WORK EXPERIENCE: Hugo’s week at O

This month we have welcomed another talented university student into the office to get an idea of what life is like in the industry. Hugo, a final year PR & Communications student at  Northumbria University student, was at O for a week of work experience and here’s what he got up to…

With my final year of university drawing to a close, the uncertainty over a career path was becoming increasingly prevalent. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Kari as she presented O at Northumbria University. Inspired by Kari’s integrated and contemporary approach to PR and highly impressed by the projects going on at O, I decided to get in touch.

Monday morning consisted of a warm welcoming from all members of the team, everyone’s extremely friendly and made a point of personally introducing themselves. The day kicked off with Tegan’s internal note-worthy presentation on SEO, outlining the importance of brand authority and captivating content in today’s digital landscape.

My first task was to come up with suggested social media posts for a luxury hotel in Northumberland. Much to my predilection, coming up with original social media content was a re-occurring task throughout the week, creating campaign ideas for clients across a wide range of sectors.

Throughout the week, I thoroughly enjoyed working on a leading outdoor and gardening power product. Thanks to Kayleigh and Sally’s guidance, I am now more familiar and comfortable with writing a well-structured press release that will capture the journalists attention. I suppose one of the more unacquainted tasks was phoning up editors of leading men’s magazines in attempt to run a competition for the brand… It’s not every day that you get to speak to GQ magazine!

A key take-out from my week at O is the importance of keeping up with current trends and always being aware of what is going on in regional and national press – I found this massively helps the birth of creative ideas. Having explored different areas of PR during my week at O, it has become clear that digital marketing is the aspect of communications I am going to peruse.

Being a part of such an upbeat and focussed internal culture has been a valuable learning experience and exposed me to the communication skills required to be a successful modern-day PR practitioner.

SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT: LINKEDIN FOR BUSINESS

For our final post in our social media mini-series, we’re looking at LinkedIn, and how this platform can enable businesses to build their brand, generate sales and recruit the best talent to their workforce.

With over 500 million members, LinkedIn allows for the fostering of professional relationships in a digital world, as connections are established between members. As more people turn to LinkedIn to inspire a career move, connect with potential business partners or clients, and showcase their portfolios, it’s no wonder the platform is now deemed essential for professional success.

Whilst LinkedIn has long since been a powerful tool for individual professional development, it is also used extensively by businesses, and should not be ignored as an essential platform for brands.

Here are five ways to use LinkedIn for business…

The rise of video

The use of video content has become increasingly popular on social channels recently and businesses have been using this type of content to bring their brand to life. Businesses can make use of video on LinkedIn to share achievements, showcase their service offering, highlight data reports or survey results, give insight into their workplace, and advertise for new job openings.

One brand doing this well is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which actively uses video to promote its core values and ethos. Its content focuses on anything from customer stories to the activity of employees and why this makes the business favourable to work for and purchase from.

linkedin for business post example

A business should make sure its video is eye-catching, captures the attention of an audience exposed to several videos per day, and ideally is recorded in portrait mode for easy access viewing on mobile phones.

Thought leadership

LinkedIn has a feature which allows users to create and publish their own articles on the platform, and this is a powerful tool that can, and should, be utilised by businesses. From writing about on-trend issues that relate to their industry to reporting on survey insight, brand ambassadors can use these pieces of content to drive engagement and spark conversation with their connections. It’s important to use this publishing platform authentically, rather than continually pushing out sales messages, to ensure the brand remains true to itself.

Recruiting talent

Attracting the right talent to the workforce is essential for business success, and LinkedIn can help with this. Businesses are able to sponsor a position that they are recruiting for in the ‘jobs’ section of the platform, targeting qualified professionals based on criteria including their current job title, their location and their seniority level.

85% of LinkedIn’s vast membership is open to finding new opportunities, so the talent pool is huge, and this can really benefit businesses who are looking for the perfect candidate.

LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn Groups allows professionals with shared backgrounds and interests to connect, share inspiration and insight, digitally network, and recruit new talent. As a business, it’s a great way to connect with potential clients, employees or business partners.

A business can build its reputation as an expert in its industry, sharing tips and insight learned through its everyday operation that may be of use to fellow LinkedIn members.

LinkedIn groups are essential in a world of changing social media, as the shift focuses from huge pages and followings to a more intimate influence of brands within smaller communities.

For B2B businesses in particular, use of relevant and active LinkedIn groups are great for bringing together businesses and fostering professional relations, especially if group participants are outside of each other’s immediate social circle.

LinkedIn sales navigator

As part of a premium membership, LinkedIn offers another great feature – Sales Navigator. This is a tool that can be used to target potential clients and customers and really support your sales strategy.

The use of Sales Navigator is an excellent way to access data on consumers in order to reach out and engage with prospects, ultimately resulting in growth and success for a business.

Sales Navigator is used by more than 80% of the Forbes Cloud 100 to meet revenue goals, which highlights the importance of strategically using this aspect of the platform to generate sales and create growth.

Whilst Sales Navigator can enable a business to locate prospects and allow it access to information on these individuals, it is only beneficial if a business has an effective communications technique to speak with this demographic. Care should be taken to ensure that a sales pitch is communicated effectively, benefits are highlighted to the lead and research is efficiently undertaken for each contact.

Nevertheless, Sales Navigator opens the door to this data and gives businesses a head start on determining the prospective clients it wishes to reach.

O Communications is a creative communications agency based in Newcastle. Looking for help with your social media strategy? Drop us a line on letstalk@opr.co.uk.

 

Why we’re still buzzing about Brighton SEO 2018

A few weeks back, the O team travelled from Newcastle to the south coast to attend one of the most popular search conferences in the UK, Brighton SEO. We spent the day listening to some great speakers talking about everything from data-driven content to dark social and we’re still buzzing from the day!

Brighton SEO started out as a conversation in a pub with founder Kelvin Newman and a few friends. Fast forward to 2018 and there are now over 3,500 professionals from over 30 countries that look forward to the conference in the popular seaside town of Brighton.

Despite the name, BrightonSEO has always had an audience whose skill sets reach beyond search marketing – those who work in PR, journalism, design and many more attend because SEO is often at the heart of marketing strategy.

So what did we learn from the conference?

Social shares are falling

Steve Rayson from Buzzsumo and Giles Palmer from Brandwatch teamed up on stage to talk through their content trends data and revealed that social shares have been declining since 2015. This is due to factors such as the rise of private sharing and Facebook algorithm changes.

During the talk, they suggested that only 5% of content gets over 300 shares and the average number of shares per piece of content is just 4 (yes, 4!) which has more than halved in the last 3 years. If you’d like to keep an eye on those ‘dark social’ shares (those that are shared privately via the likes of WhatsApp or Slack for example) you can use tools such as Get Social.

Social shares aren’t declining for everyone though – the pair claimed that New York Times is reportedly experiencing the highest number of social referrals they’ve ever had and have the most paid subscribers of all time, so it all depends on the steer of your content marketing strategy.

Understanding demographics of social networks also came up during the talk. Steve and Giles explained that 81% of Pinterest users are female, contributing 93% of shares of the platform. Reddit, however, is male-dominated (71%) and its user base is mainly under the age of 25. Audiences need to be taken into account before creating any content, as a key part of your content strategy.

As Facebook shares fall, Steve highlighted that SEO is becoming increasingly important and summarised with “Get links and let Google show off your content”.

The digital PR movement

In recent years, SEO has shifted towards the skillset of public relations in identifying and listening to audiences and creating content to earn attention, so it’s no wonder a talk on digital PR attracted a huge crowd.

