Top tips for creating engaging Twitter content

 

Managing a business’s Twitter account can be a daunting task in itself, and creating engaging content can even seem impossible. You only have 140 characters so it is important to make each letter and punctuation mark count! Chloe, our PR and Marketing Executive, discusses how to make tweets a hit every time!

 

Name drop

Tagging accounts on Twitter (known as “mentions”) will instantly let a profile know you want it to be involved in your conversation. If you are appreciating the work of a company, or talking about a particular individual and they have a Twitter handle, tagging them will instantly notify your interest in their work, resulting in a retweet or a reply, hopefully! It’s an easy way to build relationships.

 

Starting with a full stop

If you are tagging an account’s handle at the start of your tweet, it’s a good idea to use a full stop before. Why? If you use a full stop at the beginning of your tweet, it will appear on the timeline. If you don’t, it will disappear to your ‘tweets & replies’, with only you and the respondent seeing it. So, for maximum exposure, make sure that you defy grammatical rules and start with a full stop.

#Trends

The hashtag started its reign back in 2007 when Chris Messina tweeted:

Since then, the humble hashtag has become a part of everyday conversation – both on and off line! Keeping on top of trending topics online is a must for marketers, if they are to grab the attention of existing and new audiences. If you want your tweets to have maximum reach, then include the popular weekly hashtags such as #MondayMotivation or #ThrowbackThursday. At Conscious Communications, we like to use #WednesdayWisdom to showcase our expertise! It is really important that businesses make sure to use a balance of top trending hashtags as well as the more unusual/targeted ones too; your posts are less likely to get lost amongst a constantly updating Twitter feed if you are within a slightly smaller group of users of a particular hashtag. We like to use a number of platforms to make sure we are using the perfect hashtag, one we have been using recently has been Display Purposes.

 

Images, videos, GIFs – OH MY

According to research posts with images are 18% more likely to get website link click throughs, 89% more likely to be favourited and 150% more likely to be retweeted. What’s even better, images can work for pretty much any brand. Social media users today are hungry for visual content – think photos, videos and GIFs. Twitter now includes the handy GIF button to accompany posts (read my previous blog on GIFs here) and images are no longer included in your character count (hooray!). If photography isn’t for you, maybe an infographic might be suitable? Take this tweet from Mintel for example…

 

 

Infographics are an effective way to convey statistics. If the above stats were to be posted on Twitter in plain text then the chances are followers would scroll past, but the vibrancy of an infographic is more likely to stop people from scrolling past and encourage them to engage with your tweet.

 

Time is of the essence

On average there are around 500 million tweets posted every day, so, it goes without saying that there is stiff competition to achieving high engagement. But, as Twitter has evolved, research on the platform has too; one overarching fact that has come to light is that many Twitter users primarily use the site on mobile devices and tablets. In light of this, Twitter produced a report that reveals these mobile users are 181% more likely to be on Twitter during their commute. Using sites like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are helpful tools to ensure your tweets are scheduled at the right time of day (or night), and can also allow you to plan ahead. To find out when the most effective time will be for a business or brand to tweet, we like to use a tool called Tweriod, a free platform that reviews your followers and works out when the best time is for you to tweet.

The polls are in!

Twitter polls are a fun way to increase engagement and also canvas your followers’ opinions. Dependent on your brand and your following, you can tailor your poll to fit with your personality. Eventbrite used a Twitter poll to find out whether its followers attended paid events on New Year’s Eve:

A fantastic way to ask a fun seasonal question, but also a clever way to find out whether its followers are going to be interested in the advertisement of New Year’s Eve events. Twitter polls don’t have to have a specific purpose either, if you have an informal tone to your brand, they are a great tool to convey personality; take Domino’s for example.

 

How marketing can leverage Augmented Reality

At this year’s Social Media Week event in London, Blippar’s President of Global Marketing, Omaid Hiwaizi, discussed how Augmented Reality (AR) can be introduced into a brand’s marketing objectives, commenting: “AR allows brands to deepen interactions and continue conversations with the content attached to their products”. Witnessing the heightened frequency of AR usage in the past year has filled the team at Conscious Communications with excitement about the potential it presents for the world of digital marketing.

