Twitter accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover bid. Only two weeks ago Musk made the shock bid claiming Twitter had “tremendous potential” that only he could unlock.

 

An avid Twitter user himself, Mr Musk boasts an audience of over 83.3m followers. His love of Twitter leads him to tweet prolifically, sometimes with controversial opinions and occasionally with catastrophic consequences. He was previously banned from tweeting about Tesla affairs by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) after one tweet wiped $14bn from its share price. In another instance he was sued for defamation following a tweet he wrote about a cave diver, in which he referred to him as “pedo guy” (the diver lost).

 

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” is how Musk describes his view on Twitter. Perhaps a little worryingly, Elon’s definition of freedom of speech proposes less moderation for his Twitter 2.0. Many Republicans, who have long felt that Twitter’s moderation policies favour the freedom of speech of left-leaning viewpoints, rejoiced.

 

What will he do with the site?

 

Perhaps most notably, at present, Twitter’s main business model is ad-based – but Musk wants to change this. He’s more interested in subscriptions, which could prove a hard sell in an environment where all the main social networks are free-to-use. Twitter users may decide they prefer for their data to not be used to monetise them and they’re willing to pay for that – but it’s a gamble.

 

He also likes crypto currencies. Could he use the platform to incentivise payments in volatile, unprotected currencies such as Bitcoin?

 

What does this mean for users?

 

Just these few changes could change Twitter’s demographic enormously. For casual personal pleasure users, this new environment could quickly become unaffordable, volatile and all too complicated – making the way for users of  servers such as discord and online forums to switch to Twitter now that the content restrictions are on their way out.

 

Musk’s Twitter would be a very different landscape for its current 300 million users. The move could see him reinstate Donald Trump, who currently has a permanent ban – and given that Mr Trump’s own attempt at a social network, Truth Social, appears to be floundering, he would probably be delighted to return.

 

Musk’s series of changes also include a relaxing of its content restrictions as well as the eradication of fake accounts. Some other less drastic changes he has proposed are the suggestions of allowing longer posts and introducing the ability to edit them after they have been published. Whilst this is beneficial now for tweets that could potentially cause offence, the new rules will see no use for this feature in such a sense.

 

Money talks

 

Mr Musk is the world’s richest person, according to Forbes magazine, with an estimated net worth of $273.6bn, mostly due to his shareholding in electric vehicle maker Tesla. He also leads the aerospace firm SpaceX and contributed to the success of PayPal. He is not interested in making money out of the site, but I suppose as a multi-billionaire you can have the occasional expensive hobby?

 

The takeover is expected to be finalised by the end of this year, but what are your thoughts? Will you still continue to use Twitter? Is this a step in the right direction or a total disaster move for the site? Get in touch with us and let us know – ironically! – via Twitter.

 

 

Featured image courtesy of Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nvidia/16660212029

Does Your Business Need A Social Media Presence?

It’s perfectly understandable to question whether or not your business needs a social media presence – whether that’s on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even Pinterest. In particular, companies in the B2B or business to business market may wonder if they want or need to have social media accounts.

 

After all, it’s something that takes time, money and effort to set up and maintain.

 

That’s why we’re here to give you the run down on just why your business – no matter how big or small – should invest in setting up a social media presence. As you’ll find, the reasons are endless…

 

 

4 Reasons Your Business Needs a Social Media Presence

 

 

1. Increase Awareness Of Your Brand, Without Breaking The Bank

 

Social media is easily one of the most cost-effective – and effective – ways of promoting your brand, putting it out into the world and gaining an audience that listens to the service you can provide for them. Even if you decide not to put any money behind the posts and profile you have set up, it shows your customers that you’re technologically savvy, easy to get in contact with and willing to share all your news, offers and thought leadership!

 

If you do decide to put some money behind your posts, for example, by sponsoring or promoting your page or content, the markup isn’t going to be as much as you’d think. The minimum spend for a Facebook boosted post, for example, is just $1 (75p). You can widen or shrink the radius of your target audience as much as you want, and even target based on job role, interests, gender or age.

 

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

 

2…And Just As Effective As Traditional Advertisements

 

 

There are countless examples of brands and businesses that have become enormous successes without breaking the bank by keeping advertisement in the ‘traditional’ sense (i.e. TV, radio, billboards) limited. Through their social media accounts, they have built up a following of people willing to purchase their products or services.

