Five social media tips for 2018

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Every Friday on Instagram, we are answering your marketing and communications-related questions on Stories! That includes topics such as media relations, advertising, social media, influencer relations, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, and more. This week's Q&A notes are below, and be sure to follow @FACTEURPR on Instagram to see our past and present Q&As, too!

Q: How do I grow my social media following?

A: This topic is HUGE. So huge, we spend a minimum of three months with our coaching clients researching, developing a strategy, and working together on creative, narratives, schedules, measurement, and more. (You can learn more about that offering here.) However, that doesn't mean there aren't tactics you can use now to see results. The new year is anticipated to be a tough one for brands on Facebook and Instagram due to algorithmic changes, but all that really means is pivoting our strategy just a bit to focus on conversations around content rather than strictly selling. (Related: Grow your brand or business with content marketing)

1. Post more video content

For several years now, predictions about the mounting impact of video marketing have only escalated. Year-after-year, video content consistently claims the top spots of seemingly every must-have marketing list, and ours is no different. Just take a look at these incredible statistics released by Hubspot just last year:

  • Video will account for 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • 80% of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month. 

If you're looking to gain awareness for your brand and sell products, consider video as part of your marketing strategy this year. And we don't just mean fancy, expensive videos. Platforms like Instagram Stories and Snapchat were set-up to steer users away from uploading rehearsed or professional video content. Instead, consider tip number 2.

2. Go live or go home.

That's live as in live video, not living life (although hey, we should all do that part, too!). Before you changed your notification settings, if you ever did, you may have noticed that many times when a page or person goes live on Instagram or Facebook, you receive a notification. This isn't happenstance. This is a feature these platforms are pushing to encourage meaningful, real-time conversation. Make a date with your audience and take the time on Facebook or Instagram Live to announce a new product or service, or answer questions about a specific topic. (Related: Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered)

3. Use hashtags wisely.

People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers.

Each Instagram post allows for 30 hashtags to be attached to your photo. That is 3-0 opportunities for people to find your content. Use every opportunity available, meaning all 30 hashtags if you can. Vary them up post-to-post and make sure you are only using hashtags that are pertinent to the content you're posting and/or your brand. Pro-tip: At the end of 2017, Instagram rolled out a new feature where you can follow hashtags. This is a great new way to discover content and interact with it while scrolling through your feed. Follow those hashtags!

4. Focus on relevancy and relationships.

People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers. Focus on a strong bio, solid branding, and consistency in your message and voice. For example, if your company offers interior design services, chances are the majority of the people who are following you are interested in seeing and learning more about interior design (but of course, check your analytics to confirm!). That should be the focus of your feed. It's great to break things up with a post here and there from your lunch outing or vacation, but make sure you are balancing that with the content folks signed up to see. We often suggest creating a "social media formula" for your page, and would be happy to help with that. And don't forget, engagement is a two-way street. There's nothing like building valued relationships with returned likes and comments, too! 

5. Remember quality over quantity.

We always say social media is an art as well as a science. The way you present your brand is just as important as the hashtags you use and the frequency you're posting. Be sure to spend extra attention on crafting your creative, prioritizing quality content (photos, captions) over content to post for posting's sake. Pro-tip: Hire a professional photographer once a quarter to take "stock photos" of you, your team, your newest products, your store, etc. to share on social media and use for PR. Need content ideas? Be sure to check out our curated content calendar downloads for story ideas!


Have additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

Do you have a marketing and communications related question you'd like to see answered? Share it in the comments below, send an email, or head to our Instagram page and send us a direct message!

Need more assistance? FACTEUR is here to help. We would love to work with you on a tailored public relations or integrated marketing and communications strategy for your brand and business. From planning to pitching, and consulting to creating, we're as hands on as you need. Learn more here.

 

Our most beloved apps and tools for PR and social media

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In the spirit of creating space and working smarter, I wanted to share some insight on what types of apps and tools I've been utilizing to maximize my time, creativity, and results at FACTEUR PR – both for my own brand and my clients!

Adobe Creative Suite
While one can argue that the Creative Suite is not mandatory for successful media relations or marketing, I would still stress the benefit of the software. An important part of my job is not just getting the job done, but cutting through the clutter and making it stand-out. I use InDesign to design press kits for clients as well as my own new business proposals. Photoshop is great of course for editing photos as well as designing graphics, which we do a lot of for social media and websites. And it's hard to not need Acrobat Pro for e-signing or filling out documents.