During the talk, the importance of quality images was raised – images need to be able to bring a story to life and really support your content. One thing journalists want, and many marketers forget, is photos, so make sure you invest in quality photography.

Another tip to gain great coverage is to make use of online communities such as Facebook groups because whatever the topic of your story, there will be a number of engaged, online communities ready to help amplify your cause and bring it to a wider audience. You can use these communities to gather user-generated images and quotes to support your story.

The power of unique content

According to Eleni Cashell, Editor of Hotcourses.com, 29% of the internet is duplicate content – that’s content which appears in more than one location on the internet. Why is this important? Because duplicate content is one of the worst offenders from an SEO perspective. Search engines are trying to provide the best possible experience for their users and they’re working very hard to make sure content shown in search results is relevant and useful. If two websites have exactly the same content, how does Google know which one to rank? You could be losing out on a lot of organic traffic.

So how do you approach a unique content strategy that will generate great results? Research the latest trends and think carefully about a new perspective – to get in the news, the content has to be NEW. Also, consider different ways you can collect data to support your content. Having relevant statistics on hand can mean the difference between coverage on the Telegraph or no uptake at all.

Unique content can drive social shares, gain attention from the media, generate the coverage you’re looking for and secure those all-important links which are still high on the list of today’s ranking factors, so strive for uniqueness!

SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT: Instagram for business

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been shining the spotlight on different social media platforms in a mini-series looking at how to use social media for business.

We’ve already covered Facebook and Snapchat so now we are turning our attention to Instagram and how this image-led social media app can be used to increase brand awareness and customer engagement.

Boasting over 800 million active users each month, Instagram is quickly becoming the go-to platform for brands to showcase their products. The rise in influencer marketing has sparked conversation amongst marketers for the past couple of years but it has never been so relevant as it is now in 2018.

Due to an increase in use of both celebrities and hyperlocal influencers in brand campaigns, the traditional wall of advertising has been broken and consumers are much more willing to receive communication from a source that they trust.

As Instagram is based on user-generated content in the form of images and video, it truly is changing how we interact with brands and products beyond advertising in print and on television.

Now that influencers have brought the consumers to Instagram, what should you be doing on the platform to increase your brand presence?

Here are five ways to use Instagram for business…

Collaboration with influencers

Ok so we’ve mentioned it already but influencer relations is probably the most important tool that you can use on Instagram. Brands have been teaming up with celebrities for years, but only recently have we seen micro and hyperlocal influencers really shine in this field and mastering the art of communicating a brand story in their own unique way.

 

The ASA has now stamped down on transparency for sponsored posts so that it is a requirement for social media influencers to state if they have been paid and/or gifted for creating a post. This is a great move to ensure that both you and the influencer are playing by the rules which can only lead to increased trust from the consumer.

The power of the image 

Perhaps a glaringly-obvious feature, but aside from commenting and direct messaging, communication on Instagram is through images and video. An aesthetically-pleasing timeline can go a long way in increasing audience interaction and encouraging people to follow you.

Make sure you’re uploading unique content to your profile that will catch the eye of potential prospects and share the link across your other social platforms as well. Instagram integration, especially on Facebook, is really quick and simple to use – it can extremely beneficial in spreading your message far and wide.

Instagram Stories

Although stories are very much originally a Snapchat feature, Instagram Stories is becoming one of the most popular features on the app.

Used in a similar way to Snapchat and Facebook stories that we have mentioned in our previous Social Spotlights, Instagram stories can be used to create short videos, images loaded with stickers, boomerangs and can also be used for live streaming.

As with the other platforms you have to be quick – they only last 24 hours! Although a benefit on Instagram is that you can add Story Highlights to your profile from past content, which will be available on your timeline beyond one day.

Hashtags

The best way to find images on Instagram, hashtags are a great way to increase audience engagement and keep an eye on related content.

On Instagram you can now follow hashtags, a useful addition if you have created your own hashtag that you encourage your audience to use, and hashtags are of course a great way to track user engagement.