 

An example of this is Gymshark, which has an impressive multi-platform audience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube that has been built up since 2012. Through a combination of body inclusivity, memes and ‘relatable content,’ the brand has rocketed into the mainstream and is now a major competitor of more well-known fitness wear brands like Nike and Adidas.

Part of Gymshark’s continuing relevance and appeal is its use of influencers, too. Having a social media presence affords you the opportunity to work with individuals (or couples) that have a strong, engaged fan base of thousands – even, sometimes, millions! This is a perfect chance to reach people who might not have otherwise heard of your brand – and might well become future loyal customers!

 

@gymshark via Instagram

 

 

Don’t forget, in order to reach such heights, your social presence has to be bold, interesting and just the right fit for your brand.

 

You might have heard the phrase ‘content is king’ – if your content isn’t interesting or applicable, there’s going to be little chance people will engage with you!

 

 

 

3. Communicate Quickly and Effectively

 

 

The myriad of events during the last few years have taught us many things: one of which is just how quickly circumstances can change. It’s unlikely you’ve held or attended an event since 2020 that hasn’t in some way been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Also, this winter’s bout of storms are also a reminder that, no matter how meticulously we can plan, sometimes things simply go wrong in ways we can’t prepare for.

 

Social media is an easy way of communicating with your audience base when something like this happens. If an event has to be called off last minute, chances are people aren’t going to ring up your business to find out – they’ll head to the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page for the latest updates, knowing that all that people need is a login to communicate with the world! Whether you’re an intern or the CEO, you can easily update your followers when bad luck strikes. It’s certainly quicker than a press release!

 

4. Humanise Your Brand

 

Think about it: which would you rather get in touch with for a business enquiry? A brand that has little to no communications ventures, or one you know for a fact has a presence on social media, that is regularly updated, and communicates with its audience. There’s an age old phrase that goes, “people buy from people.”

 

Putting your brand out there on social media gives your brand a voice – meaning it’s not only easier to reach, but easier to conceptualise, understand, and engage with. This is not only good for your potential (and existing) customers, but for journalists and advertisers, too!

 

 

There are so many reasons to make the big leap into putting your business out on social media. It might seem a daunting task at first, but don’t worry: we at Source are experts in what we do. If you need a hand setting up your social media presence, or simply want some advice, we’d be happy to help! Head to our contact page to find out how to get in touch, or call 01829 720789.

Developing PR Plans For 2022 – 5 Things To Consider

As we look ahead into 2022, the team at Source PR shares below how they feel the pandemic has changed the way brands interact with customers and what PR and communication trends we’re likely to see as we head into 2022.

The pandemic has accelerated the changes in PR that have been coming over the past decade.  The move from more traditional ‘siloed’ communications towards a more holistic and integrated approach is complete.  For example, pure media relations can’t exist without reflective web content or supportive social media management – each communications silo needs to integrate and relate.

This has naturally led to a blurring of lines between PR, marketing and advertising, digital and offline – essentially requiring PR and marketing teams to develop plans that reflect an integrated approach to communications.

  1. Complete the shift to digital-first

The pandemic has ushered in a more digital world meaning companies should be looking at new ways of getting in front of their audiences and ‘meeting’ them in new ways.

In 2022, traditional PR strategies won’t work as well and companies need to adopt a digital-first strategy.  Marketers should however remember that although the platform is online that they’re targeting real people. We thrive on being liked, making conversation, and having meaningful interactions that we can relate to.

As we’re all individuals, this means that when it comes to engaging with customers, brands need to understand that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Customers care more now than ever about their experience with the companies they are buying from and don’t want to be bombarded with generic emails or social communications that just aren’t relevant to them.

Always remember that consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that they trust, have a relationship and can relate to.

  1. Engage with, or become an influencer

It’s hard not to be aware of the growing influence of the influencer.  But what is an ‘influencer’?  In short, it’s someone with a strong following who ‘creates unique content that reaches and engages people within a specific target audience’.  When chosen correctly, they can add credibility, authenticity, and personality to campaigns, providing they are harnessed in the right way.

PR agencies are well placed to work with companies and brands to shape and foster a community of advocates and influencers.  Influencers can also help humanise the brand in addition to boosting appeal and trust, promoting products and services to new cohorts, providing invaluable user-generated content (UGC), word-of-mouth recommendations and social media chatter.

