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Posts from July 2011

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And the winner is...



Refresh PR has been whipped into a frenzy by Awards Season! Almost every industry imaginable is holding an awards ceremony to celebrate the most outstanding work in its sector… and almost every entry deadline imaginable has fallen in July too. The Refresh PR team loves producing award entries on behalf of its clients – it’s a fantastic way of demonstrating to a group of people who never really get time to take stock and congratulate themselves on company milestones just how much they’ve actually achieved. And it makes us damn proud to have them as clients!

So, we’ve been busy behind the scenes collating information on the most exciting developments that have happened at our various clients over the past year, and have carefully crafted a series of award entries that we’re hoping will prove irresistible to the various judging panels who will be meeting over the coming months to decide which companies are worthy of this year’s gongs. All that remains now is for us to keep our fingers crossed and wish a huge amount of luck to:

·         Naughtone, which entered its hush family of products and its newest addition, busby, into the FX International Interior Design Awards that will be held on 29th November at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel

·         www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk, which has entered the eCommerce Awards that will be held at the Sheraton Park Lane on 11th October

·         Photolink Creative Group, which has entered its social media work for clients Kitbag.com and Regis Hair Salons into the Fresh Digital Awards and SomeComms Awards, taking place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground on 29th September and the Hilton Manchester on 19th October respectively

 

Refresh PR client naughtoneRefresh PR client www.find-me-a-gift.co.ukRefresh PR client Photolink Creative Group

Tagged with: , award entries, awards, judging panel, Manchester, naughtone, PR, Public Relations

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Refresh PR at Marketing Week Live - Day 2



It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for – the second instalment from Refresh PR’s trip to Marketing Week Live. Here are the highlights from Day 2:

The biggest opportunities in online marketing have been identified as:

·         Mobile platforms – the popularity of accessing web pages via smart phones continues to snowball, so make sure your website works on screens of all sizes or better yet, develop a mobile version of your site  

·         Cloud hosting – enables companies to expand and contract their storage quickly and easily, to accommodate a surge in web traffic as a result of an offer or sale, for example

·         Using social media to create new products and help make business decisions – your fans and followers should already be a captive audience, so use them as a focus group

·         Putting customers at the centre of campaigns - as we saw from our blog about Day 1, this can generate some really engaging, unique content

·         Near field comms integration – touch technology like that advertised by Barclaycard is expected to be scaled up to adverts, so rather than scanning a QR code, people simply need to hold their phones next to an advert for it come to life on their phones or take them directly to the relevant page on a website

·         Learning from social gaming – and boy is there a lot to be learned! Social games allow audiences huge levels of control over their product, enabling them to sculpt it into something they want to play and share. It’s time to let go…

 

And the biggest challenges we’re facing are:

·         Regulation changes on cookies at EU level – this will have a massive impact on affiliate sites as this is how they measure results. It also means that as consumers, it’ll impact on retailers’ knowledge of our buying decisions

·         Managing data and security – customers increasingly need reassuring about this as previously impenetrable organisations such as Sony continue to fall foul of hackers

·         Facebook acting as a gatekeeper for your content – while we’re big fans of Facebook and what it can do for businesses, it’s becoming more and more commonplace for this social behemoth to insist on businesses doing things it’s way. In a similar way to Google affecting how websites are being built and subsequently optimised, Facebook is essentially controlling how businesses can and can’t communicate with their customers, and this is only set to escalate

·         Thinking like a customer – all too often, companies think like companies when they undertake social media activity, rather than thinking like their customers. This simple change in mindset will help determine what info customers would like to receive, how often, via which medium, in which tone of voice etc

We hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions or would like more information on PR and social media campaigns, contact info@refreshpr.co.uk or call 0161 212 1695 for a chat.

Tagged with: F-Commerce, Facebook, Marketing, PR, Public Relations, social games, social gaming

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Facebook - how much is too much?



The Chris Moyles Show Facebook page broke yesterday. And when I say broke, I mean spammed fans’ news feeds with 400 updates in one afternoon. Not cool.