A simple # in your images will ensure that images are seen beyond your followers and you’ll hopefully pick up a few more interested ones along the way…

Instagram ads

Owned by Facebook, it’s really no surprise that Instagram has a simple, yet effective advertising platform.

Although the analytics aren’t quite as specific as those on Facebook, you can choose whether you’d like more profile visits, more website traffic or promotion views.

You can target by location, interests, gender and age and then choose how much you’d like to spend over one day – it’ll also show you estimated clicks and reach. Easy to set up and suitable for all budgets, Instagram ads are a great tool to promote that new product or website re-launch.
 

HOW THE DIGITAL WORLD IS CREATING POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT

Conventionally, young people are disengaged with politics, with many taking little interest in political developments and elections generating a low voter turnout amongst 18-24 years olds. In the 2010 UK General Election, just 44% of young voters turned up to the ballot box to vote. However, as reported by the FT, in 2017 this number had risen to 64%. One reason for this is the rise of digital and its effect on the political landscape and engagement amongst young people.

So, what has changed?

Social media influencers

Politics is changing with the advent of social media, and in many ways this can be attributed to the power of ‘influencers’. Who’d have thought that a simple tweet or Instagram post could switch young people on to the impact of politics on our everyday life?

One example is Youtuber and Blogger Tanya Burr. With an amassed 3.1m followers on Instagram, over 3.6m subscribers on YouTube and a dedicated audience of 3.2m on Twitter, her word is gospel to her predominantly young fans, and it’s not surprising that organisations have collaborated with her to use her platform as a vehicle for politics.

Amongst her work so far she has attended the free periods protest organised at Downing Street to highlight the plight of young school girls in poverty, spoke at the UN to promote gender equality, reacted openly to the Brexit outcome on Twitter and supported the recent #TimesUp campaign.

Seeing an ‘everyday’ person like Tanya address politics has created conversation in the comments of her posts, videos and tweets, and no doubt will have spurred an interest in the previously apathetic youth, contributing to rising rates of voting engagement amongst young people

Political campaigns go social

Social media has now become an active tool in political campaigns orchestrated by the parties themselves, with candidates utilizing Facebook and Twitter to deliver information on their policies and promises to the electorate. Propaganda has gone digital, and partisan disputes are often voiced with video content and infographics directed at the shortcomings of the opposition.

Donald Trump’s notorious presence on Twitter is a key example of how politics is changing in the digital age, as he has been consistent in using his platform to voice his views and ambitions for his leadership, with his Twitter feed becoming an instrument for his campaign and presidency.

 

digital politics trump tweet

 

Whilst his social media activity has been questioned on more than one occasion (e.g. the infamous ‘covfefe’ tweet), it can’t be denied that his conversation on the platform has generated an interest in politics from voters that perhaps would not have been achieved had this tool not been available to him. This age group has retweeted him, created memes and openly commented on his posts, increasing engagement amongst young people.

Digital news

Gone are the days when politics could only be found between the pages of a broadsheet. Nowadays, national and global news can be accessed at the swipe or click of a smartphone, and with the advent of news on social media, we simply can’t escape politics in our daily online browsing.

With the ease of access to BBC News via an app or our Facebook news feed, political news is unavoidable, and as the in-depth issues are usually wrapped up in a catchy headline, it’s no wonder that young people are becoming more politically engaged, sharing and commenting on stories in a way that would not have occurred had news not gone digital.

Also, let’s not forget the hot topic of ‘fake news’ and misinformation which has been highlighted as a hugely influential factor in US and Brexit voting. Today, young people are more likely to find three or more sources to substantiate information they see on social media before ‘trusting’ it.

Access to online conversation

The digital world has opened up a wealth of opportunities for debate and conversation on political issues. Whether this is on a Facebook post shared by a friend, a forum or in the comment section of an Instagram account, the internet has made it easy to share political views and generate a discussion in seconds.

