February 2012


Twitter for business – what’s the point?

29 February 2012 - Public Relations

“What’s the point of using Twitter for my business? What value will I get and what’s the ROI?” Find yourself asking these, if not similar questions? Here are a few answers from us:

Every day millions of tweeple – that’s people who tweet to non tweeters –  use Twitter to create, discover and share ideas with one another. On average there are 140 million tweets posted daily by Twitter’s 500 million user data base. Twitter is just another communications channel available to your business, but one crucial aspect distinguishes it: its real time nature. Twitter breaks news faster than any other media channel, which means that your business can instantly communicate your message to your audience and, potentially, virally distribute it to reach your prospective consumers who were previously inaccessible to you.

Twitter can open many doors for your business. Connecting and collaborating with influential users and valuable industry connections, to spread the word about your business, can help your brand’s online visibility skyrocket. This, if used in conjunction with promotions, can help you tap into a prospective consumer base that is ready to make purchasing decisions.

The beauty of social media channels like Twitter, which differentiate them from traditional communications channels, is they allow two-way conversations. Using this functionality to augment customer services teams and acquire feedback from their customers, will not only support the management of your brand’s online reputation by addressing dissatisfactions directly, but can also promote your business’ internal product development initiatives.

An often overlooked but vital consideration is that Twitter will future proof your business for the consumers of tomorrow. All your followers are potential customers and, if not today then in the future, will have to make definitive buying decisions about products or services in your industry. If your brand has a credible and renowned presence online and has already established a relationship with them, they are most likely to have you in the forefront of their minds when it comes to buying. Consider developing an app or a quirky viral video to engage your younger audiences. Remember, they may not be interested in your product yet, but they will share some common interests with you. Use your creativity to tap into this and you’ll stay memorable for them and will see the fruits of your labour ripen in the future .

Many brands have ventured into using social media as part of their PR or marketing strategy but most fail because they forget an essential step of successful social media strategy: building relationships. A fresh and interesting personality will attract followers but Twitter is much more than just a numbers game. The number of followers your brand has is important, but the real value lies in the quality of your followers and the strength of your relationship with them. Only by respecting and nurturing this relationship can your business begin to determine any ROI.

By sharing remarkable content that educates, solves problems, entertains, informs and promotes interaction with your followers, a brand can demonstrate thought leadership and industry knowledge, which increases trust, confidence and the credibility of a business in the eyes of a consumer. Trust in the brand will lead to brand allegiance and from that you may get a lead conversion in the future. It’s not a quick sales generation platform but what it can leave you with is a devoted and satisfied customer base full of loyal brand evangelists, ready to recommend your products to their network.

There is no better time to start building these relationships than through a recession. It’s a well known fact that consumers are more likely to buy from a company that has been recommended to them by a trusted source than one that has not been. Budgets are slim for everyone and buying decisions can be influenced by word of mouth recommendations, so acquiring positive user generated content is priceless for all businesses; the more objective reviews about your products, the more confidence potential customers will have in your brand, and the more likely they are to buy from you. This makes developing relationships with your online customer base and transforming them into vocal brand advocates an indispensible asset for your PR and marketing strategy.

How are you using Twitter for your business? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us @hroc_pr.

Man and Telescope

Getting the most out of outdoor

8 February 2012 - Advertising

It’s extraordinary what you see on some outdoor media nowadays.

Often very little. In some cases, absolutely nothing at all.

Leastways, not without the aid of a small telescope directed at the 48-sheet, bus back or Adshel in question.

That’s because there are so many examples of outdoor advertising out there where it’s practically impossible to read what’s actually on the poster. The type’s too small, the message is too long, the imagery too complex. It sounds such a simple error, such an obvious oversight, but it’s amazing how many times it happens.

What a shocking waste of the client budget. What’s the point in slapping your message on the back of the bus, if the person travelling behind has to get out of their car and press their nose up against the bus’s behind to read it? What’s the point in committing thousands of pounds to a 48-sheet campaign, if the viewing public has to cross the road, mount the pavement, hurdle a small wall and practically stand underneath the poster to make any sense of the message? What’s the point in taking out those six-sheets if the passing pedestrian has to whip out a small magnifying glass to understand it?

The whole point about outdoor is immediacy. You’ve got to get it straightaway. You’ve got to have impact and instant understanding. It’s bad enough trying to attract and hold the attention of your audience in the press. But, at least with that medium, you have the comfort of knowing that the reader can always turn the page back if sufficiently interested to take another look.