When considering an influencer be sure to undertake the due diligence and to create genuine partnerships that have strategic alignment with brand values. As ever, key performance indicators (KPIs) will play a crucial role in demonstrating whether the return on investment (ROI) is beneficial.

If you’re a business leader with proven experience in a sector, what’s to stop you from developing your own profile as a thought leader in the sector?  2022 could be the year for this and we are looking forward to working with our clients to achieve this ambition for them.

Finally, although we live in the digital age, brands need to be backed up by real people, otherwise, they risk becoming faceless.  Analysis of the social media platforms we manage clearly show that consumers want to experience the human touch and to understand the people behind the brands.

  1. Develop a social conscience

There is also greater pressure coming from consumer organisations and the public to ensure the products we are consuming have been delivered in a sustainable way, haven’t unnecessarily damaged the environment or caused distress to people or the planet.

If companies are doing good work, it’s important to share the news or at least give a vision for the future that stakeholders can buy into or be part of.  In short, communicating with a conscience has never been more crucial.

We are however still at the stage where companies are positively viewed for their good works, however, in 2022 it’s likely that there will be a shift towards the greater expectation that a company is doing the right thing.  Not acting or doing the ‘wrong thing’ therefore poses a risk to an organisation’s reputation, which can quickly spiral out of control in a digital world.

Be careful not to virtue signal or publish ‘green guff’ as the public are getting increasingly savvy and there is a risk it could backfire.  If you keep your actions aligned to your vision, values and core principles you can’t go far wrong and always keep the communities you are looking to influence in the forefront of your mind when selecting a campaign to support.

2022 will be all about developing a PR narrative that allows clients to demonstrate their credentials in a meaningful way.  When done well, community-led storytelling is more acceptable and authentic than direct brand-led communication, but this community advocacy needs to be consciously harnessed and not left to chance.

  1. Create the right content

As we continue to embrace the digital era, social and web channels are only going to gain more momentum and be an increasingly critical communication tool. In the coming year, ensure that the content provided is authentic and relevant to your audience’s interests.

There has already been a monumental rise of short-form video this year, but more companies will use the format for sales and information, not just entertainment. Of course, the sales messages conveyed via video will have to be entertaining and engaging to capture and hold the viewer’s attention.

The power of speech as a search tool will continue in 2022. Already nearly a third (29%) of people in Britain now own a smart speaker and Forrester predicts the number of households with smart speakers in the EU will reach 57.5 million by 2024. When creating content consider speech search terms as well as those typically typed into Google as increasingly consumers will rely on voice to search for their favourite product or to request information.

  1. Manage your messages

As we develop a multi-channel PR and communications strategy, communications professionals should not be lazy but adapt their messages to suit the platform.  Whether LinkedIn, Twitter or TikTok adapt the message and content to suit.  As new platforms develop, they also become more mainstream so don’t write off Snapchat and TikTok as only being relevant to younger generations.  More and more Millennials and other older generations are becoming active there.

The final point to make is to ensure your messages are adapted for various audiences.  Although much of the above relates to acquiring new customers, don’t forget that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and that retaining customers that are already engaged should be an equal focus for companies and brands in their PR and communications.

 

We’d love to know your thoughts on what you feel are the topics and trends for 2022?  Whether you agree or disagree with the above, I’m sure we can all agree that the only real risk is to those who choose to do nothing.  We’d happily meet to discuss or support your plans in 2022 and always love to hear or share ideas – you can contact us here.

Whatever you choose to do – we wish you the best of luck and hope you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022.

Photo by Djordje Vezilic from Pexels

Was The Social Media Blackout A Good Thing?

Last week, the world experienced a six-hour social media blackout. The three social media giants: Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, all crashed at once. Disaster! In light of this this, and other semi-apocalyptic events that have happened over the past 18-months, many thought this was another sign of humanity’s untimely demise!

But thankfully, it wasn’t.

Our thumbs were spared from scrolling while Mark Zuckerberg delved into what went wrong at Facebook, the parent company of Instagram and WhatsApp. After some tinkering on the Monday night, he got the planet’s scrollers scrolling again by Tuesday morning.

