Social media war -which platform comes out on top?

On Thursday it was #SocialMediaDay (not as exciting as #NationalCheeseDay if you ask me) and it stirred up quite a bit of excitement on Twitter. Social Media isn’t a new concept anymore and it’s come a long way in a very short amount of time.

@buffer made an eye-opening point when they tweeted about the origin of #SocialMediaDay:

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So, we’ve gone from social media being seen as ‘too techy’ to something most of us can’t live without. I mean, what else are you going to do as soon as you wake up, whilst you’re on your lunch break, and right before you go to bed?

Thinking about the evolution of social media, I found myself wondering what the most favoured social media platform is. Once upon a time is was Myspace and Bebo, so now what? I did a little digging into some research to determine a potential winner.

A number of organizations have done research into this, one of which being Age UK who posted a poll on their Twitter during the excitement of Thursday. ‘What was the verdict?’, I hear you ask…

ageuk poll

So, Twitter won Age UK’s poll (potentially because it was run on Twitter), however Snapchat was not included in this. Many social media experts would be in uproar, I’m sure. Especially considering how a number of reports show that in June Snapchat beat Twitter in daily usage figures. Snapchat reached a cool 150 million daily users, whilst Twitter is running at 140 million daily tweeters. You could argue that 10 million people favour Snapchat over Twitter…

Interestingly, another study from this year suggests that Snapchat might not be the favourite. Portsmouth Together ran a local survey to find out what the most popular social media platforms are. This came after they repeatedly heard that the young generation didn’t use Facebook (maybe it was that little blue birdy telling them fibs? *tweep tweet tweep*).

Their study revealed that it isn’t in fact a fight between Twitter and Snapchat for 1st place. Facebook was in fact the most regularly used social media platform (71%). Twitter came in second with 23.7% whilst Snapchat didn’t even make the podium! Instagram came in third with 21.3% leaving Snapchat out of the camera shot (get it) with 16% regular users.

Even more research suggests that Facebook is still the king of social media:

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Smart Insights reported that Facebook is a considerable distance ahead whilst 2nd and 3rd place are also owned by Facebook. 63% of participants have access to the Facebook app with an average of 15 days a month online. What is perhaps the most interesting stat is that the Facebook app is on average accessed 8 times a day. And again, similar to Age UK, Snapchat was not included. I wonder why that might be, especially considering the daily usage figures…

But what about age groups? Age plays a big role in which social media platforms are used. Take a look at Smart Insights results, it speaks for itself:

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So, it would seem that Facebook is the current winner (from this brief look into some research) with Twitter following beyond. The question I’m left with is,

‘where does Snapchat fit in and why is the research conflicting with daily usage figures?’.

What do you think? Have your say:

 

 

Lidl don’t waste any time, especially when it can make great PR

Zayn Maliks shock exit from One Direction caused outcry (and a lot of jokes) on Twitter, however, Lidl seem to have responded with the winning punch line. I often post blogs about creative PR, but I especially appreciate PR teams that handle situations with quick and witty responses. Lidl, upon hearing the news, tweeted a photo of the One Direction Easter Egg for sale in stores with the tweet reading, ‘#Awkward – looks like we’ll just have to knock a 1/5 off too. #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik #ByeZayn‘  Screen shot 2015-03-26 at 18.27.08

People’s tweets back to Lidl showed their support for the humorous reduction with one person tweeting, ‘Lidl are now offering 1/5th of their one direction Easter egg. That’s some genius marketing right there.’

Lidl Ireland even went on to make a hashtag #lidllaughs and tweet with it a photo of the easter egg with writing ‘*still featuring Zayn’

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The funny tactic has brought a lot of awareness to the brand over social media and potentially brought in new customers with one tweet in response saying, ‘This is hilarious, makes me want to shop at Lidl now.’

Screen shot 2015-03-27 at 19.00.18I always think that timing is very important when planning PR and marketing tactics and the can be very effective for gaining awareness. A similar case was in 2013 when Oreo tweeted in response to the Superbowl blackout as shown to the left.