On Instagram, accounts such as march creates open conversation around equality, classism and social issues in an accessible way, generating digital engagement around important political issues.

digital politics march instagram

This accessibility to millienials has undoubtedly created an interest from the apathetic age group, as being part of a debate no longer requires access to a debating chamber or elite club. As young people are given the opportunity to discuss their views without barriers, engagement is increasing.

Accountability

We all remember Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign in which he plastered a promise to fund the NHS with £350 million across the side of a bus. When asked on TV whether he would guarantee that the money pledged for the health service during the campaign would be spent, he disowned the pledge and claimed that he never said those words.

But thanks to social media, millions of people had seen this propaganda on Twitter and Facebook, making it impossible to forget and possible to hold Farage accountable.

This just proves the power of digital to change the political landscape, and get people questioning political leaders and holding parties to account for the promises they make in a digital age. Ultimately, as this questioning is broadcast across digital, engagement increases amongst the young people regularly using the online platform who are exposed to this.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT: Snapchat for business

With so much going on in the world of social media it can be difficult to know where to start. Recent studies have suggested that nearly 3.2bn users in the world are on at least one social media platform, so realistically it is becoming too much of communications juggernaut to ignore. In the UK alone 66% of the population are on social media (which equates to 44m users as of January 2018).

At O, devising a social strategy is our bread and butter. It can be difficult to navigate the murky waters of social media without a guide, that’s where our Social Media Spotlight series comes in.

This is the second post in our four-part series where we focus on the different platforms you should be considering for your business. Last week we looked at Facebook and this time we are looking at the yellow side of social – Snapchat.

Snapchat has had a tough time of late with the larger blue-coloured social networks are copying some of their best features, but their niche is still very much alive. As snaps never live longer than a day however, it can be difficult to measure long-term performance.

Once a platform purely for Millennials and Gen-Z, Snapchat’s reach has been growing each month. One of the reasons it became so popular with the younger audiences in the first place is that Snapchat solved the major problems associated with communicating between one another – it is much more personal.

Privacy is another of Snapchat’s strengths. This is very much the hot topic at the moment but your data on Snapchat is deleted as soon as it is seen and there is no tracking. In a world where Facebook gets crucified over privacy scandals, Snapchat provides a refreshing alternative.

In order to get the most from Snapchat, here are the top 5 features that you should be using to build your business:

Snap Ads

The easiest and most frequently used advertising format on Snapchat will be the humble snap ad. Massive improvements have been made to the advertising side of Snapchat recently, which gives advertisers a large number of options to target their audience with exciting content.

Advertisers can drive traffic to the website, build awareness, drive video views, generate app downloads or even re-engage lapsed app users. Snapchat has a lot more options that are worth considering.

Stories

The story is essentially the main part of the whole Snapchat offering, even if Instagram mercilessly copied it. Using stitched together videos and images the story showcases a user’s experience in a way a sole image never could. Like their Instagram and Facebook counterparts they do not exist for long on the platform so you best be quick.

Advertisers can create their own story ads and then showcase them to their audience in a biddable auction, in a similar buying method to snap ads. The Ads Manager software allows advertisers to showcase stories to over 500 different predefined audiences so you’ll be sure to find your right audience.

Lenses

Lenses are possibly the coolest feature Snapchat have in their arsenal – although Instagram is copying this too. Technically these can be built by anyone (although it may require some epic tech skills to pull it off properly) so you can bring your own snaps to life.

Some sponsored lenses will need Snapchat to build them (with a minimum of an 8 week lead time) and can become very costly. The end result can be very successful as users will be directly engaging with your brand.

Filters

 The filter is possibly the biggest part of Snapchat’s offering, as it is key to the whole user behaviour. Users will not just be content with taking a photo; the filter is what makes the whole story behind the image. Technically anyone can build a filter but you may need a designer to make it look fully awesome. Then all you need to do is input your location, the duration of the ad and your budget.

