Posts tagged with "Social Media"

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My work experience at Refresh PR with Digital Her

We had sixth form student, Alice, at Refresh PR this week to get some experience in social media and digital comms. This is what she had to say about her placement:

Today my work experience at Refresh comes to a close with my last day here. I’ve had an amazing time that has definitely helped me to see what career I want in the future. Everyone here has been so kind and welcoming; I’ll definitely miss it! During this week I’ve been working my way through a number of tasks. These have included taking over the Refresh social channels, planning Twitter content for a couple of Refresh’s clients as well as completing an audit of the Refresh social media channels. It’s been really interesting to see how social media is used for clients in the business world which has given me real life insight in the sector I’d love to have a career in.
On Monday morning I wasn’t 100% what to expect, I already had my timetable for the week so had an idea of my tasks each day but I was stepping into a world that was completely new to me. Now, at the end of the week, I can safely say it has exceeded all my expectations. The whole experience from commuting into Manchester each day to siting around the table with the rest of the team for a training session has been as much of an exciting part of my week as the jobs I was working through. This week has given me so much knowledge and experience of the type of career I would like in the future that can’t always be learned sat behind a desk at school.

One of my favourite parts of this week has been completing the social media audit. Being able to present my own views on how the Refresh social channels could be improved was really fun and exciting. As part of this I drew upon examples from other brands and PR agencies which gave a wider view of how social media is used by different businesses. This task allowed me to use my existing passion for social media in a way relevant to Refresh. As a result, my experience has now gone beyond using just my personal Instagram and Twitter accounts making it now more relevant to my future (fingers crossed) with social media in the business world.

Obviously, my work experience wouldn’t be possible without everyone here at Refresh but they have made it a truly fantastic time. It was with the help of Manchester digital that my time here was arranged as part of their Digital Her work experience. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I’m definitely going to keep in touch with everyone at Refresh! 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Digital, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, tech, Work Experience

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Is it okay to post on social media once a week?

We’ve all heard the saying ’quality over quantity’, and it’s a phrase that is undoubtedly accurate in many situations, but does it apply to social media strategies?

To kick start a social media campaign, many would be likely to Google ‘how often should I post on social media?’ and then read through pages of advice forums, blogs and studies, and then stick to what the research has told you. However, prior to this research stage, a good social media campaign firstly thinks about what it wants to achieve, who the campaign should target to achieve the objectives, and which channels are best to achieve this.

Once all of this is decided, it’s important to think about how much time can be dedicated to social media. Many companies have full teams of people focused on social media, which gives an indication of how much time and effort the company can invest into its campaigns! However, if your resource means you can only commit to one social media post a week, don’t set yourself up for failure by pretending you’ll be able to post ten times.

Once you’ve researched, planned and begun to execute your campaign, the hard work doesn’t stop, and the question about the right level of posting for your business might still not be answered. Keeping an eye on social media analytics is the crucial next step in finding the answer. Looking into which of your posts perform well, and at what time, over a sustained period of time gives an invaluable insight into your social media campaign and its audience’s habbits. This can clearly highlight what is and isn’t working, and will help you understand what works well for you, whether that is one post a week or five posts a day.

In an ideal world, analytics would prove that your hard work and planning has paid off and you are doing exactly what you should be. However, this doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Social media algorithms and consumer behaviour is constantly evolving, so what works today is unlikely to still be guaranteed in a year’s time, so analysis is an ongoing adventure!  

For many people and businesses there is a fine line between ‘spamming’ social media channels and posting enough content to keep followers engaged. But there is no right answer! As long as you know your audience and your content is consistent, quality and engaging, then your audience will be excited to see it and will keep the online conversations flowing. For us, the key things to remember are to research, plan, keep an eye on social media analytics and last but not least, don’t be afraid to adapt accordingly.

To learn more about how Refresh PR can help you with your social media strategy, get in touch with us here.

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter

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Refresh PR sees a digital future

At Refresh we passionately believe in investing in developing the future workforce and helping talented youngsters acquire skills and experience. And we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk as we demonstrated with the launch of our grad scheme last October.

Building on this we have now gone one step further by signing up to become a Digital Ambassador as part of Manchester Digital’s Digital Future initiative, a scheme that is asking businesses in the region to help bridge the digital skills gap by signing by passing on their expertise to young people. In this role we will provide advice and introductory training to youngsters across the North West on developing and implementing digital PR campaigns and strategies.

As an agency we are already seeing a growing demand for a more digital approach to PR and marketing and we passionately believe that our knowledge in this area can help young people consider a career in the field and provide them with skills that will generally aide them when they enter the workforce.

The Digital Futures programme aims to encourage more young people across GM to pursue a digital career and support educators to deliver relevant curriculum and careers guidance.

The scheme was launched following the findings of the independent trade body’s 2019 Skills Audit, which revealed that almost a third of digital businesses in the region had turned work away over the past year as a result of not being able to find the right talent to fulfil it.

Businesses already signed up to support the Digital Futures campaign include AutoTrader, On the Beach, Sainsbury’s, The Co-Op, NHS Salford Royal Hospital and Sigma. In total Manchester Digital aims to have 250 GM businesses on board by May 2020, through the GMCA-supported campaign.

We’ll share details on our first Digital Ambassador training session in due course! 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Procrastinating? You can now blame the internet

It’s a tale as old as time (or at least as old as 1990); we’ve been warned of the negative impact that the internet has on attention span, memory processes and social interactions. But now, this theory has been backed up by scientists from the University of Manchester, Western Sydney University, Harvard University and Kings College, Oxford University who say that the internet is significantly affecting the brain and potentially, our whole social fabric.

I hold my hands up, the first thing I do in the morning is check Twitter and the last thing I see at night is my Instagram feed but working in PR, surely this is acceptable and can’t have THAT much of an impact? According to the report, I couldn’t be more wrong. The constant stream of prompts the internet so helpfully provides us with means we are now constantly holding a divided attention – which then in turn decreases our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task. This sentiment has been further brought to our attention in the latest series of Black Mirror, with ‘Smithereen’ looking at our almost dependent relationship with tech and social media.

When you take a step back and look at your working practices, when was the last time you sat down and concentrated solely on one task without an email, Whatsapp notification or Facebook comment taking your attention? In fact, in the 12 minutes it has taken me to write these first three paragraphs, I’ve had seven emails, one push notification from ASOS and a text from Dominoes – hardly conducive to a productive working environment.

The report also looks into the limitless amount of information available at our fingertips and how this affects our ability to retain and value facts and knowledge. Similar to when mobile phones first came out and we mocked that maths non-calculator exams would soon be redundant, it seems that having access to more information than ever means we are losing our ability to retain any information whatsoever.

 All is not lost, however. We have been given ways in which we can minimise the potential adverse effects of ‘high-intensity multi-tasking Internet usage’. Professor Jerome Sarris, Deputy Director and Director of Research at NICM Health Research Institute suggests practicing mindfulness and adopting ‘Internet hygiene’ techniques such as reducing online multitasking, ritualistic ‘checking’ behaviours, and evening online activity, while engaging in more in-person interactions.

If the above touched a nerve with you, read this blog post from our account director, Lucy Moore, on deep work and how shutting off from the internet can help you be more productive:

Tagged with: Facebook, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Social Media

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Heating Installer Awards - The Highlights

Last week saw the result of 12 months of hard work as the team at Refresh PR announced Tony Dumble of Unequaled Heating as the winner of the Heating Installer Awards 2019. The Heating Installer Awards, which is owned and run by Refresh, was established to celebrate the achievements of plumbers and heating installers who deliver top quality work and excellent customer service on a daily basis. As we enter its fifth year, we thought now was the perfect time to reflect on some highlights from the 2018/19 campaign.

National coverage

The campaign this year started with a bang when we got two past winners, Dennis and Shaun, in The Sun talking about their experiences as plumbers. Whether it’s The Sun, The One Show or The Daily Mail, we work hard as a team to get national coverage for the awards and our sponsors.                       

Meeting new people

As we often help installers write their entry, we get to meet hundreds of installers each year and it never fails to give us great insight into the industry. We work hard to develop and maintain close relationships with our installer network and as a result we now work with many of them on campaigns for a number of our construction sector clients.

Our sponsors

Undoubtedly, one of the major highlights each year is working with our sponsors. Working alongside other teams that are as passionate about the industry as we are is always great and helps the awards reach its true potential. We’ve worked so closely with sponsors that they have gone on to become clients of ours and it’s something we definitely pride ourselves on. We also embed ourselves in our sponsors’ businesses, working closely with their marketing and sales teams to try and drive as many entries as possible.

Social media

I’ve never personally met a trade that is as invested in social media as the plumbing and heating community, so we use this as a key channel to build relationships and engage with the industry. Installers don’t just use social media as a tool to sell their services, they also use it as a platform to learn about new products, applications and techniques, as well as support each other through work as a sole trader and meet new people.  For those looking to engage with this audience, it can be difficult to get the tone of voice right; we’ve seen many brands try to use social media as a platform to target installers but content has been too formal and therefore inaffective. Once you get it right, you’ll have access to a community of tradespeople who are very passionate about the industry they work in.

Sponsor events

This year, we arranged for our regional winners to attend a training day (and night out) with our sponsor, Glow-worm. This was a great chance for Glow-worm to show the installers just how great its products and associated services are. It was an incredibly interesting day (and night!) and we cannot wait to see where the Glow-worm Mystery Trip will be this year!


As we’ve done previously, we announced the winner of the Heating Installer Awards 2019 at industry trade show, Installer. We got to meet all of our regional finalists face-to-face again and seeing how much the awards meant to them made 12 months of hard work worth it. Last year’s winner, Shaun Scott, joined us at the announcement to hand over his crown to this year’s winner, Tony Dumble of Unequald Heating. As always, the announcement was watched by a big crowd made up of installers and manufacturers from across the industry. Our sponsors also got the chance to take part in a Q&A, discussing the benefits of entering the awards and the positive impact the scheme has on the industry.


No exhibition would be complete without some after parties and we definitely took advantage of this at Installer2019. Whether it was winning £1 at the casino with Big Wipes or attending a networking event in a brewery hosted by Wilo, we made every minute count and had a great time!

To get involved in the Heating Installer Awards 2020, drop us an email at



Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR event, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Social Media

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Futurebuild 2019 – what we thought

Although it has gone by a few monikers, the basis of Futurebuild has remained the same over the years – the number one destination to explore and tackle the biggest challenges impacting the built environment. In fact, Futurebuild believes its new identity reaffirms its commitment to championing true innovation and sustainability across the built environment. That’s why every year we try and visit the exhibition to allows to get ahead of the curve when it comes to all things construction.        

Futurebuild 2019 tackles the overarching theme of Time for Action, a topic vague enough to cover a range of topics yet still remain relevant. The key themes displayed throughout the exhibition were centred around sustainability, the housing crisis, off-site construction, the skills shortage and digital transformation - all of which feature highly on the news agenda. With a raft of clients in the construction sector, the above topics feature regularly in editorial content, social media and whitepapers that we draft so it was great to speak with industry experts to determine their viewpoints.

Tech in construction

This year, the exhibition hosted a range of seminars and workshops to delve deeper into key topics within the industry, including ‘Unlocking Construction’s Digital Future – A skills plan for the industry’, looking into CITB’s future plans to help the construction industry adopt more technology in its day-to-day running. It covered everything from app downloads and cloud-based systems to AI, VR and augmented reality and how the industry can realistically adopt these modern methods of working to reduce overheads and increase productivity.

It was great to see that bodies within construction are taking technology more seriously and a very valid point was raised within the workshop directly linking the reluctance to adopt technology and the skills shortage. A comparison was made between construction and the pharma and finance industries; with the latter two apparently willing to embrace modern technology, they are seeing a high number of young people seeking employment whereas the youth don’t seem invested in an industry like construction, that seems too traditional and archaic.

Young people are digital natives and use technology in their every day lives. If they aren’t looking to pursue a career in construction then there is a lack of drive from the industry to adopt the latest method of technology – which is what makes CITB’s £3.3million investment in digital training so important.


As well as the drive for tech, it was interesting to see the emphasis that was placed on offsite, with the exhibition having a dedicated section for this method of construction. Deemed as one of the best ways to counteract the housing crisis, most of the ‘show stopping’ offsite stands were ready made rooms and buildings as opposed to the individual components that make a building. The exhibition hall displayed numerous pre-made rooms and buildings, such as Portakabin, and talking to the teams behind these creations, it is clear to see how they can help meet stringent housing targets. One provider can even build a property using five carparking spaces, building upwards, taking away the problem of the lack of land available in our urban areas.


For me, some of the most interesting elements of Futurebuild were not the brands and manufacturers that were there, but the messaging they were putting out. As we approach the deadline for Brexit, a lot of companies were adding an emphasis of the heritage of their business, with stand branding emphasising how many years they had been providing solutions for. This was complemented by their constant innovation, reassuring customers, both current and future, that they have the experience to provide real benefits to a building project whilst still always developing and innovating.


There was also a real emphasis on sustainability and being ‘green’ – something most stands had to some degree. The University of Brighton’s full stand was showcasing its building made of reclaimed products including music cassettes as wall cavity insulation, ex-office carpet tiles used as cladding  and 19,800 toothbrushes used for wall cavity. ZEDpower also displayed a ‘Zero Bills Home’, again showing its passivehaus ideology, something that went down very well with delegates.

Whilst the exhibition has undoubtedly decreased in size over the years, halving in size, the quality of conversations, seminars and workshops has remained as insightful and informative as ever. Whether you’re an architect, specifier or just someone with a vested interest in the construction industry, we’d recommend attending Futurebuild and more importantly, engaging in the opportunities available there.   

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction, Home Interest, PR, Public Relations, Social Media

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Should social media be left to the intern?

One of the biggest changes to the world over the last decade has undoubtedly been the rise of social media. It’s influence has been felt across the board, from personal use to B2C, to B2B. Would we still be in touch with school friends without WhatsApp? Would elections have swung different ways if it wasn’t for Facebook? Would the Kardashian’s be famous without Instagram? Would most people even use the # key if it wasn’t for Twitter? Many parts of our lives are now shaped by social media; for many, it’s the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we do at night.


As mentioned, the impact of social media is not just on our personal lives, but in business and leisure too: your place of work, your favourite shop, your WiFi provider… everyone is on social media, as it is the most immediate way to interact. Depending on follower numbers, and engagement levels, millions of people have the potential be captured with one simple post.


We can all think of social media fails, and know how quickly they can go viral. No company wants to be in that position, and no employee wants to be responsible for a faux pas. So why do companies all too often leave something with such great potential (both to do both good and bad) to the least senior people in the team?


Is it because interns are usually the youngest, and therefore have grown up with social media and understand it more? This assumption may be correct to an extent, as younger people do spend a lot of time on their phones and therefore have sight of creative campaigns, understand the tone that different companies use (for example the light-hearted tone of the Greggs Twitter account vs the more corporate account of IBM). But let’s not forget, this is the most direct way that companies can interact with their stakeholders, and once you put something out on the internet it’s there to stay.


With this in mind, giving an inexperienced person complete free reign may not be the most fool proof idea, especially when there are company rules and regulations with branding and embargos. In addition, just because social media posts are usually shorter than other pieces of content, they still require thought and understanding of the topic and tone.


Ultimately, social media is great fun, and it should be a place for creativity, however when it comes to company business, no one wants to get it wrong and be turned into a meme. So it’s important to get the balance right! In 2019 social media is likely to be the first place customers go to get an impression of your brand, so make it fun but get it checked!


Here are a couple of examples of why you can’t take your eye off the ball when it comes to social media:


When YouTube mixed up its flag…

You Tube example


















When one of America’s most popular food chains forgot that Alaska is actually part of North America…

Alaska example




























Tagged with: North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Social Media

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Is social media starting to change?

