WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA ASSETS WILL BRING YOU THE BEST RESULTS?

Social media is much less about being social these days – it’s more about being heard. But how do you raise your voice above the clamour? How do you choose the right social media platform that’ll amplify your message the loudest?

With so many social media platforms out there, it’s hard to know which ones will work best for your company.

From a business perspective, having an online social presence is essential. Of course, social media is a great place to market your product or service, but it’s also an opportunity to gain trust and create diehard fans of your brand who will follow you and your company’s journey.

With this in mind, you need to choose the right platforms carefully so you’re connecting with the right audience. You also need to consider which particular social media assets are going to work with your brand best.

Here are the five important elements and one golden rule for choosing the right social media platform for your company:

  1. Audience

Where does your ideal customer spend most of their time and have most of their trust? Work out if they love clicking through from Facebook posts or if they’re more of a Twitter kind of person.

Work this out and you’ve got half the battle won already.

  1. Industry

When you’re choosing a social media asset, think about your business and your industry. There’s no point trying to ramp up a super-enthusiastic audience on Pinterest if your product isn’t photogenic or if your workplace doesn’t photograph well.

You can still get visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to work – you just have to be more creative.

  1. Time

Some social media platforms require more time than others. If you have a very limited amount of time to allocate to social media, look for channels that you can do quickly or can schedule easily.

For example, if you’re time poor, but want to promote more video, Snapchat or Facebook is probably a better option than YouTube or Vimeo.

  1. Budget

Work out how much money you can invest. Social media – by its very nature – is free to use. However, to get the reach you’re after, investing money in promoting your content is going to make things happen faster. You’ll also reach a higher ‘quality’ of customer in relation to how interested they are in your product.

There are still plenty of effective social media platforms out there that are free to use, but the big ones like Facebook expect businesses to pay to access their ever-growing list of subscribers.

With Facebook, you can spend as little or as much as you want, but you can narrow down the type of people you can put your posts in front of with incredible accuracy and reach. Here’s a Mashable article discussing whether paying for Facebook ads is worth it.

  1. Expertise

Work out what you’re good at. Or if you have a team, what they’re good at. If your expertise is in written content, play to your strengths. If you’re more into photography, look at visually inclined platforms. If it’s video you’re good at, go for video-heavy channels.

And if you’re trying to use a social media platform that you have no experience, interest or talent in, either improve that skillset, hire someone who can do it or choose another platform.

The golden rule

Don’t try to be across all social media platforms. You’ll go mad. Even with a team of people, covering all social assets out there is not only impossible it’s pointless.

Your audience won’t be on every platform, so why should you be. If you’re doing it yourself, you’re better off focusing all of your social media brain energy and time on three platforms at most. Get these working to optimum capacity and you’ll see a much bigger return than trying to manage 10 different platforms.

Also stay up-to-date with the social media platforms you choose. If the channel starts a live element, use it. They’ll set their algorithms to promote the users who are creating with it.

But the most important thing to remember with social media, whether you’re using it for fun or as an amplification and marketing tool for your business, is it’s supposed to be enjoyable for you. If it’s not, your tone will come through and people will sense it.

Be authentic and your message will always resonate louder.

How many times have you received an email and either ignored it or deleted it? Our tips on email etiquette will make sure the person you’re emailing takes notice of what you’re saying.

Email etiquette is one of those much-overlooked skills that have a lot more impact on business relationships than people realise.

But then, in general, manners and politeness are like that, aren’t they? You never really notice them until they’re not there.

With email it couldn’t be truer. If you get the tone wrong, make a mistake with a name or just miscommunicate a call to action completely, at best you’ll irritate the person you’re communicating with. Worst case, they’ll just lose interest in working with you altogether.

In a world where communication has never been so easy and yet so important, getting it right the first time is essential. And that’s where we can help!

7 top tips that will boost your email etiquette

  1. Make your subject line clear and concise

This is essentially the headline to your email. Write it so that it conveys what your email is about and also makes the reader want to open your email. I don’t suggest using tabloid titillation, but make sure the wording is clear.

Here are some cracking points on creating strong business email subject lines.

Keep the word count down to about 15 words max and mention the main reason you’re emailing at the start. If you’re emailing about a number of different things, make sure you include the most important one first (or the one you most want them to react to).

This leads me to the next point:

  1. Limit the number of calls to action

There is absolutely no point in sending a massive email to someone with 15 different things for them to react to. They just won’t do them.

It’s not because they don’t want to or because they don’t like you (well, it might be), it’s probably because people just don’t work like this. From your list of 15, you’ll get – at most – five looked at – if you’re lucky.

Keep the number of things you want addressed to a maximum of three. If you have more than that, send additional emails.

  1. Be culturally aware

By ‘culturally aware’ I don’t mean knowing their religious or political preferences, or their ethnicity – though that is certainly something to consider.

Instead, I mean you need to tailor your message to the audience and how well you know the person. Don’t shorten their name unless you know that’s what they liked to be called. Be careful of the tone you use and how familiar you are.

