Peak Communicators
August 23, 2016

How to Maximize the Value of your Facebook Page

Facebook is often one of the first social platforms a business sets up – and with good reason. Facebook has over 1.59 billion monthly active users as of January 2016, marking a 14 percent increase year on year. Each day, over a billion people log into this channel to review their news feed and messages.

Brands are fully aware of the potential of this platform. In the US specifically, 80 percent of companies have a Facebook page.

What is worth considering is how your Facebook page can be optimized, and whether your business is utilizing all the tricks available. Below are some ideas to make your content work harder for you.

  1. Add value: The trick to creating great content is producing images, text or videos that your audience values – rather than what you want to ‘sell’. If you sell ice cream for example, have fun with it and create ice cream based recipes, run contests for the quirkiest ice cream flavour or incorporate posts on keeping cool during the summer months. Whatever you post, add value every time to your audience.
  1. Community-focused: People ‘like’ Facebook pages to feel part of a community – whether that’s supporting a specific cause, interest or business. While you may have other business related objectives for setting up your page (such as increasing web traffic or sales), keep the idea of ‘fostering a community’ in mind. You can enhance the sense of inclusion by facilitating group discussions and responding to comments in an authentic and helpful way.
  1. Consistency: Posting content sporadically or leaving a Facebook account dormant is a big ‘no no’. People will ‘unlike’ your page when they see it’s not adding value. Create a content calendar and post ideally once a day, minimum, to justify being a worthwhile page to follow.
  1. Facebook Insights: Facebook has a great tool called ‘Insights’ that provides an overview of how much engagement your posts are generating. As well as tracking the number of followers to your page, take time to look at the insights – paying particular attention to the levels of engagement generated by each of your posts. Facebook Insights also tracks clicks, reactions, comments and shares. Use this to learn what your audience likes and responds well to – and provide more of it.
  1. Pin that ‘wow’ content: If you have important content that you want to promote over a longer period of time (say a week, rather than a day) or a post that’s receiving an impressive amount of traction, you can ‘pin’ it to the top of the page. This means even when you post your daily content, your ‘pinned’ post will remain in prime position. It’s a neat trick to make important content go further – without creating a new post.

Most of these are content-focused suggestions. What other ways do you recommend for optimizing your business Facebook page?

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January 26, 2016

30 Social Media Marketing Tips for 2016

Social media is central to many of our campaigns at Peak. We consume news about the impact these channels have and apply our learnings to client projects.

If you’re still struggling to get buy-in on social media, this list of 30 facts provides useful need-to-knows on why engagement is important.

Did You Know?

  1. Over 75 percent of all internet users use social media (source: Makeuseof)
  2. 71 per cent of women use social media compared to 62 percent of men (source: SearchEngineJournal)
  3. 91 percent of brand mentions on social media come from people with fewer than 500 followers and 94 percent of those mentions are positive (source: Business2Community)
  4. 21 percent of consumers will unfollow brands that post repetitive or boring content (source: Social Times)
  5. 89 percent of 18-29 year age group use social media (source: smallbusinesscan) and 84 percent of C-level/VP execs use social media to support purchase decisions (source: smallbusinesscan)

Facebook:

  1. Facebook accounts for 21 percent of all social media referral traffic globally (source: TechCrunch)
  2. Facebook drives 23 percent of all traffic across the internet! (source: Shareaholic)
  3. 189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘smartphone only’ (source: wersm)
  4. 23 percent of users check their accounts at least five times a day (source: SearchEngineJournal)

Pinterest:

  1. 80% of pins are actually re-pins (source: Mashable)
  2. Shoppers referred to a site from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to buy (source: Socialmediatoday)
  3. Pinterest referrals spend 70 percent more money than visitors referred from non-social channels (source: Socialmediatoday)
  4. Pins with a call to action increase engagement by 80 percent (source: Socialmediatoday)
  5. 80 percent of Pinterest users are women; 50% of all users have children (source: Socialmediatoday)

Twitter:

  1. The fastest growing group of new users on Twitter are aged between 55 and 64 years (source: wersm)
  2. 65 percent of users expect a response on Twitter in less than two hours (source: SearchEngineJournal)
  3. 88 percent of Twitter users are on mobile and 500 million tweets are posted each day (source: Jeff Bullas)