Campaigns that wouldn’t have been feasible before are now possible because of AR. AR gives you the opportunity to deliver a more enriching experience for your audiences because of the interactive element the technology could bring to your campaign, resulting in a deeper connection and an opportunity to engage with a wider audience across more meaningful touch points. Last year, Maybelline launched an AR campaign where over 5,700 people shared images of themselves on social media, virtually trying on new nail varnishes. One clear benefit was that it brought an ample amount of media coverage, but it also allowed the brand to create a list of Twitter users – ‘engaged customers’ who can be targeted again through tailored audience ads on the social network.

Hiwaizi continued: “We are naturally curious creatures; we constantly want to know more about the world around us. AR offers consumers an exciting opportunity to turn everyday objects into a learning experience. Scanning an apple can bring up recipes, the history, calorific value or other content that might be of interest.”

One of our favourite brands using AR to date is Disney and its Color and Play product, an AR colouring book app that lets you colour and watch the characters on the page come to life. Better yet, you don’t have to replace a crayon with a stylus as the app uses a digital overlay, enhancing engagement. This isn’t the first time companies have used AR to enhance traditional colouring books – there’s Quiver, Crayola Color Alive and Paint My Cat.

AR can also be utilised to leverage traditional offline marketing too – if you have an offline presence at a conference or event for example, AR can be used to bring your brand and proposition to life.  Your exhibition banner could have video pop outs which demonstrate or explain your services/products or could take the visitor to a direct landing page. Better yet, why not bring your humble business cards to life? AR will add a personal touch to networking, and you’re guaranteed to be remembered.

This year, AR has moved beyond the cool factor, and provides real value to its users. We can’t wait to see what brands and campaigns bring to the AR table.

Five tips to protect your online reputation

Earlier this month Debrett’s, the go-to resource for all
things ‘proper’, announced a new course for 13 to 16 year olds called Coming of
Age, the main aim of which is to help young people to manage their online
reputations, highlighting the importance of online profiles for both employers
and employees.  

Frankly, we’re surprised it has taken this long! For those
people now nearing their mid-twenties, who were among the first to be impacted
by constant connectivity from their teenage years, this may come as too little
too late.  

It is increasingly common to look up job candidates,
potential first dates, and persons of interest from news reports or reality TV
on social media, search engines, and any other portal which can be used to gain
information on individuals and those of us who lived our teenage years without
every statement or action being publicly documented, share an enormous sense of
relief.

The story of Paris Brown, who in 2013 was appointed as the UK’s
first youth police and crime commissioner aged just 17, highlights the
pitfalls of constant connectivity. Her
achievement was short lived due to the ramifications of living of her teenage
years ‘online’.  Paris felt pressured to
resign from the post after tweets, which she had sent between the ages of 14
and 16 and since deleted from her profile, were discovered and deemed inappropriate.
Bearing in mind that the role this teenager was hired to do was to improve
relationships between the police force and the young people in Kent, you would have
thought that Paris’ ‘misdemeanour’ might have been overlooked, or put down as a
consequence of youth. If someone who was hired specifically to build bridges
with young people was made an example of based on her online history, the rest
of us should be quite certain that we will be subject to similar repercussions
should our online history prove inappropriate in the eyes of our employers.

So, while Debrett’s digital etiquette guide is aimed at
teens (who we hope will heed the advice and protect themselves against being
the next public example of how online history can come back to haunt you), we
think anyone not yet familiar with the most essential do’s and don’ts of online
behaviour, should pay heed to the following tips. After all, people already in
the world of work are not beyond making statements they might regret, or
behaving in a way they wish hadn’t been captured on a phone camera!  

What’s more, many individuals set up social media accounts
for use in a professional capacity, from small business owners to employees of
global businesses. It can become unclear whether an individual’s post is
‘authorised’ by the brand, or is an individual’s personal opinion. If you’re a
business leader, ensuring your team’s personal accounts aren’t negatively impacting
your business is essential, as is encouraging your team to create a positive
social media presence which can give your business an enormous boost.

