In the digital world we live in, it’s impossible to miss the power that social media now has over our collective consciousness. Never before have we had more platforms for engaging audiences and sharing our stories. Approached in the right way, social media outreach can be incredibly effective for taking your PR programme to the next level.
Here are 3 ways that social media can be leveraged to help build brand awareness:
1. Strengthen relationships with key media and industry influencers: It’s really important to actively follow target media, industry analysts and influencers. It keeps you up to date on what they are covering and the kinds of articles and news items they write on a regular basis. You may find opportunities to comment on posts and establish yourself as a source of relevant information on topics they cover. And when a reporter sees that you are one of their followers, it may help forge a faster connection the next time you speak with them or meet them at an industry event.
2. Craft more cohesive and effective PR campaigns: Social media complements all other types of outreach you would traditionally do when making a news announcement. Giving the campaign a specific hashtag helps to focus your efforts and gives employees - beyond your marketing and in-house PR team - a way to promote company news or new products and services. The use of a hashtag can also engage customers and a good example is the #widgetforthat hashtag that one of our clients used to put their own spin on their promotional campaign ‘There’s an app for that’. Alongside our client using the hashtag, their customers, partners and even some media professionals used it throughout the PR campaign to tweet and re-tweet with great effect.
3. Manage company reputation and amplify stories that can’t be told on other mediums: With so many eyes watching every move you make and ears listening to every word you utter, you want to make sure you’re posting thoughtful, brand relevant information and showing you’re a good corporate citizen. Social media is also a great channel for sharing stories you couldn’t write about in a press release or likely wouldn’t be covered by the media - like when your employees team up with one of your customers to volunteer for a day at a favourite charity and the story behind that. But that story is one you can most definitely share via your social media channels, along with photos from the day, and your followers will enjoy learning more about the people that work with your business.
Our take on the key social media channels for PR:
· LinkedIn: Provides an excellent medium for enhancing your thought leadership positioning within your specific market. Creating a company LinkedIn page is highly recommended as it can often be the first impression people have of your organisation before they take the time to visit your website. Regularly posting on LinkedIn and encouraging people in your organisation to share posts with their professional networks increases your reach and builds awareness for your company.
· Twitter: Love it or hate it if you’re not part of the twitterverse you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with your target audiences and even improve employee relations. Tweeting on a regular basis about interesting articles or events in your industry can also go a long way toward establishing your company as a thought leader.
· Instagram: Works best if your brand has good visual content to share – like photos from that charity day your employees volunteered for. Companies in the business to consumer space are likely to have more success engaging with target audiences as compared to a company that is in the business to business arena. Regardless of whether you’re B2C or B2B though, Instagram is useful for showcasing company culture, which can help you connect better with customers and prospects.
· Facebook: On a case by case basis, Facebook can be a good channel for specific news items or company events. We tend to think of Facebook as being more fun than the other social media channels so, in addition to news and company events, we share team lunch and Christmas party photos on ours. If you’re not sure whether Facebook is right for your business, ask your PR team for advice on how extensive your Facebook presence needs to be.
With all of these social platforms, it’s important to keep in mind the level of effort needed to keep them up to date and relevant. Designating a digital media champion in your organisation can help. This person can work closely with your PR team to ensure social media outreach is working best for your company. It’s also essential that your company has a social media policy in place to ensure all employees know what is acceptable for posting and sharing, and the importance of representing your brand and company vision with integrity.
At TechComms, we’ve worked successfully with clients to create social media strategies that complement their marketing and PR goals. We’d welcome the opportunity to work together so contact us via email@example.com to see how we can help you create one for your business.
One thing we can count on in business is change. Sometimes these are small changes—minor tremors that shift the balance and other times they are seismic shifts like in the case of a company merging with another company or being outright acquired by a company or investment firm. When times are A-Changin’, your PR team can be your best ally in helping to keep the transition smooth with both your internal and external audiences.