If it’s the first time you’ve contacted them, make sure you keep it professional: ‘Dear’ or ‘Hi’ then their first name at the start and ‘Kindest regards’ at the bottom. Open with a warmer- upper rather than going straight into the point of your email – something like, ‘I hope all’s well with you’ is perfect.

Never use profanities – even if you’re friends with the person. It may or may not offend them, but also most business emails are scanned for profanities and expletives.

  1. Hold back on the exclamation marks

If you can’t get your message across without using an exclamation mark, you’re not writing clearly enough. These are known as ‘screamers’ in the writing industry and you should use them sparingly.

They also tend to convey an informal tone, which is fine if that’s what you’re aiming for, but if it’s a business email, you should avoid using them.

  1. Add the email address last

There are few things that’ll make your stomach drop like a broken elevator, than the moment you click send on an unfinished email. We’ve all done it and it’s horrible. And having to send a retraction is even worse.

Getting into the habit of writing the subject and body first then adding the addressee can be helpful. It gives you time to proofread the message, make sure everything is attached and check you haven’t accidentally pasted a photo of your cat into the message (true story).

  1. Do you really need to reply all?

Only use the Reply All function when you know everyone on the list needs to see your message. Copying people in on an irrelevant conversation is not only annoying for them, but it can also be hazardous. You never know if what you’re saying should be for all eyes.

Review the addressees before you send the email and make sure only those people or person who needs to know what you’re emailing are included in the string.

  1. Give yourself a break

If you’re emailing about a delicate subject, never send it as soon as you’ve finished typing. Make a cup of tea, then come back and reread it.

Just because you know how it’s supposed to sound doesn’t mean the person reading the email will hear it the same way. Having a break before sending will bring you back with fresh eyes and a better perspective on the message you’re trying to communicate.

Pro tip – never forget that attachment again

If you’re sending an attachment in your email, always write the word ‘attached’ somewhere in the body. Write ‘Please find attached…’ or ‘I’ve attached the document here.’ Some email servers may spot this and will tell you if you’ve forgotten to attach the document.

If you are using Gmail, here are some other terms you can use to ensure your attachment is safely where it should be.

There’s a certain sense of satisfaction when you send a well-written email – clicking send with the confidence that you’ve communicated your message well. What tricks do you use to ensure you’re sending emails that will be read?

If you had to venture a guess, how much time would you say you spend interacting with media? Think scanning your social media feeds, streaming your favourite TV show or maybe — just maybe! — reading a newspaper or magazine.

Did you guess more than eight hours? Well, according to a report by ZenithOptimedia, average daily media consumption globally is more than 490 minutes. As if that isn’t staggering enough, they predict that number will rise even more by 2017.

Spreading your message with content

What does that data tell us? Well, for one thing, content is everywhere. And considering that media consumption is rising, it’s clear that there’s an appetite for more.

So for organisations and businesses of all kinds, content presents a massive opportunity to connect with the people who you want to connect with — potential donors, prospective students, consumers, businesses in need of your services. Anyone, really.

Especially in today’s digital age, a lot of people are exposed to media and content in some way every day. And they aren’t just receptive to content; they’re frequently seeking it out. From a marketing perspective, this means you have the chance to share your message in a powerful, authentic way.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing focuses on drawing your target audience to you by providing them with valuable content. That’s the key. It’s offering something that matters to them, whether that’s inspiration or information, entertainment or facts.

Content marketing is vast, but just a few examples may include:

  • A blog (like this one!)
  • An e-book or white paper
  • An infographic

And it isn’t just about written words. Videos, interactive web experiences, visual assets — these can all be part of your content marketing arsenal too (and they should).

The benefits of content marketing

If content marketing is all about offering value to your audience, what value does it bring to you as an organisation? It’s a flexible and effective way to:

  • Draw attention to a cause
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Demonstrate your brand’s value by offering relevant information
  • Differentiate your organisation from the competition and establish leadership
  • Drive results, whether that means people making a donation, subscribing to your newsletter or any other number of goals.

Getting started

As with any aspect of communications, it’s essential to understand your audience to create a tailored content marketing strategy.

With that in mind, here are a just a few resources to get you started (you’ll find plenty more…).

 

Why tone of voice matters

The way something is said is described as the tone of voice. In content writing, it is a product of the words you choose and the structure of your sentences.

Tone of voice reflects personality and for organisations it is integral to their brand — just as much as their logo.

Tone of voice enables organisations to:

  • stand-out from their competitors
  • communicate their personality and values
  • attract and keep customers.

Developing tone of voice

It takes time to identify and develop an organisation’s tone of voice — its values and personality must be carefully considered.

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Talk to stakeholders: How do your employees, suppliers and customers perceive your organisation? Is it serious and formal or casual and laid-back? Which of your competitors’ voices do they like or dislike?
  • Audit your content: This can be a mammoth task, even for a small organisation, but it is worth the effort. Review website pages, brochures and proposal templates, etc. Is the tone of voice consistent throughout? Do parts clash with what you are trying to achieve?
  • Review your brand: Tone of voice is part of your overall brand. Does it match the image your organisation projects? It should. So, if your website’s home page depicts serious people doing serious things, of course, fluffy, colloquial language is not appropriate.

