Blog : Blog

Thursday Tea – Introducing Fleets, Instagram Anger and Youtube Audio Ads

Thursday Tea – Introducing Fleets, Instagram Anger and Youtube Audio Ads

Twitter Introduces new ‘Fleet’s feature

This week Twitter surprised everyone be announcing the global launch of ‘Fleets’. At its most basic level, Fleets is a Stories clone, borrowing all of the best ideas implemented by Instagram and Snapchat. You can share text, respond to others’ tweets, or post videos with the same background color and overlaid text options you get on other messaging apps with ephemeral features, with every message disappearing after 24 hours. You can also respond to others’ fleets by tapping on one and sending a direct message or emoji to the creator, which will start a DM conversation similar to how the story reply process works on Instagram. Twitter says it will also be introducing stickers and live broadcasting at some point in the future.

Any mobile Twitter user, regardless of where they live or what platform they’re on, will have access to the disappearing messaging feature, which will sit right at the top of the timeline in a row of Stories-like bubbles.

Twitter have said that they hope the new feature will help reduce the pressure around tweeting by letting users express more casual thoughts and feelings while also concerning themselves less with saying something profound or racking up likes and retweets. Fleets starts rolling out today on Android and iOS and should be available for everyone in the coming days, the company says.

Instagram Redesign Sparks Anger

Instagram users are around the world after the app rolled out a major redesign across the globe last week. The update changed the home screen for the first time in years, adding new tabs for shopping and Instagram’s TikTok-style video feature, Reels.

But despite the alteration representing a relatively minor adjustment to the photo-sharing app’s layout, fans are not happy. Users complained to social media over the weekend to blast the update, which they described as “ugly” and” annoying”.

Instagram boss Adam Mosseri announced the major redesign in a blog post on the firm‘s website last week. In it, he explained the new Shop and Reels tabs give users faster access to two of Instagram‘s more recent features. “We don’t take these changes lightly – we haven’t updated Instagram’s home screen in a big way for quite a while,” Mr Mosseri wrote. “But how people create and enjoy culture has changed, and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too fast, but that we don’t change and become irrelevant.”

He added: “We’re excited about the new design and believe it gives the app a much-needed refresh, while staying true to our core value of simplicity.”

Time will tell if the backlash surrounding these changes dies down and people start to welcome the redesign!

YouTube Trials Audio Ads

It seems YouTube wants a slice of Spotify‘s metaphorical pie: the company has announced its introducing audio-only ads on its platform.

In a blog post, product manager Melissa Hsieh Nikolic said the feature, which is still in beta, was “designed to connect your brand with audiences in engaged and ambient listening on YouTube.”

Audio ads are creatively led by the voiceover or other sounds that feature in a YouTube ad, and the visual component is typically a still image or simple animation.

Similar to video ads, audio ads are bought via auction with Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a cost-per-thousand basis. YouTube said they will feature the same audience-targeting options, bidding strategies, and brand lift measurement capabilities.

YouTube expects the moves to boost ad revenue it generates from music on the platform, which includes over 70 million official tracks plus remixes, live performances, covers and other music content. And it stands to put YouTube in more head-to-head competition with Spotify, which has been selling audio-only ads and offering targeting by music genres for years.

Lyor Cohen, global head of music at YouTube, said that the Covid-19 pandemic had “fundamentally changed the music industry forever” due to music concerts being cancelled, which encouraged people to consume more music on online platforms.

Successful Storytelling for Effective PR

Successful Storytelling for Effective PR

We all consider ourselves storytellers from time to time, especially when it comes to talking about things, we are passionate about! But how can we tell a good story to drive positive PR?

Now more than ever, digital storytelling is at the top of the list of communication trends, that will be at the fore for some time.  So, whether you want to tell the story of your brand, client success, employee spotlight or public recognition, you can create long lasting stories that prove to your audience your company or services matters.

It is our job to ensure that our client’s messaging is well communicated. The thrill of a good story can provoke excitement and engagement. Getting the attention of your audience cuts through the noise and gets your message heard. Therefore, it is up to us as the experts to create stories that are powerful, to gain impact and capture audiences.

