‘We make a good team my Adidas and me’

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You might be forgiven for thinking this line was the result of a carefully crafted marketing campaign, with a team of copywriters and brand managers spending hours slaving over the words.

You’d be wrong. These are actually lyrics from ‘My Adidas’, written by Run-D.M.C in 1986 and featured on the album Raising Hell. Why write a song about sneakers you might think? Because according to interviews from the time Run-D.M.C simply loved Adidas. The relationship did soon after turn into a paid partnership, and not a cheap one to boot but for Adidas it was likely to have been worth every penny, especially at a time when the competition with Nike was hotting up.  As a marketer this love of a brand from anyone with influence is one of the best forms of marketing you can get, especially when the person in the public eye shares the same values as your brand and appeals to your target audience.

In this social media dominated world it is easy to forget that there once was a time where not every single item of clothing, beauty product, car, food or drink etc that was worn, eaten or sat in was captured on camera and examined by millions of potential buyers in a matter of seconds. Hard to imagine but these were the days when traditional marketing methods had to be relied upon, and therefore anyone in the public eye that loved a specific brand was gold dust. Things have of course changed but the principles of advocacy remain the same. So what can we learn now we are in a modern world of mass marketing and the army of influencers (and their audiences) continues to grow?

  1. Who loves your brand?

Do your research thoroughly, there will be people with a solid social media following that love your brand. Many of them won’t demand huge budgets to work with you. The trick is to find them and treat them as a partner in building campaigns and content. The more genuine the partnership the more believable for your consumers.

  1. Know your audience

Who do your audience respect and follow? Who will they want to listen to? Make sure you are working with people that have the same values as your brand and your customers.

  1. Measure success

How do you know if your efforts are working? Ensure you have tracking and measurable & meaningful KPI’s established before you start working with influencers. Once you have results use these as benchmarks to enable you to continue measuring success.

Photo by waqar khalid on Unsplash

Influencing Careers

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At the risk of showing my age one of the career options that was never discussed at school when I was studying was that of becoming an social influencer, You Tuber or Vlogger. According to a study just published by Awin a career as an influencer is now a serious career option, at least according to the children taking part. The research showed that of the 2000 11 to 16 year olds that took part in the survey becoming a social media influencer (17%) and You Tuber (14%) were only narrowly beaten by the most popular (and more traditional) career choice, becoming a doctor (18%). The aspiration for a career as a vet or a teacher is now less popular than making a living as either a social media influencer or a You Tuber.

If this number of influencers really comes to fruition surely it means that they are going to have to work harder to differentiate themselves? For brands this could be good news as there will be a far greater choice of who to work with, which in theory could drive down costs. What I suspect will happen is that the influencer market will split into groups, with ‘successful’ influencers continuing to be celebrities and/or those with a niche subject, and then a growing group of those who struggle to differentiate themselves. Of course all this could change if legislation is introduced which starts making social media platforms take more responsibility for content placed onto these platforms, something starting to look more likely. Starting out in any career is tough, let alone when you are starting from scratch and your career relies on being open to the public where you can be judged be anyone not just your work mates.

After spending several days reviewing influencer videos for a client campaign there are few thoughts on working with influencers

Match your influencers to your customers

This might sound obvious but making sure your influencers are going to work for your brand and add value/interest/engagement/entertainment for your customers is key. Working with influencers can be expensive so ensuring you are working with the right person for your brand is important to ensure you get value for money.

Be authentic

The whole point of working with influencers is that they have authentic tone and content which their followers love – so don’t try and change this but be aware and judge if this will work for your brand and your customers.

Work on relationships

Building relationships with customers and influencers is important – this is Public Relations in digital age. Building a community through relationships with both customers and influencers is time consuming and resource heavy but can pay off in the long term, especially for brands who have or want to have high customer engagement and service.

