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3 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Results

Posted on May 24, 2016 by Linda Edirisuriya

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Ask yourself these questions first:

  • Is your social media audience losing interest?
  • Do you want to tap into your followers’ emotions?
  • Are your posts engaging your audience effectively?
  • Does your social media marketing strategy resonate with them?
  • Are you getting the best ROI from your campaign?

For marketers, social media is not only a means of communication, but also a business tool. It allows you to magnify your brand’s online presence, increase awareness and shape customer perceptions of your products or services. Indeed, social media is something you can no longer ignore. You either hop on the social media train or get left behind.

But communicating effectively through social media requires understanding the new rules of the road. The social web is getting more crowded each day, and businesses are struggling to get noticed online. While social media enables your business to be present where most of your customers are, that is simply not enough. You need to reposition, restrategize and reinvent, if need be, so you can get the results you want.

Here are a few ways you can boost your social media results:

  1. Talk about the personal benefits your products and services offer: Expressing how people can benefit from your product or service will help you increase engagement on social media.

If you are a restaurant brand, posting about the healthy items you have on the menu and the nutritional value it will add to their diet, will generate interest and even publishing videos and recipes on healthy meals.

Apple famously focused on the consumer when Steve Jobs described the iPod as “1,000 songs in your pocket.” Now imagine if he had described the features instead: high storage and smooth texture. People would probably be thinking, “So what? How does this apply to me?”

The next time you share something about your brand on social media, explain or show why it will make a difference in people’s lives.

  1. Engaging with influencers will increase your credibility: Partnering with an authority figure will improve the perception of your brand if it’s someone people trust, respect or like. Therefore, a robust relationship with the right influencer(s) is vital to your business. Influencer outreach is one of the most effective ways to attract clients, increase your credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader.

Influencers can range from journalists to bloggers, analysts, colleagues and savvy social media users. They generally have a significant following online. If the person is recognized and successful in his or her own career, it reflects positively on your brand. Sadly enough, the reverse is also true. If an endorser gets bad publicity or is not doing well, your brand might suffer too. These principles apply even if the person is not an expert or authority in the field that he or she is promoting.

Ask a respected person in your industry to publicly endorse your brand. It can work wonders for building credibility. If you can’t find an authority figure, build your own authority by using credibility markers such as sharing your previous experiences, educational background or recognition that you’ve received for your work.

Another option might be to invest in brand advocates to build your credibility. A brand advocate is any customer who has been officially commissioned to speak on behalf of your brand without compensation.

Some examples of brand advocates:

-Walmart’s “mommy bloggers“

-Ford’s “Fiesta agents“

  1. Treat each channel as a separate entity: You are certainly bound to fail if you develop a generic social media marketing strategy. Each social media channel has unique strengths that you, as a marketer, should leverage in your campaign.

For example, the LinkedIn community is mainly composed of business professionals. You can maximize its potential as a referral source by sharing industry insights and company news. For Instagram: more videos and high quality images are used with hashtags whereas Facebook, hashtags are not as popular when compared to Instagram and Twitter.

You have more tools at your disposal than you might be aware of. You just have to pick the ones that can translate your social media management efforts into actual business results.

Modifying or tweaking your social media strategy to suit your audience can dramatically improve your social media results from posting engaging and specialized content, finding the right influencer, posting a mix of content to adjusting the times you post when your users are most online. Using Facebook Insights, LikeAlyzer, LinkedIn Analytics and Twitter Analytics might also help you adjust your social media strategy to yield better results. Social media is often the first point of contact with your target audience. Applying psychology to how you market to that audience gives you a head start on building an engaged community.

We are snapping!

Posted on May 19, 2016 by Catarina Carvalheira

How Snapchat has been changing the world of Communications

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There has been a lot of hype surrounding Snapchat nowadays, as this app has clearly changed the way people and brands communicate. The company founder continues to insist that it is not a social network; however, to us Snapchat does seem pretty social. In a world of 140 characters and 30-second video, capturing the audience in small bits is a proven tactic to make a lasting impression.

Snapchat is a platform for individuals and brands that allows users to create quick, carefree and even educational video content without using valuable production resources. For brands, this means a new opportunity to show off their culture while sharing knowledge and connecting with their audience in a genuine and exciting way.

Have a glance at some stats about Snapchat that prove how this platform is on the rise:

  • Snapchat has 100 million active daily users.
  • 86% of Snapchat’s users are between the 13 – 37 age range.
  • More than 5 billion videos are viewed on Snapchat each day.

The Ephemeral Bit

The uniqueness of Snapchat is definitely the timeliness element that encourages the interaction among the users and the way they share content. A platform made by a millennial for the millennials allows instant sharing in short intervals of time and with highly engaging features, which relates to the way this generation wants to share and receive information.