LinkedIn:

  1. LinkedIn has nearly a quarter of a billion users (source: smallbusinesscan)
  2. Only 20 percent of LinkedIn users are under the age of 30 (source: SearchEngineJournal)
  3. 40 percent of B2B buyers say LinkedIn is important when researching technology and services to purchase and 65 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer through this channel (source: business2community)

Instagram:

  1. More than 70 million photos and videos are sent daily (source: Hootsuite)
  2. 53 percent of internet users aged 18-29 use Instagram (source: Jeff Bullas)
  3. Instagram is considered the most important social network by 32 percent of American teens (source: Hootsuite)
  4. Among top brands Instagram has been adopted by 85 percent (source: Hootsuite)
  5. Brands on Instagram are seeing a per follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent – that’s statistically 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter (source: Hootsuite)
  6. Still photos are more popular on Instagram than videos – generating 36 percent more likes (source: Hootsuite)
  7. Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6 percent more engagement and posts tagged with a location receive 79 percent higher engagement (source: Hootsuite)

Google+:

  1. 18 percent of marketers plan to increase efforts on Google+ this year (source: SearchEngineJournal)
  2. The +1 button is hit 5 billion times per day (source: Jeff Bullas)
  3. Google+ has more than 2.5 billion users but only 10 percent are active (source: smallbusinesscan)

 

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September 25, 2015

Social Media ‘Need to Know’ this Fall

Social media is still a relatively new phenomenon and the features are constantly being updated. PR professionals should consider how these changes impact or enhance their campaigns.

Below is a round-up of recent ‘need to know’ social media news this fall.

Dislike is the new thing
Facebook announced that soon a ‘dislike’ button will launch. Mark Zuckerberg explained that the new function would allow people to show ‘empathy’.

Brands need to pay attention to this; consumers will be able to voice their dislike for campaigns with a simple click of a button. Brands will make headlines for the wrong reasons when a campaign backfires as a result of this function.

Purchasing power
Twitter is making its ‘Buy’ button available to everyone in the US, as a result of a partnership with Stripe. This is great news for online retailers and enhances the importance of Twitter as a customer service channel – the more followers you have, the more likely customers are to make an instant purchase.

The value for this activity will be measurable based on sales directly through the Twitter platform – this will make it easier getting buy-in for social media at the executive level.

Retailers should enhance their social media plans to develop an engaged, relevant and sizeable following on Twitter as a result.

Numbers count
Pinterest announced in September that it had hit the 100 million users’ milestone. Out of this number, around 70 per cent are considered to be ‘actively’ engaged. The company also confirmed that while Pinterest users are predominantly women, the gender gap is closing month by month.

The benefit of Pinterest for brands is people are often browsing the site for items they potentially want to buy; it is often treated like a shop window. Advertisers can proactively pay for promotional pins now and this feature will become more valuable as the number of users grow.

Pose for a portrait
Instagram is moving away from simply showcasing square images; now users can choose to post portrait or landscape photos. This is generally better for brands. Images won’t need to be compromised to fit the square frames, and will be better for accommodating specific brand guidelines.

At Peak Communicators we monitor for these social media updates daily and consider how they can be used in client campaigns. We’ll continue to share relevant updates via this blog and also our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin).

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March 7, 2014

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Tomorrow, March 8th 2014, marks International Women’s Day, a great time to look at how women in Canada are doing in the PR industry.

According to Service Canada, employment in PR has risen significantly and is expected to continue to grow (good news!). When last surveyed, women held around 69 per cent of these roles, compared to 47 per cent of the workforce across all Canadian industries. Communications appeals to women.

However the current state of affairs of women on boards (across all industries, I might add) isn’t rosy. A recent study looking at 12 major North American cities shows that Canada’s four largest cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary) rank below all major U.S. cities other than Dallas in terms of the number of women in management roles. This could impact future growth according to the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

Furthermore 93 per cent of women in senior positions in Canada believe they make less money than a man performing the same work, according to a survey byRandstad Women Shaping Business.

How can we better support women in the workplace in Canada?

Some proactive steps are being taken, with it becoming compulsory for companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange to disclose how many women are on their boards and set targets for future quotas.

