Penny Reeve

Penny Reeve

pennyreeve

After travelling the world, Penny settled back into the UK and entered the world of public relations. After gaining three years experience of the profession in the renewables industry, Penny joined Lava as an Account Manager. In her spare time, Penny is the community editor for Nottingham-based magazine LeftLion and plays roller derby for the Nottingham Roller Girls.


It’s been five years since the last general election, when Twitter was just a forum for businesses and nerds and Facebook was purely a tool to find old school friends and show them what a great life you’re living.

Fast forward to 2015 and social media is a heady mix of fun, business and socio-political statements.

Even the Government has caught up with the social media movement and is using it to gain those all-important votes in this year’s general election.

Whether it’s online Q&A sessions, televised debates answering questions posed by people on Twitter and Facebook, politicians are getting down with the general public and chatting to them on that great leveller, social media.

One reason for this move towards a more IT-based approach to canvassing is to connect with younger voters, who have a worryingly low voting rate, with fewer than 44% declaring they will cross the ballot paper come May 7.

Any politicians that can tap into the young demographic tap into a wealth of votes that could swing the ever-changing campaign pendulum.

As with any policy, there is a risk in taking to Twitter in the run up to the election. Social media is a real-time way of connecting people and for those a little trigger happy with their ‘tweet’ buttons, faux pas can be easily made.

These tweets can go viral and give lots of coverage to the author, but not necessarily the kind of publicity they want. Who can forget Ed Balls’ first tweet? Or Brooks Newmark’s Twitter flirtation…with a fake account created by a journalist.

Despite these errors, politicians have found that engaging with their audience in social media can be a great tool for engagement as long as it’s well maintained and properly ‘voiced’. This is something that, if your business hasn’t yet done, you should really take inspiration from.

Ensuring that your brand has a strong media presence is one of the best ways to connect with your audience in 2015. Whether a politician or a small business, you can become approachable, funny and endearing to your audience by creating a strong ‘voice’.

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re making the most out of your social media accounts:

Less can be more

Don’t spam your followers. Well timed social media posts are much more likely to get your attention than sending out a glut of information which is likely to get lost in the buzz of social media.

A promoted post is a far reaching post

So, you have something important to say. Why not spend a bit of money to get your post seen by more people? Just a few pounds spent on social media can spread your message to people who otherwise wouldn’t see it, giving you lots of return on your (minimal) investment.

Planning makes perfect

To minimise your risk of making a social media faux pas, you have to plan, check and check again. You might throw out the odd ad-hoc tweet but having a social media planner that highlights important diary dates and suggested posts will make for a much more cohesive social media page. Using Facebook or Twitter’s scheduling tool is also a good way to manage and plan social media content.

Don’t try the ‘hard sell’

People who take to Twitter with the sole intention of sending out soulless messages, even if they are informative, are less likely to impress than those who try to engage their audience. A healthy mix of information and engagement is what you should be aiming for.

Have fun

Social media is around for just that, being sociable. Engage your fans and show them your human side. A fun Friday post, or an interesting fact can endear you to your followers and gain you a good reputation.

Shake it off

Okay, so you’ve made a mistake. Much like Ed Balls’ eponymous tweet, if you make a mistake on social media, make sure you can laugh it off. If you make a joke out of an error it’s much more likely to paint you in a positive light, as a human who makes mistakes rather than someone who can’t admit when they’ve made an error, or tries to cover it up.

Respond and react

Social media is all about interaction, which means if someone asks a question they expect a response, and quickly! Be warned though; don’t get drawn into responding to every comment as this will quickly take over and become very time consuming.

After travelling the world, Penny settled back into the UK and entered the world of public relations. After gaining three years experience of the profession in the renewables industry, Penny joined Lava as an Account Manager. In her spare time, Penny is the community editor for Nottingham-based magazine LeftLion and plays roller derby for the Nottingham Roller Girls.

It’s almost Christmas, and I’m guessing that you, like the rest of the country, are ready for a break.

However, since Facebook and Twitter have taken over our lives, it’s just that little bit harder to switch ‘business mode’ off over Christmas. What if someone messages you with a problem? What if there’s a discussion on your Facebook page that you need to intervene in? What if someone wants to make a huge order while you’re scoffing mince pies and drinking a cheeky port?

Below I’ve listed a few tips to keep you engaged with your customers while you take a break and fill yourself up with turkey!

Make a planner

If you don’t already do this, you really should. Just a simple chart to pre-plan what you’ll be saying over the Christmas/New Year period will prove to be invaluable for the next step…

Schedule posts

If you want your brand to continue making an impact over Christmas it’s a great idea to schedule posts in order to keep customers updated on what’s going on over Christmas. Whether it’s opening hours or special offers, keeping a social media presence reminds your customers that you’re still there. Both Facebook and Tweetdeck for Twitter have simple and easy to use scheduling tools.

Check your messages

We know it’s technically still work, but scheduling half an hour when you wake up to just check your social media channels to ensure there haven’t been any important updates while you’ve been sleeping will put your mind at ease.