As years go, 2018 was not a good one for Facebook. The social media giant seemed to lurch from one crisis to another facing down not only the Cambridge Analytica scandal but also the fallout of a security breach that affected 50 million users.


And the pain didn’t stop there, as following the introduction of GDPR the company lost a million active users a day in Europe between June and September while failing to gain significant numbers of new users in other territories to offset its losses.  To round out the year from hell for the company, it saw its shares plummet by nearly a quarter over the course of the year.


Against this backdrop it perhaps should have come as no surprise to see experiential app ‘One Second Everyday’ overtake Facebook in terms of downloads at the end of 2018. Nonetheless when I saw these figures, I found it interesting to see that the application, which allows users to record one second of video every day, before chronologically editing them together into a single film, was outperforming the Daddy of all social media. 


The fall of Goliath?

Firstly, it raises interesting questions around why downloads of Facebook are stagnating. Is it because there has been a number of issues around trust following the recent scandals it has encountered? Has it now reached the point of market saturation after its 11-year romp of dominance? Or is it because the interface is becoming tired, and its user experience less appealing to younger demographics that now tend to gravitate towards other platforms? It probably can’t be attributed to any single one of these factors and is instead the result of a combination of all of them causing the platform to falter.


Ultimately the audience of Facebook and their needs have changed – it’s not current for the demographic it was initially aimed at anymore. It’s gaining an older following who want to connect with those they have lost touch with. And those of us who grew up with it almost use it as a habit now rather than anything else.


Changing user habits

In contrast to this, One Second Everyday (OSE) has a slick user interface which feels very different from the established social media platforms. OSE is really easy to use and is not being constantly plugged with new ideas (i.e. Marketplace, stories, etc) – it’s clean and the no frills element is appealing.


On a personal level, OSE provides a really easy way to capture the best parts of my life, giving me the option to choose whether or not to share it with others. Simultaneously it is enabling me to record, and reminisce about, the great things I’m doing NOW, unlike Facebook which provides me with a reminder of the embarrassing things I did 10 years ago!


At a more general level the very premise of OSE, requires users to take an action every single day. This not only increases engagement with the app; it also gives it a purpose that goes beyond aimless scrolling.  


As such, the shift towards OSE versus Facebook is likely reflective of a shift in our general use of apps.  It seems to me that we are becoming less inclined to use social media and instead are preferring to use apps that are more wholesome and private, confined to just our friends and family. Against the backdrop of trust issues with Facebook resulting from its data breaches, coupled with the user experience offered by other apps, it’s easy to see the appeal of platforms which are more private.


A look to the future

While the current rise of OSE and decline of Facebook is perhaps indicative of a general change in consumer attitudes towards social media, it would be remiss to assume that this will be sustained. After all, it’s important to remember that despite its recent issues Facebook remains the most used social media platform in the world.


What’s more there is nothing to say that OSE won’t start to tune in to this new era of vanity social media, where we are showing off how fantastic our lives are. If this is a route it goes down, seeing people use it to self-promote rather than using it for the greater good, in time it could become similar to Facebook. And who knows at that point it could even become an attractive acquisition target for Zuckerberg and co.


Regardless of what the future may hold it’s exciting to see new, fresh platforms taking off, challenging existing ones to up their game.





Tagged with: Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Tech PR Manchester agency, Tech PR. Digital PR

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A day in the life of Refresh PR

This week, one of our lovely clients spent two days with us learning all about PR. Here’s what she had to say about her experience…

A day (or two) in the life of Refresh PR

This week I was lucky enough to gain some experience working with the Refresh PR team. With a predominantly in-house marketing background, I was interested to see how agency work differs; in terms of structuring accounts, their priorities and to see where the marketing and PR disciplines cross over!

About the team

Nestled in the heart of Manchester, the Refresh office is a hive of activity all on its own. Structured into two main teams, Refresh works with companies spanning both B2B and B2C markets. As well as being a really friendly and welcoming team, they really know their stuff and are definitely a well-oiled machine when it comes to all things PR.

Why did I want to gain experience in PR?

I wanted to get a greater understanding about what PR is and what it involves day-to-day. I’m ashamed to say that, for me, the the difference between marketing and PR hasn’t always been clear. After spending some time with the team, I now understand that PR acts as the fundamental mouthpiece of a brand. Working in PR is ultimately a customer facing role, and it can be an extremely rewarding vocation when you are creating content that the target audience enjoys to engage with.

As well as defining PR, I wanted more insight into how an agency works. As a third year university student currently on a 12-month placement, I have only experienced working within a small marketing department, where we each work on our own projects whilst working towards overall goals for the business; such as increasing product sales or growing consumer engagement online, to name just a few.

From just a couple of days in the world of Refresh, I’ve witnessed a whole host of activity behind the scenes: juggling accounts, meeting deadlines, being at the forefront of the news as it lands, all whilst maintaining a relationship with the audience and delivering results for many different clients.

What are some of the things I got to do whilst being here?

Over the two days I got to try my hand at a few key activities with the team:

-          “Creative Club” – a monthly session at Refresh PR which brings the team together to share learnings and encourage creativity. This month’s discussion was on how to consistently create sharp, engaging posts for online audiences.

Social media is a great platform for free and easy communication. However, that’s not all it’s good for. One of the key takeaways from this discussion, for me, is that social media is ultimately about creating an online personality – all whilst sat behind a screen! In the words of Caroline Gibson, Head of Consumer, “people want to talk to people”.

-          Drafting social media content – with our discussion in mind, I had a go at drafting some Twitter content for Refresh’s Apprentice of the Month campaign

This task is harder than it seems. Producing engaging, informative content is a fine art - something that Refresh is a dab hand at - you can tell by just listening to their office banter!


Overall I’ve really enjoyed my short stay at Refresh PR, it’s definitely been a worthwhile experience. The team couldn’t have been more welcoming, and thanks to them I can now confidently say that I understand key differences between marketing and PR! Not only that, but I also understand how integral it is to have the two disciplines working together in order to create a truly successful brand image. Agency work is a fast-paced lifestyle that is both exciting and rewarding, and Refresh’s contagious energy is something I look forward to keeping with me – with whatever it is that I decide to do next.

Author: Steph Dewhurst, marketing assistant at Sentinel

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Creative Agency, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter, Work Experience

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Have we lost our trust in social media platforms?

After reading an article on The Drum suggesting Snapchat is of no relevance to companies, it got me thinking, how much can brands now rely on social media to help support them in their business activity?

With the shock decision from pub chain JD Wetherspoon to remove itself from all social media channels and the data scandal with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, have businesses and consumers alike lost trust in social media platforms?

Faye Stammers argued in her article for The Drum that Snapchat is now irrelevant and even went as far as to brand it as the ‘Marmite’ of her generation. I can’t help but slightly agree with her. Over the years Snapchat users have experienced a series of changes to the app, and the most recent change, altering the way users can view their friends stories, definitely didn’t go down well with the app’s users. I know for one that the amount of people viewing my Snapchat story has definitely decreased. With the ability to post Instagram stories, is the Snapchat generation beginning to die out? Should brands stop using Snapchat as a way to promote their messaging? Media brands that produce content for Snapchat Discover rely on ads to fund their efforts. If Snapchat users are deleting their accounts or only using the account to chat with friends, rather than viewing Discover content, the app's content business will collapse, and if people stop looking at Discover, ads become less valuable. 

However, the update hasn’t been a complete shambles as for some, it has been a success. According to Faye, The Sun have recently claimed that since the update their news stories had reached a record-breaking 6.7 million unique users.

Another social media platform that hasn’t gained great publicity over recent weeks is Facebook. The recent scandal that came to light over recent weeks may have been the final nudge users needed to turn away from the social media platform, and I’m sure many did turn their backs on Facebook. From personal experience, the amount of time spent on Facebook has significantly decreased over the years. In fact, my first status of the year was about a recent client win for Refresh; I never post Facebook statuses anymore. But could I delete my account?  Definitely not. Facebook has been a part of my lifestyle for many years, and I’m quite frankly too nosey to get rid of it.

Overall, it can’t be disputed that young and old alike are glued to their mobile phones scrolling through some form of social media. Although businesses such as JD Wetherspoon have shut down their social media accounts and Snapchat and Facebook may be becoming less popular, it all boils down to how effectively a company uses its social media platforms.

If you think you need some guidance on how to make the most of your company’s social media platforms, give us a call on – 0161 871 1188. 

Tagged with: PR Agency Manchester, Social Media, Twitter

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Wetherspoons, here’s where you went wrong…

I've seen lots of conversation surrounding Wetherspoon’s recent decision to shut down their social media channels. The popular pub has quit Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with immediate effect, and I can understand why. 

Why do people choose to frequent a Wetherspoons? Is it due to their extensive gin selection? Gourmet dining? Air of luxury? No, it’s convenience, cheap beer and even cheaper food, and there is no amount of tweeting that will change this. Wetherspoons serves an economic purpose, providing a basic night out for those on a budget – I seriously doubt anyone ever saw a picture of someone’s menu choice from curry club and put ‘Wetherspoons’ on their to-do list. 

My biggest concern is the reasoning provided for the termination of its social media account - the ‘addictive nature of social media’. I think there would have been less debate on the topic if Wetherspoons admitted they just couldn’t quite get it right. 

But what would I have done differently? Wetherspoons had the perfect platform to have some fun with their social media. It is doubtful that public perception of the chain pub would change if they injected a bit of ‘sass’ into their social. Take Tesco Mobile for example; rather than daily tweets about deals and offers, which seemed to be the crux of Wetherspoons’ social media strategy, Tesco Mobile has a bit of fun. I can’t stress enough that not everything on social media has to be a sales message. 

There’s a wealth of other brands that have adopted a more colloquial tone of voice and Wetherspoons was perfectly positioned to join them. Light hearted fun, self-depreciating humor and relatable content would not have just saved their social media channels but could have propelled the brand. 

Wetherspoons, if you ever see the error of your ways, give us a call!

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR campaign essential, Social Media, Twitter, Wetherspoons

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Faking it: why PR pros must work harder in the fake news era

Fake news: Collins Dictionary’s ‘word of the year’ in 2017 and the current friend/foe of politicians and spin-doctors around the world.

While fake news is by no means a new phenomenon, its proliferation in the US election and the myriad of fake news sites that have popped up over the past 18 months have amplified it hugely.

And although our favourite technology giants Facebook and Google are both taking steps to reduce the spread of fake news and misinformation, the growing group of people it is impacting is a worry. No longer solely an issue facing bickering politicians and super celebrities, fake news is now an issue for more than just the world’s elite.

Businesses and brands are just as at risk, as we’ve seen in recent months. Starbucks fell victim to the trend last summer when it was falsely reported that the coffee chain was giving away free coffee to undocumented American immigrants – something it quickly debunked over Twitter. And more locally to us Mancunians, the city’s tram system had to quickly tell its customers that a poster claiming it was offering free travel across the network on Valentine’s Day was incorrect.

But it’s not just businesses, brands and public figures that are at risk – it’s PR pros too. Working with brands and businesses of all sizes on a daily basis, PRs must ensure our clients are producing valuable content to cut through the rubbish, especially considering dwindling trust in the media and the fact that a number of people now have trouble distinguishing which stories are real and fake. PRs will also have to work harder to protect their clients’ reputations in the era of fake news.

Of course, all good PR pros will provide top quality content to journalists and should therefore already have good relationships with their key contacts. Good PRs will be trusted by these journalists, so the situation will be easier to manage should misinformation be spread about a client. Journalists will also increasingly rely on PRs to provide them with accurate information from the off, as cutbacks make them even more strapped for time and reliant on us to give them factual information the first time, every time.

In addition, PR pros that haven’t already will need to brush up on their social media and crisis comms skills to ensure that any situations that arise in this fake news era can be managed quickly and efficiently.

Here at Refresh PR we’ll be keeping our eye on the situation and ensuring our clients don’t suffer damage because of it. So if you’re a business that thinks they need a bit of help, or could benefit from some crisis communications advice or training, give us a call on 0161 871 1188 or check out our upcoming event here.

Tagged with: Fake news, Lifestyle, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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The Importance of LinkedIn

LinkedIn, if used correctly, can be an incredibly powerful tool, particularly in B2B PR. We implement LinkedIn activity into all of our B2B campaigns, using it as an essential channel to create discussion on hot topics within the industries our clients work in. LinkedIn doesn’t limit us with deadlines, breaking news pushing our story out of the paper or other journalistic agendas. Infact, some of the articles we’ve drafted and uploaded to LinkedIn have created intense conversation and lead to worthwhile professional relationships and new business leads.

With 500 million users around the globe, and 50 per cent of those active every month, we can’t understand why more people don’t take advantage of this free to use platform. At a recent networking event we went to, we discovered that only 2 per cent of users generate meaningful content. Two per cent. With figures like this, it’s easy to have the monopoly of content shared by your sector.

It’s important, however, to consider that personal profiles get three times as many views as company pages. Rather than investing time, energy and money into creating content for a business, or a client’s businesses, page, consider raising the profiles of key spokespeople within your industry. As LinkedIn doesn’t yet allow businesses to upload longform articles, creating content and sharing from your CEO, research and development team member or marketing colleague is a great way to raise the profile of your company.

Let’s take LinkedIn back. Let’s flood timelines with interesting, engaging and valuable content and make it the domain of recruiters and humble braggers no longer. 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Manchester, Networking Event, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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How will businesses respond to the recent Facebook changes?

On Thursday it was revealed that Facebook will be changing its algorithms once again, so users will begin to see more posts on their news feed from family and friends, rather than posts from brands and publishers. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, explained he’s bringing in the change to make sure “the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” So what does this mean for PR professionals who use Facebook as a key mechanism when working with clients?

If used correctly, social media can be an extremely influential PR tool, and Facebook has been growing in popularity for businesses who want to capture consumer interest during ‘down time’, i.e. the hours we’re not in work and are instead, switching off and pursuing our personal interests.

It’s been acknowledged by Mark Zuckerberg that “the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down," meaning there will be even less opportunity to consume content from businesses and publishers. As such, businesses that once used Facebook as their sole tool to engage with the public will now have to begin using a variety of other channels to connect with their target audience. A ‘one size fits all’ mentality is not the correct approach to take;  channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and more will have to be utilised better in order to gain similar levels of traction once offered by Facebook. That said, not all consumers use every channel available, so it’s important to analyse where your specific target audience consumes its content.

Only time will tell whether this is a huge gamble by Facebook. By making this decision, it will have dramatically decreased its support from publishers and business, which may leave investors to question their involvement with the organisation.

Or, will it prove to be a smart move? When the changes come into place, companies may reveal that it hasn’t affected them as much as expected, or find it’s forced them to seek alternative methods of promotion which yield better results.

Ultimately, it’s essential for businesses to keep up to date on how changes like this could affect how they reach their customers and therefore, the nature of their entire company.

If you need help or guidance with your social media and online PR support, find out what we can do for you here: Alternatively, contact us on 0161 871 1188.


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Stupidest monkey in the industry

We are less than two weeks into the New Year and fashion giant H&M has already caused a mammoth amount of controversy surrounding its ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ hoody.

The product, which was modelled on a black child as part of the company’s marketing material, has sparkled a huge amount of backlash on social media and news channels alike, with many calling it ‘disgusting’, ‘inappropriate’ and ‘negligent’, for obvious reasons.

Many of the outraged customers hit back at H&M by heading straight to social media. And as the tweets began to grow, more and more people started to learn about the campaign, including celebrities and MPs. Singer The Weeknd has already cut ties with the company despite having a collaboration with them. The ‘Starboy’ singer took to twitter in a statement saying: “shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore.”