According to BBC News, the outage was caused by “an internal technical issue which took Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram offline at about 16:00 GMT on Monday.” After this, what we’d like to know is whether you think temporary social media shutdowns are a good idea? Drastic I know, but hear us out…

 

The Idea of a Social Shutdown

What if, for two months out of 12 every year, the social media giants went quiet, and we were all logged out?

After a couple of years of only being able to interact with each other on our phones, we can certainly see the benefits of social media, and admittedly a blackout would be a challenge. Over the last couple of years, social media outlets have enabled us to continue to communicate with our friends and family from all over the world.

Businesses also rely heavily on social media to promote products or services. But this still risks creating a revenue shortage because there’s no one to advertise to. And, following the outage, the BBC revealed that Zuckerberg himself might have lost in the region of £4.4bn, while Facebook’s shares dropped by almost 5%.

So maybe it isn’t a good idea after all. But what if there was a way of solely targeting private social media users? Stay with us…

 

Would Routine Blackouts Work?

So, the financial implications for some companies are quite severe… Granted. But, if we take another look at the human side of things, ditching our social platforms for a while has been proven to help people’s mental health.

According to Parade.com, ceasing to use social media can cause people to feel anxious at first, and some even develop withdrawal symptoms. But, after a couple of weeks, your mental health should improve. Parade states that “studies have shown a direct correlation between depression and excessive social media use.”

After interviewing Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon and Columbia University professor, Parade found that of “6,500 12- to 15-year-olds in the U.S, those who spent more than three hours a day using social media might be at heightened risk for mental health problems.”

 

The Key? Focus On Yourself

Finally, I feel like the most compelling reason why we should all be forced to take a break from social media every now and again is because of comparing ourselves with others. This can cause disillusionment with your own life, and you can start to doubt yourself, which is a pretty precarious situation to be in.

Even though many of the ideas discussed above will not come to fruition anytime soon, the message to take away from this blog is that social media, unless you use it to make a living, shouldn’t be the be all and end all.

What do you think?

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.

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.

A Summer Of Sport & PR Disasters

It’s been a fantastic summer of sport with the Olympics, Euros and a Lions series in South Africa, let alone all the smaller sporting occasions that take place every week across the country.  All have been achieved despite the global restrictions and regulations in place to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s been an amazing feat of organisation and also a welcome opportunity for brands to leverage sponsorships and get their products in front of a pent-up audience looking to spend their cash that’s been accumulated in lockdown.

However, it seems that for many, the promise of PR gold did not quite materialise and in many cases, PR disasters were never far from the surface.

The Coca Cola x UEFA Blunder

Let’s start with Coca Cola multi-million pound sponsorship of the UEFA European Championship.  On one hand, this could have been a fantastic opportunity to promote the brand to a young, vibrant and global audience. However, it ended up being a complete disaster when the tournament’s leading star Cristiano Ronaldo moved two promotional bottles away from the cameras at Portugal’s pre-match press conference, urging viewers to drink water instead.  The action led to Coca Cola’s share price dropping by 1.6 per cent and $4bn being knocked off the company’s share price.  Though rectified in future conferences, the debacle made headlines all over the world, and it’s fair to say that in this instance – the publicity isn’t exactly what Coca Cola were looking for.

Toyota Throws Its Money Down The Drain

When it comes to the Olympics, title sponsor Toyota won gold when it comes to PR disasters after the company decided not to air any of its advertisements that associated the brand with the games, for fear of a backlash by concerned customers who did not want the games to go ahead due to the fear of spreading Covid.

Not only did Toyota pull its adverts, but the sponsor was also banned from the opening ceremony and opted not to attend the games in any way. This all comes despite Toyota becoming the first car company to ever sign up as a worldwide Olympic sponsor in 2015 in, an eight-year deal reportedly worth nearly $1bn.

Toyota Chief Communications Officer Jun Nagata said: “There are many issues with these Games that are proving difficult to be understood.”  It seems a bit late in the day for such comments.

Vodafone Falls Short Of Positive PR

Finally, as a rugby fan, I should also mention the Lions rugby series in South Africa.  An occasion that only comes up every 4 years and every 12 years in South Africa.  The on field scraps and poor criticisms of the referees have left a bitter feeling towards the event with many feeling that the occasion is heading towards its sell by date.