Celebrate with clients

It’s Christmas, why not spread the joy? You’d be surprised at how many people are on social media on Christmas Day – and the same goes for New Year’s Day – and will respond to a seasonal message. Make a mention of Boxing Day opening hours, or a New Year’s sale, but remember the main aim of the post is to wish your customers a great day, not sell your wares.

Promoted posts

If you want to come back to a huge collection of new followers, comments and likes, then throwing a bit of cash behind a post doesn’t hurt, especially if you’re advertising something like a huge Boxing Day sale. Promoted posts also help to diversify your audience and reach out to new, potential customers.

Have fun!

It’s the Christmas period! Post a silly photo, or a terrible Christmas cracker joke. There’s nothing better than engaging with your audience and if it’s over something as fun as Christmas you’re likely to get a great response.

From me, and all at Lava, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

After travelling the world, Penny settled back into the UK and entered the world of public relations. After gaining three years experience of the profession in the renewables industry, Penny joined Lava as an Account Manager. In her spare time, Penny is the community editor for Nottingham-based magazine LeftLion and plays roller derby for the Nottingham Roller Girls.

Today marks the 30th Birthday of Prince Harry. Of course, I don’t really need to tell you this, as it’s all over the media, thanks to a brilliant concert which saw him jointly celebrating his birthday alongside the culmination of The Invictus Games.

This isn’t the first time the Royals have been in the press this year. In the last couple of months we’ve seen a successful Royal Tour to Australia, George’s first birthday celebrations and the announcement of Kate and Will’s new baby.

The “New Royals”, by which I mean Harry, William, Kate and various young relatives are becoming more PR savvy than the older Royals ever have been. Not only good for them, a positive image of the Royals means a positive image for the UK.

Take Charles for example, who was never really a darling of the media. However, following in their mother’s footsteps William and Harry (or their PR team, at least) have decided that being engaging and fun has the potential to up the international perception of the Royal Family no end.

Okay, they’ve made some mistakes, Harry’s Halloween outfit being one of them, but they’re also very good at admitting when they’ve made a mistake. Harry was quick off the mark to apologise about his costume and these small blips, with a strong apology soon after, just add to the media frenzy.

Here are some ways in which the New Royals are livening up the proscribed image of the Royal Family, which can be easily adopted and adapted by companies to revive PR buzz:

Media friendly
Rather than shying away from the cameras, the New Royals are friendlier to the press than their forbears. Media savvy and engaging, the family – especially Kate Middleton and her stylish wardrobe – have the journalists the world over salivating.

Make sure that you don’t shy from the media. If you have something positive to say, or are doing something positive, for charity as an example, then shout about it!

Not following traditional protocol
The days of the ‘stiff upper lip’ Royal may have gone out with Diana, but the New Royals have taken the move from the traditional image even further. Whether it’s engaging with their subjects with selfies (even the Queen got in on this one, bless her), or playing with koalas, the Royals aren’t afraid to show that they like a bit of fun, just like the rest of us. Point in case – the photos of Prince Phillip’s biliousness on the Royal Balcony.

Look at successful large-scale businesses like Google and Innocent drinks, who do something just that little bit different. Whether it’s a ball pool in the office, grass on the floor or duvet days, having fun at work makes for a happy workforce and a great PR story.

The Mini-Prince
Not only did Kate show off her baby bump to the world, former civilian Kate actually gave birth at home. Following this we saw George playing with other children (of a non-Royal background) and various photos of the young couple looking comfortable and at ease with their little one. Gone are the old formal photos of the Royals, here comes happy, relaxed family portrait, showing a young couple enjoying being parents in the 21st century.

Getting creative and showing your company as ‘approachable’ will have customers queuing at the doors. Professional photography is a great way to go about this. If you’re having company shots taken, try to come up with something a little bit different to the stuffy ‘head and shoulders’ shot of yore.

The Invictus Games
The games were quite a feat. After being inspired by the American Warrior Games in 2013, Harry decided to set up his own games to support the Forces and within less than a year it was up and running, with top level sponsorship. Not only does the games show that the Royal’s are giving back to those who give their lives for the U.K, it’s also points out that Harry et al care about their subjects and want to support them.

Showing your commitment to a charity is not only a great way to engage with your target audience, but a great way to increase workplace morale, too.

By being more media friendly the New Royals have really revived something that was perceived as old and out of touch. After the controversy surrounding Princess Diana’s demise it seemed that the death knell had been tolled for the Royals, however with some positive PR and media savvy work, the Royals are in a stronger position than at any time in recent memory.

Long live the Royals!

Want to chat about how you can revive your image add that ‘Royal Factor’ to your business? Then drop me a tweet @PennedPR

After travelling the world, Penny settled back into the UK and entered the world of public relations. After gaining three years experience of the profession in the renewables industry, Penny joined Lava as an Account Manager. In her spare time, Penny is the community editor for Nottingham-based magazine LeftLion and plays roller derby for the Nottingham Roller Girls.

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