Spectacles

Snapchat’s AR driven glasses are possibly the biggest differentiator from all of its competition. With the exception of Facebook’s VR headset Oculus, which has a much different application, Spectacles are the only real tangible product that can be used aside from a mobile phone. Essentially they are a pair of sunglasses with cameras attached that take eye-level videos and images and can then be synced with the Snapchat app over Bluetooth. Not only will this give first party perspective that will be fully shareable, but also you will then be able to customise the video files using the full suite of Snapchat features such as stickers & filters.

The 2nd incarnation of these glasses have recently been released to the general public and offer the prospect of more real-world content which made Snapchat so successful in the past using a sleek and attractive piece of tech. Assuming eventually, when Snapchat fully rolls out live streaming on the platform, this piece of kit will become a vital piece of the puzzle that connects a brand to a public event.

O Communications is an integrated PR, digital and social media agency based in Newcastle. Looking for help with your social media strategy? Drop us a line on letstalk@opr.co.uk

 

SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT: Facebook for business

Social media is impossible to ignore and despite JD Wetherspoon taking the bold move to delete all of their channels, these platforms will still remain a popular choice for brand communications.

It is common practice for a brand to be seen on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin nowadays with many people opting for a social media agency to help with their strategy.

At O, we understand the importance of using social media and how it can sometimes be a little tricky to move from personal use to using for business. That’s why we are creating a mini-series to help you on your way!

In the first post of our four-part social media series, we are shining the spotlight on Facebook and the features you should be using for your business.

One of the older platforms, and the most popular social media site in the world, Facebook boasts over 2.2million monthly active users. Despite the increasing controversy of late, including trending hashtags to #deletefacebook, the platform firmly remains as one of the go-to apps for social interaction.

Over the years, Facebook has steadily integrated innovative features to go beyond a basic social website. We can now stream live videos, purchase items without leaving the platform, tailor advertisements to our target audience and share more things with the world than ever before.

Also, a buy-out of Instagram in 2012, Facebook has continued to go from strength-to-strength as it enabled an easy way to share images and videos across both of the apps.

Once seen as a ‘personal’ platform, there are many people who are now using Facebook’s plethora of features to spread the word about their business.

Here’s the five that you should be using…

Facebook advertising

Arguably the best social media platform for advertising, Facebook offers endless options for businesses to raise brand awareness.

Alongside excelling at lead generation, the straightforward interface makes it easy to choose an advert type and targeting options for your chosen audience.

With news of changes to the newsfeed that aims to encourage meaningful interaction with friends over brands, Facebook ads are a safe bet to make sure your message is still seen.

Facebook Live

The addition of Facebook live has considerably changed the way that both businesses and individuals interact with their audience and friends.

From livestreaming events to tutorials and round-ups, breaking the fourth wall has been a great addition and the ability to add comments increases engagement and participation.

Next time you are at an event or delivering a talk to a room of people, consider using Facebook Live so that those who aren’t there don’t miss out.

Facebook Stories

It might not be as popular as Instagram Stories but Facebook Stories are still a nice touch for businesses to share what they are up to in a different way.

With options to tag people, add in hashtags and include a whole range of stickers, you can create interesting content easily that can look much more interesting than just a status update. They only last 24 hours though so use wisely!

Groups

As mentioned earlier, a couple of months ago Facebook announced the shift to prioritise posts from your friends over brands, encouraging people to engage with the platform through conversations.

In a move to avoid getting lost on timelines, many businesses have taken to setting up a group page to encourage people to join in and interact with members

It’s a little too early to say what the ultimate shift will look like and whether groups will be the way forward. Nevertheless, it is a great way to invite people in to an exclusive place where they can get involved with your business and other customers.

Custom tabs

An interesting feature for Facebook that may not be so obvious is the addition of custom tabs to a business page.