However more can be done, particularly in our industry where women account for such a high percentage of the workforce. We should be leading the way.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Job share: Allowing two women to job share on a part-time basis can be empowering. Constant communication is essential if this is to work, which shouldn’t be a stumbling block for PR professionals. We’ve used this method at Peak for women returning from maternity leave, allowing us to retain great employees.
  • Part-time working: When job-sharing isn’t an option then part-time can also work, depending on the role.
  • Mentorship: Female mentors can be a great support for individuals juggling multiple priorities. A VP at Peak mentors women entrepreneurs in her spare time, offering guidance to help other women in the community succeed.
  • Networking and support groups: Communities that focus on women in business can be helpful. Women in Leadership is one organization that offers leadership-focused events in Canada’s major cities.
  • Recognition: It’s important to celebrate successful women leaders in the PR world. PRWeek in the US publishes its US Power List, which in 2012 featured 17 women. This provides role models for aspiring PR employees, and I hope to see the number of women featured rise over time.

Supporting women in the workplace is good for the employee and employer, positively affecting retention rates. Take a moment over the weekend to consider how you can help ambitious women achieve their goals and the impact they can have on your business. Let’s change these statistics.

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December 19, 2013

Capitalizing on the Festive Season from a PR Perspective

large & free champagneChristmas is a wonderful time of year. The wine flows, mince pies are in abundance and parties become the norm during the working week.

Yet for those PRs willing to work hard throughout silly season, there are rewards – and not just from Santa – for their efforts.

So how do you capitalize on Christmas from a publicity perspective? Here are some suggestions:

Christmas gift guides: Do you have a client looking to reach consumers with a cool new product? If so, then now is the best time of year for product PR withoutnecessarily having to pay for advertising. Naturally the competition for placement in these gift guides is fierce with many other retailers looking to capitalize on the same opportunity. However if your product is interesting and relevant and you have imagery to showcase its beautiful design, then go for it. Be warned: you’ll want to start your pitching early as some gift guides decide on content in summer.

large and free tree

Freebies: Who doesn’t like free things, especially in December, the season of giving? Certainly no one in my address book. Consider sending ‘stocking fillers’ or other gifts and gadgets from clients as a way of getting media attention. Always provide journalists with a story along with the gift to give them a reason to write about the treat you’ve provided.

News hijacking: Christmas becomes a major focus for many Canadians during December, and that means journalists turn their attention to this topic as well. Capitalize on this interest by pitching story angles relevant to the season. Put forward a quirky angle or offer a perspective that’s unique to your client to heighten your chances of media interest. Trends in particular can generate headlines.

Timing: I’ve noticed a ‘black hole’ appears in the PR scene between Christmas and New Year. Most PRs are on holiday so the number of stories being sent to media is minimal. This is a great opportunity if you’re willing to work. Issuing a news story – so long as it’s relevant and timely – between Christmas and New Year can go further than it typically would. If you decide to telephone pitch you may find you leave a lot of voicemails. However those journalists in the office are almost guaranteed to be having a slow news day and will therefore be more receptive to suggestions than normal.

We all know that December is for planning as well as partying, and work time is spent focusing on 2014 plans for clients. However taking time out for media relations can lead to a spike in coverage, which is always a fantastic way to finish a campaign.

And if all else fails, the New Year is just around the corner, providing a great opportunity to pitch trends and predictions, which works for almost any client from any industry.

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September 3, 2013

BC Living: People’s Choice 2013

Edownload (19)very year, BC Living, a publication that focuses on West Coast life, polls its readers to find out what is considered ‘best in class’ in our region.

BC Living separates respondents into four regions: Vancouver & Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior BC & Northern BC.

The poll quizzes people on many aspects of West Coast living: favourite coffee shop (in my opinion 49thParallel wins hands down and I’m delighted to see the broader Vancouver population agrees), the best patio (The Boathouse Restaurant), best desserts (Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie) etc. The list goes on.

The most interesting is the ‘Best Local Media Personality’ category. The results from Vancouver & Lower Mainland region – all of which are TV personalities – are listed below:

  • Winner: Tamara Taggart, CTV
  • 1st Runner Up: Sophie Lui, Global BC
  • 2nd Runner Up: Squire Barnes, Global BC

It’s great to see two female TV personalities make this list, highlighting the gender shift over the years in the news room.