Here are a few of our tops tips to getting your story right:

  1. Get Personal

In storytelling, the most powerful vehicle that you can use is personalisation. Using personal stories amplifies the message you are trying to convey. When ideas are attached to people as opposed to concepts, there is a greater chance of creating an emotional connection. Also, you can draw your audience into your brand narrative as this will make your content relatable.

  1. Visualise

Videos, pictures and animations are all visual tools that can give you the edge when engaging with customers. Catch your audiences’ eye and use this to communicate with them.

  1. Like, Share, Like and Share

Use platforms that allow for easy sharing. In our digital age, using social media allows for easier sharing than placing your story on traditional methods such as in a newspaper or billboard. These methods do have a time and place but if you do choose more traditional forms of advertising, create call to actions to inspire people to share the message.

  1. Be Authentic

Consumers have become savvier and are able to spot brands that are not being genuine and authentic. When a story is honest, it is believable and easier to connect with. You can’t copy a great story!

If you have a great story to tell about your business, services or products, get in touch and we can help bring your story to life!

Thursday Tea….What is new in the world of social?

Thursday Tea….What is new in the world of social?

REEL ALL ABOUT IT

Instagram only launched its TikTok competitor ‘Reels’ in August and is already looking to monetise the format. It also announced it is testing shopping within Reels later this year and will start making shoppable IGTV videos globally. Eventually, these IGTV videos will also be available through Instagram Shop, a dedicated page for shopping within the app.

FACEBOOK DATING COMES TO THE UK

Facebook’s dating service has launched in the UK and across Europe as a dedicated space to find relationships on the social network.

The social media giant hopes to emulate the success of apps such as Tinder, Hinge and Bumble, which have millions of users across their platforms.

LINKEDIN LEVELS UP!

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has gone for a brand new look and feel in nearly five years, powering its 700 million-strong community with Snapchat-like Stories, video integration with Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams, rebuilding Search feature and more.

LinkedIn users will be able to start a face-to-face interaction to share career advice, chat about potential job opportunities or catch up in virtual group get-together via online meeting tools.

LinkedIn is also rolling out its own version of Stories.

MESSENGER GETS A REBRAND

Facebook has decided to tweak its colour scheme for Messenger, ditching the traditional blue-and-white look for an Instagram-esque gradient of blue, purple, pink and orange.

Messenger has created an all-new way of helping people express themselves better on chat! There are multiple custom reactions and message effects that are available to make chatting more fun. Not just that, new features like selfie stickers and vanish mode are coming soon too.

SNAP CHAT SOUNDS

Over the summer, Snapchat announced it would soon debut a feature to rival TikTok. Now, sounds on Snapchat has launched on iOS, bringing music to the platform. Snapchat’s release offers a curated catalogue of emerging and established artists for users to feature. Music can be added to Snaps either in pre or post-capture. There are no limitations on where the music can be shared, either. The clip can be shared to your Snapchat Story or directly to friends – the choice is yours.

CPD – What’s the point and will I learn anything new?

CPD – What’s the point and will I learn anything new?

Following her success at achieving Chartered PR Practitioner Status, Client Manager, Sara talks about the importance of Continuous Personal Development.

I have always enjoyed learning new things both inside and outside of work. When I can, I like reading, listening to audio books and my current favourite form of learning is…podcasts!

So how can I use these tools to improve my CPD and is there any point?

Yes, of course there is! With the changing pace of Public Relations and the ever-evolving digital communications sphere, I haven’t even scratched the surface.

CPD is a great way to manage professional development, demonstrating commitment to your sector and keeping up to date learning new skills. It’s all about improving, gaining knowledge, ensuring you remain current and effective. There is something very satisfying about being abreast of the latest trends and techniques. Not only is this of huge benefit personally, but clients gain from this too.

I am currently enrolled and due to complete the Digital Marketing Institute’s Certified Digital Marketing Professional programme. My skills and experience have always been rooted in traditional PR with a background in broadcast journalism; so now more than ever I need to get digital. This is not just for me to gain new skills but to gain the profession aptitudes to advise our clients on the latest advancements and improvements in digital communications.