Although title sponsor Vodafone did well in engaging with fans at home, for its estimated £6.5m sponsorship fee, the company was unable to capitalise on an event that is typically enjoyed by thousands of travelling fans.  The games had to take place behind closed doors and the opportunities brands had to associate themselves with positive PR projects in the host country were dramatically reduced (despite an 1800% increase in the sponsorship cost they incurred when compared to their initial sponsorship in 1997).

In previous years, we’ve seen support in townships and deprived areas of the country which allowed for the brand to build its image and illustrate its CSR credentials.  This time around, players were sadly required to lock themselves in isolation bubbles in some of the country’s finest hotels.

The Risk & Reward Of Big Brand Sponsorships

So what’s the answer?  For me, there seems a growing disconnect between the cost / benefit to supporting such occasions.  There’s also a growing potential for a PR disaster if a star snubs your product or the public turn against the event that you have spent millions of pounds supporting and associating yourself with.

From a public relations perspective, winning hearts and minds is most important. So, before entering the agreements, consider the ‘what ifs’ and have plans in place to mitigate the issues or crisis communication challenges should they emerge.

The real opportunity comes from leveraging the sponsorship through campaigns and initiatives within the target communities.  Of all the marketing mediums, PR is best placed to build relationships with consumers and to help brands share their values through engaging and meaningful communications.

So for a marketing gold medal, talk to us and let us devise a PR campaign that is effective and engaging – rather than spending thousands on product placement or relatively worthless brand associations.

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.

FINDING WORK EXPERIENCE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

Written by our PR intern and university student Bridie Buckingham

Work experience is something we’ve all heard of. Whether at high school or university level, every teacher I’ve ever had has stressed the importance of ascertaining some sort of experience before I graduate.

Being able to detail relevant work experience on your CV will help you stand out when applying for graduate jobs. It’s a real selling point to employers if you can show that you have experience in your field or have been able to hold down a steady job whilst studying.

Any sort of experience is better than none and luckily, there’s an abundance of ways to step on the ladder.

What Kinds Of Work Experience Is There?

Internships

For those wanting to take their first steps into the working world, an internship is a great way to start.

Internships are usually the first port of call when it comes to giving your CV an emphatic boost and can be very helpful in helping you navigate your chosen field. As well as this, internships can also be invaluable in deciding whether your chosen profession really is the career path for you.

Internships are also often very flexible in terms of duration with some lasting only a few days and others a whole year. What is perhaps worth considering is that in all cases, is that it’s best to start early, as the competition can be tough.

Summer/Part-Time Jobs

Perhaps one of the best things about university is the way in which you can introduce yourself to the working world at a leisurely pace.

Internships are not for everyone, however, there is something incredibly rewarding about getting a job to help with finances and experience.

If you don’t wish to commit to an internship, then what about a part time job for work experience?

Hospitality work is obviously the go-to industry in many instances, but anything goes. It all counts as experience and it looks far better on your CV than blank space. You can even squeeze these jobs into the summer holiday if working during semester time is too stressful for you.

Societies

Often overlooked, being part of a society can work wonders for your career prospects and give you some great work experience. It can offer you the opportunity to test your skills of organisation, delegation, events creation, finance management and more importantly, interpersonal relationship building.

You don’t even need to be high up in the ranks.

Simply taking up a role within a society shows a willingness to work together with others. It will hone your ability to work towards a common goal and help you network with others you might not otherwise have the chance to interact with on campus.

Volunteering

A combination of both the easiest and hardest thing to do, volunteering can provide many benefits to a future career (with the added feel-good bonus that comes from helping others).

It can be tricky getting a foot in the door initially – however it is worth the time and effort.

At the same time, volunteering can often be a far more exciting option than a paid placement – sometimes even leading to travel across the globe.

Put simply, volunteering your time can be an incredibly rewarding work experience in terms of personal and professional growth.

However, I know this isn’t for everyone as it wasn’t for me either. With financial situations as they are it can sometimes be hard to justify an unpaid placement over a steady income.

At the end of the day, experience is experience so don’t feel pressured to do the one that ‘looks better’ because any path you take you’ll be one step closer to that dream graduate job.

Whatever you decide, the bottom line is this: all forms of work experience are beneficial. I really valued my work experience, I met some great people and got to experience first-hand just what it was like to work in the PR industry.

In fact, I loved it so much that I decided to stay on and here I am 18 months later.

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