Top five tips to
protect your reputation online:

1.      
Don’t overshare; stop yourself from venting
about the traffic, your day at work (including your colleagues or cleaner), or
airing any type of dirty laundry!

2.      
Consider privacy settings on your personal social
media accounts –remember that once you have shared, it may never be possible to
completely erase a status or uploaded photo or video, as people can download
your media, and even screenshot your posts, comments and responses (and do tend
to if you have said something you’re likely to regret)

3.      
Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t be
happy to say in person. Stay positive and respectful, and try to offer
something that is fun, informative, or inspirational for your audience

4.      
Think about the image of yourself or the business
you are representing; try to show the best of yourself, but also try to avoid
showing off

5.      
Take care to write using correct spelling and
grammar. It may feel unnecessary, but avoiding ‘text-speak’, overly abbreviated
phrases or acronyms, poor punctuation and spelling mistakes will give a better
first impression to new audiences.

Upping your blog game

It’s true there is an art and science to blogging, starting with where to host your blog, what you want to write about and how often you are going to post, to the finer details of what style and tone each blog post will follow. A blog can be hugely beneficial to your business as a marketing tool, and better yet – it’s cost-effective!

In a previous post, we gave our top 10 tips on how to break through the noise of the digital marketing landscape and create compelling, meaningful and timely content, but running a successful blog is no easy task so here are a few tips on how to get your blog off the ground.

Getting started

Choosing the right platform for your blog is the first hurdle you need to cross. There are plenty of free options out there including WordPress, Tumblr, Typepad and Blogger. Each hosting site offers design themes to choose from or you can upload your own design. If you’re not sure how to use them, there are a selection of online video tutorials to be found on the Internet.

Goals

It is important to think about what your blog is setting out to achieve. Having a successful blog can help your business in a number of ways by:

1.     Driving traffic to your website

2.     Generating leads

3.     Establishing authority in your industry

4.     Building community engagement

Plan, plan and plan

The easiest way to ensure your blog has a healthy mix of posts is to create a blog content plan. It is the simplest way to keep on top of your posts and it’s also handy to keep as a record of your posting history – you don’t want to be reguritating the same old content. There are five elements you need to include within your content plan:

1.     Publish date

2.     Author

3.     Type of post (‘top tips’, ‘how-to’, ‘opinion’, etc.)

4.     Vehicle (text, video, audio, image, infographic)

5.     Category (the broad topic of the post)

Consistency

Consistency is one of the most important things that bloggers tend to forget. A study by Hubspot shows that consistent blogging leads to higher subscriber growth rates. However, it is important to remain realistic – how often do you think you will really be able to post? It is always better to start with a manageable target and build from that.

Keep it short and snappy

Deciding on the length of your blog posts can be difficult. You generally need around 300 words minimum to get indexed by search engines, but otherwise the length of your post is up to you. We would recommend a post around of 400 words. If you have a lengthy article on one topic then consider breaking it up into several installments.

Use tools

There are some great online tools out there that can help you organise, plan and even structure your blogs. If your website is in WordPress, try using its content-planning widget – great for collaboration – which lets you drag and drop as you change and rearrange ideas. One of CC’s favourite tools is Trello. The platform allows you to wave goodbye to lengthy email threads and see everything ongoing in your project at a glance – and even better, it’s free!

Our copywriting team develops and utilises original, curated and repurposed content to promote its clients as thought leaders, while building engagement with audiences and stakeholders through traditional, digital and social media, blogs and websites.

Want to find out more? Get in touch via info@consciouscomms.com

Let’s get vertical, vertical!

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“People just don’t rotate their phones… who can be bothered?”

This ‘revelation’ from Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel is the driving force behind the latest digital trend marketers are having to contend with, or risk getting left behind; providing vertical video and image content.

