I have a very bad habit of bookmarking things and then never getting around to looking at them again.
Over the last two years this has resulted in hundreds of bookmarks and favourites – otherwise known as a big, unorganised mess.
This week I’d had enough and decided to sort them out.
I found some gems – here’s some links I found that I just had to share:
This post can’t fail to get you excited about the potential of social media. From the talented peeps over at Mashable, it gives 8 examples of innovative and successful social media campaigns which have captured their target audiences’ attention and generated some great results for clients.
Does your boss (or you?!) still need convincing of the validity of social media? This no-nonsense slideshow is just what you need. It contains some impressive statistics and examples – though it is two years old now so it might be a bit outdated.
I’m a sucker for a list – and I love this one. It gives us the seven ‘deadly sins’ of social media including ‘Deafness’, ‘Phoniness’ and ‘Greed’.
Another great post from Mashable. This mammoth list gives you 50 resources worth reading including ‘How to make a 3D YouTube video with two cameras and a roll of sticky tape. I can’t wait to try that one!
WARNING: This post will make you want to work for Nissan. It talks about the company’s in-house newsroom which creates and develops news for the brand across all platforms, from video to print. In my opinion – all brands should be striving for this, or at least taking elements of it. A great, inspirational read.
I don’t use these sites, but they can be useful as an additional tool when selling in news releases. This post lists LOADS of sites which you can upload your releases to for free.
SEO should be a skill which every PR pro is willing to learn – and it should be built into all content you create which may find itself a home online. This article is a great crash course into why SEO is so important, and how to use it for press releases.
Every newspaper and magazine has its own particular style, and PRs should always try and take note of these. It’s also worth having you own ‘house’ style. If you’re still trying to implement one then this could be a good post to refer to.
I have a secret desire to become a photographer. Two things stand in my way; a lack of decent camera and a lack of talent. When I get these things, I will definitely be doing this challenge from the White Peach Photo blog. It gives you a photography challenge every day for 30 days – from ‘Self Portrait’ to ‘Clouds’.
Looking to expand your blog repertoire? Well, look no further. This post offers up 16 of the UK’s best marketing-focused blogs.
Are there any gems hidden in your bookmarks? If so, share them here.
I received an email from a friend yesterday asking for my advice on how to get new Twitter followers; and I thought I would share my response.
It’s by no means a definitive list, but I hope that my advice is of use to Alex (follow her here NOW!) and also to any other Twitter newbies.
The topic of how to get new followers has been covered a lot – but I’m interested in seeing what other people’s answers may have been.
What have I missed? What would you add/take out if a friend asked you the same question? Indeed – are there any hard and fast rules?
I’d love to hear your comments – perhaps we can make this a definitive list after all?
So, here’s my response:
1. Twitter followers take time – a loooooong time to build up. I would say that you have to choose what you want to be known for, and stick to it where possible.
2. For example I tweet about public relations and social media – so most tweets that I post are about these subjects and share some kind of value to others who are interested in those subjects too (i.e.: links to blog posts, interesting news articles, podcasts, videos, hints and tips etc). This is where a lot of time is spent – trying to source interesting stuff to share!
3. You should also use hashtags where possible – for example if I search #PR on Twitter then loads of tweets come up from other people who have used that hashtag – you should then follow these people if they interest you (and hope they follow you back) and also start using the hashtag yourself to try and attract people to you. There’s hundreds of hashtags – play around and see what ones are suitable for your industry.
4. Search for people who work in the same field as you who you find interesting and follow them – re-tweet their posts and reply to them (try and engage them in conversation) they should then hopefully remember you and eventually follow you back.
5. Add your Twitter handle to emails/business cards/LinkedIn profile/ blogs etc.
6. Create your own content – if you have a company blog or personal one tweet this content so it’s completely fresh and you’re not always relying on third party content.