Be aware of the regulations

There are guidelines in place for influencers and brands alike thanks to the ASA and CAP code, for example, you don’t necessarily have to be paying an influencer to be seen as running advertising. You can read the guidelines here, swot up.

Set up guidelines

A set of guidelines which has been through your legal team and shared with stakeholders that outlines how your brand interacts with influencers is a good idea as it means teams are aligned, especially important in larger organisations where several teams, from PR to online marketing could be involved.

Measure success

Be clear on your KPI’s and ensure you can measure them, engagement is fine if that is what your objectives are, or do you want to measure conversion and sales? Set this out at the start and ensure your objectives and targets are signed off as part of the overall marketing plan.

For social media & communications advice please contact me on Rachel.Kerr@rksocialcomms.co.uk

Photo by leonardo silva on Unsplash

Are you ready for crisis management?

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‘Worst case scenario’ is one of my favourite games to hypothetically play with clients. Ask yourself this; ‘How would you manage in a worst-case scenario situation?’ Maybe a client or customer complains publicly about your service, or a negative article is written in the press about your business. Do you have the right processes and procedures in place to manage the situation, especially if it went public on social media? This is where having a social media crisis plan in place will help you sleep easier at night, especially when it is joined up to overall business crisis and continuity plans.

Depending on the business you operate the worst-case scenarios could be vastly different, a restaurant might have a one-off issue with food poisoning, a manufacturing business a problem with faulty goods. Regardless of the actual event there are ways to mange the situation to prevent a small negative piece of feedback exploding into a full-blown public relations or social medial crisis. Every business should have a plan to guide them in the event of a worst-case scenario moment. Below are some tips about how to help avoid a crisis in the first place and what to do in the event of something escalating.

10 tips for crisis management

  1. How will you know when there is an issue? Make sure someone in the business is regularly checking for negative feedback.
  2. Have a clear process in place – when an issue emerges who deals with it? If you have a crisis process in place now does it cover social media?
  3. Know who needs to be involved and who makes key decisions – when you are in the midst of a crisis this is not the time to be working out who should be doing what.
  4. Anyone involved in crisis management should be aware of that fact and understand their role.
  5. Who can be called out of hours – have a rota in place for key stakeholders which includes phone numbers and make sure those on it are aware of the fact.
  6. Plan for the worst – brainstorm all the events that you can think of that might cause negative news about your business.
  7. Involve any customer service teams as they are the ones that deal with customer feedback and know what the common issues are likely to be.
  8. Have FAQ’s ready – once you have identified your common questions prep answers to manage them.
  9. Training everyone who needs to be involved – a dry run in a safe environment is a great way to test processes.
  10. Don’t just hope for the best – having a plan might feel like an extravagance but in the heat of the moment you will be grateful of the time spent prepping!

We can help you plan for your crisis moments, to discuss options please contact me at Rachel.Kerr@rksocialcomms.co.uk or Blackmores

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Becoming a thought leader…

 

ethan-weil-262745-unsplashIn the past few weeks several of my clients have asked me for advice on how to become a ‘thought leader’ which lead me to put thoughts to keyboard. The concept of thought leadership is in no way a new one but as is the case in so many ways the rise of social media channels has opened the opportunity of getting your thoughts to a wider audience in a way that in the past was never an option for the vast majority us. Now anyone can become a thought leader, and many are striving to do so as the benefits are numerous, especially from a business point of view.

So here are a few thoughts from me on thought leadership, go get your thinking cap on…