Evernote:
This is one I can't live without. I absolutely love Evernote to take notes, whether it's to brainstorm new business or blog ideas, or to jot notes during a client call or meeting. I have the Pro version so I can have my notes on more than one device.

Asana:
Asana is an important tool we use for internal communications between our team and clients. I love its calendar function, which lends itself particularly well for deadline-driven projects, which includes just about everything. It's also the platform we use primarily for client project communications and content planning. Protip: Download our curated content calendars and input your content ideas into the Asana calendar to remind you about your story ideas for social media, blogging, and PR. 

Google Trends:
Speaking of story ideas, have you checked out Google Trends before? In addition to the important data you'll reap from your website's Analytics dashboard, I love using Google Trends to develop content ideas based on search results. Monitor the trending topics of the day, or search for a term such as "Cleveland Restaurants" to see the keywords' interest over time as well as related search queries.  

A Color Story:
If you love bright, crisp photos, you need to download A Color Story on your smartphone. The app is free but certain filter packs carry a nominal fee. We use it to edit almost all of our Instagram photos. (Follow @FACTEURPR!)

Harvest:
If you work in a service-based industry and have to track your time (or just want to get really productive with your time!), I recommend checking out Harvest. It's only $12/month and you can really get a good handle on how much time you spend on projects. If your hours are billable, you can also instantly export an invoice directly from the website. Harvest integrates well with Asana, too. 

Planoly:
What I like about Planoly versus other Instagram scheduling services is that there is a desktop calendar-view component. You can schedule and arrange future posts by message or creative, and publish them straight to Instagram through the app. 

Boomerang:
This is a must-have plug-in for Gmail. Boomerang allows you to flag emails you're sending out and notifies you when it's time to follow-up if you haven't heard back. Furthermore, it's useful to schedule emails for later, too. I love it for media pitching and client relations. 

Mention:
If you're monitoring your own media coverage or staying on top of your competitors, Mention is a great and affordable tool to use. It's so important to know what's going on with your competitors or brands that are offering similar products and services to you. If you're looking for a free, lighter version, of course, there's always Google Alerts.

These are just a couple of the apps and tools I use when doing my day-to-day work at FACTEUR. If you like these types of posts, please let me know, and I will be sure to share more! In the meantime, share your must-haves in the comments, too! 

Quick tips: social media for retailers

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With a crowded social media space, it is hard to stand out amongst the competition online, but it's essential to try your best. Posting content that is relatable, eye catching and relevant to your audience are just a few of the tips to practice when using social media for retail. Let's dive deeper.

Seven social media tips for retailers: 

1.     Be relevant. Be sure to stay true to your brand and your audience. If you're a fashion retailer, stick to content that will appeal to your customer who is looking for trends and stylish clothing rather than posting images of your lunch (a little off-topic content is OK, just make sure it fits into your overall strategy). Use the right hashtags, too.

2.     Show! Don’t just tell. Social media is all about the visuals, so have high quality photos and videos. While not all of your followers will see your content due to algorithms, those that do will see your images first, and then perhaps will read your caption. Always keep in mind the image you use in your post is catching the interest of your viewer first thing.

3.     Consistency is key. Readers will respond better when they are seeing quality posts from your business on a regular basis. If readers see your business posting every day, that consistency will help to build more of a personal relationship with them. That relationship builds trust, and trust builds sales.

4.     Pay attention to detail. Every post should be well thought out and intentional. Most of the time your followers will only spend a few seconds on your post, so make it count! 

5.     Make it personal. Whether it's on your website or in your store(s). you are selling to people, and on social media, you are selling to people as well, though not always through a direct transaction. Make sure your communications are personal and thoughtful, creating a two-way engagement, not just using your posts to sell. 

6.     Change up content. The great thing about social media is you can always experiment with your strategy. One way to do that is to switch up your content types. Try posting beautiful photos, but also videos, Boomerangs, Stories, coupons, contests, behind-the-scenes posts and more. This will keep readers engaged and interested. Just about ever retailer is on social these days. So change up your content to keep those customers coming back for more!

6.     Have fun. Remember, people don't just buy products, they buy the lifestyle that comes with it. Show how much fun they will have with your products - inspire them and have fun!

social media for retailers

pin this!