Fashion brands are a huge part of our lifestyle and culture, and they go to great lengths to grow a loyal following and build relationships with customers. With this in mind it’s hard to understand how H&M didn’t think of the potential consequences surrounding launching a campaign featuring this material. Labelling and discrimination are always hot – but contentious – topics on the global agenda, so it’s bizarre to think H&M, a brand that famously stands for international equality and raising standards across the world, could have had such a poor judgement on the campaign.

H&M has since apologised, has recognised the concern and more importantly has admitted its failure. The jumper in question has been removed from sales and all images have been removed from their website.

I feel all of these are the first steps for H&M to try and build back brand loyalty and trust.  I think recovering trust amongst those who took offence probably requires more action than this, however it shows H&M has recognises an insensitive campaign – albeit a little too late.


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Social media – the dos and don’ts

Social Media is constantly developing and expanding, and it can be a tricky one to get right. The temptation to use it as a platform to promote your products and service can often lead to a lacklustre feed with minimal engagement. Here, we’re going to look at the golden rules of social media and how you can use it to maximise your business.

Sharing is caring

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook et al are designed to share information. Whether it is quick snippets limited to 280 characters (we’re still not onboard with the character increase), or thought leadership articles hosted on LinkedIn, there are no limits to the content that can be shared to your following. It is important however that each piece of content shared is valuable to your audience. Throwing out product plug after product plug, however interesting you find it, will turn your followers off and create a stagnant account. Share industry news, relevant national news items, social trends and information your following will find valuable.


Twitter describes itself as ‘sparking a global conversation’, with conversation being the most important word here. There is no point in executing a social media campaign if you aren’t going to engage. Reply to tweets, express your opinion, ask open ended questions, even set up a poll; it is paramount you use social media to engage with your potential customers. Creating a relationship with potential customers is the first step to generating a sale, and this first connection can be made without leaving the comfort of your office.


You can’t expect people to stumble across your profile without promoting yourself. Whilst links directing people from your website will work at engaging current customers, using hashtags could generate new business. Whether it’s #Lipstick, #PlasticPlumbing or #StudentAccommodation, anyone using these search terms will be presented with your content, helping you widen your audience and build your following.

Tone of voice

From our experience, people think the social media platform dictates the tone of voice, meaning LinkedIn is full of formal jargon whilst a Twitter feed is littered with colloquialisms and GIFs. This leads to a confused company ethos and a disjointed tone of voice. The best way to determine how and what you write is by looking at your audience and adjusting accordingly. If you’re targeting potential investors, then Kim K memes are probably not best placed, across the board. Likewise, if you’re looking to engage with football fans or families, then a more colloquial term is more appropriate.


A picture’s worth a thousand words has never been truer than on social media. Timelines are a very busy place and you need to use any tool possible to grab a user’s attention. Images achieve a higher engagement rate than plain text on social media and so are a vital tool to adopt. Whether it’s a photo to support and article, an infographic or a video, where appropriate use an image to see your content interactions increase. Moreover, Facebook rewards this content and so you will see your posts appearing above others, further increasing engagement.

Social media can be tricky to navigate, and with rules and trends changing so quickly it can be difficult to keep up. Investing a couple of hours a week in your social media offering will see you reap the benefits. If time isn’t an option, hiring an agency to provide expert guidance on your social media output will see you hit your key business objectives.

For more information on how Refresh PR can help your social media efforts, call: 0161 871 1188.

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Taylor is welcomed to the dark side

As all PR agencies know, a rebrand is one of the best ways to refresh a business helping to attract new customers and reminding existing ones that they’re still relevant. 

Taylor Swift launching herself into the role of a villain for her new song could be one of the best rebrands of 2017.

The recent release ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ reveals Taylor’s dark side.

The video shows a transformed Taylor, overcome by the dark side and power, responding to comments and reports made about her in the media.

After playing a zombie, Swift soon takes on a variety of different hard-edged personas, including a bank robber, a female robot squad leader, and a celebrity involved in a paparazzi-caused car crash. It continues with Taylor sat on a throne of snakes, which starts the continuous references to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – The feud with Kanye West began more than 10 years ago, and whether this is simply one of the best PR stunts of the year or just Taylor’s way of re-engaging the slanging match – the media love – her transformation is making her relevant again after such a long break from the industry.

The old saying is that ‘sex sells’ but Taylor has flipped this on its head and is instead taking the ‘hate sells’ approach. Using the song, and its accompanying video, as a platform to vent her anger at her recent portrayal in the media and high-profile feuds, she has got the world talking.

The release is cleverly thought out and has rebranded Taylor away from the ‘Love Song’ fairy-tale singer we were all introduced to in 2008, to a feisty, no nonsense popstar. As the song finishes Taylor ends with ‘The old Taylor can’t come to the phone now...Why? She’s dead’. I for one cannot wait to hear the rest of the album and see what new Taylor has in store if the old version is actually dead.

Whether the rebrand is genuine or not I don’t think Taylor will really care after finally hitting the UK number one spot, and passing the 100 million-views mark on YouTube in just four days, making it one of the fastest singles in history to do so.

Tagged with: Celebrity, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Social Media

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User generated content: the end of journalism?

Over the last two weeks, news sites across the world have been filled with imagery and videos from those caught up in one of the worst storms on record. While Hurricane Irma has ripped apart several Caribbean islands and is now taking over the Florida coastline, those of us on the other side of the world have felt closer to the eye of the storm than any other before it, thanks to the real-life recordings taken from the scene. The people capturing the material aren’t journalists; they’re residents, families, or those locked up with friends. This type of footage is called ‘user generated content’ (UGC), and while it now forms part of most newsreels we watch during hourly bulletins, once upon a time it was the dread of journalists across the globe.

With the birth of smartphones came the ability for mere mortals to capture their own side of every tale, and it started to unsettle journalists who had spent their lives learning the trade, and earning their position as the story teller. Suddenly, we began to question whether newspapers told the whole story, as more and more the general public were sharing footage that gave a different angle.

Having worked as a journalist, I understand the fear that UGC makes people question how hard it really is to become qualified for the role. Local newspapers are closing every week (the first newspaper I worked at, incidentally, closed down two weeks ago very suddenly – though this was down to ****-poor management, not UGC), but all things considered, if it wasn’t for UGC, we wouldn’t have anywhere near as close an understanding of the devastation Irma has caused in the US and Caribbean. The majority of journalists working for corporations with hefty life insurance policies aren’t venturing overseas through fear of injury or death, so it’s over to those living in the situation to tell us how it really is.

We rely on UGC now as standard practice to bring news and campaigns to life – our Window with a View/Home with a View competition with relies inherently on the public submitting images and is crucial to its success – however, one thing troubles me: our capacity, as media consumers, to understand the difference between fake and real news. There’s a propensity amongst us to assume everything we see is true – but even with UGC that’s not the case. There are a multitude of videos and images, reportedly of the devastation Hurricane Irma has caused, doing the rounds, with many being completely false. The lengths people go to now to have their material featured online/in the news is becoming more and more absurd, and with the ability to ‘go viral’ (often for all the wrong reasons), are we taking UGC too much at face value rather than questioning its authenticity?

There is a place for UGC, I have no doubt about it, and I am a firm believer that using it gives us a better idea of what’s going on in the world; it takes us nearer to the action, making us feel closer to its subjects, encouraging us to put ourselves in other’s shoes, because someone just like us is narrating. But journalists and those working in PR still have a huge responsibility to ensure the material that does make it into the mainstream media is accurate, factual and a fair representation. If we can work together in such a way, our news shows will be some of the strongest in the world.



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Team work makes the dream work

According to John Donne, no man is an island, and this can also be said for marketing activity. It isn’t possible to build a brand based on just one marketing function – there has to be a carefully balanced mix including (but not exclusive to) PR, SEO, PPC, advertising and social media.

But with many agencies focusing their skills on one area of this mix, more brands than ever take a multi-agency approach to meet their business objectives.

At Refresh PR, we work with other agencies across the UK to make sure that we are delivering for our clients – because whatever function you specialise in, it is vital that your approach aligns with everyone else.

Here we share our top tips on making the most of a multi-agency approach.

Work towards the same goal

Set out the marketing objectives from the start of any campaign and make sure that each marketing function is fully aware of their role in achieving this. Ultimately, when working for a brand success only comes when these objectives are achieved. Be open and honest about each function’s strength and what part it can play in the journey towards meeting these objectives, so there can’t be conflict later on.

Share, share, share

The agencies, whatever function they cover, should all be open and honest with each other. From brainstorming sessions to regular reviews, each person working for the brand will have a different view of how to achieve success and a unique insight into what works. Utilise these at every opportunity, because you never know, something that cannot be implemented via PR could spark the next social media campaign.

Remove the client contact

Well, sometimes. Setting

up inter-agency calls or meetings, where the client isn’t involved allows for an open and honest dialogue between the agencies. Whether these are face-to-face or a conference call they are invaluable to the success of a campaign. Communication is really key between the agencies, so creating a regular platform for this will further cement the agencies as an extension of the internal team, rather than outsourced specialists. 

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Trumping your own social media

As politicians go, the President of the United States (known on Twitter as @POTUS) is probably up there as the most 
famous in the entire world.

Multi-billionaire Donald Trump joined this elusive list when he became the 45th US President back in January 2017. 
However, while he stands out from previous presidents for various reasons (sexual assault allegations, business tycoon, 
unfortunate hair), it is his Twitter account and the ongoing posting of erratic – and often threatening – material that is 
stealing the limelight.

Take 10 minutes to look through Donald’s Twitter feed, and you’ll soon find examples of how not to approach Twitter. 
Yes it’s hard getting your message across in 140 characters, but there’s being direct, and there’s misjudged content – and 
continually falling into the latter’s trap culminates in constant backlash from the general public. And of course, this is on
a global scale, with a large part of said globe absolutely terrified at Trump being in such a position of power – so the wrath 
is pretty severe. 

Here are five times Trump trumped his own social media efforts, and basically showed us he shouldn’t be let loose with a 
Twitter account:

-          Flooding in Texas: the severe flooding across Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey has the world sat open 
mouthed, as highways disappear, roofs become congested with people trying to avoid the water, while sharks and 
alligators begin swimming in land. Messages of support and love have swamped social media, however one particular 
personality was absent for a little too long. President Trump failed to acknowledge what was happening in Texas, or 
address its residents to inform them of aid missions, until many hours after the storm hit. Now, he’s playing catch up, 
scrambling a series of manic messages that tell us he’s finally paying an interest. What the President should’ve learned 
(but probably hasn’t):  when natural disasters hit, be visible; be seen, be heard, be there.

-          Banning transpeople from the military: this summer, Trump hit the headlines again by announcing – via Twitter – 
that he was banning transpeople from joining or being part of the US military. Before you ask, no, the military had not 
okayed this; in fact, they had no idea it was even being considered until the tweet from @POTUS. In retaliation, the 
military released a statement explaining they don’t take orders from tweets, and won’t be enforcing this bizarre and 
fascist suggestion. What the President should’ve learned (but again, probably hasn’t):  being publically fascist will never 
end well. But hate crime aside, if you’re going to make a decision about a major national organisation and broadcast it 
on Twitter, let them know beforehand.

-          Horrendous grammar and spelling: I’m not saying you can forgive rude, racist and irresponsible posts if everything 
is spelt right, but it helps. The President’s tweets are continually filled with spelling and grammar errors, and frankly, it’s 
unacceptable from the world’s most powerful man. One such error was tweeting the letters ‘covfefe’ in place of another 
word – but we have absolutely no idea what that other word should’ve been. Remember when Ed Balls tweeted us all 
saying exactly that: ‘Ed Balls’? Remember how we laughed? The President must’ve thought we were laughing WITH Ed 
Balls, because he recently tweeted simply saying ‘We’. Any idea? No? Me neither. What the President should’ve learned 
(but probably hasn’t – do you sense a theme?):  hire a copy checker (and take them EVERYWHERE with you), or get a 
phone that underlines your errors.

-          Threats against North Korea: social media is not a playground, and shouldn’t be treated that way. However, 
Trump is insistent on airing his dirty laundry with North Korea, and playing its enemies off against each other, on Twitter, 
practically every day. We’re not talking about a bit of insult throwing here – we’re talking nuclear war threats. What the 
President should’ve learned (but probably hasn’t): it’s not okay for the world to see potential global destruction played on 
their Twitter feed. Instead, tell us when you’re meeting together with the leaders of North Korea and China in person to 
resolve the issues and create a harmonious world. Social media, while open and honest, should also remain as positive as 

-          Tagging strangers in posts: If there’s anything that Trump likes more than his own self-promotion, it’s telling 
the world how amazing his family is. However, when he recently tweeted to share how fantastic his daughter Ivanka is, 
describing her as a ‘woman with real character and class’, he clearly didn’t check he’d used the right tags. Rather than 
include his daughter in the post, he instead got a little-known woman from Brighton with 8k followers caught up in his 
storm. While I bet it’s lovely to receive such praise, it was yet another step in the ‘How not to do social media’ manual 
by Donald J. Trump. What the President should’ve learned (but probably hasn’t):  if you’re dragging other people into 
your social media content, tag the right person. While it’s an easy mistake to make, and didn’t actually cause anyone 
any harm, it just looks stupid. And you, Mr President, don’t need any help with that at the moment.

If you’re scared of emulating Donald Trump on your social media channels, and want the help of a PR agency to ensure 
your social presence remains professional, on brand and is always spelt correctly, give Refresh PR a call. We’ve masses of 
social media experience, particularly in using it as a channel to support wider PR campaigns. And we promise we won’t tag 
the wrong person in your posts – all Trump-esque mistakes are avoided as standard. 

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When personalisation goes wrong...

Personalisation can elevate a marketing campaign; everyone likes to feel a bit special. A favourite of mine was EasyJet’s 20th anniversary campaign. For such an impersonal brand, intent on the stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap mentality, they used personalisation incredibly well with fantastic results.

EasyJet looked at all previous customer data and found each customer’s personal EasyJet travel story, for the past 20 years. This allowed them to create emotive, personalised stories shrouded in nostalgia for all customers. Each email told the story of previous flights, holiday destinations and miles travelled, and included suggested next trips.

The campaign was very successful; open rates were over 100% more than average, with 25% higher click-through rates. Social media also went wild for the campaign with a reach of 685,000 and 1.1 million impressions. Moreover, within a few hours, EasyJet had improved it’s positioning within the public, becoming a loved brand with positive sentiment.

Whilst this personalisation campaign was a complete success, not all go down quite so well. Remember what happened with Walkers earlier this year? To mark their competition to win tickets to the Champions League final campaign, Walkers launched a campaign on Twitter, the ‘Walkers Wave’, asking people to respond to a tweet from the Walkers Twitter account with a selfie, using the hashtag #WalkersWave. The user's picture would then appear in a personalised video, featuring Gary Lineker.

It wasn’t long people the public abused the campaign and Gary was seen holding pictures of Fred West and Harold Shipman, not what Walkers had in mind and damaging to the brand.

Earlier this month, The National Lottery experienced a PR fail surrounding their World Athletics Championship campaign, leading to them rapidly deleting tweets.

Users on Twitter were asked to retweet a post from the National Lottery using the hashtag #Represent. The National Lottery would then automatically reply with an image of the British athletics team holding a sign displaying the user’s Twitter handle; so far so good. It didn’t take long however for Twitter users to change their handles to very controversial characters, including the likes of Jimmy Saville. Despite being a total fail, the hijacking achieved more coverage than the campaign itself ever would have. 

When it’s good, it’s very good, however it is difficult to get personalisation right. Where Walkers went wrong was their lack of data. Their campaign depended on interaction with the public, rather than intelligently using already stored data to create a personalised email.

