Category Archives: Social media

Jumping on the ‘social media awareness day’ bandwagon

You will have noticed a lot of organisations are using awareness days within their social media content.

It’s the most vanilla and unimaginative thing you can do for your organisations social media activity. Why? Let me give you three main reasons:

1) There are too many bland and unusual awareness days now. Here’s a few… World Towel Day, National Television Day, World Password Day… that’s all I can give you my brain switched off when I was looking through the list and I started feeling disorientated and lost.
Here’s more if you have time to procrastinate:

2) It’s unimaginative and boring – Organisations are jumping on the social media awareness day bandwagon to find any mediocre link with their organisation. For example ‘National Chocolate Day’… “to celebrate why not treat yourself to a bar of our delicious chocolate’. Yawn! Really? Everyday is a chocolate day for me!

3) It is becoming far too common. Organisations see it as an attempt to join what’s trending on the day. It’s not a good look.
I always think it acts like a fall back plan for people who haven’t thought about creating content that adds value.

If you are going to link into awareness days- make sure you are offering something of value or something different. Don’t just follow the sheep and say something for the sake of it. Make it unique/ witty/ clever or totally unexpected. When you surprise people with different and interesting content they will warm to your organisation and their expectations will increase.


Social media is so fast moving

On a similar note- it reminds me of ‘The Mannequin challenge’.

This was fun and different… at the beginning! The Hilary Clinton Election Day is the first one I came across at the time. Loved it!

Then days went on and the novelty wore off but organisations continued to try it out weeks and months later. Too late! It’s like talking to someone for half an hour and listening to them regurgitate the same point over and over. Nobody wants or needs to hear it.
If you’re going to jump on what’s trending- Change and adapt it! Evolve the original idea and make it your own…


How to get out of your social media rut

Some groups think to stay ahead of the game they constantly need to schedule daily content to engage and encourage their followers. This is all very well if you have interesting and engaging content to run with…

However if you find yourself searching for anything so you can just tweet/post for the sake of it. Wrong move!

dugOne way to tell is how long you ponder over a tweet. If you’re still sitting there 5 minutes later. Ding ding ding.. That’s your warning sign!

Giving into the pressure of pushing out similar daily content not only creates bland tweets/posts but it also weakens the interest of your followers. ,


Top Tips

Here are a few suggestions you can take to prevent falling into the trap of bland daily predictable posts:

1) The more the merrier… the more volunteers/ employees that have access to your socialhands media accounts, the more creative and interesting tweets you will get.

If you want to monitor who tweets what, (especially if you start engaging with people) ask those involved to include their name or initials at the end of a tweet. You may still have one person who coordinates and manages your networks. Just don’t restrict your social media activity to one person.


2) Learn something new… even in your spare time! If you love social media as much as you think you do. You will go out your way to learn new skills. There is so much out there, the internet has everything you need to know… whether you want to start creating videos, podcasts, imagery or music. Skills are transferable, you might not realise at the time. But when you’re blessed with a spark of inspiration, you will have the skills to draw upon. Be creative and test things out.

3) Connect with similar people/groups not just in internet land but in real life.  Inspiration doesn’t just come from searching on the internet. If you’re working in a charity/volunteering for a group- go out your way to make real connections. You will be amazed how much inspiration you get just by making a little effort.


4) Don’t overthink! Social media is real! Keep it natural. Go with the flow, sometimes intuition makes an appearance and you know the right thing to say in a given moment. Tweets like these will be more authentic and appealing.


funny monkey5) Be silly! We all want a bit of fun on social media. When scrolling through your updates… what grabs your attention first? An amusing monkey image or a bland organisational update?

Obviously there is a balance. Just don’t take things too seriously on your networks all the time.  If you want to capture your audience, experiment every now and again…take risks!




There are no rules! You aren’t expected to update when there is nothing to say. Take the pressure off. Keep it real:)

Don’t Go There.. #LiveThere

Airbnb have recently launched their latest campaign #LiveThere

The Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall aims to capture the essence of not visiting a place as a tourist but living there as a local (even if it’s just for one night). The company are digging deep into insight of the locals within places to visit. Airbnb’s app has updated features which include guidebooks from locals themselves.

airbnb1This not only separates the company from their competitors but it also offers potential customers that little bit more- experiencing the true feel for the city from the people who actually live there.  Find out more on their website.