Unsurprisingly, many people stopped ‘liking’ the page to try and clear their news feeds to make room for their friends’ status updates, which saw the page’s fans drop alarmingly. This got us thinking, when it comes to Facebook for business, how much do fans really want to be interacted with? As long as the content’s great – that is new, relevant, interesting – does frequency actually matter?

Research by experts such as Dan Zarella tells us that yes, it does. According to Zarella, posting once every other day should be enough to keep fans engaged without annoying them. And engagement is what it’s all about. Given that Facebook’s default news feed setting is ‘Top News’ and most people don’t change this to ‘Most Recent,’ it’s crucial that fans are commenting on or liking a company’s posts if you want these to appear in fans’ news feeds, so keep them short, and ask questions.

With other social media experts recommending three posts a day, though, how do you know who to believe? The best advice we can give is to know your audience. Your brand may have a small but highly engaged Facebook following, who are happy to interact with you daily, or even a few times a day. Others may be interested, but less engaged, and will want to hear your news and views more sporadically. Unfortunately there are no quick fixes to getting to know your audience and what’s right for them, but we can guarantee they’ll appreciate being asked how often they want to hear from you. As long as you listen to them…

The Chris Moyles team redeemed themselves pretty well this morning, in the end. I was quite shocked to hear them shamelessly begging the fans that had deserted them yesterday to come back, but they rewarded them for doing so in a clever way. Those who ‘re-liked’ the page this morning got to hear their names in the place of ‘Barbara Streisand’ in a Chris Moyles parody of Duck Sauce’s dance track of the same name. It worked a treat – the ‘likes’ were rocketing as people clamoured to get their names read out on the radio. Great PR move, and a valuable lesson learned!

 

Tagged with: Facebook, PR

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In the end….these things matter most



July has always been a special month for me, and not just because we start to feel the sunshine just that little bit more than usual, or because the countdown to a long awaited summer holiday is usually down to the final few weeks!  No, it’s because my birthday lands on the fourth, which means I spend a good few weeks before hand getting ridiculously excited, making party plans and guessing presents.

 

This year it was a little bit different… In the build up to my birthday I was spending two weeks island hopping in Thailand, visiting a very good friend who moved out there almost a year ago.  If there is anywhere in the world that removes you completely from your normal life and general mindset, it’s Thailand.  I was sitting on paradisiacal beaches, surrounded by cliffs and mountains, with nothing but sea around me. It is very difficult to imagine that life is going on as normal at home when you’re so far away, in a place that could not be more different to the world that I am used to.

 

It wraps you up in a bubble and you’re carried along, in awe of the beauty you see before you.  I have never been one to venture too far from my comfort zone, so travelling all the way to Thailand was a very big deal for me.  Not just that, I had to limit my packing, because nobody wants to be lugging a suitcase around from island to island!  For a girl like me, who has to decide the next days outfit and accessories before going to bed at night, you can imagine it was just a bit difficult.  However, one can’t be silly about these things when a once in a life time opportunity arises to travel to a far away land, with a life long friend, for a guaranteed fantastic holiday.  Wardrobe issues aren’t worth a second thought.

 

Lately, certain things have happened in my life that have urged me to push myself forward just that little bit more than usual.  I received news recently that a friend I had known well in school had lost a cruel battle with cancer and her life was taken from her.  She was 22, the same age I was up until this Monday just gone.  The truth is, we don’t know how long we are here for and the path that life has carved out for us is one we walk with uncertainty.  I read an article yesterday, on the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London.  I read of families that said goodbye to loved ones in the morning expecting them to walk through the door at the end of the day, but they never came. I also read of people that had changed their route, unexpectedly, and were saved by a fleeting decision or a random mishap that had prevented them from being in the danger zones on that fateful day. 

 

I have decided not to be scared, or question what life holds because I don’t think that gets us anywhere.  I think the key is to be brave, and live with courage.  If we had to live our lives over, what would we do differently?  I know that for a long time I was questioning travelling so far away as Thailand on my own, I worried about money, I worried that something bad would happen.  In the end, I chose to be brave….and had the best experience of my life so far.  I travelled through Thailand, dragging my rucksack on my back (not the best part of the trip I must admit!), I snorkelled, I ate fabulous food, and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt and I had tears in my eyes every single day. 