Our client, Kagool, specialises in personalisation, and understands the sensitivities and technicalities surrounding it. If you’re considering a personalisation campaign, we would recommend working with experts, ensuring the execution goes smoothly, and a using a PR agency to come up with creative and interesting content, increasing open rates and results. And if you do run an automated personalisation campaign dependent on public engagement, make sure you have a PR agency on hand to handle the backlash…

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Being passionate in PR

99 per cent of PR professionals are passionate about what they do. A love for telling a great story, the buzz of media relations and the fast-paced nature of the job is what gets us up in the morning. Sometimes, however, a love for the industry is just not enough.


If you work in a PR or creative agency, chances are you will have clients in a range of fields. From glitter to plumbing, we have it all at Refresh PR and that old cliché, no two days are the same, rings very true. In order to do justice to your clients, a love of their industry, as well as your own is imperative.


PR’s speak with dozens of journalists in a day, and we need to persuade them that what our client has to say is more valuable than their competitors. Unless you speak about your clients with true passion, you’ll get nowhere. If the news doesn’t excite you, how do you expect a journalist, who’s received 40 similar calls that day, to be enthused? If you love what you do, and love working with your clients, this will come across. 


Being fully engrossed in your client’s work will eventually lead to your PR agency being an arm of their company, rather than a supplier-customer relationship. Once this happens, you’ll automatically be kept in the loop regarding company news, be able to contact everyone and anyone when that golden opportunity comes through and be totally honest with them- a valuable but often over overlooked trait in our industry. At Refresh PR, we promote hot desking at our clients’ offices, giving us a chance to see what they do, and how they work day to day. Realistically, can you ever really get a true insight into your clients from just a bi weekly WIP call alone?


You’re much more likely to want to learn about an industry or topic that you’re interested in. Whether it’s cosmetics, food and drink or heating installations, find what excites you and you’ll never work a day in your life.









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Glastonbury – The Ultimate PR Win

Last month I left my real life at Manchester PR agency, Refresh, behind to spend five nights sleeping in a tent, while getting up close and personal with thousands of people who hadn’t washed in a few days – that’s right, I went to Glastonbury.

Anyone who hasn’t made the pilgrimage to Worthy Farm may read that opening paragraph and shudder with dread, but those who have experienced the magic of Glastonbury will be nodding along, knowing that those things that would usually fill people with fear are all part of the experience.

Where else can you crawl down a rabbit hole and party with Brad Pitt (apparently he was there, although I didn’t see him), watch films in a fleet of vintage cars, see circus performers at 1am – not to mention the music?

From secret acts and unknown musicians to the Foo Fighters finally headlining the Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury offers something unique – which is why tickets can be harder to get your hands on than Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.

And each year around October time there are newspaper articles about how the festival has sold out in record time, with countless fans turning to social media to complain if they were unsuccessful or to celebrate their excitement if they were one of the lucky ones.

And as a PR professional I can see why this record speed growth and demand is occurring – the ultimate PR coverage – the BBC!

Due to the BBC’s regulations, the corporation isn’t a PR’s best friend – they have to remain impartial and not to be seen to be advertising brands, yet they give unrivalled coverage to this incredible event each year.

Returning from Glastonbury you are greeted with friends and colleagues who tell you which sets they watched on TV and how they have to go next year. And of course, who wouldn’t be swayed when they see thousands of people singing along to rock anthems or disco classics in a place so unique, you can’t describe it to someone who hasn’t been. Even whispers of “I’ve been to other festivals” have Glastonbury veterans’ eyes rolling – it simply isn’t the same.

The BBC’s coverage captures this perfectly and is therefore the ultimate PR dream – radio, TV, on-demand service, online – a huge achievement for any creative campaign.

If we need to measure this impact, let’s check back in October 2018 and see if tickets take longer than 50 minutes to sell out. Watch this space…






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What does the future hold for the bloggersphere?



I’m an avid reader of blogs and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m subscribed to one too many YouTube channels, but I think it’s important for PR professionals to do their research (that’s my excuse anyway!).


I think bloggers are important to brands that want to reach their audience across various channels and with multiple voices, and one of the most influential and effective voices are those that sound like our own - often coming in the form of bloggers.


You may remember the Fashion Week ‘blogger bashing’ from the editors at Vogue last year, and other disgruntled journalists that don’t appreciate the success of the social media stars. But these days the negative comments are coming from within the community – and I don’t think this is helping anyone.


In May, Sarah Ashcroft, an Instagram star with a social media reach of more than 1 million, launched a line with Manchester based fashion brand, InTheStyleUK, a fitting collaboration in my opinion.


However following an interview with Cosmopolitan to promote the launch, titled ‘How I turned Instagram into a money-making business’ the blogger faced a huge amount of backlash on social media, caused by some of the statements she made including: “My followers are so engaged with me that whatever I wear, they will go and buy it – which makes it such a big money earner.”


But isn’t that the point of being an influencer? Influencing actions of the consumer? Of course it could have been worded better, but if bloggers continue to bring other bloggers down about their success, it could have an effect on the success of them all.


She also went on to say “If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think there’s any space for more bloggers in the industry – everyone is one these days. It’s ridiculous’. This is where I disagree, I think there is always room for more creatives, because everyone is different. It’s no different to any other industry, whether that be photography, medicine, journalism or PR, there is always going to be competition and as long as you work hard, there will always be the opportunity to make it. 


So I say, enough of the negativity, bloggers should uplift each other and bring back the community spirit.




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A Facebook Diagnosis


It’s no secret that advertisers are tapping into most areas of our digital lives. Viewing a product once can leave us bombarded with targeted ads through social media channels. However, with the recent news that Facebook has been monitoring teenagers’ every tap, click and post to gain insight into their emotional state, has this gone too far?

By keeping tabs on our online searches on Facebook, the social media channel is able to make assumptions on how we are feeling and share this information with advertisers.

Leaked documents show the social media giant telling advertisers it can identify teens feeling 'insecure' and 'worthless' following extensive research it carried out on the platform.

In turn, this allows advertisers to then push the appropriate ads to the appropriate audience, whether it is self-help, confidence building, therapy or counselling – there are a host of companies just waiting to reap the financial reward of a teen’s misery.

This could be seen as a preventative measure, offering help to those who may not be willing to speak up and ask for it, however I don’t believe this is Facebook’s decision to make.

I personally see it as another form of intrusion on our lives which many of us don’t even know is happening. If someone has chosen not to speak up about their emotional state, it’s likely because they are not ready to talk. And if they haven’t discussed it with friends or family, what gives Facebook the right to facelessly intervene?

Offering teens in emotional turmoil an imbalance of messages through advertising will likely do more harm than good, offering a diagnosis for a problem that may amount to nothing. It may also pressure teens into taking unnecessary preventative measures, while making silence a feasible option by taking power away from parents and guardians. After all, not all problems can be solved by simply clicking a button.

The solution here, I believe, is to let teens understand the facts surrounding online searching, asking platforms like Facebook to be more transparent with how it uses your online activity to target ads and influence the content it shows you. If we all understood that these adverts are a direct result of our searches, they would have less effect on us and could prevent teens being overwhelmed.

It’s Facebook’s responsibility to ensure people are protected when using its social media platform, therefore it should ensure vulnerable teens are not bombarded with confusing messages – simply for financial gain for a company already worth $435 billion dollars.




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It’s the final countdown!

In our last newsletter, we were riding high on our success at the 2016 Construction Marketing Awards, which saw The Heating Installer Awards claim first prize in the Best Use of Press and Public Relations category.

Fast forward four months and hundreds of entries later, we have now announced the regional winners of the 2017 campaign.

Representatives from the awards’ sponsors, Continental Underfloor, Danfoss, Graham the Plumbers’ Merchant, LG, Pegler Yorkshire, Sentinel, Vaillant UK and Installer Magazine attended the judging day in March, whittling down hundreds of entries down to a top ten. The panel was also joined by Dennis Hollingworth, winner of the inaugural Heating Installer Awards in 2016, to help select the finalists.

The judges considered each entry against four criteria: technicality, professionalism, expert service and happy customers. Those selected each demonstrated a desire to go above and beyond in order to deliver incredible levels of service for their customers, using innovative solutions that improve the quality of life of families and businesses across the UK.

After much anticipation, we announced the regional winners via Twitter. This showed us just how powerful the community of installers is on social media. Every day we’re inundated with messages asking us how to get involved, encouraging family, friends and followers to vote and showing us what a typical day in the life of an installer entails. Be sure to follow us on @HIAwards to keep up with the action.

But now the heat is on as we’re on the final countdown to find out who will be named the UK’s Best Heating Installer 2017. Following the online public vote, the winner will be announced at Installer2017 in May.

Votes closed at 9pm on 30th April 2017.



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Refresh PR Runs Social Media Bootcamp Alongside Industry Experts

This month Refresh PR enlisted the help of our industry collaborators and friends of the agency to put on a social media bootcamp for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Alongside Jaw Digital and Bearded Fellows, we discussed all things social media including utilising Facebook for business, how to create video content and maximising micro-influencers for a brand.

The attendees, including marketing managers and students from across the north, joined us at Manchester Metropolitan University to build their very own digital communications plan, based on the information provided by the panel of experts.

Julaine, founder and marketing director of JAW Digital, kick started the day covering off Facebook and working with the attendees to explore the back-end of the social media platform – showing them practical ways to boost their pages’ capabilities and reach.

This was then followed with Refresh PR’s head of consumer, Caroline and consumer account manager, Christy, talking about one of 2017’s hottest marketing trends – micro-influencers. Currently a relatively untapped approach for many marketeers, it is one that has proven very powerful to brands which are early adopters of the method.

Case studies (good and bad) were shared, as were top tips on legislation and evaluation, to give attendees an insight into how to use these influencers, effectively and ethically.

Finally, Bearded Fellows’ MD, Joe, finished off the day talking about the strategy behind using video to engage with customers. With figures showing that 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video by 2019, now is the time for marketeers to start planning this into their communications strategy.

Joe took the group through Bearded Fellows’ strategic approach, with the emphasis on design, empathy and play and again shared case studies that had real impact.

Despite the three very different topics, there were a number of take-outs that resonated throughout including: know your audience and how they behave online; don’t create content for the sake of content; and constantly evaluate, learn and adapt. Social media is an ever-evolving platform and therefore the communications strategy has to mirror this – don’t be afraid to try new things.

If you’d like to talk more about your social media strategy, get in touch with the team at Refresh via



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Memes speak louder than words

We’ve all come to appreciate the power of social media, and no longer underestimate its influence when it comes to consumer opinions and purchasing.


However when brands miss the mark, social media is always there, ready and waiting to shine a spotlight on any mistakes. This doesn’t just come down to spelling and grammar, using content that doesn’t align with your brand identity is also something that often gets picked up on. Therefore it’s important to be in tune with what’s happening in the world of your audience at all times, regardless of the business objectives.


Here are three times social media owned marketing and some of its mistakes from the last few weeks: 


1.       Wendy’s ‘beef’ with McDonald’s

I’m a great supporter of fun social media activity by brands. It gives them personality, making it more appealing for consumers to engage with them. Take Wendy’s ‘beef’ with McDonald’s that made headlines worldwide for its quick and witty response.


McDonald’s used Twitter to announce that by mid-2018, all of its Quarter Pounder burgers will be cooked with fresh beef in the majority of its restaurants. Wendy’s, a popular fast food chain in the US, used this as an opportunity to show its fun side, and ask what most of us were probably thinking. Not only did this gain thousands of retweets, it also made national headlines, gaining coverage for Wendy’s off the back of it.

Although this garnered a round of applause for Wendy’s social media team, it’s important not to forget that anyone in the world of social media can be just as quick to point out anything you do wrong. And remember, a negative opinion is always louder than a positive one.


1.       The Gucci meme


Memes are images intended to be funny through relatable captions, the majority of these are sent between 20-something millennials. Recently however, Gucci, a luxury fashion brand, launched its #tfwgucci campaign, a series of fashion-focused memes that poked fun at the social media culture. Although this is a blatent attempt by Gucci to tap into a younger audience, for me it just didn’t work.  Gucci is a luxury brand and this is a try hard attempt at being something it’s not.

Some people love it and some hate it, but the people that hated it seemed to have a louder voice.




Social media is a natural phenomenon that brings people together through their shared sense of humour, culture, hobbies and aspirations, and memes are proven to work well in achieving this. But as a luxury brand trying to cash in on this, it takes away from the light-hearted nature of sharable content, and is a step away from the premium origins of the brand.


1.       The Kendall Jenner Pepsi Advert

If you don’t know about the Pepsi advert released this week, where have you been? Less than 24 hours after going live, the advert has already been pulled due to its insensitive nature, leaving the brand labelled as tone deaf to today’s political climate. However, it wasn’t advertising experts that triggered this, it was social media that gave people’s reactions a platform leading it to be covered worldwide. 




The advert didn’t need people to sign a petition, or an investigation by the ASA, as the backlash brought it down almost immediately.




This reaction is my personal favourite:



So what should brands take away from this?

That you can never be too aware or too prepared, and that you can’t control the opinions of others.

The need to always carefully consider your contents, platform and format. For example, is Snapchat or Insta-stories right for your brand and your target audience?

Is it potentially risky?


Consider all of this, but then remember you can never be too prepared as the thoughts of the public will always find you. Because memes speak louder than words.




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The warmest element of the heating industry? Its community

Local tradespeople. You know the type – happy to help, provide a great service in the hope you’ll recommend them to a friend, have one-too-many brews but you don’t at all mind because they’re so polite – and chances are, you have a little black book of go-to tradespeople who you know you can trust.


But after they leave your property, what is it – do you think – that they get up to? If my time working on the Heating Installer Awards has taught me anything, it’s this: plumbers and heating installers do not switch off. Not fully. They typically spend their evenings on social media, congratulating other installers from the industry, learning new skills and engaging in conversation about the trade.



When we launched the second year of the Heating Installer Awards in November, it was with the same excitement as its inaugural year. We were inundated with entries for the 2016 awards, and knew it would be the same this time around, as anticipation had been building in the online and offline plumbing and heating communities.

And while the entries we receive are something to behold in themselves, our favourite part of the campaign is when we can announce the ten regional winners.


After a tense judging day at the start of the month, we took to Twitter on the morning of 13th March 2017 to let our avid followers know who had made the cut for the next round, according to our panel of experts.

Now, let’s be clear – this stage of the competition – as lovely as it is to inform the winners – also has its downsides. Because we also have to let down the hundreds of other applicants who hoped this would be their year. This is the part that fills us with dread.



But we needn’t have worried. After announcing the regional winners, the regional losers (for want of a better word) came out in their troves to congratulate the installer who had been selected to represent their region.

And from there, it hasn’t stopped. Each day we’re inundated with positive vibes on our social networks, in our inboxes, and on the Heating Installer Awards website from those who are voting for the national winner.



Has the cowboy tag, which has long dogged the industry, finally disappeared? Not entirely, but looking at the conversations which take place each day between the industry’s professionals, their manufacturers and suppliers, you’d never know it was an issue.


Yes, the warmest element of the heating industry can’t be questioned – it’s its people, community and ambassadors.





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2017 – What’s in-store for the PR industry?

So as 2016 sped past us in a whirl of elections, weather warnings and Kardashian scandal (just me?), we’ve finally reached a new year and with that brings new technology, trends and challenges. We’ve already reflected on how the 2016 predictions came to light, so now it is our turn to look into our crystal ball and foresee what is to come in 2017:


Media Expansion

For years we’ve been told magazines and newspapers are dying, but despite the amount of publications on the shelves decreasing, I don’t think it’s a dying industry – simply changing and evolving. We’ve already heard about Chat and Marie Claire moving into TV production – a brave move, but one that demonstrates their commitment to adapting to consumer trends.