Airbnb are very switched on when it comes to social media and recognise the importance of it when connecting with their customers. They cleverly focus their efforts on the appropriate social media platforms to use for their audience and take a personal approach when engaging with customers on Facebook or Twitter. Furthermore Airbnb ensure a range of teams within the company are clued up on social media. In doing this all teams, whether it is sales, customer service or operations, can truly understand customers needs from their own work skill set. Therefore integrating social media across the organisation which improves the overall connection with the companies audience.

‘Think global, Act local’…  this is a strong message for Airbnb’s external audience but the airbnb 2same applies internally in order to ensure they really understand their audiences needs.

Social media is not just a tool- it’s a way of working and used effectively can improve your connections with your audiences and transform your organisations overall goals.

If you want your audiences to trust you- Here’s what you need to do…

If you expect your audiences to trust in your organisation- make sure you trust in your employees.

Trust is key for groups and organisations when enabling their employees/volunteers to use their social media channels.

A tweet from a named persons account will have far more resonance than a corporate account. Social media is all about engaging and building relationships with others.

If an organisation enables employees to have their own voice through their own social media accounts- this will create a far greater impact than an organisation that creates rules and imposes restrictions.

I’ve worked with groups who make it compulsory that their communications members using social media have to get their tweets signed off. I’m even talking about generic/ engaging/ chatty tweets.

We have too many cooks in the kitchenWhat?! It’s actually ridiculous when you think about it. By the time the tweets go round several different people in the committee/ senior management team- all personality and authenticity is stripped away.

This makes the tweets sound overly rehearsed, corporate and even worse… lacking in personality.



Let go of the controllet it go

There needs to be an understanding from your group’s committee/ management team.
Imagine you imposed the same views on employees/volunteers day to day interactions with each other and their customers as you do with social media. What would that be like?
You trust them and their ability as people to communicate so what makes social media any different?
Consider social media as part of your organisation – it’s a living and breathing entity. Social media is here to stay. Trust makes it grow.


Typos can be a good thing on social media

createIn fact- it probably helps by adding authenticity to the voice behind the account!
When you get past the premise that things really don’t need to be perfect- you will be amazed how your social media channels will grow.
When employees have freedom on social media, they contribute to raising awareness of your organisation and the overall friendly/approachable reputation you want to achieve.


Top tips

  • Have social media guidelines- but don’t make them too restrictive.
  • Trust in your employees/volunteers and watch the creative magic unfold.
  • Keep it real. Minor mistakes/typos are a good thing- it shows we are human.


Starbucks have the right idea- worth a read ‘How to turn your entire staff into a social media army’

Are social media news releases effective?

The Social media news release was a concept I heard about but wasn’t sure how it worked.  I was keen to test it out…

I asked fellow CIPR students on the PR diploma course if anyone had ever used a SM release or even came across one.  The general feedback was no but they had heard about them. One student said she used them and worked well for targeting specific people in the B2B sector.  Once targeting specific contacts she then uploads to SM sites Mashed and Reddit.

Social media news releases don’t seem to be popular within the public sector.  I decided to pilot one for the latest Awards For All funding announcement.

What exactly is a social media news release?

A social media news release is a shortened version of a traditional news release. The recommendation is to keep it as social media friendly as possible by providing a short opening summary (usually 140 characters long to mirror a tweet), a couple of bullet points to define the story, include HD images and other relevant social media links.

In Share This: The Social Media handbook for PR professionals- it is recommended the news release is uploaded to a social media newsroom/website.  Once uploaded, retrieve the link and send to your relevant contacts.

Social media news release guidance

I came across a helpful blog by Digital Comms guru Brian Solis

There is a lot of value in his blog and helpful tips.  However the blog dates back to 2008!! Any other online reference is the same. This made me wonder whether organisations actually use them or if they have been used in the past but never really taken off…

Testing it out

First of all I wanted to announce a group who are actively on social media, have images/ videos to share.  We announce on average 115 Awards For All grants a month using Gorkana.  Successful funded groups are located Scotland wide so we target projects local press and national papers. I thought it would be best to pilot the SM news release at a targeted area. Glasgow it was…

gladogI used the funded group Glasgow Piano City- an organisation with a social media presence and lots of juicy SM links available.

I emailed the news release directly to Glasgow journalists the day before and on the day I published the release on our blog as a point of reference.

I can’t say this worked or was more effective than sending a release the traditional way.  In fact the only online source I’m aware that used the SM release was Third Force News:

Perhaps sending an email with the traditional news release and supporting links to journos remains to be the most appropriate way.  Or maybe it all just depends on the news story.

The investigation continues…

Have you ever used a social media news release?  Do you have any tips for engaging with media online?