The pandemic has proved that digital communications is more powerful than ever. We have all had to adapt and change how we do things, least of all communications.

Stephen Hawking famously said: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”  Now more than ever is a time to learn, regroup, adapt and make change.

As a team, we are encouraged to gain as much CPD as we can. This comes from the top down, and to know what we have the support to learn alongside our day job is of huge benefit.

The CIPR is the only organisation with a Royal Charter enabling us as professionals to gain Chartered PR Practitioner status. The reason why it was important to me to achieve this was for recognition and confidence; not only for myself but for my clients too. As the CIPR say, “there is a huge difference between a dedicated professional who has made a commitment to a career in Public Relations and someone offering a similar service who lacks skill, knowledge, experience and ethical competence.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

I am now proud to be one of the 21 professionals in Northern Ireland to be Chartered, joining my boss Samantha and 379 others across the UK.

Feeling inspired? Here are a few of our favourite sites to help us push our knowledge to the next level:

Have you lost your communications mojo during lockdown?

Have you lost your communications mojo during lockdown?

Here we go again! Like most businesses, we were gutted to hear about the latest four-week lockdown in Northern Ireland. As a local business, we had just got our mojo back, with green shoots of growth emerging. Therefore, it is hard not to see this as a backwards step.

Our industry has taken a hit; clients suspended accounts; new business opportunities slowed down and launches and events were cancelled. But we are not alone! Countless strong, viable businesses have been tested to the max when in comes to securing work, retaining staff and innovating to move forward. But one fundamental remains the same – communication is key.

Now more than ever, we recognise the importance of strategic communications as brands and clients seek to differentiate, relate to audiences and demonstrate how too are adjust to the ‘new normal’.

As an agency, we are revising our own communications strategy and choosing wisely how best to promote ourselves and our services during this crazy time. Like many of our clients, we are making tough, yet worthwhile decisions of where to focus our reduced budgets and what the best platforms for us are to utilise now and as we emerge once again from this circuit breaker.

One thing is for sure, now more than ever, taking your business digital could unlock your recovery. Digital and social media marketing require much less budget than traditional offline marketing channels.

That’s not to say online marketing is cheap; it takes experience and skill to do digital well.

But they’re more cost-effective, measurable and flexible.

Companies who previously had no social media presence are now selling through Facebook and Instagram.

At Rumour Mill, we are also working hard behind the scenes on our own digital vision and continuing to create content that will maximise our exposure, get our name out there, and showcase our services beyond Northern Ireland. We want to do the same for businesses that need support navigating this area.

How to get your mojo back? Be one of those businesses that adapt, spot opportunities and connect with new customers.

As businesses adapt, we are here to secure your market position and restart growth. We will talk straight and be clear on strategy. Together we will review where you are, discuss where you want to get to and plan how to get you there.

Things will never be the same again. So why not reach out, let’s have a FREE virtual chat to help get your communications mojo back. Email us on hello@rumourmillcomms.com or call 028 90682185.

 

INSTAGRAM – 10 INTERESTING FACTS TO CELEBRATE 10 YEARS

INSTAGRAM – 10 INTERESTING FACTS TO CELEBRATE 10 YEARS

It may be hard to fathom but Instagram celebrated its 10th birthday this week!

In the last 10 years a hell of a lot has happened on the app. An egg got more likes than Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Anniston broke the internet with her Friends selfie, and it continues to the birthplace of countless influencers.

It is almost impossible to imagine a world without Instagram!

To mark this milestone, here at Rumour Mill we have compiled a list of 10 facts you may or may not know about one of the world’s most popular apps.

  1. The first person who posted a photo on Instagram was Kevin Systrom (born in December 30, 1983). The Co-founder of Instagram posted a photo with a stray dog in Mexico on July 16, 2010 with description “test” and this photo still exists on his profile: https://www.instagram.com/p/C

 

  1. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012. At that time, Instagram had just 13 employees. Now Instagram is valued well over $100 billion and is about one-fifth of Facebook’s market cap.