As PRs it is essential that we align ourselves with this media expansion – whether it’s using video messages over a press release or tailoring our content to meet their changing platforms – 2017 will see us working with journalists in new and exciting ways to meet their needs.



A buzz word for 2016, that isn’t going anywhere in 2017. Yes your mum and dad don’t know who they are, your client might not either – but consumers do and they care about their opinions.

With budgets getting smaller and expectations and competition increasing, micro-influencers are an effective way to engage with your audience. Bloggers have become celebrities in their own right, as explored in our previous blog, and now demand the same fee as the famous folk we’d listen to on the radio or watch on TV. Whereas micro-influencers are respected, but attainable and most importantly engaging.

However, in 2017 we will see marketing professionals explore different ways of working with these micro-influencers to get maximum impact.


Standing for Something

With so many new brands coming to market, consumers now have more choice than ever before – meaning brands need something to differentiate themselves. So, in 2017 I think we will see more brands choosing to stand for something more than just their product or service offering. Research has shown that customers are looking to support brands that feel part of their community, so for national companies they must look at their operations and marketing to find how they can immerse themselves in the local area, to have this consumer appeal.


The Death of B2B

OK, so not quite – I exaggerated for a good headline – but we will see more brands begin to treat their B2B target audience as the everyday consumer they actually are. With trade titles no longer appealing to the full spectrum of professionals, especially in areas such as construction, we must look at ways of communicating a business message, in an engaging, fun way that appeals to the target audience, and beyond.

Our Food Porn Awards for STM Photography is a great example of this, already in its second year, and seeing more success than ever before, we’ve created a campaign that communicates with the hospitality industry, while still being of interest to the everyday consumer – meaning we have more avenues for press coverage, and we expect to see more B2B campaigns adopting this approach in 2017.





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2016 PR trend predictions – where are they now?

At the start of each year industry experts join together to identify the big trends developments in the sector. Like any other industry, it is important for PR and marketing professionals to stay ahead of key trends, utilising the latest technology or consumer insight to create effective campaigns.


But now, as 2016 is drawing to a close, we take the opportunity to look back over the past 12 months to see which of this year’s predictions have had a real impact.


Using PR Week’s Consumer PR: Predictions for 2016, we take a look to see what became a reality, as well as trends’ impact on the industry and our work.

In the article, M&C Saatchi’s Chris Hides talks about Shopper Marketing and the importance of understanding how customers shop and how campaigns can interlink with these habits. This is one of the key predictions that really stands out, as it further demonstrates how customers are demanding more from brand experiences than ever before. River Island is the perfect example of effective shopper marketing with the launch of its ‘Snap & Share’ Snapchat partnership in August.


The campaign took advantage of Snapchat’s growing popularity, especially within River Island’s key target audience, with the view to engaging with shoppers and making their experience more fun.


This trend - and specifically the focus on customer engagement - won’t be going anywhere in 2017, particularly with consumers becoming more savvy to advertising. Now it is more important to create an opportunity for two-way conversation in a natural environment, rather than a creating platform to communicate a brand’s messages.


Another prediction from Hides is nothing beats a great idea – it may seem an obvious one, but for me it is what makes this industry so exciting. From the resurgence of National Blood Week’s ‘Missing Type’ campaign, to Paddy Power’s ‘Juan Direction’, as PR professionals we have the opportunity to make consumers sit up and take notice.


In 2016, Refresh PR’s creative campaigns have been recognised with a number of industry award wins – from the Food Porn Awards to the Window with a View competition – we have been able to use our creativity to come up with campaigns that have a genuine impact on our clients’ business objectives.


Going into 2017 there will be more demand for these creative approaches; whether utilising new tools, or reinventing the way we approach traditional methods in a busy and noisy marketing environment, we need to be able to create that cut-through.


Stir PR’s Alicia Mellish continues the predictions with her thoughts on evaluation and measurement. With brands still cautious with their budgets and spending, there is more need than ever to provide metrics above and beyond PR value and reach. By working closely with the client from the start to identify genuine business objectives, we have been able to create measurable campaigns that impact consumer behaviour, to deliver the brand’s needs.


Earlier this year, our client, The Glass and Glazing Federation, launched a consumer facing website, - the PR campaign had one very clear objective; drive traffic. By creating the Window With a View competition, we successfully managed to exceed the target of 100,000 hits to the website, proving that the coverage generated was having a genuine impact on consumers.


The challenge of measurement and evaluation is an ongoing one for our industry and something all professionals need to concentrate on. We know nothing beats a good idea, but we need to be able to prove its worth!

Mellish also predicts the ever changing media landscape will continue to develop, largely through the commercialisation of bloggers. Moving away from opinion-led commentary, the biggest bloggers are now businesses, with a team of people growing their brand. Our previous blog  explores the movement towards micro-influencers as mainstream bloggers continue to grow in popularity, which will continue into 2017.


The final trend prediction we explore is Hides’ thoughts around talent. In Manchester specifically we have seen a marketing boom, with more agencies opening and services expanding, making it a vibrant and exciting place to work. But, for many this is leading to a skills shortage – meaning there isn’t enough talent to deliver what has been promised. Here at Refresh PR we are tackling this by focusing on in-house, high level training to upskill our talented team. The Refresh Academy offers our staff the chance to learn and grow and develop the skills we need to keep pace with this fast moving industry.


The Refresh Academy is still in its first year, so in 2017 we will continue to see it grow and develop. As the industry changes, the training we provide our team will grow with it, to ensure we can deliver high-standard service and offering that clients have come to expect.  


So onto 2017, where I am sure we will see even more developments and changes in this exciting sector and watch this space for our PR predictions.




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Is bigger always better? How micro-influencers are putting authenticity back into marketing

Increasingly, social media influencers who amass millions of followers are becoming the new celebrities, working with media partners, such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, as well as luxury brands, including Range Rover and Mulberry.

However, is bigger always better? As an avid viewer of vloggers such as Zoella (11m YouTube subscribers), Fleur de Force (1m YouTube subscribers) and Patricia Bright (980,000 YouTube subscribers), I’ve found a shift in the style of their content has impacted authenticity.  

The blogosphere has changed from a community of people who reply to every comment, struggle to fit blogging around their ‘normal’ day jobs, and share the best bargains at Primark, to an elite group of full-time blogging superstars, with management teams and professional photographers.

This shift, generated as a result of higher earnings from Google, partnerships with brands and the pressure to be politically correct, means that the majority of content is advertorial in nature and no longer as relatable.

There’s no doubt that the success of social media stars is an incredible achievement - they are no longer just internet-famous. Publishing best-sellers, forging TV careers and taking on Hollywood has become the norm.

But today’s savvy consumers are more aware to when they are being targeted by advertising, helped by the Federal Trade Commission’s recent enforcement of actions, influencers need to take to keep advertising clear and conspicuous. Sponsored posts must be clearly marked with the hashtags #spon or #ad in a visible place, which often causes a negative backlash from audiences.

Research from Markerly also shows that Instagram engagement drops as follower numbers rise. While macro-influencers with one to ten million followers have, on average, an engagement rate of 1.66 per cent, those with a reach between of 1,000 and 10,000 have an increased engagement rate of four per cent. Bloggers with fewer than 1,000 have an even higher engagement rate of eight per cent.     

Looking at the general reach of a blog post is no longer enough to see its true value and the return on investment for a campaign; it’s comments and engagements that really matter.

This is good news for smaller brands that may not have the budget to work with talent-managed bloggers, or the resources to spend the time it takes to build a relationship with them.

As we discussed in a previous blog post, the majority of Instagram’s 200,000 advertisers are small businesses, while Buzzfeed reported this week that brands are taking a new approach to target the everyday shopper, by paying people with as little as ten followers to promote products.

It’s important to consider a brand’s objectives before ruling out collaborations with high profile influencers, as there is no doubt that the impact is still impressive. However recognising the relationship between bloggers and their audiences is a great way to keep the authenticity in marketing.



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Refresh captures the best view in Britain


September saw our ‘Window with a View’ campaign with the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) come to an exciting conclusion – and with phenomenal results.

Having launched its consumer advice site in September 2015, the GGF came to us in December looking for ways to raise awareness of the new brand. Its aim was to drive 100,000 consumers to the website by October 2016.

Understanding that visual and interactive campaigns are leading the way in the press and on social media, we devised the ‘Window with a View’; a competition to find the country’s most stunning view through a window.

Since January, we’ve been reaching out to the nation’s tourism attractions, hotels, bars and restaurants – anywhere open to the general public – via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, in the press and even over the phone, encouraging people enter a snap of their best window view to the competition.

We received 150 nominations – including entries from the Houses of Parliament, Titanic Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral, Blackpool Tower and Blackpool Tower – and the competition made the news in every corner of the UK, on TV, in print and – crucially – online. Web coverage was key throughout the campaign, providing opportunity to link back to the site, taking us ever closer to that 100,000 visitors target.

Following an intense judging day, two stages of public voting and an anxious wait to find out which attraction would take the national crown, the Museum of Liverpool was announced as the first ever winner of the Window with a View competition live on BBC Radio Merseyside’s breakfast show at the end of September.

The following week, we were over the moon to hear the news that the 100,000 visitors target had not only been achieved, but exceeded. It just goes to show a well-thought out strategy with a dedicated team behind it can result in great things.

Plans are already in place to launch Year Two in 2017, so watch this space!


Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Facebook, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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AAC back with a bang for 2016


To help make its annual conference the biggest to date, our skincare, cosmetics and nutrition client, Arbonne, tasked us with increasing engagement with delegates on social media.

Arbonne’s Annual Conference (AAC) truly is a celebration of everything that is great about the brand, and this year it welcomed more than 2,000 Arbonne Independent Consultants to the NEC in Birmingham.

The theme for 2016 was ‘Be The Inspiration’ and the event featured motivational speeches from the likes of US comedian, Connie Podesta alongside the launch of Arbonne’s new Festive Collection and an unforgettable ‘Arbonne Does Gatsby’ evening event. As well as celebrating its success in the UK, AAC enabled Arbonne to update delegates on its worldwide expansion programme, which this year saw launches in Taiwan, New Zealand and Poland.

The Refresh PR team was tasked with capturing the energy in the room, delivering accurate and timely posts, in line with Arbonne’s tone of voice, and interacting with any responses. Over the two days we delivered a real time experience on social media, using the live feed feature on Instagram and regular updates on Facebook, which enabled delegates to be part of the action, even if they were unable to attend. As well as this social activity, we interviewed a number of key attendees for vox pops, which were included in the event showcase to encourage further sign up for the 2017 conference.

The team at Arbonne worked tirelessly for months to pull off such a large-scale event (more than 215,000 square feet to be exact!), and the hard work didn’t go unnoticed. With record numbers of Arbonne teams attending and a significant uplift in social media engagement, AAC 2016 was a huge success and planning is already underway for the next big calendar event - the Global Training Conference.




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Why video is vital for PR professionals


As the digital work carried out by PR professionals evolves, it’s no longer a case of simply using it to bolster our ‘traditional’ press office activity and campaigns. More and more, PR professionals are asking whether social media should be the crux of how we reach our audience.


Last week I attended the #PRCADigital event, where the statistics and insights shared came as no surprise. Increasingly clients’ budgets for digital activity is spent on boosting SEO, paid social media activity and creating video based content - with 62 per cent citing this as the main area of spending.


Like many of our clients, we recognise the importance of video based content and this creates a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with other creative businesses, echoing what we discussed in a recent blog post.


Video content has well and truly hit the mainstream. Facebook’s Live function is growing in popularity, highlighting the importance of such content to audiences by allowing users to live-stream videos, a maximum of 30 minute long, directly from their smartphones.


Other social networks are also making a big push on video with Twitter recently announcing it will be launching an app for live-streaming video on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft's Xbox One. This move again highlights how important it is to harness this type of content and create truly integrated campaigns.


As well as these developments by social networks, figures show people spend three times longer watching live video compared to a video that's pre-recorded, which is an important insight for content creators. It shows that it’s the creativity and message that users are responding to and therefore not every video has to be at a Hollywood level of production.


Everyone has the capability to create videos and with the quality of camera phones reaching new heights, consumers, brands and PR professionals can get filming!









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Picture Perfect: Instagram’s latest update to capture businesses’ attention

Instagram has primarily been known for its powerful visuals, beautiful galleries and, let’s face it, funny memes. However, with its latest investment in business tools, small businesses are set to see real results from using the app.


According to Instagram around half of its 500 million monthly active users now follow a business on the platform and 60 percent say they have learned about new products this way.


Last week, the photo sharing app launched Business Profiles for its 200,000 advertisers, with this group primarily made up of small businesses.


So, how will this latest update help businesses target audiences more effectively? One of the main benefits is the insights tool, which takes away the perplexity brands sometimes experience when it comes to measuring the return on investment of uploading an image or video clip.  


This insights tool will, much like Facebook, provide reports on user engagement, the demographic of followers and will also allow brands to turn popular posts into adverts with the click of a button. The latter is particularly beneficial for businesses with smaller budgets, enabling them to effectively try before they buy. This ability to see if content is actually working well offers small businesses the opportunity to be more agile in making changes to capture their audience’s attention.


As well as this insight led change, Business Profiles will be categorised by industry and a new contact button has been introduced to bring users and businesses closer together. This will also allow users to make a quick decision as to how relevant the profile is to them, meaning that analytics will be much more reliable and accurate.


This categorisation by industry signals that Instagram isn’t just for fashion brands showcasing their latest collections; trade and B2B organisations can also benefit. The implementation of Business Profiles could work particularly well in the construction industry. For example, a short video tutorial on how to build or install a product could click through to the product page on the company’s website, providing insights into which content works best and helping to drive sales.


American Express is one business taking Instagram by storm. Although it is a financial services company, it has shown that there are still ways to bring brand personality to life. The company’s 130,000 followers get an exclusive insight into the events that Amex has sponsored and can see user-generated content of experiences that have been made easier by using an American Express card.


This is a landmark moment for any businesses that have historically been tentative about the platform. I think Instagram is for everyone, whether it is a beauty brand, a food and drink business or in the built environment sector. We all have stories to tell, and images and videos are just another way to do it.


No matter what industry you are in, keeping up-to-date with social media developments is crucial and can open new avenues to market. So, what will your profile say about you?





Tagged with: American Express, Business, Instagram, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Ready, Set, Pokemon Go!

Last week saw another social media trend break the internet, and this time it wasn’t Kim Kardashian. It was in fact the latest mobile gaming app set to take the world by storm – introducing… Pokémon Go! With struggling gaming group Nintendo holding a minority share, its launch is being hailed as the brand’s rebirth and it’s no wonder…

By the end of the game’s first weekend in the US, it had already racked up approximately 7.5 million downloads; only two days later this number had more than doubled to 15 million and this was before it even reached the UK. By Thursday of last week though, it had arrived fascinating even the less gaming savvy among us.

The idea behind the game is simple; catch as many Pokémon as you can using a game based on augmented reality. As a result, the concept has really made augmented reality just that: a reality for everyone, as Marketing Week reported recently.

I think this is the unique selling point of this game; it allows us to blur the lines between the Pokémon world and the world we live in. The Pokémon are hidden in the garden, on the street even in offices around the UK - a rather exciting concept. The aim of the game is obvious – ‘you gotta catch em’ all’.

This game has been so popular in the US that it has now overtaken Twitter as the most used app with users spending an average of 33 minutes a day catching Pokémon. Based on the response so far it is likely to do the same in the UK too, particularly as it launched just in time for the school holidays.

Like all social phenomena that appear quickly on our screens, it comes with an army of sceptics. Concerns have been raised asking whether it will lead children into unknown and unsafe areas or result in mobile phone theft as more people go out hunting for Pokémon. Only this week in Manchester, a 15 year old boy was arrested after stealing the phones of two student out playing the game.