7. Try using a system like Hootsuite which allows you to shorten links (meaning when you’re sharing content you aren’t using up loads of your 140 characters) and track the statistics (so you can see what posts people are clicking on and therefore find interesting).
8. Try and get involved in a Twitter chat that’s around your industry – for example #commschat is a weekly Twitter chat about PR and communications (try Google to find suitable ones)
There’s loads more tips but hopefully that will get you started. I think it’s worth saying that it does take a lot of time but don’t get disheartened. It took me ages to understand Twitter!
On reflection I would also add the following:
9. Tweet regularly – not too much and not too little.
10. Learn how and when to use the ‘@’ signs and ‘DM’ function. I.e.: If you put the ‘@’ at the front of a tweet it will only go to the person you are speaking to – it won’t show up in the news feed of other followers. If the tweet is aimed at someone in particular but you think it would be of use to others too, use the ‘@’ function at the end or in the middle. And DMs should definitely be used when a conversation is becoming irrelevant to your other followers (organising a jolly down the pub with friends or something).
FINAL POINT: Follwers aren’t everything – like many things in life it’s quality not quantity!
Dear Social Media,
I know you don’t know who I am, but I know you. In fact, I’ve been trying my very best to get you to notice me for the last year.
But I know I’m not alone in my admiration of you – there is something about you, your way of making people feel connected, which means that there are many others vying for your attention too.
But I wanted to take this chance to tell you how I feel.
For years I watched you from afar. I think I was too scared, like many people, of embracing you and letting you know that I wanted to get to know you better.
In fact, I’m still trying to persuade people that by being near you I’m not going to get hurt – and nor are those closest to me, like my colleagues, clients and friends.
I’m trying my hardest to explain to them that yes, although through your connections we may at some point encounter hardship – the odd bad mouth comment, or mudslinging match – that this is far outweighed by the positives our relationship could bring.
I honestly feel that as long as we have the right principles, and we handle our relationship the way that people should handle every relationship, then we’ll be fine.
People also tell me they’re worried about how much time I and others spend thinking about you. But I know that I need to invest the time in our relationship for it to work. I don’t expect to snap my fingers and have overnight everlasting love and success with you. In fact, in my eyes I don’t invest enough time in you. I’m trying my hardest to give you the time you deserve at the moment, but sometimes it’s hard with everything else that’s going on.
Ultimately, the negatives of us being together are far outweighed by the positives. At least if we are together for the right reasons, and we know from the outset what we both want to achieve.
You make me feel as though anything is possible, as though everyday there are new people to reach and something new to learn, to see and to experience. You’ve made me more creative, more able to think outside the box and be innovative.
But I also know that you’re not everything. Although I want us to be together I know that to make it truly work I must balance you with my over loves. I cannot rely on you; I cannot get you to carry the burden of all that I want to achieve for me and for everyone else.
And most of all I must be willing to except that you aren’t right for everyone; perhaps you are not even right for me.
But I think that if I proceed with caution, fully aware of your good side and your bad, then I truly feel that we can be successful together – that we can help each other achieve our dreams. Or at least make them that little bit easier to reach.
Now, don’t shoot me but I’ve been feeling a bit ‘social media outed’ (yes I know that’s not a real word) over the last few days. It seems as though it’s ‘social media, social media, social media’ constantly – with Twitter being the Holy Grail for many. Or at least many who suddenly feel it’s the time to join the Twitter masses.
Yes, Twitter has its good points – and I’m enjoying starting to learn more about it and increase my own activity. But just because everyone’s talking about it doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
With that in mind here are ten reasons NOT to tweet.
1). You don’t have the time
One tweet a week is going to achieve nothing – it needs consistency, not complacency. If you don’t have the time yourself then create a team of ‘tweeters’ who can help create and post content. Vodafone does this particularly well –and signs off with initials which is a nice touch.