 

  1. As of October 5, 2020, the most-liked photo on Instagram is a picture of an egg, posted by the account @world_record_egg. It was created to beat the previous record of a Kylie Jenner post. The picture currently has over 54 million likes.

 

  1. In the three years since its launch, Stories has become a huge part of what makes Instagram so popular. With half a billion people using Stories every single day, it’s clear that Stories are an important channel for brands.

 

  1. Instagram users will spend an average of 28 minutes per day on the platform in 2020. In comparison, time spent on Facebook is slightly decreasing. Instagram saw more time spent per day than Snapchat for the first time in 2019.

 

  1. Selena Gomez was the first person in the world to reach 100 million followers. This has since increased to 194million. If she were a country and her followers were that country’s population, it would be the 12th most populous country in the world. One of her most popular pictures ever was for Coca Cola.

 

  1. The top ten most popular hashtags in general are: #love #instagood #photooftheday #tbt #beautiful #cute #me #selfie #tagforlikes #happy #followme. Photos that utilise hashtags get 38% more engagement than those who upload without using hashtags.

 

  1. How-to tutorials are the most popular form of Instagram video content. Followed by behind-the-scenes posts, interviews, and news coverage. Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos may be the best-known example of how-to videos on Instagram.

 

  1. The most popular face filter on Insta Stories are the puppy ears. This is followed by the sleep mask, bunny ears, love with the heart-shaped darts, and koala ears. Seems like we all want to look like animals on our stories…

 

  1. If you thought that Instagram advertising only appeared in the last couple of years, here is an interesting fact! Advertising was introduced in October 2013 but only for select brands! In 2015 it became accessible for all users. Engagement on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.

 

Happy Birthday Instagram…where will we all be in 2030!

 

Bonus fact: Instagram embraced its potential as a news source this year, employing its ubiquity to distribute coronavirus prevention techniques through a new call-out at the top of its home screen feed. In some countries, Instagram displayed a link to information from the World Health Organisation and local health ministries, along with a message like this: “Help Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus: See the latest information from the World Health Organization so you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Instagram also prevented users from searching for COVID-19-related augmented reality effects unless they were made in partnership with legitimate health organisations. This helped limit the spread of disinformation or insensitive jokes about the virus.

ETHICS EXPLORED: CUT THE CRAP AND TELL THE TRUTH!

ETHICS EXPLORED: CUT THE CRAP AND TELL THE TRUTH!

Liar, Liar, pants on fire….is how the saying goes! But you don’t want anyone saying that about you or your business…do you?

#fakenews

In a media era were #fakenews is always in the spotlight it is so important that you keep your brand on an ethnical path and avoid the temptation to manipulate the narrative. Be brave and stay open, transparent and honest in your communications to protect your reputation.

The public aren’t fools; they are savvier than ever when to comes to spotting fake news or identifying misleading communications. We are in an era of transparency; the public will be the first to call out a brand that is lying. If you are caught being generous with the truth be prepared to lose more than money in trying to limit the damage. 

Words May Lie, But Action Tells The Truth

But telling the truth is a given. Right? No! Sadly, brands think it is ok to bend the truth, to influence reality and paint a different picture to that being actioned. Yet, in the words of Mr. Weasley in Harry Potter “the truth will out”.

Never has trust been more sought after. If your audience don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you or buy into you. So, focus on building that trust, and be honest as well as innovative in your marketing and communications efforts.

For instance, if we take the current communications from world leaders around the best approach to Covid-19, the majority of people do not trust what they are being told. Why? The damage has been done. Leaders are rarely forthcoming with transparent information – allowing doubt and mistrust to grow.

Honesty must be built into corporate culture. This takes more than the publication of a list of corporate values. Leaders must behave honestly and openly at all times. Walking the talk is essential.

Positive reviews and feedback is great but you cannot afford to ignore even a single negative review. Proactive action and strategic planning is much better than damage control, knee-jerk reactions and tactical approaches.