However, it’s safe to say that Pokémon Go has started the largest gaming trend in history, and I for one am pretty impressed with the use of augmented reality, bringing to life a popular 90’s kids TV show that has captured the minds of adults and children alike. What’s more, it adds a real sense of hilarity to what was once a mundane walk home from work.

Tagged with: Augmented reality, gaming, Kim Kardashian, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing Week, Nintendo, North West , Pokémon Go!, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Radio campaign, Social Media

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Putting a price on silence

You could be fooled into thinking that money really can buy you anything these days – including silence. Just ask Ryan Giggs, who in 2011 spent £150,000 on a super PR aencies Manchesterinjunction after his affair with “Miss Wales”. Unfortunately for Giggs, Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming, used his parliamentary privilege to ‘out’ the footballer just a few months after the injunction was granted. Hardly money well spent…


More recently, a well-known - but still unnamed - British celebrity was scandalised for their extramarital affair. The individual in question was granted a ‘super-injunction’ for an undisclosed sum after judges decided lifting the ban would have ‘devastating consequences’ for the celebrity’s family. Despite being named in the Scottish press, American press, and on social media, the name has yet to be disclosed in England and Wales.


Is it fair that money can buy you silence? Are such rulings impeding freedom of speech, and is judicial secrecy being overused?


Admittedly these super-injunctions do often protect innocent bystanders such as family and children. Caught up in a mess created by someone else, innocent parties shouldn’t suffer the consequences of a family member’s poor judgement.


Yet with increasing pressure on the law to overturn rulings and rising anger from the media around freedom of speech, speculators have suggested it is only a matter of time before super-injunctions are outlawed.


From Jeremy Clarkson to Andrew Marr and the countless others who had enough money to spare themselves embarrassment, there could be many more skeletons in the closet. Watch this space…





Tagged with: Facebook, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Super injunction, Twitter

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Calling all Consumer Senior Account Managers

Calling all Consumer Senior Account Managers

A new challenge awaits…


At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses.  Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both public and private sectors.


We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the consumer team as our senior account manager and quickly progress to director level with the support of the Refresh Leadership Academy.


You’ll have already gained valuable agency experience so will be really good at developing and managing creative consumer focussed campaigns and PR plans aligned to clients’ objectives.  You’re great at building relationships; you’re a trusted partner to your clients and you’ve proven experience in managing and coaching teams to ensure they are delivering quality results consistently. From networking to developing and delivering pitches, you have a real passion for business development and will want to bring on board new clients which you’re passionate about. 


More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive - a real team player with the ability remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll be confident to manage and develop our talented consumer PR team while supporting with recruitment as the team grows.


Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a sociable bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through our mentoring programme – where our team works alongside experienced PR practitioners - and our structured training and development programme.


Interested in applying or finding out more about the role? Send your CV to






Tagged with: , account director, Jobs, Manchester, opportunities, opportunity, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, senior account manager, Social Media, vacancies, Vacancy

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New Instagram logo – love it or loathe it?

Instagram this week revealed a new logo and look. Gone is the retro brown icon which has become recognisable by Instagrammers all over the world since it launched in 2010, replaced by a simpler outline of a Polaroid camera with a pink, purple and orange coloured background.

Commenting on its blog about the change, Instagram said: “The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.”

While the new look may be intended to reflect a new era of Instagram, the reaction from the public has been mixed. From GIFs mocking how simple it looked to create to some, um, interesting descriptions of what the new logo looks like (“As if the camera was murdered, and chalk was drawn around its body. Murdered at sundown”), social media users, journalists and marketing professionals alike have all been quick to voice their opinions online.

On an online poll on The Telegraph, recent stats show 82 per cent of voters prefer the old logo while only 18 per cent prefer the new one. And how did I vote? I voted that I prefer the new one. “WHY?” I hear you cry. “It looks like it’s been designed by an eight-year-old on Microsoft Paint!! #Facepalm”

Listen up people. For brands to be successful and remain relevant to their customers and users, they have to evolve and adapt. And often that means updating its branding to mark this change and new chapter in its development.

Instagram has come a long way since it was first launched. It’s not just used to document photos of dinners and dogs anymore, it’s a powerful tool for individuals, businesses and organisations to communicate their ideas, thoughts, beliefs and creativity. From politicians and celebrities to bloggers and people like you and me, 400 million people all around the world now use the platform.

So let’s not get caught up in how the logo looks – let’s explore new ways of using the platform to communicate, engage and inspire – and of course, post pictures of our meals and cute baby animals.



Tagged with: Instagram, Logo, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Joe Wicks: The lean, mean, Instagram machine

I have a bit of an obsession with Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, and no – it’s not for the reasons you think. The personal trainer – who encourages people to rethink how they train and eat to get into shape – has racked up a staggering 758,000 Instagram followers. And as his fame has been growing – both on and offline – so too has his success. Not only have 100,000 people signed up to his 90 Day Shift, Shape and Sustain (SSS) Plan, but his new cook book Lean in 15 has become the fastest selling book ever released by a chef and he was also named one of “Britain’s 500 most influential people” by the Sunday Times.  


So how has Joe used Instagram to help fuel his success and build up an online community of loyal fans and customers?


1. Video

Joe’s regular features on his Instagram feed include his quirky #Leanin15 videos, where he reveals a quick and simple video of a healthy recipe which takes just 15 minutes to create, and example videos of his HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. There are a multitude of stats out there to illustrate just how effective video can be in marketing and it’s estimated that 74 per cent of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video in 2017. Joe’s videos are short, quirky and informative – just what people want from online videos.


2. Tone of voice

Midget trees, prepping like a boss, the sad step, bosh, GUILTEEEE are all words and phrases commonly used by Joe and his fans alike. His humorous language shows his personality, makes health and fitness fun, and sets him apart from the thousands of other fitness and food bloggers. I have a sneaky suspicion that due to Joe’s increasingly busy schedule he may not upload all of his Instagram content himself (sorry if I’m mistaken though Joe!) but it doesn’t matter if he’s got a team supporting him – and you probably wouldn’t even notice. Thanks to Joe’s distinct tone of voice, along with the familiar types of content, everything on his feed is very on brand and in line with what his thousands of followers have grown to love and expect.



3. User generated content and community engagement

Joe’s main aim is to get people fit and healthy, and nothing shows this more than the transformation pictures he posts of customers who are doing or have completed the 90 day SSS plan. Along with the ‘before and after’ comparison photos, Joe includes a quote from the customer about how they have found the fitness and eating schedule. Not only is it a great advert for the plan (the transformations are amazing – where do I sign up?!) but it’s a fantastic way to engage with people. As well as getting a personal ‘well done’ from Joe, the users whose photos are posted will receive words of encouragement from his followers too. It’s a really positive experience for those involved and a great way to encourage people to be an active part of Joe’s gang.  


The Body Coach Instagram account has been a firm favourite of mine for a while now - it’s inspiring, informative and inclusive. With a good understanding of how to use the tools available, consistent messaging and effective community engagement, Joe has been able to create and build his brand which is now recognisable all over the world. So sit up, take note and get your own Instagram account in shape!








Tagged with: Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Are you Peachy keen?

So there is a new kid on the block, a social media platform that is getting a hammering on the download charts and causing ripples amongst the major players in social networking. Named Peach it could be said to be the virtual lovechild of Facebook and Tumblr. In basic terms, it’s social media messaging minus the effort. 


What makes Peach unique is the existence of ‘magic words’, so keywords that act as text commands allowing the author to share information with his or her network quicker.


For example, prompts like “song” commands Peach to “listen” to what you’re playing and paste the song title/artist into a new status update. Peach will also let your network know what the weather is like where you are, it can pin point your location, and even share the percentage of your phone’s battery life. Peach also has an in-house GIF-maker – which is lots of fun!!


The core aim of Peach is to keep users more easily connected and equip users to share content with greater ease; the technical term for which is being touted as ‘contextual data’.  It’s similarly used by platforms such as Snapchat, which uses filters specific to a certain context.


The question is whether Peach will put a dent into the existing social media matrix or if will disappear like so many others that have gone before it. Command-prompts along with contextual data have been inherently linked before now, the difference with Peach, is that it has neatly packaged both together in an intelligent, user friendly app.  


Peach certainly seems to be leveraging wider cultural trends, namely jumping on the bandwagon of private social networks, since Peach allows you to share stuff, but only to your close network. It supports native multimedia content, relies on emojis and makes content sharing more efficient. As far as using social media platforms go, we are certainly becoming lazier and less reliant on manual information-finding and more reliant on a social network’s ability to allow us to share information efficiently, spoon feeding us content that we wish to consume and interact with without having to spend time looking for it.


As a result, we’re likely to see a continued shift towards contextual data applications but whether or not Peach will do damage to the likes of Facebook will be down to how quickly they and the other big players adapt to changes in social behaviour. If you’d like to find out more about Peach or need some advice about which social media platforms you should be utilising to support your business, call Refresh on 0161 8711 188.



Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , Peach, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Spooktacular Halloween

Each October the UK is engulfed and bewitched by Halloween costumes, props and products. It is becoming a much loved event for children, adults and not surprisingly brands, especially on social media. Last year, retailers were expected to see a £330 million boost in sales, an astonishing amount compared to the meagre £12 million spent in 2001. Therefore, it is no surprise that brands areRefresh PR Manchester using social media to engage with their consumers, whether it is to increase company sales or just to have a little bit of ghoulish fun.


The great thing about social media is the ‘social’ aspect, especially during timely events such as Halloween, because everybody can get involved. In a world which now focuses heavily on digital and social media, the realms of creativity for brands are endless.

We have selected a couple of examples that we loved last Halloween based on their creativity.  


Mobile network Three helped customers choose their last-minute Halloween costumes with an interactive Vine video, allowing them to flick through a mountain of interactive cards and ‘click’ to discover their perfect costume!


Oreo Cookie, known for amazing campaigns, went all out last year and created the online #OreoLab. Oreo posted five Vines in the run up to Halloween, showcasing different creations made in the Oreo Lab. See some of the examples here. The Oreo Lab Nomster was a Refresh PR favourite. You can understand why we’re looking forward to seeing what the brand does this year!


Brands such as Coca-Cola, Pringles and Guinness also put a twist on infamous logos for the seasonal event and we can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves this October!  


And if you’re looking for thrills, screams and a fright night in Manchester, look no further than Manchester’s number one scare attraction ‘House of Dead’ at the Great Northern. House of Dead opened its doors to the public from October 9th ‘til the end of the Halloween season. It looks frighteningly good!






Tagged with: Halloween, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, Social Media

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Refresh PR whips up a storm in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

On Friday 25th September we rolled up our sleeves, dug out our whisks and all got baking in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Refresh PR Manchester


With recipes including raspberry brownies, lemon layered sponge cake and cherry and almond cake, we pulled out all the stops to deliver a variety of sweet treats in order to tempt our neighbours into digging deep for charity.


We opened our doors from 11am, welcoming neighbours and passers-by with a chance to indulge on a Friday afternoon. As the day came to a close we also went out and about in the Northern Quarter to sell the remaining cakes, ensuring we collected the most we could for charity.  


On the day we managed to tempt our favourite Tariff Street haunts into generously parting with their cash, with Tariff and Dale, The Whiskey Jar and newcomer The Pen and Pencil all making a donation in return for cakes. Neighbours such as My Clever Agency, Paul Danson Imagineering and Spacemen helped us raise a grand total of £70.


We want to say a huge thank you to all of our generous neighbours who made a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support – with a special thank you to Tariff and Dale, which kindly let us sell cakes to all of its customers, and the team at Paul Danson Imagineering which generously donated in return for a full tray of our remaining cakes.


Refresh PR’s Gemma Killackey commented, “As a team we were delighted to have contributed to Macmillan Cancer Support. This is an extremely worthwhile charity which supports not only cancer suffers, but also their families, helping them cope with the illness. The money raised from our cake sale and the infamous coffee mornings which took place up and down the country will go towards ensuring those facing cancer are not alone – this is something we are proud to have been a part of.”


This year alone Macmillan Cancer Support has raised nearly £1,000,000 from coffee mornings across the UK.







Tagged with: , Charity PR, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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A lot can ‘appen in a week

Heading into the app store can sometimes seem as overwhelming as checking out the shelves of an overstuffed shop; there’s just so much to look at and such a lot of it seems useful! Following extensive research into the most popular apps around (yes, including Candy Crush and the Kim Kardashian game), team Refresh has compiled the seven most useful apps – one for each day of the week, and of course they accompany old faithfuls such as social media, messaging apps and storage!  



An ultra-busy day at work means nipping out for lunch can be tricky, however, you may well be tempted by a post-weekend treat. Step in Deliveroo, which allows users to order from their favourite restaurant and have their ideal meal delivered straight to their desk. With many of Manchester’s most popular eateries already signed up, this is the perfect app for those who fancy a cheeky burger for their Monday midday meal.



Stay fully organised throughout the week using Evernote, a productivity app that makes syncing devices, to-do lists and even documents ultra-simple. Ideal for workers on the go, Evernote acts like a digital personal assistant – think of it as Siri meets Stepford Wives.



Ever wondered how much (or how little!) activity you actually undertake in the day? Then you need to download Moves. This app tracks how much physical activity you complete in terms of time, actual steps, distance and calories burnt; ideal for those who are working on their fitness, Moves can even be used to set targets and will reward you with personal bests.



Late night shopping on Thursday may inspire a cheeky post-work trip to buy a weekend outfit. Ensure you’re getting the best possible price for your splurge by downloading Quick Scan Bar Code Scanner before you shop. Simply open the app and photograph a product’s bar code; the app will then show where the item can be bought and will show you which store is offering the best price, leaving you with more spending money in your pocket.



The best music always seems to play on the office radio on Fridays. While this is no bad thing (who isn’t happy when Crazy In Love plays on Kisstory?), what can be annoying is when an absolute tune plays but the name of the track or artist cannot be remembered. Worry not; simply open Shazam and hold your phone in the direction of the music. Shazam will tell you the artist and song name and can even link up to iTunes so you can buy it.



Taxi to your favourite haunt on a Saturday with Uber, which can be booked and paid for via your smartphone. This app proves especially useful when heading home with, perhaps, a little less cash to hand then you originally planned at the start of the night. It has rescued us on many occasions.



Find that those Saturday night selfies don’t look quite as fresh upon review on Sunday? Filter to your heart’s content with FaceTune to make sure none of the weekend’s shots are duds. Providing more editing options than Instagram, FaceTune is an ultra-simple way to improve your pictures. Be warned however, the temptation to stray into Mariah Carey levels of airbrushing can be all too tempting; less is often more.


We’d love to know what apps are your essentials throughout the week, be they for selfies, storage, social media or singing  – tweet us @RefreshPR or simply comment below.





Tagged with: Best apps, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR advice, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Instagram Masterclass Success

Last Thursday Refresh PR teamed up with CIM Manchester and The Talk of Manchester to deliver an event for our client, STM Photography.Refresh PR Manchester

Dubbed ‘The Art of Photography and its role within the Marketing Mix’, over 60 marketers from across the city headed over to STM Photography’s food and drink studio on Naval Street in Ancoats to glean insights from the experts.   

With mouth-watering food being served from the kitchen every five minutes, there were plenty of opportunities for delegates to snap away. Several STM Photography team members were on hand to provide tips and pointers, which meant the standard of photography got better anRefresh PR Manchesterd better throughout the evening culminating in a winner being presented with a prize for their efforts.

As the first CIM Manchester event of 2015, it looks set to be an exciting year for the organisation.

Why not visit Instagram and Twitter and search #STMmasterclass to take a look at just some of the photos from the evening.