To those of us who aren’t millennials, this may seem like exaggeration. But Troy Young, president of Hearst Digital, supports Spiegel’s thinking, saying: “Mobile phones are vertical devices… turning it sideways is a lot of work.” What’s more, Darren Tome, VP of product management at Mashable, believes that “phones are the dominant device for content consumption with the young, digital generation” so it’s vital that marketers heed the lessons shared by those platforms which are proving so successful with the younger generations; ensuring that content is created “in an aspect ratio that’s native and natural for mobile”.

The statistics show that there is some truth in these claims: on the Snapchat platform, vertical ads are viewed to the end nine times more frequently than horizontal ones, and this is on a platform which is significant in reaching millennials, boasting 35 million daily users aged 13-34 in the U.S. alone. What’s more, as mobile increasingly becomes the primary device for accessing the internet, having accounted for more than half of e-commerce transactions for some time now, it may not just be those marketers catering to millennials who need to invest in vertical content.    

Snapchat isn’t the only platform to focus on vertical content. Meerkat and Periscope, both of which stream live video, are also configured for vertical content.

Acknowledging the trend and being keen to adopt vertical content, however, is only the first hurdle in the race to ‘go vertical’. Unless you are in the same position as Snapchat, Meerkat or Periscope’s content teams, which only have to provide content to suit their vertical display channels, you almost certainly will need to produce horizontal content as well. The majority of outlets are set up to display horizontal content, whether this is a brand website, most social media channels, or mainstream advertising channels. So in practice, to incorporate vertical content in to your strategy, you are most likely going to need to create two distinct pieces of content if you’re to continue sharing on existing channels while also investing in vertical channels. It’s not as simple as repurposing horizontal content for vertical distribution, nor is it easy to repurpose vertical for traditional horizontal distribution. Twice as much work often means twice as much budget.

Some brands and publishers are beginning to show vertical content within special vertical display boxes on their sites, for instance Mashable recently shared its first piece of cross-platform vertical content, on desktop, mobile and iOS, to some extent negating the need to duplicate content. We would have to question whether this could go too far though, as our wide screen televisions, laptops and desktops clearly benefit from wide angle filming; you can experience more from your content when it’s wide screen! Furthermore, TV advertising, cinema advertising, and horizontal billboard advertising are going to continue to require horizontal content.

It will be interesting to see how far vertical content reaches in ‘cross platform’ distribution. We would much prefer to see vertical content prioritised for mobile, but horizontal content retained everywhere else. It’s just a question of time and budget, versus optimal user experience which varies from platform to platform. We wonder which will win!

The future is bright, the future is Instagram

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Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform year on year. With 300 million monthly active users, the app has moved quickly from the trendy iOS-only app, to a huge social network, now also accessible via Android and the internet.

In the last year, socially-astute companies and brands have stepped up their marketing initiatives on Instagram. Brands that are strategically active on Instagram have instant access to a platform to share personality and be creative and, in turn, immerse themselves in their fans’ daily lives. This growing trend of producing innovative imagery and video content has meant that volume of publications and cleverly crafted campaigns posted on the app has grown significantly. 

Last week Ballantine’s published a new magazine about whisky exclusively on Instagram. The cleverly dubbed ‘Insta-zine’ is titled W and you can find the first issue at @w_issueone. It features a mosaic style grid of images that together make up the front page – users can tap on individual posts leading them to different articles.

Could this be the future for magazine publishing?

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Brands have toyed with the Instagram grid before; one of our favourite examples was last year’s art-directed campaign by Mazda and JWT Canada. However, the fact that users do not typically view the images in the mosaic grid form seen in the above image, but rather as a feed of stand along images, impacts how visually successful these campaigns really are. 

This month will see the first ever book to be published via the app. Jason Sperling’s new book Look At Me When I’m Talking To You, will publish one illustrated page each day for 160 days, starting on 25 June at @lookatmebook. The idea is to reach people where they are already consuming media on a daily basis, rather than try to force them into a different pattern of behaviour – a key point of the book as well.

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Sperling said: “The Instagram idea was a reactionary thing. I gave the book to several people to read, and after several weeks, no one, not one person, had started to read it…that led to the ‘a-ha’ insight/connection that these days people are ingesting content in small, mobile chunks. So, why can’t a book be built that way?”