Remember to sell honestly, never sell your honesty.

RUMOUR MILL NAMED SMALL CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR

RUMOUR MILL NAMED SMALL CONSULTANCY OF THE YEAR

Public relations and digital content agency, Rumour Mill Creative Communications was named Small Consultancy of the Year at this year’s PRCA DARE Awards, along with taking home a further two awards for its campaign work.

These industry accolades recognise communications excellence within each of the key regions of the UK from practitioners working in both consultancy and in-house environments across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. During the virtual awards event, it was revealed that Rumour Mill achieved three wins; Consumer Relations Award; Digital & Social Media Campaign of the Year and the prestigious Small Consultancy of the Year. The two campaign wins were awarded for the agency’s impactful work launching the app Gander into the Northern Ireland market.

Director of Rumour Mill Creative Communications Samantha Livingstone said: “I am so proud of what we have achieved, and the announcement has come during a time of great uncertainty for our industry, so this is a real boost. We are living in a digital first world and everyone wants to stand out. That is why we love to create whacky, innovative campaigns to engage audiences and generate talkability. We build trust with our clients and they see instant results. What it affirms for me is that as a team we provide bold, inventive campaigns and we will continue to set new standards for digital communications.

“I am particularly proud that Rumour Mill is Small Consultancy of the Year, which is testament to our amazing team and their hard work and dedication. We are looking ahead to some very exciting client projects coming up over the next few months as well as the launch of something we have been working hard on during lockdown so keep your eyes peeled!”

Rumour Mill has also been shortlisted for a number of additional industry awards,  for its work on Gander, that are yet to announce its winners: UK Agency Awards, PR Week Awards and Belfast Telegraph Business Awards.

Rumour Mill Creative Communications is always keen to work with like-minded people who want to get their product or services noticed, whether that be to enhance their communications digitally, or traditionally. To have a chat with a member of the team, get in touch via rumourmillcomms.com

PR STUDENTS – BEAT THE BOREDOM

PR STUDENTS – BEAT THE BOREDOM

Our client executive, Amy gives her advice on how PR students can beat the boredom and stay focused during this lockdown.

“As a recent PR & Comms graduate and a current Client Executive, you are trained to handle whatever the world throws at you. Right?!

“However, at unforeseen times like now, being proactive and motivated can be tough – but these are key skills of any PR practitioner. As we’re part of an ever-changing industry, there’s luckily plenty going on to keep on top off and ahead of the curve (plus, most importantly, shake our boredom!).

“Despite universities being closed and at-home work commencing, it’s so important not to lose momentum on what keeps your brain ticking and your creativity flourishing. Whether you’re a student, a graduate or a practitioner – if you’re in PR, you should always find yourself boosting your education on the latest trends and tactics, as well as advancing your skills in these for the future.

“Textbooks may seem like a heavy load to start off with – so keep up-to-date with what’s going on by subscribing to useful online trade magazines including PR Week, Marketing Week and The Drum. Their articles are punchy, succinct and a much easier way to digest news updates from a relevant PR perspective.

“There are also the obvious platforms we all resort to when boredom strikes: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat – and now TikTok.

“Why not take the extra time you have to understand these existing and new social platforms better? That way, you can apply this when normal life resumes, either for creative uni assignments or idea suggestions for clients. For example, this short yet interesting article by PR Daily explores TikTok’s background, statistics and projected staying power in the world of PR.

“LinkedIn Learning offers a free trial month and is worth delving into if you want to enhance your knowledge on Google Ads, Google Analytics, writing ad copy and understanding SEO to name just a few. By completing these short courses, you will be ahead of the game as well as be able to pop these on your CV!

“Or, if you’re looking for something to do that’s interactive and allows you to unleash your creativity, why not try starting up your own blog? If you want to kick-start a career in PR, there’s nothing better than having your own personal portfolio to impress prospective employers with. You heard it here first!”

It will get better, and it will soon – just remember to look after yourself, keep busy and #stayhomesavelives. 