Oreos clever and witty post received 10’000 retweets in the first hour alone and became one of the most rememberable ads from the 2013 Superbowl. It just shows how effective it can be to have a PR team on standby for whenever something happens that can be used as an opportunity.

 
 

Lidl used a similar tactic in response to Sainsbury’s slip up over internal communication:

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What do you think?

The war on morality: Sainsburys Christmas advert 2014

Sainsburys’ official Christmas 2014 advert has recently been released and it has caused some controversy on whether it’s morally ‘ok’ to use times of war for profit gains.

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The advert was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion and depicts the extraordinary story of 1914 where British and German soldiers put down their guns, arose from the trenches and played in a friendly football match. All in the favour of Christmas. The famous truce shown in the advert emphasises how Christmas brings everyone together, including people from different cultures and even people with conflicting views. Just like the soldiers of WW1. If you haven’t seen it yet (where have you been?) you can see it here.

I personally think the advert has been made well and tells a meaningful story about compassion and celebrating Christmas with everyone. However, many people have taken offence to the depiction and have shared their opinions of the advert on YouTube comments and Twitter hashtag.

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Even though my first reaction to seeing the advert was positive and definitely a ‘goose-bump’ moment I can see where the people with negative views are coming from. The advert is promoting Sainsbury’s at the end of the day and the use of such a rememberable time could be seen as crossing a moral line. However, I do not think the advert glorifies war or down plays the importance of the real soldiers doing their part in WW1.

Many of the YouTube comments have grown into debates as other users are getting involved to either defend Sainsbury’s or agree with the offence-takers. One user made the point that big Hollywood films, such as Saving Private Ryan, use times of war and don’t necessarily emphasise the true environment of what it’s like at war and these films make money from it as well. So is the problem simply against advertisements using such content or perhaps against supermarkets trying to play on the customers emotions as a way of making money. It is also important to bear in mind that the chocolate bar featured in the advert is on sale at Sainsburys for £1 and all profits from the sales of this will go to The Royal British Legion. I think this could possibly be another case of ‘there’s always one that’s not happy’ but in this case there’s quite a few unhappy viewers.

What do you think? Love the ad, hate the ad, not too sure? Let me know.

The best of the beautiful game campaigns

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently you wouldn’t have been able to escape the lead up to the 2014 World Cup. Having said that, there’s been so much hype about the 20th World Cup that it would probably find its way under the rock anyway.

(I must say that I have never watched a football game before so I can’t say that I’m not a fan of the sport. I do like watching sports so perhaps I would enjoy it, however, my only dislike with the game is the over-the-top hooligan fans that come with it. The ones that get into fights when their adored team loses or starts riots in a town centre pub when they disagree with a refs decision.. This type of football crazy fan makes me think negatively about the sport and therefore have steered clear. But what I have been interested in is the overload of football themed campaigns that have been released this summer.)

Many companies have jumped on the opportunity to release a timely campaign that fits in with the build up to the World Cup. Brands like Nike and Pepsi have pushed the boat out, so to speak, and have created some extravagant campaigns, whilst others have simply paddled in the shallow waters with a more simple approach.

Here’s a look into some of the campaigns that have launched to coincide with the 2014 World Cup:

Pepsi

Kristin Patrick, Pepsi’s global chief marketing officer, told Bloomberg in April: “It’s the first time we’ve rolled out a global football campaign to this magnitude. It’s in 130 countries, and we have a large body of content from television, short films and digital content. We have events happening every single month leading to up to the summer.”

Nike

Nike’s ‘Winner Stays’ ad, the second in its ‘Risk Everything’ 2014 football campaign, has attracted more than 70 million YouTube hits so far.

Beats by Dre

Adidas

Adidas, an official partner of FIFA has 17 million Facebook likes and one million Twitter followers.

The advert creation isn’t the only element of the campaign as Adidas promises to have 50 people in its Rio ‘war room’ located at the home of Flamengo FC. “Our target is to be the most talked about brand at the World Cup,” says Rob Hughes, senior global football PR manager, adidas global football. “We will have our legal, marketing and FIFA teams to help expedite approvals, to ensure we are best placed to publish content and drive media spend, no matter what the time, day or time zone.”