First things first
We’ve stressed this before in our blog: Five Ways to Strengthen your PR Relationship, but it bears repeating –the earlier you engage with us on big news the better. We are under NDA. We will not share or leak or do anything that could jeopardise the announcement of your news. We will NOT do this. So please call us as soon as possible and give us as much background and details as you can. While your internal team is working on the FAQ documents, customer communications, etc., we will get to work drafting a press release. Often times nailing the press release messages can be the best way to approach your overall communication strategy. It forces everyone to stop and think about how you want this news conveyed to your public audiences and the words your executives will use to deliver key messages.
Working with the other side
Once we have a solid press release draft, it’s time to begin coordinating with the other company both their marketing and PR teams so that everyone can get on the same page in terms of what messages will be communicated to the media, who will be the spokespeople and how you’ll team up or support each other in press briefings. For example, will both company spokespeople jointly do press interviews or will one company take the lead? We can then create press talking points for the designated spokespeople. It’s important for the PR teams for both sides to be allowed to collaborate on the announcement to ensure there is no double pitching to key media targets and the PR outreach is shared effectively to maximise the PR placements. To ensure a successful outcome (aka positioning this news event positively), it is imperative that competition (and we do appreciate at times we are actually having to cooperate with competitor agencies) and egos do not interfere. There should be a shared feeling of ‘we’re in this together and we all want the best outcome possible.’
Post news announcement
Once the press release has been issued and the day-of press interviews have taken place, it’s time to take stock of how the news is being received with the media, your customers and your internal teams. Your customers and internal employees are your primary audiences following the initial news announcement as they will long-term feel the biggest effects of this change. The worst thing you can do is go dark while you figure out how to bring two companies together or work with a new company overseeing your brand and product direction. Keep announcements you had in queue rolling and be sure to actively update your key media targets with any news.
At TechComms UK, we have extensive expertise helping clients masterfully prepare for and execute successful PR strategies related to mergers and acquisitions. Please contact us to learn more.
There is often confusion on what the difference is between AR and PR and how to best manage an AR programme. In the first part of this series, we looked at the do’s and don’ts of analyst briefings. In the second part, we are now going to share some best practices that can bring you some great results.
Have a strategic narrative
The story and message has to make sense and be relevant.
It is easy to fall into a tendency to provide the basic information, an architecture map and a cursory note on customers. But there needs to be an overarching theme and a strategic vision for the business. For the presentation to have any impact, the content must match the strategic vision. Without this approach, the client’s briefing will meld into the 20 other briefings that week with varying degrees of impact.
Foster a business relationship
Analysts are business people as well as industry researchers. They will have one eye on their existing client base, another on potential new work. The briefing is not just a (largely) one-way flow of information. It is also an opportunity for the analyst to help your client with potential consultative work or bespoke research in the future.
Budgets or plans may not allow this at the start, but it is worth remembering, the analyst is likely to contact you again for a regular update and suggest areas where your client may benefit from a strategy session, a custom report or speaking slot at one of your events.
Keep in regular contact
One of the regular gripes we hear about from analysts is the refrain that after the briefing, the analyst never heard from the client again. This results in an analyst being interested but unfulfilled. PR agencies have the bad habit, on occasions, of only organising analyst briefings around an industry event (Mobile World Congress (MWC) is a good example) and effectively by-passing analyst relations activity for the rest of the year. Until MWC comes round again.
That’s just one example of the damaging effect of not maintaining the analyst relationship. When a client is planning an analyst event, it’s chances of securing analyst attendance are increased if they have kept your target audience regularly informed. After all, why should they attend if they hardly know you? So, in short, have a structured analyst relations programme that values the analyst.
We are often asked by our clients what the dos and don’ts of analyst briefings are. So, here’s a two-part series on how to get the most value from your analyst relations programme.
These hints and tips will guide you in planning briefings, presenting to analysts and ensuring you service your analysts in the best way possible to maintain a positive relationship and achieve impressive results for your client.
Know your audience
Analyst are not journalists. A simple rule but easily forgotten. Analysts value open dialogue, discussion of long-term strategy and detailed insight beyond the headline. To get value out of the relationship it is worth remembering this rule, when planning a briefing or event.
Don’t ever think of inviting an analyst to an event where they will have multiple briefings, a week or three before it happens. They won’t attend. Analysts have multiple roles. One of the most important is handling client inquiries. That’s right – analysts have clients and earn money for their employers. They do this every day.