Snapchat for Enterprises

In its early days, Snapchat was once solely the platform for teenagers and early adopters that found in this application an opportunity to share their stories through an innovative way surrounded by emojis, filters and other fun messaging tools.  What was merely a fun mobile application has started to be the top of mind for enterprises as a creative medium to approach their audiences.

Savvy companies are starting to discover how messaging apps like Snapchat can be used as powerful marketing tools as they provide unique features and sprawling reach across an audience of Millennials.

While Facebook adverts are longer and thus do not obligate people to pay immediate attention to them, the time limit on Snapchat content creates a sense of urgency and call to action. Hence, Snapchat offers organizations the opportunity to catch their audiences’ attention towards their messages.

May the creativity be with Snapchat

Apart from the ephemeral feature, Snapchat also enables a personal communication which some brands have leveraged for creative campaigns.

In order to better illustrate how to engage with the audiences in a communication campaign on Snapchat, we chose to analyse  the following distinctive campaign – Geeohsnap BB-8 Adventure.

Geeohsnap BB-8 Adventure – Engaging with influencers

At Active we are all about the Star Wars theme so we decided to choose the Geeohsnap BB-8 Adventure as one of the best examples of a creative Snapchat campaign.

In order to promote the BB-8 droid, the toy company Sphero reached out to some of the platform’s biggest influencers to post pictures and videos with the product. One of the selected influencers was Shaun McBride that happens to have two million views a day just on his Snapchat account (Say what?!).

According to the Wall Street Journal, the toy BB-8 droid sold out in just few hours from stores and the campaign had 10 million views in only one day! Furthermore, there were half a million engagements on other social media sites.

For a truly engaging experience and to ensure the raise of SOV, it might be beneficial to engage with popular Snapchat influencers that know their audiences best and could help the organizations in spreading creative and personalized content well-suited for them.

Setting the pace for PR and Marketing

Snapchat has been proving its importance as a relevant communications tool to be included in a PR and Marketing strategy. Even though some organizations might not be suitable for this application, it is still relevant to point out the effectiveness and impact of Snapchat in the communications strategies.

 Storytelling and PR in Snapchat

Storytelling has always been intrinsic to PR. We can highlight the media as one type of users that create stories to bring value to their viewers. The Times, CNN and The Wall Street Journal are just some media outlets that are adding Snapchat to their storytelling toolboxes. As PR professionals, it is crucial to add to our “task list” the engagement with the media through this platform as a way to not only be informed about the news, but also strengthen our relations.

Snapchat has the feature called “stories” that offers the brands the opportunity to host longer narratives for 24 hour. It is then crucial to create compelling stories through constant creative content in order to generate as much traction as possible. Consistency and continuity are key for enterprises as they must create engaging stories in order to boost their profile in a long-term perspective.

 Behind the Scenes

Among all the special features of Snapchat, we want to highlight the possibility that this platform gives the brands to generate exclusive content. Everyone appreciates the ‘sneak peek’ moments and through this platform, brands can take advantage from this insight and make their followers feel like they are insiders. There are several companies sending their viewers special offers or deals through Snapchat to take them to their stores. In addition, brands can also provide ‘behind the scenes’ moments and other content where the mainstream audience wouldn’t have access. The TV series “Girls” from HBO, for instance, gave their fans the chance to see teaser clips of the new season that was not yet aired. This is all about making your audiences feel special and Snapchat is encouraging brands to be as impactful as possible with their messaging.

 How to measure the PR impact

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter that provide straight forward metrics and analytics, Snapchat doesn’t offer as informative data as the previous platforms on the campaign’s impact for PR and Marketing. Nevertheless, there are few features that can be analyzed and integrated to have solid metrics.

Snapchat users can see their audience size’ views on snaps’ screenshots. For each snap, people can see the “snap open” percentage and Link clicks in chats. Finally, the “Stories” feature offers more metrics such as views’ Average Views/Snap, Drop-offs, Completion %, Estimated Time Viewed.

 

More brands are joining this highly entertaining app and as Communications professionals we must understand the importance of creating engaging content personalized to our audiences by catering to their preferences on this platform. By doing this, we do not only boost brand profiles, but also inspire loyalty through a targeted authenticity.

Unsocial Media

Posted on May 9, 2016 by Tarek Hakim

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Social media has changed the way people interact over the past decade, both personally and professionally. One of the relationships that was most affected is the one between PR agents and journalists. Some argue that it is a run of the mill friendship, some say it is just business, some avoid it altogether. But what is it exactly? What is the magical bond between journalists and PR executives? How is it affected by the current digitalization of social approaches? There are many different views and opinions when it comes to this love-hate relationship.

Is journalism the parent of PR?