 

In a world where we are faced with terrorism, ill-health, and stressful existences it can be difficult to take a little time to stand back and observe.  What I’ve learnt though, is that time waits for nobody.  So I have decided to walk my path courageously, and fill it with fun, the people that mean the most, strive for those things that I hope for, because in the end these things matter most.

 

When I returned home, not only was it my 23rd birthday, but I was coming home to my new job at Refresh PR.  A fresh start, with a slightly altered state of mind after being in a place as amazing as Thailand, and a determination and the motivation to work hard, aim for the best and most importantly, enjoy it all.  It is the time for a busy life, of hard work but plenty of fun with Refresh PR, to discover what the next year holds…..before the birthday countdown to next July begins!!

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle

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Skype / video chat on Facebook – coming soon!



The Refresh PR team loves Facebook for so many different reasons, none more so than because it’s constantly changing, evolving and a company that can truly say it’s innovating.  Today Facebook announced three major changes which will begin rolling out immediately to everyone's accounts.

 

The changes are based on a sound grounding too. Since it was developed, social networking has been about connecting people together and this will continue – Facebook knows that its users will grow and grow (it’s now up to 750 MILLION users).  In addition, it doesn’t see the value of measuring the number of users either, in fact what is instead important is the number of people who are interacting on Facebook, and how they interact.

 

Facebook knows we like to share things.  Four billion things are shared on Facebook every day.  We are now sharing twice as much information on Facebook as we did this time last year.....so if Facebook provides us with new ways to share things, will we share even more?  Of course we will!!

 

So what’s new?

 

GROUP CHAT:  Half of all Facebook users are a member of a Group, whether it’s a Group planning someone’s birthday, or something bigger.  The average number of people in a Group is seven – people like Groups as it makes it easy to organise an event or chat to close friends privately.

 

To make it easy to communicate with several different people at the same time, rather than having to start a Group, we are now going to be able to do this through chat.  On the chat tab, with one click, we will all be able to select several people to add to a conversation and message them all instantly – at the moment we can only chat to one person at a time.  Everyone selected will see the chat thread instantly and those offline will receive a summary of the conversation when they log in.  This begins rolling out today so watch out for it soon.

 

NEW DESIGN FOR CHAT: Chat is one of the most loved features on Facebook with billions of messages being sent each day.  The new design will take into account browser size and show all friends - together with the ones who are chatted to most often (so not just those online) - making it quicker to strike up a conversation.  The new design will also have space for more features which will be announced in the near future.

 

VIDEO CALLING:  The most exciting development (in our opinion)!  Facebook has teamed up with Skype and video calling will now be possible on Facebook.  Think about the implications for this:

1.       You’re already connected to your friends – you don’t need to find out their Skype username

2.       You’re already on Facebook so in just one click you can call a friend

3.       You don’t need to log out of Facebook or go elsewhere to contact a friend...they’ve got you hooked!

4.       It connects immediately

5.       It’s easy, simple and almost anyone can use it, from teens to silver surfers

This is a massive development.  Users will be able get to video calling via any of their friends' profile pages or via a button on the chat tab.  The plug-in needed takes 20 seconds to download...so no big software downloads are necessary.  It’s not available on mobile devices yet, but watch this space.

 

Skype already sees 300 million minutes of video calls per month and this will take it into the billions.  Quickly.  Skype says it’s ready and is already thinking about new products that it can bring to market on Facebook.

 

The changes won’t happen overnight, but what Facebook does know is that it will help us to share even more information over the social network than ever before, helping it to grow as the ‘social eco system’ it aims to be.  And there are many more apps and partnerships to come.  So it seems we’ll be sharing at least twice as much information this time next year again, if not more. 

 

If you’re on Skype will you switch and just use Facebook from now on?  If you see the changes, let us know what you think. 

 

 

Tagged with: F-Commerce, Facebook, Marketing, PR, Public Relations