Taking time out to attend an event must be justified from a cost and time perspective. You’ll have a greater chance of analyst attendance if you give plenty of notice – two or even three months will do the trick. And try and pay their travel costs. It shows you really do value their time.
Do the basics. Know what your analyst researches, which companies and technologies they are interested in and what have they been writing about recently. Some analysts will also have written short articles, blogs and commentary pieces and will be on the analyst’s company website. Or they might have been asked to author an article for a trade publication. This is easily searchable and valuable background knowledge.
Get your content in order
An analyst presentation needs to be fit for purpose. For example, if you are briefing an analyst on a new suite of products, provide detail on how customers are using it. Analysts want to see proof of the pudding and match what the product strategy is with what it provides.
If you are briefing an analyst wholly unfamiliar with your clients’ business, except a cursory glance at the company website, provide background details in the presentation. This initial briefing is an introduction, enabling the analyst to get to know a little more about your client so, while the background details do not need to be extensive, they do need to provide an accurate summary of how the business was created and got to where it is today.
Too much content is bad. No analyst will thank you for sending them a presentation with 50 slides. Keep PowerPoint presentations to around 25 slides maximum, but less is more as the briefing call itself should offer them the insight that they will want - the slides are just a summary for their information both before and after the call. Briefings typically last one hour so that time needs to be apportioned and spent wisely – do not waffle, instead get straight to the point and be sure to ask the analyst whether they have any questions at regular points of the briefing.
What is the information most relevant for that analyst in the briefing? Remember rule number one? Know your audience. Find out what the analyst researches, what their planned reports are and which clients they talk to. This information is gold dust for your client.
Look out for the second part of this series which continues to look at how to manage an analyst relations programme that brings value to your clients as well as to the analysts.
Members of the TechComms team were excited to be at last month’s hugely successful Mobile World Congress. It was another amazing event connecting with the world’s best from across the mobile industry.
This year the MWC theme was intelligent connectivity and this was fully supported in the many announcements made around 5G and what this will mean for the future of the industry. AI and machine learning were also getting plenty of attention.
With 5G set to officially become a reality this year, expectations are high. Service providers showcased 5G-enabled handheld devices, and promoted the enhanced user experience and new applications made possible with faster gigabit speeds. Sprint revealed its 5G launch time frame – May 2019 starting in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City but with another five US cities having 5G network rolled out by the middle of the year. T-Mobile however said that it’s 5G network would not launch until the second half of 2019 – later than it had originally intended.
With 5G roll outs now being planned and announced, new 5G ready phones were also revealed at MWC2019. Galaxy’s S10 5G and Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 5G along with the V50 ThinQ 5G, while HTC’s upcoming 5G Hub debuted.
But 5G was not the main focus for new phones as the latest in device innovation, folding phones, were showcased on the big stage and received an enthusiastic response from attendees and media alike. Nubia’s dual screen phones were put aside in favour of its Alpha smartphone-watch hybrid at the event. Galaxy showcased its standout Galaxy Fold, which is overshadowing competitors as it’s agreed as having components that are simply generations ahead of anything else. Huawei’s Mate X rose to that challenge though with a sleek design which was quite mesmerizing and attractive.
Blu Wireless demonstrated its real-time 4K video connections in the GSMA Innovation City and the data sharing capabilities and next-gen technologies being introduced and discussed at the event brought the reach of controlled autonomous vehicles (CAVs), virtual reality (VR), Industry 4.0 and augmented reality (AR) to life. The exciting applications and products that these evolving technologies are making able are taking an increasing amount of the MWC spotlight. While mobile devices will stay a key part of MWC, next year we may see wireless technologies become more of a thing as 5G continues to develop those opportunities.
AI assistants and keyless access and activation plus telematics were all demonstrated and talked about in the cool, connected cars on shown at this year’s MWC 2019. BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler and Tesla were just some of the automotive brands to showcase their products and services. Qualcomm announced its expansion into the auto sector, with its suite of smart technology and automotive solutions, including the Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms and Qualcomm C-V2X “paving the way for cars to connect to each other, the road, and virtually everything else around them”. The conference topics for auto OEMs included presentations on intelligent connectivity, asking how the convergence of core technologies like AI, 5G, IOT, and even blockchain are driving mobility, and the future of mobility with vehicles driving data to the edge.