2). You have nothing to say
No one cares that you can’t get the kids to sleep or that you’re off to buy a chocolate bar (unless you’re planning on buying them one too). Think about what you’re saying – does it give value? The odd personal or sales tweet is fine but you also need to source third-party articles, and multi media – videos, SlideShare presentations, and podcasts. Build up a bank of websites suitable to your sector which you can draw on for content – useful for when you have nothing to say yourself that day!
3). Your customers aren’t there
If you sell microwaves would you go to a networking event for baby clothes retailers? No – because your audience isn’t there. You know your industry well enough (or should do) to know if your clients and customers are on social media. If not, why bother?
4). You don’t bother listening
You want to tweet but you don’t want to listen. Not good. Run searches for your brand and industry and respond where you can.
5). You ignore everyone
I’ve seen some classics of this the last few days. It’s basically like someone saying hello and you, at best, ignoring them and, at worst, saying ‘p*ss off’. Check your DMs and @ messages everyday and reply! RTs you can get away with although I always think it’s nice to say thanks if you can.
6). You’re not ready to let go of the approval process
If you’re going to outsource your tweeting or leave it to the marketing department you HAVE GOT TO LET GO OF APPROVAL!!! Twitter should be about instant engagement and speaking to real people – not track changes and streams of amendments. A good approach is to set out a social media policy stipulating tone and content. If there are any tricky situations – that’s where approval becomes necessary.
7). You aren’t going to evaluate
There’s still lots of talk about ROI in social media – but as a minimum at least track the rise in followers, RTs, @ mentions and DMs, as well as clicks on the links you’ve posted (check out Hootsuite which creates some great graphs).
8). You’re doing it because you feel you should
If you’re only on Twitter because everyone else is then is it really worth it? Because the likelihood is that you’ll certainly not be spending the time and effort on it that it needs to work.
9). You’re not willing to wait
It takes time. Loooots of time. Not seen a return in three months? It’s really not surprising – it’s those who persevere who will see results.
10). You can’t take anyone seriously who speaks the Twitter language
If you hear someone saying the words ‘Twitter’ ‘Tweet’ ‘Tweeters’ etc, and you instantly think the word ‘tw*t’ then the whole thing probably isn’t for you! In fact I’ve had a fair few conversations with people where part of the reason they aren’t on Twitter is because it ‘sounds ridiculous’. Which, you can’t argue – it really does.
Having a flick through the papers this week I noticed an article on celebrities who are using Twitter to promote products – without letting their followers know that they are being paid to do so.
Now, to me, that’s not a particularly interesting story.
But it got me thinking – we all know that more and more frequently news is breaking on social media instead of via traditional news channels – but when did social media become news itself?
Below are 10 examples of social media hitting the headlines:
Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old accountant from the UK, was arrested under the terrorism act for ‘threatening’ to blow up Robin Hood airport in Doncaster. The tongue-in-cheek tweet, which was sent after the airport was closed due to snow, said “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” Despite appealing the judges decision Chambers was made to pay £2,000 in legal costs and lost his job. The judge called him a ‘menace’.
An anonymous 26-year-old male from Edinburgh in Scotland said he was stalked relentlessly by a female admirer for nine months on location-based platform Foursquare – sparking a warning from the Crown Prosecution Service which now promises a ‘tougher crackdown’ on cyber stalking.
Celebrities including Lily Allen and Liz Hurley face possible court actions after tweeting about products and failing to mention to their followers that they (may) have been paid.
Simone Back, a 45-year-old woman from the UK, killed herself after posting her suicide note on social networking site Facebook. At 10pm on Christmas Day she wrote “Took all my pills, be dead soon, bye bye everyone.” There has since been controversy around why none of Back’s 1,048 Facebook friends raised the alarm.
The 2010 general election was called ‘the social media election’ and there was speculation throughout the campaign about the role it played. Of particular note was the use of Twitter during the first ever televised election debates.
Social media didn’t just make the news last year – it made the big screen too. The Social Network was the hit blockbuster film about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and it sparked a series of newspaper reviews and features.