If you are a PR student looking a placement in September or any industry advice please get in touch via hello@rumourmillcomms.com. At Rumour Mill we are keen to support and develop the next generators or communicators and content creators.

DOES TIK TOK SPELL THE END FOR INSTAGRAM?

DOES TIK TOK SPELL THE END FOR INSTAGRAM?

In February 2020, Tik Tok reached a whopping 1.5 billion downloads globally. There were 615 million new users who downloaded the app from the App Store and Google Play store in the past 12 months, an increase of 6% from the previous year. But why is it so successful?

Tik Tok is a hugely popular video-sharing social-platform owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company founded in 2012. Content creators take existing formats, such as jokes, memes and songs, and reinterpret them in their own way. A song is lip-synced by hundreds of creators, each adding their own twist to it. The content shared via TikTok can be described as mostly frivolous, but users don’t care. They have fun creating it and don’t seem bothered by public scrutiny.

Unlike Instagram, TikTok isn’t about you or what you’re doing. It’s about entertaining your audience. It’s not spontaneous chronicling of your real life. It’s about inventing characters, dressing up as someone else and acting out jokes. It’s not about privacy and friends but strutting on the world stage. And it’s not about originality — the heart of Instagram. TikTok is about remixing culture — taking the audio from someone else’s clip and reimagining the gag in a new context by layering it on top a video you record.

Should Instagram be worried? TikTok is unlikely to replace Instagram, but it could become a good alternative source of entertainment for users. Most users won’t abandon Instagram for TikTok, but the amount of time they spend on Facebook’s photo-sharing app could decline. TikTok is almost the opposite or a deliberate parody of what’s on Instagram; its users seemingly go out of their way to denounce the latter platform’s aesthetics, high-profile production values and originality. If anything, the majority of TikTok creators embrace the silliness to the fullest, and in that lies its biggest strength: setting the entry bar very low. TikTok enables anyone to jump in quickly and create content, without the work that goes into polished production.

TikTok has a relatively younger user base than Instagram. Nearly half of its users are teenagers, and more than 65% users are under 25 years old. The app is equally popular among male and female users. However, a large number of millennials and boomers install the app out of curiosity and end up ditching it after a while. It is fun to scroll through these videos for a half-hour every now and then, but it eventually becomes repetitive and loses its stickiness after a while.

While both Instagram and Facebook are pretty ad-heavy, TikTok isn’t (not yet at least). They started showing short ads in January 2019, and they now have an advertising system, but it isn’t driving people away from their platform yet. TikTok generates revenue through in-app purchases such as digital gifts and emojis. But it’s also ramping up its advertising business, showing you portrait-mode video ads. Unlike Instagram, TikTok has access to both the Chinese and international markets for advertising means. Facebook’s apps don’t have access to 1.4 billion people in China.

Teenagers are gaga for TikTok. And with the advertising floodgates wide open, brands are too. Chipotle, Nike, Skittles, Fenty Beauty, Pepsi, and Universal Pictures are among the many companies that have already been lured by TikTok’s warp speed success.

So, is it time for your company to start TikTok marketing? The team at Rumour Mill has had a play around with the app and we are all unanimously sold. The platform acts an endless feed of short entertainment bursts which are light-hearted, warm and often funny. This is a welcome alternative to the perfectly polished aesthetics of the gram. We especially love the ability for everyone to get involved in Tik Tok. The app actively encourages people of all ages to try the latest dance trend or lip sync their favourite comedy skit. We can certainly see how it would fit in the marketing mix in the near future. Restaurant clients making quick fire food videos, fashion brands doing sassy runway shows and much more. It is essentially Instagram Stories on steroids, and we are here for it!

Tik Tok grew by over 400 per cent between 2017 and 2018 and is now a mainstream app. The question is, will this explosion continue? Or, are we approaching the ceiling whereby user growth will flatten a la Snapchat and Twitter? Time will certainly tell.

Give it a go this Easter Weekend or follow our Rumour Mill Social Media Guru Ciaran for a few giggles: @ciaranmullan04. Once we get past Covid-19 and we are all together – Rumour Mill TikTok will be born to entertain you all.