Emerging technology breakthroughs that we saw and marveled at went from simple cool new AR headsets with integrated speech and a wider field of view plus better hand tracking for gaming to 360-degree cameras that are absolutely tiny but super duper powerful, like the Ricoh flagship Theta Z1. Lenovo revealed its Yoga ANC and ThinkPad X1 ANC lines of noise-cancelling headphones. Smartwatches were also a highlight of ours, since we all wear one here in the TechComms’ office. Our favour from the elegant and lightweight newbies was the Samsung Galaxy Watch as it comes in a few different colours – silver, green, rose gold and black – so you can choose whichever colour best suits your style.
More than 25,000 female attendees registered for this year’s MWC and women representing 37 per cent of keynote speakers and 27 per cent of all speakers in the conference programme. Recognising the contributions women in tech are making in the world of digital communications, the third year of the GSMA Women4Tech Summit was a bona fide success, bringing together women leaders from across the industry.
Watch the MWC2019 highlights from Mobile World Live here.
For a closer look at the top announcements and their impact on the industry, here are just a few on-demand webinars hosted by leading industry analysts discussing key takeaways and providing their expert insight into this popular event.
- Ovum MWC19 Debrief webinars: Operator Strategies and Technologies & Devices
- Strategy Analytics MWC Webinar: Commercial Opportunities for the Components Industry
- For an overall look at 2019 trends, check out 451 Research series of webinars here.
Save the date for MWC2020 Barcelona which kicks off on 24th February next year. More information is at mwcbarcelona.com. We hope to see you there!
The Power of a Simple Thank You
It seems obvious enough that if someone does something helpful for you, it is common courtesy to thank them for their help. Far too often a thank you is getting lost in the busy, always-on world we’re operating in nowadays, but showing appreciation has been proven to create loyalty and increase productivity.
In fact, according to a Westminster College poll on employee motivation, 69 per cent of people surveyed would work harder if they believed their leaders appreciated their work. And since feeling unappreciated is the #1 reason customers switch away from products and services, are you doing all you can to make your own customers – both existing and potential new ones - feel valued?
For anyone who isn’t sure that they are, here’s a quick look at three very simple ways you can show your gratitude to employees and customers (clients).
Express it. The just-passed holiday period is perhaps the ideal time of year for saying thank you and showing your appreciation with a well-crafted email or handwritten greeting card (timed around Christmas and the New Year). If you missed out on this opportunity to express your gratitude with a Christmas greeting, why not take the time now to tell your team and your customers how much you appreciated their hard work and contributions (team), business (customers) and loyalty over the past year and why you’re looking forward to continuing to work with them in 2019.
Get feedback. Survey your employees and customers to gauge satisfaction and look for areas that need improvement on a regular basis. Be sure to tell employees you’re looking for ways to create a culture where people are valued and recognised for the work they do and encourage a two-way conversation with them so they can express best practice ideas that will enhance the service you’re offering your team and customers – they will all thank you for that. Also be sure to tell your customers you are committed to providing exceptional service and want to hear from them about how you can improve and enhance how you provide products and/or services to them, and what else they might be looking for from you that you’re not already delivering.
Use all of the feedback gained in the previous step to do the most important part – deliver an exceptional service to everyone you work with and for. Employees are more engaged when they feel valued and when they are given this recognition they tend to go above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service and do their best work. Consistently delivering excellent service also happens to be the single best way you can show customers that you appreciate them. Make employee and customer satisfaction a priority, and the people who work with you will always feel appreciated.
It only takes a minute to show you are grateful: to your team for their work and to your customers (clients) for their investment. Value them by saying thank you as often as you can and when you do, mean it.
And in the spirit of today’s post, we’d like to thank all of our TechComms UK clients. We are truly grateful for you and your business. We value your partnership and collaboration and your commitment to PR excellence. Every day you inspire us to go above and beyond to do great work for you.