Will you be upping your Instagram game?

This month at Conscious Communications…

Here’s a taste of what our team has been up to …

 

Marshal Papworth Fund – Farming Today

 

Conscious Communications invited BBC Radio 4 presenter Anna Hill to Shuttleworth College to meet the new Marshal Papworth Fund 10-week Short Course students. The Fund provides agricultural and horticultural scholarships to students from developing countries. The newest students were keen to speak to Anna about how the knowledge and skills learnt in their studies will transfer to their work in eradicating food insecurity in their home countries. The interview aired on 13th May.

‘Skills for Life’ ad campaign

The Conscious Communications team has been getting creative in developing the new ‘Skills for Life’ ad campaign for St Mary’s School, Cambridge. The ads demonstrate how the school provides students with not just the knowledge needed to achieve their dreams but also life skills that enable them to reach their full potential.

AlphaBio Control

AlphaBio Control, a leader in the development of sustainable crop protection products, has obtained funding from the Government’s Innovate UK Agritech Catalyst initiative to advance the development of a unique plant-based crop protection technology. Conscious Communications organised an interview between Iain Fleming, company Founder and Managing Director and Cambridge News’ business correspondent Matthew Gooding, who wanted to find out more about the initiative.  http://goo.gl/QpsU0u

Election debate

Our Managing Director, Alison Taylor, took part in the lively BBC Radio Cambridgeshire election debate, where local MPs discussed their plans for the city. Topics included housing, transport, the economy and education. Listen again here: http://t.co/xbARTyfMUv

Battle of the Marketing mix hierarchy

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public relations noun

1.   the practice of creating, promoting, or
maintaining goodwill and a favourable image among the public towards an
institution, public body, etc.

marketing noun

1.   the provision of goods or services to meet
customer or consumer needs

Someone
recently said to us “Justin Bieber has a great PR strategy”.  As communications professionals this really jarred us and not just because we’re not Beliebers: a) based on this we have to question
people’s understanding of what PR is and b) we question how any of the situations
that the pop artist (loosely speaking) has been in are based on a public
relations strategy as we know it. Crisis management is key for celebrities
prone to saying the wrong thing but advising Justin Bieber to apologise for
breaking the law isn’t “PR strategy”; it’s common sense and damage limitation.

It isn’t
just PR which has varying forms of definition; the terms PR, marketing and
social media are all bandied around, with one being mistaken to mean the other,
and more frequently being used in the same sentence to mean the same thing – a
total blurring of lines. This was bound to be the case with the rise of digital
PR (combining traditional online PR with content marketing, social media and
search) and new marketing platforms and social media apps popping up every day.

Of course when
analysing this evolution of the PR and marketing disciplines we must take into
account that it is largely driven by the general public’s changing behaviours.
There is an increasing trend for consumers to use social media to find
information (trusting reviews from friends more than an article in a newspaper)
and, thanks to social media, it is increasingly difficult to control a brand’s
message. But where does social media fit into the marketing mix, is it via paid
channels or earned media?

Prudential Financial CCO Bob DeFillippo, now
retired, once said:
“Reputations
are not built through advertising campaigns”. We need to ensure that
opportunities aren’t missed that can only be obtained through earned media – in
explicit terms we can’t solely rely on paid for platforms to disseminate our
messages.  To reach our target audience
we must use our earned media in combination with our paid for platforms and
owned channels; it is still a fact that customers will believe and trust
something they perceive to be editorial far more than an advertisement.  

At
Conscious Communications we take an holistic approach to the marketing mix
formula; we use market knowledge and audience insight to define the most
effective mix of digital and traditional public relations, social media,
digital and traditional marketing and advertising within each client programme,
for influencing perceptions, behaviour, purchasing and consumption patterns.  As strong communicators we are committed to questioning
and challenging what is happening in our industry and how it affects our
clients in order to deliver the most effective balance of PR and marketing.

Click here to start building your PR and marketing strategies