It is clear, however, that a company doesn’t need to be an official partner or sponser with FIFA. Coca Cola’s campaign has been over-shadowed by Pepsi even though Coca-Cola is an official partner and sponsor.

CocaCola


Twitter also got involved by creating ‘hashflags’. This new feature turns a hashtag and 3 letter abbreviation into a colour icon of the countries flag.

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So to sum up the campaigns, it is clear that a visual and interactive approach has been used by many big-name brands as way of establishing themselves within the World Cup. Social media has, of course, hit the ground running with new features and engaging ways for fans to communicate throughout the World Cup. There is a lot more that could be said about new campaigns and features but I feel like this post is now rather long, so here are a couple of links for you to use if you wish to read more about this.

Tech Giants Play The Game

War Rooms

BirdsEye should be ‘inspiration’ to other businesses for Instagram campaigns

Instagram took off as ‘THE’ platform for sharing your visual insights through everyday life and companies are wising up to it’s potential for businesses. BirdsEye recently launched a new creative Instagram campaign as part of a multi-media campaign including TV, digital, POS and a three month sampling campaign for its new ‘Inspiration’ range.

Lemon-packetA pop-up restaurant called ‘The Picture House’ appeared at the Ice Tank in Soho, London and opened its doors to hungry diners who were eager to sample BirdsEye’s new ‘Inspiration’ range. The creative part of this sampling event was that the diners were able to dine for free permitting they uploaded a photo of their meal with the hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations onto their Instagram profiles. Lets be honest, a free meal in exchange for a photo upload.. Who would say no?

Research by BirdsEye showed 52% of people ‘regularly’ take pictures of their meals and 11% take at least one picture of their food a week. The hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations generated more than 400 photos on Instagram just two days after the pop-up restaurant opened. This measurement early on in the campaign allows the PR team behind the campaign to get their hopes up that the strategy will generate interest in the new range.

Taking photo of meals quickly became a popular trend on Instagram with the hashtag #instafood currently having 24,873,080 photo or video posts (11.52:11/06/14). BirdsEye marketing director, Margaret Jobling commented: “Taking photos of food enables people to show off and to share their mealtime moments – from the every day to the very special. We wanted to tap into this trend and create a new reason for people to talk about and sample our newest additions to the Inspirations range.”

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The Picture House will visit Manchester and Leeds during June 2014 to continue the sampling events.

As I said before, who wouldn’t want to settle the bill by uploading a photo to Instagram? The tactic is very creative and shows how businesses can use visual social media effectively to generate awareness. There has only been one sampling event so far and there has already been a lot of interest in the hashtag tactic and the next pop-up restaurant is set to be even busier later in the month.

This use of social media as a way of generating interest in a product should be seen by other businesses as an example of how they can use Instagram in a similar way. ‘Visual’ is becoming more and more important and Instagram, being one of the most popular social media platforms around at the moment, gives many opportunities to reach out to existing and potentially new markets.

Entering the PR world one baby-intern step at a time

Now that second year is done and dusted I have started my first of two work placements. I started as a Public Relations and Digital Marketing Intern at Atelier Studios, a digital marketing agency in Southampton, on Friday 9th May ’14.

The first day I was thrown right in at the deep end byWhiteboard ideas being given a client brief to work on. I had to generate a 6 month social media strategy plan for Varissa, a car sourcing website. I spent the day working with a fellow intern coming up with ideas. Atelier is a very chilled environment and they have a whiteboard wall where we could note down all of our tactics. It was a fun day getting to know everyone and putting together our ideas. We had to put everything we had come up with into a presentation to pitch to the client on the following Monday.

Day 2 was the client pitch which went really well. I wasn’t too nervous as I have previously pitched for a live client for an assignment on my course, so I was able to relax and pitch confidently. We received positive feedback and praise for our ideas.