People will often disagree on what created the profession, but one thing is certain: without journalism, PR simply couldn’t be. Whether it is simply a hybrid of marketing or just a clever way to approach media and improve public image, PR simply can’t exist without journalism. The reason is that press is the face of PR, despite the digital movement, the advertising drive or social media influencers. Journalists will forever and always play a major role in what drives a society towards something, when a simple article they can influence public opinion especially when it comes to the consumer market. While it is certain that newspaper and magazine sales have dropped, media still plays a major factor in influencing the opinion and interest of the general public.

Can journalism survive without PR?

Since PR sprung out as a mix of marketing and journalism, it firmly binds the chain as it is the missing link between the two worlds. It has created a luxury for journalists they cannot refuse, with PR agents around the corner lurking with press releases and cool events to offer, journalists grew too “spoiled”; they simply can no longer go out and find news, they have tasted the bitter sweet nectar of ready-made articles. This does not deny the fact that journalists still go out and collect stories, or that a lot of those PR-written articles are merely advertisements disguised in pretty technical terms, and this is where good journalism reveals itself; a good journalist knows how to uncover and strip a press release down to its core and how to twist and turn it around to fit his or her publication and make it newsworthy.

Nowadays it is really hard to define how the relationship works, with social media at hand, “stalking” has become easier and PR agents usually capitalize on the fact that it facilitates the interaction with journalists and staying connected. However, that has somehow negatively affected this already fractured relationship and caused some journalists to be more cautious with their approach on these platforms (we aren’t all stalking weirdos, I promise!).

What is the best way to approach journalists as a PR agent?

From my experience, I can tell that the traditional method is the best way to communicate with journalists, it still has a more personal approach. Even though a lot of journalists will tell you otherwise, most still prefer interacting with a human rather than a machine. This is due to the fact that we are facing screens all day long, even at home, so when you build a relationship with a journalist in person and have that face to face interaction, you are almost guaranteed a fruitful relationship! Not to mention that you will broaden your circle of friends in the process and expand on your horizons! “Unsocial” social media has created more barriers and walls than open doors, so stay away from those channels and take them out for coffee instead.

Does this mean that social media does not help the relationship?                

Absolutely not! While it does have its flaws, it is still a method to stay connected. Since most people in the ME region are expats nowadays and have families and friends around the world, SM still remains a very valid method to stay connected. Not to mention it helps you cover all preferences when it comes to communications, as I mentioned earlier there is a slice of people that prefer the indirect approach, and keep it as professional as possible without bothering with spending time building relationships with people they might ignore often.

Staying ahead of the game

Posted on May 3, 2016 by Lovelyn Rodrigues

Lovelyn Blog - 03 May 2016To be successful and ahead of your game in the PR industry, you always need to be on the move. You cannot just lay back and expect things to come to you. On the other hand, there are millions of opportunities out there in the market and in order to grab the right one you have to be out there and make it at the right time.

Going deeper into this topic based on my work experience, this perfectly applies when we are out looking for new business opportunities for our existing clients and for the agency. I would like to share a few effective ideas I have learnt at work that have helped me get out of my comfort zone and make work more engaging:

  • Reading the news: NEWS are the most important medium to know where the industry is heading, which industry is rising and which verticals are declining, what are the current market demands, which countries or companies want to invest in the region and so on. The companies that are investing or plan to invest open new opportunities, from real estate for offices or warehouse spaces, to opening of job opportunities. In addition to that, we see this as a golden opportunity for PR companies to leverage this growth and help companies promote and increase their foothold in the region.
  • Attending industry events: On the ground, this is the topmost platform to network and know in person what is happening in the industry. Meeting professionals from various companies gives us a better insight into the company’s business, as well as their plans for the coming years; which helps us ensure we can share ideas and plans that are in line with their business needs.
  • Being updated with industry reports: Research companies such as International Data Corporation (IDC), Frost and Sullivan help grow your market intelligence which eventually aids in understanding the future trends. This helps companies to align their business strategies too and also the results from these reports help in reconfirming our investments. The strategic insights from these reports are used by companies to help them support their internal findings and also to pave way to grow the business based on the future trends.
  • Networking: Networking can be achieved through a number of ways, from attending seminars, events, parties, award ceremonies, being part of public associations as well as being active on social media. Social media platforms, be it Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Snapchat, are great mediums to know people as well as know their opinions. Being active on these platforms by sharing information, commenting on topics that are of interest to you in addition to keeping a close watch on trending topics would ensure you are up to date with the current happenings around your field.

I am sure there are other ways of being on the move and active, as everyone gets inspiration from different sources. The most important thing is to do what you love and you will automatically find ways to be ahead of your game and excel.

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Digital · Marketing · Communications