I also took a peek at the results from the other three regions polled. Outside of the lower mainland, radio personalities were a much bigger hit. The ‘Best Local Media Personality’ according to the readers from Vancouver Island are listed below:

  • Winner: Hudson Mack, CTV Vancouver Island
  • 1st Runner Up: Ed Bain, The Q!
  • 2nd Runner Up: Bruce Williams, CTV Vancouver Island

The ‘Best Local Media Personality’ according to the readers from the Interior:

  • Winner: Brian Martin, Sun FM
  • 1st Runner Up: Mark Jeffries, EZ Rock
  • 2nd Runner Up: Toby Tannas, CHBC News

The ‘Best Local Media Personality’ according to readers from Northern BC:

  • Winner: Betsy Trumpener, CBC
  • 1st Runner Up: Mike Benny, 101.3 The River
  • 2nd Runner Up: Dale Taylor, 97.5 The Rush

This kind of poll is extremely valuable. As a PR, it’s important to know what personalities resonate in different regions. We often organize events and invite local personalities to host; knowing who resonates with which audience ensures we identify the best person for the job. Thank you BC Living for conducting and collating this insightful data!

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June 26, 2013

Peak Communicators Wins its First Award

The Peak Communicators team is celebrating this morning: it’s the first time we’ve entered a PR award, and we’ve won!

It’s for Ragan’s PR Daily Awards, which recognizes the best PR campaigns from across the globe.

We’ve been given the ‘Best Crisis Management Award’ for our work supporting a veterinary hospital in Vancouver.

The good news story focused on a dog named Rumble who had been shot during a home break in. The owner had spent $3,500 on treatment but an expensive operation was necessary. The Vancouver based veterinary hospital agreed to donate its services, and Peak capitalized on this from a media relations perspective. Peak worked to distance its client from a former employee who had been charged with a criminal act involving an animal; it also found a good-news story to promote just after the crisis had passed.

Province

This generated widespread positive publicity:

    • Led to more than $25,000 worth of public donations following the media coverage. This money was used to create a fund for other animals in need of care that would otherwise be euthanized
    • Created the highest website traffic to the veterinary hospital in 2012 during the week of Rumble’s surgery
    • Led to one concerned citizen knitting a dog jumper and then driving hundreds of kilometers to deliver it to Rumble at the veterinary hospital

We also received an ‘Honourable Mention’ for the ‘Best Fitness/Health Campaign’ for our work with Canadian Diabetes Association.

This is a great start to Peak’s second decade in business!

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January 17, 2012

FedEx Caught on Camera

You may have seen the shocking YouTube video of a FedEx delivery man throwing a computer monitor over a customer’s gate, uploaded in December.

Within 24 hours, it had received 200,000 views. The story then featured in the Daily Mail and the number of views soared to 4.5 million. Today, the total stands at over 8 million and it has been ‘liked’ 17,000 times.

So how did FedEx deal with the situation?

In the first statement, FedEx condemned the employee’s actions, stating that executives were ‘shocked’. They said the handling of the package was ‘unacceptable’ and vowed to track down the employee responsible.

This is a good initial response. FedEx probably learnt about the incident at the same time as the press so they wouldn’t have had time to investigate. FedEx was also right not to protect the employee; instead they distanced the company’s brand from the individual’s actions.

FedEx’s next move was smart. They created a YouTube video in response – within 48 hours. The speed of their response was critical, helping curb speculation about the incident.

In the video Matthew Thornton, Senior VP at FedEx, said they had met with and apologized to the customer. The company deserves kudos for this; in difficult situations, companies typically communicate with customers via telephone or in writing. Meeting face-to-face is personal and proves FedEx cares about its customers.

Thornton also answered the question everyone asked: what happened to the employee? He explained ‘they’re working within their disciplinary procedures and the employee is not working with customers’. This is a mediocre response. Customers and journalists alike wanted reassurance that the guilty party had been fired. I suspect HR procedures prevented FedEx from providing a stronger response.

Thornton then reminded viewers that the company’s motto is to ‘make every FedEx experience outstanding’. This is good; he uses a difficult situation to reinforce the company’s key messages and its commitment to customers.

Despite this, the footage still damaged the company’s reputation – and consequently it was listed by Forbes as the ‘most brand-damaging viral video of 2011’.