You can essentially create a ‘mini website’ with integrated tabs for other social media platforms, a shop section, a bit more about you, a bit about your services – the list is endless!

These tabs offer so much more beyond sharing updates, it allows people to see all of your information in one place.

 

O Communications is an integrated creative communications agency based in Newcastle. If you’d like some help with your social media strategy, drop us a line on letstalk@opr.co.uk

A WEEK AT O: MY WORK EXPERIENCE STORY

Want to know what work experience at O Communications is really like? Annabel, a third year English Language student at Newcastle University, carried out a week’s worth of work experience at O. Here’s what she was up to…

Going into my third and final year at university, I finally decided that I wanted to work towards a career in digital marketing. Knowing the value and importance work experience has when climbing the career ladder, I researched agencies in the area and came across O. After an initial meeting, I was offered a week-long placement at the start of April.

My first day at O started with an introduction to all the members of the team who were all really welcoming and helpful. After being shown around, I was given tasks to do straight away so I could get stuck in. The first thing I had to do was write a blog post for a hotel group who wanted to promote an offer they had for guests during the summer.

My second task was to write a press release for a company who were wanting to inform publications that they had expanded and made new hires. I had never written a press release before so learning how to write one was something very beneficial to me.

Wednesday’s tasks included writing an article for a family lifestyle magazine. I was given a brief to write about encouraging children to get moving and after writing the article, the team went through it with me and gave me really good feedback on how I can improve my writing skills in future. The rest of the day consisted of researching journalist contacts and searching for UK publications across a number of sectors.

Thursday started with me writing a guide about a hotel chain on the different venues they have across the UK and the biggest summer events happening in each area. I was then given another press release to do, this time about how much a local company has raised for charities this year. My next task was to research and write up three recipe ideas and three exercise ideas which would be circulated around the O team this month as part of their Better Health at Work scheme. The team all value the importance of keeping healthy and having fun whilst at work which makes the agency a really nice place to work.

On my last day at the agency, I researched national media for feature opportunities for a client keen to promote their senior females in the media.

My week at O has been really jam-packed and has given me a practical insight into what working at a communications agency is like. It was really useful being given tasks from different members of the team as it gave me an idea of the range of responsibilities that each staff member has. This experience has definitely given me essential skills so that I can further my career in this industry. My week-long placement here has shown me how much each member of the team cares about their work and they have inspired me to continue in my pursuit of a career in digital marketing. Thanks O!

Last orders! JD Wetherspoon shuts down all social media accounts

The pub chain JD Wetherspoon has recently announced that it is shutting down its entire social media presence, which includes its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. This extends not only to the central accounts but to the 900 accounts owned by the local pubs that are also run by the company.

In a statement, ironically posted on Twitter, the company said:

“In a world of social media, J D Wetherspoon has decided to close down all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts for individual pubs and head office”

This was then further elaborated on by the chairman of JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, who said the company is “going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business.” He even went so far as to say “it’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion.”

The statement on users spending too much time on social platforms is an interesting one as he isn’t the first person to make similar claims. Facebook is seemingly trying to work hard to encourage more ‘meaningful interactions’ on the platform.

What JD Wetherspoon will miss out on, however, is a vital way to grow their business beyond conventional means. The ‘conventional wisdom’, as Tim Martin mentioned, is that social media is key to business growth. Many global brands are prioritising social media as a key way to drive success. Very few channels offer you the scale of consumer data that social media can provide. You are also unlikely to have the granularity in your advertising from any other channel, meaning you only reach the users that are most relevant to you. Social media may be coming under attack from all sides at the moment but it still provides among the most efficient advertising means of all channels (both for online as well as bricks and mortar businesses).

In addition to this, social media is the perfect forum to have an open dialogue with customers. This is something that any business can benefit from no matter the size of the organisation. Maintaining a conversation with customers is the best way to gain favourability, the most effective way to engage with customers quickly and above all customers expect to be able to engage with businesses via social media. To be absent from the online spaces in which customers play is a real risk.