  • What are you trying to achieve? Do you have a clear objective that you are working towards? If not then set some time aside initially to get clear on your goals as everything you do should be leading towards achieving these.
  • Have a point of view. A boss of mine once told me to have an opinion and don’t be afraid to express it – even if it turns out to be wrong. This might sound strange but, in my experience sitting on the fence over decisions often means people don’t trust your judgement whereas having an opinion gives people trust. If you turn out to be wrong then be the first to recognise this and take responsibility for things. Holding your hand up and taking responsibility often gains respect in the long run.
  • What is your USP? What makes you different from all the other thought leaders in your field – have a view on what makes you worth listening to compared to everyone else.
  • Combine off and online – online and offline marketing go hand in hand and mixing up traditional events such as speaking events and traditional PR with your social media activity is a powerful combination, giving you something to talk about online rather than tweeting for the sake of it.
  • Personal vs business – where are the boundaries? There is no right or wrong here, just think about what is the right balance for you.
  • Don’t be afraid of being challenged – having an opinion means some people will agree with you and others won’t (I may even find this out in this article!)
  • Data, data, data – true facts and data are invaluable in backing up a discussion – so think about where you can get good data from to back up your opinion.
  • Be prepared to put the work in – like so many things you have to put the graft in to gain traction, especially as the market for thought leaders is getting increasingly crowded. You will need perseverance and time to gain an audience so get stuck in!

Perhaps obvious, perhaps not, if you have a point of view please leave a comment!

Photo by Ethan Weil on Unsplash

 

Social trends for 2018

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What are the trends for social media marketers to be aware of in 2018? We have some ideas so read on…

  1. Formats

There are multiple channels and formats to choose from, so deciding tactically what will enable you to meet your strategic goals is important. One of the most successful formats that has emerged recently is Instagram Stories, with 200m people a month using this format. Businesses can make the most of this, but make sure you have relevant content to ensure you are storytelling through your Story.

2. Influencers

Not a recent trend but a continuing one, and likely to continue into the future as brands become more sophisticated in how they work alongside influencers to gain impact. Think about what an influencer means for your brand and think creatively – your customers are influencers, how can they help you find new customers?

3. Video

Again a continuation rather than a new trend. Facebook is still driving the move to video and live formats continue to gain popularity as video quality improves.

4. Personalisation – at scale

Chatbots will continue to grow in popularity amongst businesses, offering speed of response especially in the realm of customer service. getting the balance between machine and human intervention is key, especially for companies that pride themselves on personality and impeccable customer service.

Photo by Jesse Bowser on Unsplash

Social Foundations

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Social is arguably one of the most flexible and exciting of the online marketing channels (yes I am bias), and has often grown organically with organisations as they mature. This can mean that it is very easy to overlook or forget to regularly check the foundations of your social media set up is up to date or well thought out. Often when businesses start thinking social they get creative (no bad thing) and skip over the foundations, but that can cause issues in the long run, especially if you find a social media crisis on your hands. Here are a few social foundations to have a think about, regardless of the size of your organisation.

  1. Processes

Perhaps not the most interesting of topics but having processes in place will make your business more efficient and save a lot of stress in the event of a crisis. Processes can apply to all areas of your social strategy, from content production to media planning so identify the areas that are a priority and write the processes to make these areas work for you.

2. Guidelines

Again, perhaps not the most interesting of subject areas but again will save time. Guidelines should apply to everything from copy and content to community management and should ensure efficiency. For example copy and content guidelines should ensure less time has to go into sign off which makes teams more productive.

3. Ways of Working

Ensure there are clear roles and responsibilities in place and everyone is aware of their role. Social often sits across multiple teams, which can get confusing so it is important that everyone knows what they are responsible for. This may sound obvious but there does need to be one team managing the strategy and making final decisions especially in the event of negative feedback from social communities.

4. Reporting

Your social strategy should have clear objectives and measurable KIP’s with regular reporting that ensures you know how you are performing. KPI’s will be vastly different from one organisation to the next and can change according to business needs but reporting on performance of your chosen KPI’s is crucial to success.

5. Training

With all of the above and solid training in place your teams will be empowered to act without having to wait for every response or piece of content to be approved. This will speed up responses and improve your community engagement.

For any social media advice please contact us Rachel.Kerr@rksocialcomms.co.uk

Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash

Top tips for managing social customer service

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I’ve been running some training recently for customer service teams who are expanding their remit into social channels. Here is a one day workshop condensed into a few top tips!