For the next 3 days I worked on a number of different projects for clients, which I found very interesting. I started by doing some social media critique for a 3D printing company local to the agency in Southampton called isodo3D. This was fun as I could look into what they could do to enhance their social media presence. I also did some Copy Writing editing for a flooring company, which gave me the chance to show my writing skills. I then moved on to writing content briefs for a number of different websites, such as SPS International; a headhunting company that wanted a content brief about headhunting within the fashion industry. I am not massively knowledgeable about the fashion industry so this gave me the opportunity to research and challenge myself with a new topic. I also wrote briefs for iac acoustics, which is a sound proofing construction company, giving me a chance to research into the building development industry. So far I am enjoying being able to work on many different projects within a range of industry’s as it allows me to see what I am really interested in.

On day 4 I worked on SEO development of a website called Mr Nutcase and it’s adjoining blog called The Real Mr Nutcase. I created meta title tags, meta descriptions, and blog content updates. Meta titles and descriptions is a skill I have learnt from the placement and it was very useful to be able to use what I had learnt with a real project. Atelier is a digital marketing agency, which is giving me the opportunity to stem away from just PR projects and learn more about website development and SEO. The next day I used SproutSocial to schedule content updates to a range of social media platforms for a company called Associated Pallets. Associated Pallets sell wooden and plastic pallets, so I found industry-specific content that could be published. I also did this with the flooring company previously mentioned and researched for content within the flooring industry to be posted. I had never used SproutSocial before so again this is a new skill I have learnt. During the day I also wrote some more content briefs for Associated Pallets.

And that brings us to today… I began the day by learning the basics of running a website health-check audit. This is completely new to me so it is a chance to learn new skills. This afternoon I will go over the health-check in more detail and learn more about SEO development.

I’m half way through my placement now and so far I am really enjoying my time with Atelier Studios and I look forward to working on more projects. Stay tuned for a follow up post about the second half of my placement.

A Day That Will Go Down In History #equalmarriage

After waking up nice and early on this beautiful Saturday morning (29th March 2014) I opened up Twitter to browse through my timeline and trends as I normally do. I was shocked to see another natural disaster effecting so many with aftershocks still rippling across California as I write this. Many people taking to Twitter to share their worries and advice to people who have been affected by the 5.1 magnitude earthquake. However, I was also drawn to the hashtag #equalmarriage that is currently trending worldwide (9.40am). Today is the day that same sex couples can wed in England and Wales. Such a world we live in that people had barriers stopping them from loving who they want. I’m not much of a religious person so I am not arguing against peoples religious beliefs, but in my opinion in a world of hate and war, love should be accepted with open arms.

The hashtag is overwhelming to read, with so much love and support being shared on this defining day.

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These are two examples of tweets that are at the top of the hashtag feed, by @2lovelygays and @xMATTxLAWx. Along with every positive tweet comes a rush of favourites and retweets, showing the support made possible through this social media platform.

However, you can’t please everybody and of course there are some people with opposing views on equal marriage who have also taken to twitter to share their opinions.

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Here @TheDaiLJew has posted a screenshot from the Telegraph comments feed on an article about equal marriage day, which shows some of the negative views. However, overall the views being shared are that of congratulatory support, which in my opinion is a great step for England and Wales. One that supports positive social change. I am pleased to be able to recognise today for a defining time that will be remembered and taught about as English history for future years.

E-book in a day – Solent Success

On wednesday 26th March Solent university students took on the CIPR challenge of creating an engagement themed e-book in a day. The e-book will consist of different chapters that look into different areas of engagement within PR and evaluate how successful the engagement from the day was. The e-books aim is ‘to put the public back into public relations’. This is the first time that anything like this has been attempted and I am very proud to say that I was able to take part of it as a Solent student and become a co-author of the e-book.

A mixture of 2nd and 3rd year students got together on wednesday 26th March 2014 to work in teams that would be managed by a MA student on a mixture of courses. Each team were set to cover a chapter of the e-book each, which were made up of Networking, Crowdsourcing, Co-creation, Gamification, Curation, Visual Mashup, Face-to-face/Voice-to-voice, and Measurement & Evaluation. P2P PR is a new term created for the e-book that stands for Peer to Peer PR, highlighting the aim of generating engagement through all PR people.