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Anna Huff

Contributing blogger
Anna is FACTEUR PR's Digital PR intern for Fall 2017.

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How to post on Instagram from your desktop

Guide to posting on Instagram from your desktop computer

Instagram has always been a mobile-only social media platform, and certainly still is. And while many social media management programs such as Hootsuite have boasted the ability to post on Instagram through your desktop, it still has never been fully possible. However, just recently, a workaround on the Chrome browser has come to light. We just tested these five steps to posting photos from your desktop computer directly to Instagram, and it totally worked. Give it a try! 

1. Open the Google Chrome browser on your desktop, and head to Instagram.com.
2. Right-click anywhere on the webpage.
3. From the drop-down menu, select "Inspect."
4. You will see a window like the one pictured below. Above the Instagram feed on the lefthand side, select the size of the mobile device you would like to preview.
5. To upload a photo, click the camera icon on the preview window as you would on Instagram through your mobile device. You'll be able to add a caption and hashtags as normal, too! 

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There you have it! A quick and easy way to upload photos directly to Instagram from your desktop! Did you try it? What do you think? 

Ten things to include in a pitch pack or electronic press kit

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With an almost unlimited amount of information available online, one might wonder when pitching a product or service if supplying a reporter or collaborator with a press kit is still necessary or even expected. 

Depending on the reporter you're pitching, or even the popularity of your brand, you may not feel the need to put in the time it takes to create a pitch pack or electronic press kit. However, having a press kit ready to go if a reporter (or even investor or advertiser) asks is only going to help tell your story, equip your reader with the most valuable images and information, and make your brand look super polished.

So, what should you include and how should you present your press kit? For starters, it's all about ease of use. We love to create a PDF that can be viewed and printed like a magazine spread, which helps editors visualize your story on paper, and an electronic version (or an EPK - electronic press kit) that includes downloads of images, press releases and more. These formats tend to work in for numerous circumstances, but feel free to get create and develop a video, microsite, and more!

Electronic press kits can be attached in e-mail pitches, as well as be available for download through your online press room.  (electronic media kit created by facteur pr on behalf of chill pop shop.)

Electronic press kits can be attached in e-mail pitches, as well as be available for download through your online press room.  (electronic media kit created by facteur pr on behalf of chill pop shop.)

Press kits can also be printed and mailed or shared with investors or buyers. (press kit created by facteur pr on behalf of chill pop shop.)

Press kits can also be printed and mailed or shared with investors or buyers. (press kit created by facteur pr on behalf of chill pop shop.)

Here are 10 things we recommend including in your brand or business press kit:

  1. Biographies: Be sure to include a detailed company biography, as well as biographies on your company('s) founder(s) and leadership team. 
  2. Press releases: What is the news you're trying to share? Make sure that those press releases are included in your press kit. 
  3. Fact Sheet: Fact sheets can be bulleted to help editors quickly glance at the facts, figures, history, and breakdown of your brand.
  4. List of products: If you have a product-based business, include photos and information about each of your products (like the example shown above). Don't forget to include costs!
  5. List of services: If you have a service-based business, include photos (examples work) and information about each of your services along with costs.
  6. Media highlights or other accolades: If your brand or business has been recognized by the press or with various awards, be sure to include highlights. These can be screen shots, links, pull-quotes, etc.
  7. Resources: A great way to position your company or yourself as a thought leader or expert in your field, don't be shy about listing the ways you can be a resource to a reporter. For example, if your press kit is for your yoga studio, but the owner is also a nutritionist, make sure to mention that he/she can also speak about the intersection of exercise and nutrition. 
  8. Contact information: Include how a reporter or editor can get in touch with you or your publicist, or how an investor or buyer can get in touch with you directly. (In your PDF, also link to any downloads on your website.)
  9. Videos: If you have any video content, be sure to include along with your press kit. Videos can obviously help illustrate your brand story, educate, position you as an interview source, and provide content for digital media outlets. 
  10. Hi-res photography: Embed and link to a directory of hi-res, quality photography. This includes photos of the physical business (if that exists), team members, founders, products, services, logos, etc. While it's always wonderful when a media outlet is able to send a photographer, in many cases they will ask for your photos. And if you can already show you have a selection of professional, eye catching photography, you may just be increasing your chances of landing that story. 