Tagged with: Food & Drink, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Refresh PR encourages consumers to Ask for Underfloor

Refresh PR has been appointed by British trade association BEAMA Underfloor Heating to promote a new national campaign which encourages homeowners to fit underfloor heating in their homes.


The independent consumer campaign, ‘Ask For Underfloor’, will target homeowners who are renovating or updating their home to help them understand the benefits of underfloor heating, as well as housebuilders to encourage them to specify underfloor heating in new builds.


Having impressed the trade association with its experience and contacts within the target markets, Refresh PR has delivered a strategic plan to reach all sectors and ensure far reaching coverage. Launching with a national survey of UK homeowners, Refresh PR will undertake daily press office activity, face-to-face journalist briefings and also take the lead on internal communication to the group’s 35 plus UK-wide members.


Chairman of BEAMA Underfloor Heating, Chris Ingram, said: “An initial survey conducted by Refresh PR enabled us to back up the strong claims that our industry has been making for some time to show just how in demand a home with underfloor heating really is.  From this, the campaign messages were easy to formulate.  Refresh PR has impressed us with its industry and technical knowledge and we are confident that the team will have every success.”


Director of Refresh PR, Laura Mashiter, said: “As the housing market begins to pick up, now is the time to increase communications with those who are looking to upgrade, improve and move home. Underfloor heating has traditionally been seen as an aspirational luxury, but it’s more affordable and attainable than many think.  With systems available for existing homes that don’t require major building work, we’ll be making sure our audience knows the facts.”


Following recent successes including several new client wins, Refresh PR is looking to recruit new team members. More information about the Ask For Underfloor campaign is available at





Tagged with: Built Environment, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Are you being served on social media?

New statistics state that a third of us Brits will complain about bad service or our dissatisfaction with a brand via social media. I have to admit that I too have done this (the company I was complaining about shall remain nameless).

Increasingly, businesses have to use social media as a direct customer enquiry line: an enquiry line which is instant and more visible than any phone call or email.

Consumers have to simply take to Twitter or Facebook to vent their frustrations, avoiding the traditional ‘press one for support’ and ‘please hold’ of customer helplines. Using social media puts complaints firmly in the public domain.  

Therefore it’s imperative to get customer service on social media right. Not only can the whole world see a customer complaint or query, they can also see any mistakes in handling the enquiry and can even chip in with their own opinion. BT Sport was inundated with tweets about customers being unable to log in on mobiles and tablets to watch the debut match from the new sports channel. Such was the attention on social media, the complaints even caught the eye of the media. By Sunday morning, news pieces, such as this article from the Sunday Mirror, were commenting on the technical glitch and the football fans’ anger.   

Social media is quick and likewise, so should be the response to any complaint on it. Showing speedy, effective customer service online makes the complainant happy but also serves as a fantastic advert to the professionalism of a business. It also allows brands to take control, halt any escalation of conversations and put things right quickly.

Alongside providing great customer service, there’s another incentive to effectively use social media. Seventy per cent of consumers who have had a complaint dealt with on social media go on to purchase from the brand again, as research announced by Business Reporter shows.

So what’s the easiest way of handling complaints on social media?

Many brands have opted for specific accounts for handling customer enquiries. Sainsbury’s has @sainsburys for recipes, competitions and customer support and @SainsburysPR for company news and releases. Using this practice keeps the excellent news that a brand wants to shout to the world away from customers querying home delivery times or the availability of their favourite ready meal.

If this all sounds rather gloomy, then fear not, social media customer enquiries can be positive. Many consumers will tweet brands to ask about products they love or to simply say how much they enjoyed their experience.

I regularly tweet restaurants and bars if I’ve had a good time there, and it’s really satisfying when I receive a tweet back in thanks, or even in jest (thanks Betty’s in York, Teacup in Manchester and Patisserie Valerie!). Getting live positive feedback from customers is great for staff morale and is fabulous free marketing for a brand.

Social media also offers an insight into the mind of customers, an insight which can be used to plan strategies, competitions, new products and more.

The Drum recently offered some more top tips for using social media as a customer enquiry channel.

One thing everyone agrees on: no brand should ignore social media and the power it has to persuade new or repeat custom. A bad experience or even worse, no experience via social media, could lose a customer for life.

To talk about what your business could gain from social media, why not give Refresh PR a call?

Tagged with: customer service, Facebook, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Social media in the spotlight - and top tips from Refresh PR

It’s a big week for social media.  Just two days ago Twitter’s Tony Wang was forced to issue an apology over vile tweets sent by its users, and tonight Channel 4’s Dispatches ‘Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans’ will add even more fuel to the fire. 


The Dispatches team describes tonight’s hour long programme as an undercover investigation into the real vs the not-so-real ‘in the brave new online world’.  It will go on to expose ‘new tricks used by marketeers’ to promote brands, such as the purchase of likes, follows, connections and views in order to boost awareness.


While buying likes isn’t a new concept to anyone close to the industry, most PRs will have a strong opinion on the issue.  What’s unclear is why this should be given air time now, when this strategy has been used by some in the marketing world for years?  Perhaps due to articles rumbling in the Indian press recently? But on the other hand, if highlighting it can enable more brand managers, MDs and marketing directors (hopefully) to get to grips with what’s really important about social media, let’s bring it to the table.


Social media isn’t going to go away, after all, to a whole generation this is the norm.  It will only evolve and change, faster than communication channels have ever changed before.  So to brand owners, the issue is now about how (not if) a brand chooses to use social media, and the true value it brings as a result.


Social media as a PR tool


As a PR consultant, I’m firmly (and naturally) in the camp which says that social media sits under the PR umbrella, not with the marketing/advertising/sales function.  It’s not about buying ‘likes’ or a hard sell – it never has been.   


Rather, social media is another tool in our kit which helps brands to engage with customers.  It works as part of a PR campaign and can help to boost awareness, reinforce (or change) perception and get closer to customers.  It also provides real value, delivering instant insight that’s never previously been available in this format, on a channel that’s more open and honest than ever before.


So, social media is about engagement.  Simple.  It is about creating a brand personality through the production of relevant content that the target audience wants to follow, then using it in a way which involves the audience in order to gain credibility and grow.  It’s also a key tool for customer service.  It’s why well-trained, hard-working social media community managers are employed to watch, manage, update and react.   The more a brand engages with its audience, the more responsive the audience will be.  Trust is earned, personality communicated, and ultimately brand loyalty sought.  Sophie Barton, PR and social media manager for Ann Summers, writes all about building a relationship and creating engagement within the social community in today’s The Drum – it’s worth a read.


Regardless of the reasons for setting up a social media account, long gone (and short lived at that) are the days when brands crudely determined the success of a campaign solely on the number of ‘likes’ or ‘views’ gained.  Our clients certainly work with us to set out a strategy for engagement, determine how the success of it will be measured, and then we get on with it.  And getting on with it often means a lot of hard work; fans and followers worth having don’t appear over night, they have to be attracted to a brand on social media to deem it worthy of a ‘like’ or ‘follow’. 


And quite right too. 


So, while to many of us in the industry this is certainly not a ‘new world’ as Dispatches claims, it will be interesting to see how the British public receives the programme.  I’ll await the Sky News press preview at 11.30pm – after I’ve already read 2.5 hours’ worth of Tweets and Facebook posts full of opinion and comment on the programme.


Try the below tips to help your brand really engage credibly with your audience


1.      Choose the right channel for your brand.  It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach – different channels can help to achieve different results

2.      Know your target audience – and know why

a.      Know why you are targeting these people.  Why is social media a better way to reach the audience than another communication channel such as magazines, newspapers or radio?  Make sure you are using social media for the right reasons

b.      Analyse who you want to target – then ensure the community manager (and anyone else with access to the account) has this in mind ahead of every update post

c.      Review your audience regularly – who is following, has it changed, does it consist of more or less of your target audience than before?

d.      Apply common sense – if your target is a new mum, posts during a baby’s mid-morning kip would be better than posts at meal times.  If your target is a teenager, posts before or after-school will gain more engagement

3.      Think about what you want your audience to do when they read a post:

a.      Talk back to you?

b.      Go to your website?

c.      Walk to a shop and purchase a product in-store?

d.      Simply know you’re there to listen if required?

e.      Share your news?

f.       Think more positively about your brand?

All of the above influence what you will post, how you post it and how you measure the response.

4.      Keep it simple.  Use clear messaging and easy-to-read updates

5.      Offer something – and this doesn’t need to be a prize.  It could be knowledge or breaking news

6.      Don’t post too frequently – consider what’s acceptable to your audience and respect that


For more information about social media and using it as part of a PR strategy, contact Refresh PR on 0161 871 1188, or even better, talk to us @RefreshPR.  For more measurement information visit Social Media Examiner.


Tagged with: Channel 4, Dispatches, Facebook, Manchester, North West , opinion, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PR North West, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Social Media Manchester, Twitter

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“How will you cope?”

That was the main question I was asked when I announced to the rest of the Refresh PR team that I wouldn’t be taking my mobile phone on holiday. In fact, that was the question most of my friends asked me too.

Despite the fact that I am always found within millimetres of my iPhone when I’m at home, for the past five years I have left my phone turned off and in the UK when travelling abroad.

I do this for a number of reasons:

1.       Surprisingly, it is nice to have a break from: texting, whatsapping, imessaging, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming – after all I do this all day every day, so why would I want to do it on holiday?

2.       I find that I actually enjoy myself more by not having my phone glued to my hand and I’m not worried about losing it, damaging it or having it stolen

3.       As an aside, I think  people will like me more for it, as it saves me from boring my contacts to death with holiday photos and updates

4.       Crucially, it means that I don’t run up extremely high phone bills and roaming charges too

However, this year for the first time, I realised how much we really have come to depend on the smartphone.

To begin, it didn’t occur to me to take a watch on holiday in order to be able to tell the time as I always rely on my laptop or mobile to do that for me. As a result, I spent most of the week living life in the dark ages, trying to use the position of the sun as some kind of guide.

I also realised how much I rely on social media and apps to provide me with the latest news. It wasn’t until Monday lunchtime that I found out that Andy Murray had become the first British man to win Wimbledon in over 77 years. How did I find out? By reading the front page of The Sun of course!

Now, as you can imagine the friends that I went on holiday with most definitely did not leave their phones at home and were glued to them throughout the week. Rachel phoned home on a number of occasions in order to speak to her dog! Meanwhile Natalie and Nikki were busy uploading photos to Facebook and Twitter.

In fact, such was their need to go on Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp, we could only eat at restaurants that had free Wi-Fi! Their desperate need to connect to the internet meant that they asked for the Wi-Fi code before even looking at the menu.

All I can say is that I am quite relieved that Kate Middleton didn’t go into labour during the past seven days, as I would have been a bit disappointed if I had missed that.

Tagged with: Andy Murray, Facebook, Holiday, Instagram, iPhone, Kate Middleton, Leisure, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Refresh PR, Smartphone, Social Media, The Sun, Twitter, Whatsapp, Wimbledon

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Refresh PR runs Twitter Q&A with client Polypipe Home Solutions

Have you a burning question about heating your home? Are you fighting for furniture space with your radiators? Or are your curtains staying cosy while they cover an under-window radiator, while you’re still snuggling into a onesie on the sofa whilst relaxing in the evening?


Perhaps you’ve recently received a quote from a plumber and you’d like a second opinion?


Or, do you read OK! magazine every week and secretly yearn for a celebrity style home, complete with underfloor heating to pad around, but think this is impossible without an enormous celebrity salary (we’re looking at you Kylie, with your £2m cheque for a 60 minute gig at a hotel launch)?


Well here’s your chance to get these questions and more answered when Refresh PR assists client Polypipe Home Solutions with its first live Twitter Q&A session on the 28th June.


Having launched @PolypipeHome for Polypipe Home Solutions, Refresh PR’s tracking tools noticed an increasing number of homeowner and self-builder conversations on such subjects. Running a Q&A session directly from those in the know is just one way that the brand will be interacting with its customers over the coming few months.


So homeowners, get tweeting!


Tagged with: , Polypipe Home Solutions, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Q&A session, Social Media, Twitter, Twitter Q&A

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Tweets turn up the heat on mainstream media

For as long as I’ve been on Twitter (and it’s been a while), I have wanted to write a blog about the site’s hypnotic pull on people’s curiosity.

The foundation of its success stems from the short, sharp bites of news that are easily consumed (or disregarded) by followers. Although very frustrating at times, the 140 character curse, as some people refer to it, is in fact a blessing in disguise.

What Twitter seems to have grasped that Facebook hasn’t, is if you give someone a limited amount of space, they’ll get straight to the point. Granted, it won’t always be thrilling, and you may have to sift through posts about your friend’s lunch choices, but in general the premise does work. The ‘what I’m doing now’ notion seems to have lost its way on Facebook recently. In my opinion, the share button has become an invitation to pollute newsfeeds with endless amounts of friendship quotes and animal abuse awareness – neither of which I enjoy over lunch to be honest. I’m pretty sure Facebook wanted it to mimic the RT function that Twitter has successfully established, but it’s fast becoming an annoying burden to a lot of users.

Facebook’s spiral from ‘social’ to ‘spam’ has left the door open for Twitter to capitalise on the hordes of news hungry folk searching for the latest on current affairs, celebrity gossip and global trends.

If you’re a regular user of Twitter you’ll know the fastest way to access any breaking news is to check your newsfeed – not a credible, mainstream news website. The reason for this? There are many factors, not least the journalists’ ability to tweet live from ‘the scene’ and on the go. There’s no waiting around for the online team to upload it to the web, and it’s a great tool for brand awareness of course.

If you were critical, you’d think the bigwigs at the mainstream news channels would be twitchy about reporters and journos speaking directly to the public without edits, but in fact it’s a sure-fire way of gaining exclusivity and staying ahead of the competition. Not only that, working in the industry myself, it seems the mechanic of Twitter has restored the old school investigative journalistic values that have been lost in recent years due to budget restrictions.

A great example of this is Manchester’s local newspaper, the Manchester Evening News. Always a credible source for breaking news, the M.E.N was quick to spring into action when the city centre was rocked by a bomb scare in February this year. As Refresh PR is based in Piccadilly Gardens (one street away from the suspicious package), it was vital that we kept up-to-date with the changing developments. The paper’s journalists, who were at the scene, fast became the number one source for local businesses, residents and the wider media. Our decision to evacuate the building came directly from the advice of one particular M.E.N journalist on Twitter – powerful stuff, eh?

Whether you buy into the hype or not, one thing is for sure - Twitter is gaining pace and seems to be ahead of Facebook in predicting what its audience wants next. It should be an interesting year ahead for the social site, as Facebook announces plans to integrate the hashtag into its user interface. Only time will tell how that’ll work out, but no one likes a copycat, Zuckerberg!  

Want to hear more of my musings? Follow me @GemmaC_PR.


Tagged with: , Facebook, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Refresh PR launches video as part of campaign for client OTONE Audio

Our client, speakers brand OTONE AUDIO, has been exhibiting at the Gadget Show Live 2013 this week. We have worked with them to create a cheeky film asking the show’s gadget loving crowd how it likes to relax and let loose... We got some pretty funny responses! Check out the video here:

Tagged with: , Birmingham, Facebook, Home Interest, Leisure, Manchester, NEC. Gadget Show Live, Otone Audio, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Retail, Social Media, Twitter, YouYube

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Refresh PR supports client OTONE at the Gadget Show Live 2013

This week Refresh PR travelled to Birmingham’s NEC with long-standing client,OTONE Audio, to support the speaker systems company at the Gadget Show Live 2013.

Plans have been in place for months and activity has been ramped up during the past few weeks as Team Refresh has worked hard to arrange offline coverage and organise a full day of press appointments on stand. To complement the offline activity, a carefully crafted social media campaign has been running in the build-up to the show, complete with competitions and a video (to be release shortly…watch this space!).