One of the older examples but a good one nonetheless. Back in 2009 a woman known only as ‘Lindsay’ was sacked after moaning about her boss on Facebook – forgetting he could see her comments. I have one word. Doh!
A conservative party leader was suspended after publishing a racist tweet. The offending comment said “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.” The comment, which (now ex) councillor Gareth Compton, described as an ‘ill conceived attempt at humour’ is a stark reminder to think before you post.
I’m pretty sure that kids trashing a house isn’t particularly newsworthy. But thanks to Facebook it is! The above link is just one example of this sort of story hitting the headlines.
10. BP oil spill:
The BP oil spill was one of 2010’s major controversies – and the multi national firm’s poor handling of public relations also hit the headlines – especially after a fake Twitter account @BPGlobalPR was set up. The account, which still has 180,000 followers made a mockery of the oil giant’s already dwindling reputation.
As it’s the start of a brand new year, most people are busy making positive predictions and resolutions for 2011.
But, as I’m a complete pessimist at heart, here’s my list of things you SHOULDN’T be doing in public relations this year.
1. Don’t be ‘on’ social media:
It has been said by many that 2010 was the year that social media really took off. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr – 2010 was the year that you HAD to be seen to be using these channels, and many more besides. But simply being ‘on’ these channels – and by that I mean you’ve set up a profile page with a nice bit of blurb about you or your business, a flattering profile picture and the odd sales tweet/post/video – isn’t enough. If you’ve set these channels up but aren’t utilising them for customer or peer interaction – ala Tesco’s Twitter feed – then they really aren’t worth having at all. Work out what you want to achieve (higher brand profile, a communication channel for customer queries), look at what your competitors are doing, listen to your customers and then spend time on putting together a plan – and investing the time – to make these channels work for you.
2. Don’t give up on traditional media:
Yes, traditional paper and magazine circulations are dwindling rapidly. But I for one firmly believe that they are, and always will be, here to stay. And although social media and online publicity is definitely where communications is headed, there is a lot to be said about the power of a really strong piece of coverage in the correct publication. Local newspapers seem more receptive than ever to targeted content, and there are also many niche trade publications, catering for sectors across the board, which have strong and loyal readers. Also, if you target traditional press you’re usually killing two birds with one stone, with most print coverage appearing online too.
3. Don’t cut your marketing budget (too much):
I hate to use the dreaded ‘R’ word – but even a couple of years since it first hit, the recession is still biting many companies hard. And with the public sector cuts happening this year, and the knock on effect that will have on the private sector companies which supply them, it looks like this year may be one of the hardest yet. One of the first departments to be hit is usually the marketing department and all that falls under that banner – PR, advertising, online, internal comms. Cuts need to be made but it is often companies which are investing in their marketing departments – and therefore their reputation – which reap the benefits.
4. Don’t get stuck in a rut:
It’s very easy to continue your marketing and communications strategy as you always have done. But is it really working? It is important to evaluate last year. What worked and what didn’t? Do you need to invest more (or less) time and/or money in particular areas? There are new communication channels opening up every day – why not explore these and see if they fit into your strategy for 2011? For example – perhaps you’ve always focused on magazine advertorials and haven’t yet branched into blogs or online forums? Consult experts for their opinions but also consult your staff (across the company – not just the marketing team). What do they think of the firm’s communications strategy? What reactions do they get from the people they deal with on a day to day basis? Where do people hear about you? Use this feedback to structure your comms plan for the year ahead – ensuring you’re investing in the areas which will give you the most return.
5. Don’t think communications is quick, or easy:
In 2010 there was a lot of talk about the return on investment for both traditional PR and also social media. But unfortunately it’s not always a simple equation which can be tracked to the bottom line. People don’t always ‘like’ your Facebook page, read your news article or visit your website and then instantly purchase your products or services. I hate to use the cliché but sometimes ‘background noise’ is important. It takes time, and consistent and quality material, to build up a reputation online and in the press.