Remember, your press kit might be the first introduction for someone to your brand. Put in the effort to make it really count. Good luck! 


We hope this content is helpful for you, your brand, or your business. If we can help you create your pitch pack or electronic press kit, contact us!

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What is PR, and how can it help your brand or business?

A friend-turned-client recently said to me, "I know I need 'PR,' but what exactly does that mean and what does it entail?"

PR is a phrase that becomes synonymous with publicity, or the act of publicizing. While that is certainly part of what a PR professional does, it's not the entire story. 

As the name does suggest, public relations is all about relationships: building them with audiences, influencers, reporters, investors, community leaders, and more. This can be executed in a number of ways, from media outreach to blogging, and Instagramming to event planning. 

Its inclusivity is why FACTEUR PR has the name it does. Our four main services public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative – are all tied together with one string: people. And authentically connecting with those people (your target audiences) through those defined channels is the core of our mission, no matter the avenue. 

Authenticity versus advertising

That authenticity piece is very important, arguably more now than ever. (Have you watched the news lately?) While coverage isn't always a guarantee with PR, especially immediately, the slow build of awareness grows in tandem with your audience's trust something that cannot be bought with an advertisement. According to a study conducted by Nielsen,  "Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising."

This is not to discredit advertising, and yes, particularly when it comes to social story telling, buying impressions can help get your story to your target audience. But in the case of a lot of small or emerging businesses – and even well established ones!  advertising dollars are limited and arguably better spent building trust through developing and distributing your brand story through owned, shared, and earned media. 

Owning and sharing your story

Before social media, websites, blog, online videos, podcasting, etc., traditional media was the primary way of telling and sharing your story with a larger audience. Now, in the age of digital empowerment, brands can not only own that story on their own channels but also develop their target audiences with whom to share their story. This leads into content marketing, which depends on creating content like the types listed above to promote a brand, person, product, or story. Want to see content marketing in action? You're looking at it! I wrote this blog post, which is original content I created for the purpose of helping/educating/inspiring my readers, but also to position me as an expert in this subject. (Notice I'm not telling you I'm an expert, but I'm sharing my expertise.) 

By seeing me, the founder of FACTEUR PR, as someone with valuable insight into the world of marketing and public relations, you may decide to continue learning and engaging with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or perhaps even want to work with me directly. (I hope you do!) This content marketing effort cost me nothing but my time. OK, and the price to host my website and blog on the internet. But ultimately it has allowed me to show instead of tell my story a lot more affordably than only through an advertisement.

Building credibility

That story sharing doesn't begin and end with your Instagram following. Media outlets often solicit story ideas via social media, and valuable content created for your owned channels can be pitched to media outlets, often garnering even more exposure for your business. Third-party coverage (provided it's positive!) also builds an important kind of credibility and extends beyond your current audience, customers, and clients, which in turn can boost yours. 

The ROI on PR is off the charts. When you think about all the places your story goes and the impact it has, you simply can’t afford to not invest in the discipline.
— Entrepreneur.com

Save time and money

Now, while creating and sharing content is usually more affordable than advertising, it doesn't always come for free. But oftentimes we have to spend a little money to make a little money, just as you need to spend time creating content and sharing content. As your business begins growing, you may very well find yourself lacking the time to do it all as you may have when first launching. More resources are dedicated to operations, providing services, creating products, and client relations. The idea of pausing to share all of these amazing developments may seem out of the question. But it's sharing those exciting developments with your audiences, media, and potential audiences that can also feed back into your business and grow it even more. So while dedicated public relations services are often an expense, it must be noted that it's certainly an investment  that returns. As shared in Entrepreneur"The ROI on PR is off the charts. When you think about all the places your story goes and the impact it has, you simply can’t afford to not invest in the discipline. Because it’s not something that can be hacked and requires tremendous patience to see the payoff, some companies tend to look at PR as an overhead expense. In reality PR should be seen as a profit center. From recruitment to SEO growth and business development, PR can serve as a catalyst that gets your brand in front of the right people as you scale your business."

In summary, paid media is still important (especially when it comes to amplifying your efforts via digital), but promoting your business through owned, shared, and earned media is going to offer you the opportunity to 1.) show, not just tell, your story, 2.) authentically connect with, engage, and grow your audiences (and ultimately your customer base), and 3.) be more affordable, getting more bang for your buck. However, it can take some patience to see the return on your investment, but that can be said about building a brand or business, as well. The journey and the destination are all a part of your story!