Yesterday two team members helped OTONE Audio meet and greet the media including tech journalists and bloggers from national newspapers and magazines on the press day. OTONE was showcasing its two major product launches – the Soundship and Soundship Micro, and the Soundbar – both of which the journalists seemed very taken with.

The day was highly successful for OTONE and the team was thrilled to receive tweets and praise from the press. Technology blogger Twin Geeks tweeted: “I was loving the new @otoneaudio Soundship - can't wait to try it out and you can expect a review soon!”

Other press delegates to visit the stand were representatives of What HiFi, Tech Strike, Gadget Helpline, The Full Setup, The Digital Lifestyle,. BBC Radio Lancashire, Connected Digital World, MixMag, Channel 4’s S4C and Performance Magazine UK – quite a line up.

Instant feedback about the products from social media is fantastic but the success of the press day at The Gadget Show Live – which saw us interacting with visitors and running competitions as well as blasting out Gangnam Style– will be shown over the next few weeks as the team returns and rolls its sleeves up to deliver on the media opportunities.

Meanwhile, if you’re at the show this week, why not head to stand D80 to see the OTONE products and meet the team for yourself.

Tagged with: , gadgets, Lifestyle, Otone, PR, Public Relations North West, Social Media, technology, The Gadget Show

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Go go Gadget Show Live 2013

Apologies for the bad Inspector Gadget pun.

Here at Refresh we are looking forward to our trip to the Gadget Show Live 2013 next week, taking place at Birmingham’s NEC.

We’ll be heading down to the show with our client Otone who’ll be launching its new, powerful soundbar and two spaceship-style speaker docks (come and check them out, and you’ll know what we mean!).

As well as the cool new products, Otone will be showing off its full range of existing speakers to technology enthusiasts, professionals and journalists at the show.

One guest we’re especially excited to meet is Youtube sensation and gadget enthusiast Mr Thai Box, who’ll be popping along to check out Otone’s new products so he can feature them in his video blog.

Be aware, our film crew will be working their way around the NEC looking for volunteers for a video project (don’t worry we won’t be asking you to sing. We’re not searching for the next Rebecca Black. One is enough!).

Also the Otone ‘big o’ (cheeky) will be at the stand with our promo girls. Guests who pose with the O are automatically entered into our exclusive Otone competitions for free products and more!

And of course we’ll be keeping an eye out for celebrity guests. Along with The Gadget Show’s presenters (see picture of Jason Bradbury on stand), last year’s special surprise guest was 50 Cent (someone we’d definitely let take us to the candy shop).

There’ll be updates, sneak peeks and competition winner announcements from Otone throughout the event so pay attention to their Twitter and Facebook pages.

The Gadget Show Live starts on the 2nd April. If you’re going make sure to say hi, we’ve giveaways and freebies on offer all week.

Check out Otone's site for more information on their products and The Gadget Show Live:

Tagged with: Birmingham NEC, Facebook, Jason Bradbury, Lifestyle, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Social Media, The Gadget Show, Twitter

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Facebook starts work on using Twitter style hashtags

Until now, the hashtag has mostly been the preserve of Twitter, however a report in the Wall Street Journal says Facebook is working on adding hashtag use to the site. Posts by users would be grouped by hashtag into personalised newspapers.


For example, if tonight we’re all talking about the Rovers Return burning down (will Sunita burn!?), then Facebook would create a special update listing everyone’s posts together.


However, it wouldn’t be just your friends who’d see your posts. In a drive to make Facebook more and more public, the entire network of users would appear on a hashtag post unless you changed your privacy settings.


It began its move towards more public facing content when it added the subscribe option to each member’s page. This option allowed people to follow selected posts without being friends with them. Celebrities including Victoria Beckham and Jessica Alba were quick to pick up on this feature.


Facebook and Twitter are already fierce rivals, and Facebook hopes to increase its lead by adding this element to the site, although it will be quite a while until this feature is added.


Personally, I’m not thrilled by the idea – isn’t Facebook about sharing things with family and friends?


In other hashtag news, Will.I.Am has released his latest single, a duet with Justin Bieber called #thatpower. Our opinion: #epicfail

Tagged with: Coronation Street, Facebook, hashtags, Jessica Alba, Justin Bieber, Manchester, North West , PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter, Victoria Beckham, Will.I.Am

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Promoting a hashtag increases tweets about a TV show by a massive 63%

A new study by Brandmatch has looked at the characteristics of a sample of Twitter users. The study reveals that while women tweet more, men are more likely to have a moan and complain via the social networking site.

Interestingly, the report also finds that TV shows promoting a hashtag at the beginning of transmission saw massive increases in the number of Twitter users commenting and talking about the show.


For example, when X Factor used the hashtag ‘#xfactor’, it got 63% more tweets than shows that didn’t use a hashtag.


That’s a huge increase in online traffic; and if all these people are talking about your show or product (hashtags also feature in adverts) online, you could also consider how many people will turn over to watch or research what’s creating the Twitter frenzy.


It’s like an enormous living room of people discussing their viewing habits together.


The survey also found that viewers of Downton Abbey tweeted throughout the show whereas Homeland viewers only tweeted before the show started or after it had concluded.


This seems perfectly plausible to me. Poor Downton Abbey viewers have to go for the hardship of beloved characters dying unexpectedly every week (i.e. cousin Matthew and Lady Sybil). Of course they’re going to tweet ‘OMG’ mid episode.


#Jointheconversation with @RefreshPR on Twitter. We'd love to hear your thoughts.


Tagged with: Brandmatch, Downton Abbey, Lifestyle, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, report, Social Media, Twitter, X Factor

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Pinterest’s got my interest

According to a recent survey by Active Network, nearly half of social media users have taken some type of action offline (such as purchasing an item or attending an event) because they’ve interacted with a social networking site. The survey found that Facebook drives the most offline actions; a whopping 87% said that they had taken some form of action having had an interaction via Facebook.


Across the five social networks studied – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter - what was interesting for me to read was that it was Pinterest that provoked the second most number of offline actions.


I started my Pinterest account last year, using it at Christmas to inspire ideas for the Christmas table decorations, and creating several boards linked to work. However last Saturday I discovered a whole host of funky gadgets on there, and in the space of about 30 minutes I amassed a board full of ideas for the Refresh PR office of the future. Giant grass, a very cool fridge and an aquarium coffee table are on the list.


But it’s this gadget – the iPhone projector - that has, in the space of 24 hours, been repined 60+ times and liked 30+ times. It’s not a particularly new gadget, in fact it’s been out a while. For this reason I hope the company’s PR agency is thanking me for the 100+ interactions I’ve generated for them over Pinterest. The audience is certainly out there on this social media platform; it’s an audience that welcomes new ideas and new information.


So which companies should be looking at using Pinterest in a PR campaign?


If you have a new product that has a real point of difference – and it’s easy to visualise – get working at Pinterest. From my experience, to promote the launch of a product for the home – a new living room accessory, kitchen appliance or simply a new range of wallpaper or bed linen – Pinterest is one social media channel that I’d recommend considering. This goes for gadgets such as household speaker systems and clever furniture ideas such as space saving shelves. In fact, pick up a copy of Ideal Home magazine, read the product pages and that’s what I’m expecting to see even more of on Pinterest going forward.


I’d also expect to see more food and drink images on Pinterest soon, as budding chefs pin their carefully crafted creations to inspire the nation. In fact, to build up a portfolio of images while experimenting with recipes and meals is a great vehicle to promoting their own abilities.


After all, if an iPhone projector that’s been out for 12+ months can create 100 interactions in 24 hours, think how word could spread for you – whatever your reason for pinning an image.


And now to apply it to our clients and generate the same response – it’s on next week’s to do list already. If you want to follow what I’m doing, here are my boards 



Tagged with: Manchester, Pinterest, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Can we fix it? Yes we can: Why we need Home Improvement Blogs

What do you do when you’re not sure what tiles to lay in your new bathroom, or which type of shelving unit to install? You may pop down to B&Q and ask them what you should do, or may do a quick Google search to try and find an answer. Ever increasingly, you will find that a Google search will lead you to home improvement and DIY blog posts about your problem of choice. Be it top tips, Q&As, DIY projects or guest blogs about specific products; home improvement blogs have more of a role to play now than ever before. Blogs can be run by tradesman, who know their industry inside out and can provide you with inside knowledge without having to cough up for it, or by brave folk who may be undergoing a huge renovation and letting everyone know the dos and don’ts of a big project.

The fact is that a home improvement blog provides you, as a consumer, with better and impartial knowledge of the products out there and the amount of blogs out there is only increasing. The popularity of DIY blogs is on the up as the housing market struggles; many property oweners are opting to improve rather than move, and often undertake work themselves. Seeking free help from online experts has been the answer for many residents across the UK.

So, whether you’re nosey and want to check out other people’s projects or need top tips for your own project, be sure to check some home improvement blogs out!

Here are some of the UK’s top home improvement blogs that have hit the nail on the head:

Top Home Improvement Blogs:

1. UK Home Improvement Blog: for tips on green living, information on alternative products and articles ranging from conservatories to plumbing and power tools, UK Home Improvement Blog covers all areas, and includes guest blogs. There’s something for all you DIY-ers.

2. Homebuilding & Renovating Blog: for real life project blogs from self-builders and renovators. You'll also find news, views and comments from the Editors and Experts behind Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.

3. Home Improvement 101: With 15 categories to choose from, this blog has everything you need in home improvement from roofing to flooring and home decoration.

4. UK Building and Construction: specialising in DIY and home improvements, this blog gives you hints, tips and advice on the construction world, and with the potential of guest blogging, it welcomes anyone who wants to share their DIY experiences of their own.

5. You? There’s nothing to stop anyone starting up a home improvement blog – so, if it is something that interests you, get involved!


Tagged with: Blog, Construction, DIY, Home Improvement, Home Interest, Social Media

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Instagram's New Work-Around Makes It More Twitter-Friendly

Remember when Instagram used to let its users easily find their Twitter friends and mention their handles in their photos?


That was until Twitter began cracking down on which third-party apps and clients it would allow to use its application programming interface (API). Of course it wasn’t long before photo-sharing giant Instagram, owned by Facebook (Twitter’s social media rival) was left out in the cold.


These changes meant that new Instagram users could no longer add all their Twitter followers with one button. It also made sharing a photo to Twitter and "@mentioning" someone whose Twitter username was different from their Instagram username cumbersome.


However on October 19, Instagram announced that it had made changes that ‘will make sharing to Twitter more seamless’ on its blog.


But how will this work? Well:

If the @mentioned user has connected Instagram to Twitter:


  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.
  • The user’s Twitter username will appear in the tweet.

If the @mentioned user has not connected Instagram to Twitter:


  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.
  • The @ sign will be removed from the username when shared to Twitter.

What does this mean for those of us who work in PR? Well, for one, it shows that Instagram isn't content being an insular, photo-network smartphone app—it wants its users to integrate with Twitter as much as possible. This is also good news for brands and users that want to spread their Instagram photos far and wide.

Moving forward, it's safe to assume that Facebook's integration with Instagram will be more seamless, considering Facebook is its owner.


However, there will probably be a few more scuffles between Instagram and Twitter, as the photo network tries to further tap into Twitter's user-base.



Tagged with: , API, Facebook, Instagram, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Refresh PR, Social Media, Twitter

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The Facebook Generation

In the week where Facebook gained its one billionth user and subsequently cemented both itself and creator Mark Zuckerberg in the history books, I was creating a new profile of my own as a Junior Account Executive at Refresh PR.

Having graduated from the University of Salford in July of this year, I had spent the last few months tirelessly applying for jobs and seeking working experience opportunities in what is a highly competitive market, thanks to the recession and the rise in youth unemployment.

Many people are beginning to question whether a university education is worthwhile following the recent hike in tuition fees and given that only a handful of my friends have gone on to find full time work in their chosen sector after completing university, who could blame them?  However for anyone who needs reminding of the importance of a university education they need look no further than Facebook itself for inspiration.

In the 2010 film The Social Network, a movie adaptation of the ‘Facebook Story’, we discover that the foundations of Facebook were created whilst Zuckerberg was studying at Harvard University.

The link between Zuckerberg’s success and a university education isn’t merely coincidental. Well, at least I don’t think so.

University gives you the opportunity to further your knowledge and gain a greater understanding about what really interests you. It gives you the foundations to be able to pursue a career in something that you grow to feel passionate about. Nevertheless it is important to point out that graduating from university does not automatically give you the right to a job or success.

Instead , rather more importantly, it is the friendships that we form and the connections that we make that ultimately influence our futures, especially for those who choose to study any of the creative industries.

If I were to give any advice to someone looking to break into Public Relations (in fact this is advice that works for most industries) I would firstly recommend studying a degree that encourages you to take a placement year where you can gain valuable experience from working within the industry.

However if, like me, you weren’t informed to make that decision I would urge you to make the most of every opportunity. When your lecturers tell you that work experience and making ‘contacts’ is important, they aren’t lying.  Whether that be taking advantage of networking events, promoting yourself via social media or creating a good reputation for yourself as a result of a work experience placement, it is all about using your initiative and being confident in your own abilities to make those opportunities really count.

As much as I would like to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, who was a billionaire by the age of twenty-three I must add, the reality is that being successful on that scale only happens for a handful of us...

It does of course depend on what you qualify as being a success. Twelve months ago I would have jumped at the chance to work for a PR Agency that has been shortlisted for CIPR North West’s Outstanding Small Consultancy 2012 and look what happened!

Cue Facebook status update.

Why not check out Refresh PR on Facebook here:

Tagged with: CIPR , Facebook, Graduates, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, The Social Network, University, University of Salford, Work Experience, Youth Unemployment

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Two new faces join the team at Refresh PR

Manchester PR agency, Refresh PR, has welcomed two new members to its expanding team.  Tom Lay and Gemma Cannon both join the city centre agency as senior account executives, working across a number of existing and new trade and consumer accounts.  


Tom joins Refresh PR having previously worked in the built environment sector, and is already an integral part of the B2B team, working with market-leading companies such as Saint-Gobain Glass.  Prior to working in the built environment sector, Tom worked with a number of SME’s providing PR support and launched ‘Bad Hair Day’ in 2009.  The national charity campaign, which raised awareness for the condition alopecia, saw Tom receive celebrity support from Gail Porter and Sky One’s Gladiators, and reached four million people across multiple platforms, including BBC Radio and GMTV.


With more than four years’ agency experience, Gemma Cannon joins with a wealth of knowledge having worked across high profile accounts in the hospitality, catering and sports sectors.   Gemma will focus on the agency’s food and drink and home interest clients as well as ensuring every client reaps the benefits of her vast social media expertise; follow her on Twitter @GemmaC_PR for insights.  Attracted to Refresh PR’s ethos and emphasis on working in a team, Gemma is looking to develop her PR career quickly and has already integrated seamlessly into the team.


Laura Mashiter, the founder of Refresh PR, is delighted with how well the two new team members have settled in: “We met Tom and Gemma and knew they were both a perfect fit.  We knew the agency would benefit from their very different - but equally impressive - knowledge, attitude and enthusiasm.


“Refresh PR has just been shortlisted in the CIPR’s Pride Awards as Outstanding Small Consultancy of the Year, something we’re all very proud of.  To achieve this recognition, and maintain it going forwards, we need great people who buy in to our philosophy of putting our clients at the centre of everything we do.  They’ve both hit the ground running and are going from strength to strength and I’m looking forward to seeing where this team will take us in the coming months and years.”     


Refresh PR is interested in hearing from junior consumer and trade account executives who are interested in a role with the agency.  Visit for more information or call 0161 212 1695.

Tagged with: CIPR , Consumer PR, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Trade PR