You don’t get that luxury with a commuter in their car. Once they’ve gone past, that’s it. The moment lost.

Yet how many times do you find yourself sitting there in your car trying to make out what’s written on that bus back? Trying to decipher the impossibly small and spidery text, trying to make out the montage of tiny confusing images? How many times do you catch a fleeting glimpse of a poster and get all of half way through its 15-word headline before you find yourself compelled to give up? How many times do you find yourself saying: ‘Wonder what that ad was about? Wonder who that was for?’

Blowing a client’s budget on an outdoor media message that’s too small to read, too illegible to make out and too long to register is nothing short of criminal.

Creating great and compelling outdoor isn’t easy. Not by any stretch. But there are some simple rules to follow that can go an awful long way to making it effective. In fact, I’d boil those rules down to three:

Keep is short. Keep it sweet. Keep it simple.

Sure, you can stretch those rules and add some quirky tricks – particularly when there’s some latitude in the budget. For instance, adding a 3D element is a great way to grab attention. But stick to those three simple rules and you won’t go far wrong.

A former client of ours once wanted to take out 48-sheets around the city centre. Their objective was straightforward enough. They wanted to convey that they were respected specialists at making financial deals around the world – particularly in Europe, even more particularly in Germany.

Our solution was three words:

‘Buy-in Munich?’

Just three words that got across the financial aspect of their business and also their specialist geographical area of concentration. Plus a neat little joke for the football fans amongst us.

Not a 3D gimmick in sight. Just a bold, immediate, impactful, relevant message.

And actual proof that, when it comes to making the most out of outdoor, then less is definitely more.

If you’d like HROC to create some great outdoor advertising for you, why not give us a call.


Google I'm Feeling Lucky

I’m Feeling Lucky with Google

3 February 2012 - Digital

Have you ever wondered what the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button on the Google search page is for? Have you ever typed in a query and clicked on this button? Were you surprised at the result? Well, if so, this blog is here to explain just what the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button is all about on the Google search page.

I have read somewhere that this button may have been named in honour of Clint Eastwood’s character in Dirty Harry – “Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do you?” I’m not too sure about that myself, so I’ll carry on.

Normally when you type a keyword or phrase into the Google search text field and click on the search button (or tap enter or return on your keyboard), Google will return a list of results on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) showing a number of websites that closely match your search query.

The ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button does away with the search results page and takes you directly to the website that is the highest ranking site in Google for that particular keyword or phrase.

Try typing ‘number 10′ in the search input box and click the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button, you’ll be taken straight to the government’s Number 10 Downing Street website. If you enter ‘apple’ and click on ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’, you’ll go directly to Apple Computers official website. Try it for ‘fa’ and you’ll find yourself at the official Football Association website. Essentially, ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ is a shortcut.

Dependent on your search query, the first and highest ranking result is usually the result that you are searching for, so clicking on the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button will save you some time as the Search Engine Results Page will not be loaded.

The ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button is very handy if you are confident that the highest ranking result in Google is going to be the exact page that you are looking for, but not so helpful if you know that you are going to be searching for a lot of different sites.

Using the I’m Feeling Lucky Google Button with No Search Query

Back in December 2009, pressing the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button without entering a query in the search input box would take you to a countdown ticker to New Year’s Day. By doing the same thing today, you are taken to the Google Doodles page, where you can browse the different alternative logos that have featured on the Google search pages over the years.

The I’m Feeling Lucky Google Button in Other Google Tools

The Google Toolbar has the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ feature included and this works in the same way as on the regular Google search page. Picasa also has an ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button, but in this instance, clicking the button applies adjustments and enhancement filters to the images.

Using the I’m Feeling Lucky Google Button with Google Instant

If your browser is set to Google Instant, the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button will disappear as soon as you start entering a search query. Fortunately, you can still use the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ feature even with Google Instant enabled by hovering your cursor over the list of predictions in the text input field. An ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ link will appear to the right of the prediction. If you are feeling particularly efficient, you can navigate this feature by using your arrow keys. Press the down arrow to scroll through the suggestions, and then tap the right arrow if you’re feeling lucky.

So, the next time you perform a search using Google, experiment a little with the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button, you may be surprised at what you find.

If you would like to find out more about Google and the most effective way to promote your corporate website in their search engine, please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be very happy to answer your questions.