We hope this information is helpful! Sign up for our monthly email below to get more tips and ideas delivered straight to your inbox. And as always, please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to discuss how FACTEUR can help you and your business with public relations. 

Three on Thursdays: good reads this week

Welcome to the fourth edition of Three on Thursdays, our new weekly blog series where you'll find a few of latest marketing and PR insights and tips to help grow your brand and business. Every week, we'll handpick three good-to-know tips or resources that can help educate and inspire your own efforts. Be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get these and other tips delivered to your inbox every month!

This week, we're sharing what we're reading online:

1.) 5 Rules of Digital Marketing in 2017

With better access and understanding of digital marketing and social media analytics, we hear a lot about using data to drive our communications efforts. While the numbers are telling and important, you can't lose sight of the real drivers: people. Molly Reynolds makes the case here in this story from the Huffington Post.

2.) 6 Tips to Strengthening Your Personal Brand Online

Consistency, clarity, and continuity are just a few of the qualities Anna Jasinski suggests you conquer when strengthening your personal brand online. "Branding is not something we should approach with skepticism. If you don't take control, people will [make their own decisions,"] says Ren LaForme of Poyter in Jasinski's story. Sounds like good old fashioned PR, right? Own it! 

3.) How to Use Content Marketing for a Successful PR Campaign

I've written about the importance of content marketing, and believe in it so much we offer curated content marketing workbooks here on the FACTEUR website. Having a content marketing strategy not just fuels your blog, but also your PR plan, media relations plan, and social media plan. In this PR News story by Erika Taylor Montgomery, she leads with an astonishing stat -- "82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading their custom content. By creating effective content regularly, you're leaving the public with a positive impression of the brand" -- before launching into ways to incorporate that content into a PR strategy. 

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Have a tip or resource you want to share? Contact us!

> Looking for instant to committed marketing and PR support? FACTEUR PR can help. 

Three on Thursdays: Pinterest, Facebook, and MySpace (yes, MySpace)

Welcome to the second edition of Three on Thursdays, our new weekly blog series where you'll find a few of latest marketing and PR insights and tips to help grow your brand and business. Every week, we'll handpick three good-to-know tips or resources that can help educate and inspire your own efforts. Be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get these and other tips delivered to your inbox every month!

Here are this week's highlights from FACTEUR PR:

1.) Pinterest wants you to know your business matters.

The social media channel has been releasing a series of educational videos targeted towards business owners to help you make the most out of your Pinterest account. This week, we're watching "Why businesses matters on Pinterest." You should, too! The video covers how great ideas in a space meant for ideas leads to interest, re-pins, and ultimately: sales. 

 

2.) Facebook introduces Messenger conversation topics

You may start to notice that your Facebook messenger is looking a little different these days. In an effort to spark more conversations with the app, Facebook has started including conversation topics into your messenger feed. What this could mean for your business? If you're hosting an event, and a person RSVPs, it's very possible that his or her friend on Messenger will see they are attending, as well.  Read the full story from TechCrunch here.

3.) How to delete your MySpace account if you don't have access to the e-mail you used to log in. 

Tried and tested: if you want to delete your MySpace account but can't login, because you no longer have access to your email address you used to log in and/or have forgotten that password, complete and submit this form. We did, and it worked!

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Have a tip or resource you want to share? Contact us!

> Looking for instant to committed marketing and PR support? FACTEUR PR can help. 

Content ideas to power your PR and social media channels

Ahh, Monday! It's hard to think about making time to curate content for your social media channels Monday through Friday when an early week to-do list seems almost a mile long. Here are just a few opportunities this week to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

Monday, October 17: Boss's Day

Tuesday, October 18: Chocolate Cupcake Day

Wednesday, October 19 (and every Wednesday): #WednesdayWisdom

Thursday, October 20 (and every Thursday): #ThrowbackThursday 

Friday, October 21: Pumpkin Cheesecake Day

Saturday, October 22: National Make a Difference Day

Sunday, October 23: National Espresso Day

Want more content ideas? We spent some time this spring developing four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & stage, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instas tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. Right now, we're offering each calendar for $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course).