PR needs to give people their vegetables: social media insight by Katy Moody of Publicity Seekers

087_Logo-03This week I’ve been lucky enough to get some insight from Katy Moody, Account Manager at Publicity Seekers, about her day to day role in the PR agency and the challenges facing businesses when it comes to social media.

Katy offers some excellent advice for businesses looking to be heard in the crowded social media marketplace.

 

What do you do in your day to day?

I oversee Publicity Seekers client accounts alongside our PR Director. At the start of every quarter we sit down with our clients and ask what they want to achieve business-wise, whether that’s within the next few months or the next few years. We need to know what their own aims and objectives are so that we can align our services directly with their business goals.

Once we have developed a PR strategy and had it approved by our client, I divide these up in to actionable tasks and delegate them throughout the team (myself included) within our weekly conference meetings.

My day consists of visiting and liaising with clients on projects, overseeing social media and press activity, carrying out reporting and analytics, constructing press releases, ensuring web content and blogs are up-to-date, devising upcoming campaigns, looking at new PR practices and processes for us to adopt internally, meeting with potential clients and drawing up proposals, attending networking events, recruitment within the company, Publicity Seekers’ own marketing and I’m sure there’s a lot more I’m missing out!

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing businesses on social media today?

In my opinion the biggest challenge is reaching your target audience through all the other noise. Taking Twitter as an example, recent estimates show that there are over 500 million tweets sent out daily, now couple this with the fact that 50% all-time engagement of a tweet is done in the first 24 minutes of being published (the rest trickles in over time.) You have a very small window to grab that initial attention and a lot to compete with.

I also think a big challenge is finding the right tone for your business, our team went to the PR Moment conference about Analytics in London last week and listened to a brilliant talk from the Head of PR for Paddy Power. This is a company that has really nailed the right tone for their brand. They know what they want to achieve via social media, they know who their target audience is and they know what will get them the biggest engagement– even if it is close to crossing the line! They do it in such a clever and creative way that it attracts their target audience and drives website sign-ups.

 

How can they overcome this?

The key is having a well-trained team in place, whether this is in-house or through an agency like ourselves. Work backwards, figure out what you want to achieve through social media, whether that’s direct sales, building brand reputation, preparing for recruitment or another business objective. Know your audience, what is going to engage them, what makes you different, are there vehicles out there such as hashtags or LinkedIn Groups that you can use to your advantage and then go for it.

Analyse your engagement too but not just for the sake of it, don’t just look at how many people ‘favourited’ or ‘liked’ your content, what actual difference has that made to your overall business goals, if you’re getting 100 likes but no sales, it’s probably time to change tact.

 

Have you faced any ethical dilemmas when managing social media for clients (if so what was it and how did you solve it)?

I haven’t personally, I am lucky enough to work with a group of amazing clients, that as a company we share many core values with. This includes investing in young people and apprenticeships, having a key corporate social responsibility strategy and working in partnership with local businesses. We are all working towards a goal and are part of the fabric with our clients so so far have never come across any ethical difficulties.

 

Do you think things like the fake news crisis and filter bubble have impacted the way users view social media?

Definitely, there is now a lot more trust in social media, whenever we carry out media surveys for our clients, we’re finding more and more that people go to social media to confirm the stories they read about, if not get the majority of their news from there all together.

The ‘filter bubble’ is something we need to explore more as an industry, I watched the original TED talk from Eli Pariser when he coined the phrase and gave a warning about what to expect, but not enough people actually know about algorithms and the way social media platforms such as Facebook and search engines work to realise its effecting them directly.

In my opinion, I think it’s incredibly dangerous, full news stories all across the world are being missed by people as their relevant search results are showing only things the internet produces that are relevant to them. Only showing people the things they want to see will never encourage debate, give them a wider understanding of what’s really going on and could fuel them on the wrong path in their opinions, supposedly giving them a picture of a full world that is actually bias to their personal preferences without them even knowing.

To put it simply and from Eli’s own analogy, filter bubbles give us junk food, when sometimes we need vegetables.

As an industry we need to figure out how to give everyone their vegetables!

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