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Solent University: Faculty of the Creative Industries

All of the students got the opportunity to pick which chapter they wanted to work on with consideration of what their key skills are. I chose to join the Visual Mashup chapter as I felt I could contribute my social media and networking skills and experience to the team. The goal of the Visual Mashup team was called ‘Life in a day of a PR person’, which meant that we needed a visual representation of what PR meant to people. The teams aim was to generate engagement with PR professionals, agencies, lecturers, and student through social media platforms, such as Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

 

 

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Steve Waddington (CIPR president) giving an opening speech)

After an opening speech from Catherine Sweet and Stephen Waddington (CIPR president) an ice-breaker session started whilst the groups were joining together. From this we moved onto the delegation of roles within the team. Specific members of the team were assigned to manage certain social media platforms, such as I was delegated to work on the @ebookinaday Twitter account alongside Marta García-Urgelés. After each team member had been assigned a platform to manage we got started with generating engagement. Myself and Marta began tweeting PR professionals and agencies through a database of contacts that had been gathered through networking. To begin with we weren’t seeing anybody responding with a photo that sums up PR for them. We received a lot of new followers to the account as well as retweets and favourites but it wasn’t until about an hour in that we started to see agencies start to respond. Ketchum and MSL_Group responded with excellent contributions of their visual representations of PR to them. After these big-name agencies started to engage with the project we saw many others join in as well.

After we had generated an impressive amount of engagement through each social media platform, the team began to work on writing the content for the chapter of the e-book. We had roughly an hour to compile all of our findings from the day into a short chapter that was focused on Visual Mashup as a means of generating engagement. Here is a photo of team Visual Mashup:

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Visual Mashup team photo

The day was a great experience and I am very proud to have worked on such a unique opportunity for Solent students. Below is a video of Steve Waddingtons (CIPR president) conclusion speech with 3 useful tips for the students. (Please forgive the terrible recording quality due to snapping it on my phone)

After the busy day of creating the e-book, many students then participated in Meet The Professionals networking evening at the university. I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend this event and I managed to gain some useful contacts through networking, some of which will be great contacts for my dissertation research. Overall, the day was long and tiring but definitely a great experience and an opportunity I got because of Solent’s efforts towards integrating the students into the industry.

Is social media the only way to reach a younger audience?

Recently consumer PR has been catching my eye and the efforts in which brands are making in order to try and attract different audiences. Of course all companies and PR agencies want to think of a new and dynamic way to approach this but always seem to settle for social media. Every morning I read through prweek.com and have been drawn to the consumer section where article after article can be seen detailing how companies are reaching out to agencies with digital expertise. Yes, social media has been on the rise and is the forefront of modern communications but is social media the only way to reach a younger audience?

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After reading an article this morning titled ‘Umpf to help Park Inn by Radisson target younger travellers via social’ it got me thinking that many companies solely rely on social media to attract younger audiences. The article was published last wednesday (12th June) and explains how a Europe-wide pitch run by brand owner the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has landed Umpf with the brief of creating ‘a social strategy encompassing community management and social stunts as well as wider campaigns across multiple social media channels.’ The current social activity for Park Inn is handled in the UK by FTI Consulting but has now been branched out to Umpf in Brussels. Johnson, the founder of Umpf, said: ‘The brand has great potential in the social space and we have created some exciting campaigns across a range of social channels which will bring the brand’s personality to life.’

This is just one of many articles focusing on new social media campaigns all with promises of exciting ways to reach younger audiences. The argument that I’m putting forward is whether other dynamic drives are available for these agencies. For example, a simple academic backing wouldn’t do any harm. Say for example, Umpf, on behalf of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, did some PR stunts focussing on university graduates… Whether this was giving discounts to graduates who need somewhere to stay whilst looking for a job after finishing their course or even offering cheaper rooms to students who are still studying but need accommodation during the summer months. This approach would certainly catch my attention and I’m sure many other students as well. A tweet from Park Inn simply saying ‘come and stay here’ will only get lost in the sea of other promotional content found on Twitter, however dynamic stunts and support for the younger generation will no doubt attract attention. Just a thought.

Article and quotes found at :http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1185568/umpf-help-park-inn-radisson-target-younger-travellers-via-social/