So why has JD Wetherspoon chosen to take such drastic action? Well, they have had their fair share of complaints over social media and this volume does take some management.

As we are unaware of the current set up of the organisation and strategy of its owned social media channels we can only speculate that it is pulling the plug because things weren’t quite working out when it came to demonstrating great customer service online…

The Influence of Stories: How influencers can boost brands’ Stories

It has often been said that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Companies like Apple and Harley Davidson centre their values on the people that buy from them – telling stories and creating a personality for the brand beyond the product to build a loyal customer base. This is why, some people will fight tooth and nail over Apple products whereas others are staunchly in favour of Android or Windows – you don’t often see much cross over.

This all starts with telling the right brand story; not what you do, but why you do what you do. A simple way to plant the seeds from this are with Stories on Instagram or Snapchat. Stories allow brands to form an instant connection with their followers using uncut, unpolished and real content that is relatable. As well as fostering a positive sentiment, familiar ethos can lead to referrals and purchases that drive actual business growth.

Instagram Stories has grown into one of the most important features of the app since it was introduced in August 2016, boasting over 300 million users creating Stories each day.

So why use influencers in your Stories?

Using Instagram Stories provides possibly the strongest way to reach a large, engaged audience that might traditionally be untapped. So how can you utilise this feature for maximum results?

Influencers in marketing activity isn’t a new addition for brands and the authenticity that the influencer has when creating a story is incredibly valuable, not to mention harnessing the sheer size of the audiences they have worked hard to cultivate. The immediacy and the real-word environment that this feature offers is something that a brand can really take advantage of.

Your influencer activity not only gives you a large and engaged audience to utilise but it also gives you something much more valuable – trust. The reason you are using this influencer is because they have amassed a following, for that influencer to then endorse your brand – even if you are paying them – is an incredibly powerful tool.

Influencers are pros at telling a story; this is why they have been so successful at cultivating high numbers of followers. In addition to harnessing their followers, using an influencer’s expertise in storytelling that is bespoke to their audience is always successful.

This example from Victoria’s Secret shows just how a well-managed story can work wonders. They allowed the model Stella Maxwell and the famous yoga instructor Beth Cooke to take over their channel, inviting users to join their yoga session to #trainlikeanangel. By harnessing Stella’s 3.3m followers (not to mention the thousands of followers from Beth’s account) Victoria’s Secret were able to tell a strong story that showcased the brand in a very relatable, yet on-brand, light. This campaign also included live video which allowed users to join in with the yoga class at home and also purchase the outfits worn.

Our top 5 ways to use influencers in your next Stories campaign. 

  1. Take Over

 The influencer will know exactly how to get the best from their audience so let them do their own thing on your channel. By letting them express themselves you can take advantage of what has made them so successful. Be sure not to restrict them too much and let them promote the content on their own platforms.

  1. Placement

This may be the easiest way to harness influencers however it has been done so often that users can see through it quickly. Even so, using your product in the heart of an influencer’s story to his or her own followers gives an organic and authentic feel.

  1. Behind the Scenes

Anticipation is often a huge part of any marketing activity; that is why films release trailers! Influencers can therefore stoke the fire of anticipation with some sneak peek content that gives users a perspective they wouldn’t have ordinarily had access to, which can be a huge weapon to wield.

  1. Q&A

FAQs are in the nature of every business. Why not get the influencer to help answer them for you. The funky graphics and emojis found on Stories can make a very engaging piece of content if done right.

  1. Competitions

Competitions are very quick ways of gaining engagement, simply because there is something in it for the user when they enter. Influencers can help bolster this engagement by harnessing their own audience. But make sure you are quick – Stories only exist for 24 hours!

Why not check out our Stories over on Instagram? Follow us for our Friday recaps of what we have been up to in the week!

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