FedEx’s YouTube video also received less than half a million views, a sixteenth of the original video. Clearly bad news travels faster than good.

This incident won’t go away for FedEx and any reoccurring issues will be closely watched by the public eye. However, FedEx can be commended for responding quickly, using YouTube as the channel to respond and meeting the customer face-to-face.

What are your thoughts on FedEx’s response?

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December 21, 2011

PR Predictions for 2012

As another New Year begins, it’s time to consider how PR will change in 2012.

PR is one of the fastest-paced – and fastest changing – industries in the world. The evolving role of the Internet, social networks and new technology affects how people digest news. PR professionals need to respond to this change to ensure clients’ messages reach their intended audience.

So what will happen next year? Here are our predictions:

Content: As the saying goes, ‘Content is King’. This will remain true in 2012. Brands, PRs and journalists alike will strive to source or create unique and compelling content that can be shared, ‘liked’, or re-tweeted via social networks.

Exclusives: Given that breaking news is posted instantaneously online, we expect an increased demand for ‘exclusives’ from print publications. Holding a story until the morning is becoming ever-more important for newspapers.

Print won’t die: There has been much speculation about ‘the death of the newspaper’. This won’t happen in 2012, if ever. People love flicking through a newspaper on a Sunday; the experience cannot be replicated online.

Online content may come at a cost: The Wall Street Journal and The Times are trialling ‘paid-for’ only access to their online content. Given the current dependency on advertising and the looming double-dip recession, we may see Canadian newspapers follow suit to increase their cash flow.

Consumer power: Consumers now have a platform to quickly and collectively lobby companies via social networks; expect to see them capitalize on this opportunity with increasing frequency.

Crises: With the increasing speed of information dissemination, the number and pace of crises will intensify. Companies that do not respond immediately will be criticized.

ROI: The need to demonstrate ROI will increase with the uncertainty of the economy; budgets will tighten and C-suite executives will want clear evidence of ROI before investing further in PR. New tools for measurement may be developed as a consequence.

Pitching: Expect to pitch to journalists more regularly via Twitter and Google Plus; it’s an easy way to get journalists’ attention.

Gadgets: Tablets, particularly the iPad, are changing the way people read news. More magazines will develop apps where readers can interact with the content (e.g. clicking on a revolving image to get a 360 degree perspective).

Government regulations: Expect greater transparency in lobbying activity, particularly in British Columbia. This follows a public education campaign by the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists raising awareness of the hefty fines lobbyists face for not registering their undertakings.

Do you have other predictions to add?

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November 29, 2011

How to Capitalize on PR this Silly Season

For PR professionals, the festive period, or ‘Silly Season’ as it’s known, offers a unique opportunity. As companies and journalists alike unwind for holiday celebrations, there is a lack of news and news writers – leaving an empty void for the savvy PR professional to fill.

So how can you capitalize on this opportunity?

Firstly, choose the right story to tell. Inevitably, reporters will be flooded with pitches about consumer products as Christmas is the key trading period for retailers. However, if you’ve got hard-hitting business news, then you’ll have an attentive audience, hungry to hear about it – as business news is sparse at this time of year. Equally, it is a great chance to push ‘softer’ stories (for example, research or trend pieces) that you may otherwise struggle to place.

Secondly, know which journalists are in the office. As with most professions, there is a mass exodus in the media over the festive season, and you need to know which few, dedicated faces remain. When speaking to journalists throughout December ask about their holiday plans – so you know who is around. There is nothing more depressing than a lengthy sell-in where no one answers the phone.

Finally, use embargoes to your advantage. No one wants to be working around the clock at Christmas – including journalists. Give them time to write up an embargoed story (to be published between 26th and 31st December) before Christmas kicks-off; they’ll thank you for it. You get coverage, the journalist gets a break.

And as for social media? Social media usage, Facebook and Twitter in particular, rockets at Christmas. This is unsurprising given the increasing number of smartphones and the popularity sharing festive messages with friends. Again, use this to your advantage to push your message to an audience that’s more engaged than normal.

Of course, the downside is that while other professionals are drinking mulled-wine and being merry, PRs need to stay focused, work hard and think creatively to capitalize on this opportunity. However, what better Christmas present to give a client than unexpected, wide-spread coverage?

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