Do

  • Remain calm! Easy to say when you don’t have Tweets popping up quicker than you can say ‘Twitter’ but essential in order to manage a potential problem situation
  • Ensure consistency of message & water tight processes to capture issues quickly – this includes processes that work across teams so that everyone is crystal clear on roles & responsibilities. The last thing you need is arguments in the heat of the moment about who has final sign off on messages
  • Have a bank of potential FAQ’s – you can never anticipate everything that might occur but you can have a good shot at being prepared for most eventualities
  • Ensure your teams are trained (I would say that obviously)
  • Have adequate cover across channels and alert systems/platforms in place to prevent issues getting lost, nothing worse than missing a Tweet at 10pm on Friday and only spotting it at 9am on Monday with a call from a national newspaper
  • Be clear on your tone of voice and brand personality and how that is shaped for social – you can often be more relaxed in these channels but only if that is appropriate for your brand

Don’t

  • Underestimate the speed something can pick up momentum, you only need one person with a following of several thousand to tweet something derogatory and you can be facing a world of pain
  • Assume you are immune – social is a weird and wonderful place where anything can happen, prep is key to success.
  • Spread your customer care/listening too thin – make sure you have cover on your essential channels

For information on training please contact me Rachel.Kerr@rksocialcomms.co.uk

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Social snippets from May

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The month of May seems to have whizzed past in the blink of an eye. Aside from celebrating a year of running my own business (yey!) there have been some notable social media news stories, here are a few that caught my eye.

 

Sweden plays host with Air B&B

Air B&B and Visit Sweden have created a clever partnership which aims to promote awareness for both brands. I like this because it is centred on a brand truth, at the heart of the partnership is the ‘Allemansrätten’ principle, a protected law that says people are free to roam, so you have the right to walk, cycle, run, ski, camp on any Swedish land. Air B&B are looking to promote travel experiences and Sweden wants to promote itself as a destination – so this seems to be a win win partnership for all.

Barclays skips to success

A skippable ad is not the likeliest of candidates for making the headlines but what makes the Barclays skippable ad great is that it is based on behaviour. The creative team (The Martin Agency) based the ad on the fact that people tend to skip (I certainly do). So they have turned this behaviour into a virtue, and then added a layer of simple but effective Heath Robinson vs Wallace and Gromit mechanics into the mix which means you don’t skip the ad. Clever huh? You can read more here on The Drum.

#Statusofmind

The Royal Society for Public Health and the young Health Movement published a report, #statusofmind looking at the positive and negative impacts of social media on young people. Youtube topped the list from a positive point of view with Instagram and Snap identified as being most detrimental to health & wellbeing. The purpose of the report was to get action from governments, social platforms and policy makers to promote the positive impacts social media can have while limiting the negative effects.  You can download the report here and it makes interesting reading. I have done some work in the area of advising parents and young people on how to manage social media and it is a hot topic.

 

 

 

Becoming a ‘Thought Leader’

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I am currently in the process of working up a package for those interested in ‘thought leadership’ ie what thought leadership is, benefits of moving into this space, how to become a thought leader etc. If you are interested in finding out more please do let me know, Rachel.Kerr@rksocialcomms.co.uk

Picture credit: Thought Catalogue via Unsplash.com

A Little Bit of Networking

A little bit of networking

Yesterday I had the delight of being a PechaKucha guinea pig for a brilliant new networking event organised by PPC experts My Mustard (mantra ‘A little bit goes a long way’, get it??!). For those who, like me until a week ago had not come across the concept of Pecha Kucha, a Japanese way of presenting which means you get the grand total of 6 minutes to present 20 slides. The idea is you have to focus and your audience stays with you. It was great fun and I would recommend to anyone who is asked to present in this style to have a go. I went through some of the basics of social media, rapidly! The slides are below and if you would like any further advice on social media please do get in touch!

My Mustard A Little Bit of Networking Event