Week 6 – A picture says a thousand words

Pinterest and Instagram have revolutionised the idea of photo sharing and taken traditional social media to whole new level. These ultra-creative image-sharing platforms, give users a whole new realm to socialise and captivate a story simply through the use of photos and captions. Instagram is an app that allows users to upload and edit their photos with various different filters. Users have the choice to add a caption, or simply let the photo do the talking by provoking likes and comments from followers. While Pinterest is similar in regards to the photo-sharing aspect, this platform can be accessed online or via the Pinterest app. Users upload photos and can include a hyperlink for viewers to click-through to (especially handy for businesses to pin products with links to purchase!). Followers can then ‘pin’ the photo to one of their inspiration boards for their followers to see. Photography lovers rejoice!

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 Pic Source: Pinterest

Pinterest and Instagram can be used as highly effective communication tactics for brands and organisations. PR Daily features an informative infographic about how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to and generate sales from your website. The Social Media Examiner also outlines 26 helpful tips for businesses using Instagram, which include tips about posting photos that represent brand image, and not just simply photos of the products.

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 Pic Source: FrankBod via Instagram 

Palm Beach Collection has engaged a niche audience to post photos of their empty candle jars and reuse them as a foundation for floral arrangements. The campaign, which is still running, uses the hashtag ‘makingoldnewagain’ and engages publics to post their creations on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Melbourne start-up Frank Body uses a vicious and highly effective marketing strategy through Instagram to generate sales and awareness. The body-scrub company encourages those who use the product to post naked selfies covered in coffee scrub using the hastag ‘thefrankeffect’. This strategy proved to be highly successful, with the Frank Body Instagram profile having over 340,000 followers at the time of publication.

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Week 5 – Twitter Tactics

Who would have thought a message of 140 characters would become the essence of how we communicate through social media? Thanks to Twitter, the idea of microblogging has become the ideal way to share information and communicate. According to The Social Media Bible, tweets generally have a ‘lifespan’ of about 24 hours to make an impression. Twitter is very much an uncontrolled communication platform, where people can contact high profile brands and organisations, simply through the use of an ‘@’ sign. A key benefit of Twitter for businesses is the ability for businesses to be able to search for keywords about the brand, products or competing products, through the use of hashtags. Information can be sought instantly in real time, and is often the best way to be updated, especially during breaking news and events.

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PR Daily often blogs about ways optimise Twitter use for businesses. There are apps such as HootSuite, which allow businesses to post automatic updates during busy times or during times of travel. Other useful tips include reducing tweets to 120 characters, to allow for fans to add in a comment when they retweet. The best times to tweet include from 1pm – 4pm during weekdays, except on Fridays where the cut off is 3pm. Marketing Mag also suggests for businesses to avoid posting tweets on weekends, so they don’t run the risk of low engagement on the post.

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Pic Source: http://www.techwyse.com/blog/social-media-marketing/how-business-and-organizations-can-leverage-twitter-guide/

With various ways to maximise the use of Twitter, there should be no reason why businesses and brands do not make the most of the fast-paced, short and sweet, Twitterverse!

Week 4 – YouTube – Marketing made easy

In 2005, three former PayPal employees discovered how they could make money off people’s love for user-generated content. Video-sharing site YouTube is the second-largest search engine and the third-most visited website in the world, behind Google and Facebook. The site receives more than 1 billion unique monthly visitors, with roughly 6 billion hours worth of videos viewed each month. While it can be easy to assume the site is only home to vloggers trying to make a name for themselves and build a fanbase, YouTube remains as an excellent communication tactic for marketing and public relations practitioners to create brand awareness and build an online community.

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Pic Source: We Heart It

YouTube is an extremely useful communication and marketing tool, that many businesses underestimate. Harley-Davidson’s YouTube channel creates a storytelling presence through its regular video uploads, which keep fans engaged through commenting, subscribing, sharing and always coming back for more updates. Online blog Social Media Today outlines 8 effective ways to use YouTube for business, starting with ensuring the company has a branded YouTube channel. Content marketing agency Brafton has also included their top 10 ways to optimise your business with YouTube, through a clever infographic available here.

As with blogging and Facebook pages, it is important to remember that an online fanbase does happen overnight. The key to YouTube success is to post regularly and ensure the storytelling videos truly represent the brand and aligns with the organisation’s overall, long-term marketing strategy.

Week 3 – Facing facts – Facebook is here to stay

A decade after being launched, Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site, with 10 million Australians logging on to the platform every day. Facebook has become a profitable marketing tool to reach target demographics. Since conventional advertising methods operate using a one-way asymmetrical model, social media platforms like Facebook, allow for two-way symmetrical communication between an organisation and its publics. Facebook should be included as an important marketing tool in every company’s integrated marketing strategy, as it has the ability to use people’s personal data to target very specific demographics on behalf on the advertiser. 

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Pic Source: http://www.thefunnyblog.org/tag/funny-facebook/    

Due to Facebook’s ability to allow brands to communicate directly with fans, an organisation’s Facebook page must be continually monitored and updated to keep fans engaged. The PR Pro’s Guide to Facebook outlines a few tips for companies to use to manage their page: 

–       Ask tons of questions

–       Incorporate upcoming events, product launches and other happenings into the ‘content calendar’

–       Use third-party apps to build out tabs

–       Let fans know about new contests, events and other tabbed content by posting regularly

–       Even with multiple admins having access to the account, assign one primary manager to ensure the ‘content calendar’ is being followed and the main posts are in harmony with the voice and the values of the brand

–       Ensure you are familiar with Facebook’s promotional guidelines, pages guidelines and brand resources page

–       Make sure people have to ‘like’ the page before they get to enter a contest or get access to a promotion. ShortStack and other third-party apps offer this option

–       Give fans a bit of power. Consider posting pictures of new products and letting the community decide on what to name it

–       Let fans know that you’re listening. Always make sure there is someone there to monitor comments and respond to them fast

Week 2 – Wicked Wikis

Gone are the days of a dusty, old encyclopaedia being the go-to guide for facts and information. With thanks to new media, information can now be searched, accessed and edited all in a matter of seconds. The evolution of online wikis has encouraged the sharing of information between online communities. According to The Social Media Bible, the original term ‘Wiki’ means ‘quick’ and refers to the rate that a wiki can be made. The largest online encyclopaedia is Wikipedia, which is a non-profit organisation that contains over “30 million articles in 287 languages” (Wikipedia, 2014). Since Wikipedia allows anyone to edit and contribute to the articles, the site experiences a constant struggle with vandalism and inaccurate information being entered.

PR Daily reported back in 2012, that 60% of organisations with Wikipedia articles contain factual errors. This can be particularly frustrating for public relations agencies, which want to present the most truthful and accurate information to the public on behalf of their respective client. The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) outlines Wikipedia guidance for PR professionals, highlighting that they “should not directly edit Wikipedia pages relating to their organisation or brand”. The guidelines suggest for PR practitioners to suggest any amendments to Wikipedians, which is the name for the community of Wikipedia editors.

While it is not recommended to cite information from Wikipedia in essays and assignments, many academics still suggest to visit the online encyclopaedic as a first source, to gain an overall understanding of the topic. With over 30 million different articles to choose from, the amount of information available is almost limitless making Wikipedia the perfect go-to source for knowledge.