Consistency

It’s easy to fall into the trap of altering the tone of voice for different market segments. After all, shouldn’t we, like chameleons, mirror our audiences? Yes, but tone of voice must be consistent. Instead, it’s content that should change (blog posts or white papers, for example). When an organisation is inconsistent with its tone of voice, it can be perceived as ‘fake’.

Set some rules

For this reason, consistent tone of voice is important. But, when several people are producing content, this can be difficult to achieve.

It pays to set some rules.

The Copy Collective established a style guide. For example, we don’t use question marks in a blog post’s main headline; we also spell out numbers below 10 unless associated with measurements.

A style guide can also include:

  • Values: For example, it may state: ‘When we write, we are always friendly, polite and helpful.’
  • Language: Which words should you use or avoid? For example, for a friendly tone, your style guide may instruct writers to use ‘you’ and ‘we’. If you are an IT support company, it may advise avoiding technical jargon, which could confuse and intimidate customers.

What is your organisation’s personality? What are its values? Make sure you communicate clearly with a consistent tone of voice.

 

It’s easy to think that business and creativity sit at either end of the fiscal tennis court, whacking that money ball back and forth. And depending on what game’s being played will determine the winner.

If it’s a business game, creativity won’t stand a chance. If it’s a creative game, the functional business side will struggle to keep up.

It sounds all very left-brain right-brain stuff, doesn’t it?

But is it true? Are these two skill sets on such different teams? Can the divide between the creative and practical be closed? Is there ever a chance of a doubles match?

The University of Technology Sydney’s new book, Creative Business in Australia, is an impressive collaboration by 17 of the country’s top creative and business minds.

As Monique Potts, Deputy Director of Innovation and Creative Intelligence for UTS explains:

Creative Business in Australia looks at the pressing issues that small to medium-sized creative industries and companies face.

It suggests a way forward both at the individual company strategy level and for the role of government policy and sector-led leadership to back growth.”

And the growth of this already surprisingly large sector, employing well over 600,000 people in Australia, means big business – whether the creatives involved like it or not.

Creative workforce infographic

Creative Business in Australia is – in a way – a creative product in its own right. Not only is the content of this book a huge collaborative effort, but the inspiration behind it is also one of collaboration.

Potts describes the book’s inspiration as “the work of the Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC), a collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney, the Commonwealth Government Department of Industry and key players in the creative industries from 2009-2015.

The CIIC provided direct support to more than 1500 creative businesses during its six years of operation.”

That support was a huge benefit to creative businesses, offering one-on-one counselling and facilitating essential reports like Valuing Australia’s Creative Industries 2013.

With all the good that the CIIC did for creative industries, this book looks to carry on that work and guide businesses away from typical errors and common misconceptions.

As David Schloeffel, co-author of Creative Business in Australia explains: “People start small creative businesses because of their passion for the creative product and not because they are passionate about business.”

Just because creatives don’t like business, it doesn’t mean that the two are totally incompatible.

In fact, in his chapter Business Basics 101, Schloeffel describes this as, “a furphy, and a dangerous one at that.”

Creatives don’t like doing business and sales things, but it doesn’t mean there’s a capability gap.

In spite of the CIIC closure, there is still support for creative businesses. This book is a good example of that, and as Monique Potts says:

“UTS is continuing its commitment to innovation, and to developing skills and opportunities for creative industries and wider innovation activities through research, consulting and teaching initiatives.

The university is partnering with some of Australia’s largest organisations using design-led thinking for innovative business disruption and change.”

So perhaps that game of doubles tennis isn’t so far out of the question. It certainly sounds like UTS is ready to do some good work up at the net.

Download your free copy of Creative Business in Australia from the UTS bookstore here.

You know, Rupert, I wanted to thank you for the lessons in business that you have provided to me this century. Without them, I wouldn’t be running a successful business today.

I had the privilege of working as a journalist at News Limited, now News Corporation Australia, in Sydney for 12 years finishing up in July 2012. I took my nice shiny redundancy cheque and bought 40 per cent of a copywriting agency. In the past three years, we’ve doubled the turnover and added 7 FTE staff (about 12 peeps, all up) to work with my business partner Dominique Antarakis and me. In July, we opened our New Zealand office with our first Kiwi employee. It’s been terrifically exciting.

So, Rupert, this is what you taught me:

It’s about trust

People say to me that to get a job at The Copy Collective you have to be a blood relative or a long-time friend of the owners, their family or their children. It’s funny; and it’s almost true.

At Holt St, we had up to 3 generations of a family working in the building at any one time – and it wasn’t just the Murdochs. There were lots of families – fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, nieces, nephews and in-laws. You had to be careful what you said to someone about a co-worker because the odds were they were either married to them, had been married to them or were related by blood.

Employing family and long-term friends means you have a level of trust that you don’t have with a complete stranger. And the more family members you employ, the more hostages you have (that’s a joke, really).

Fail fast

As you know, Rupert, it hasn’t always been plain sailing at News Corporation. We won’t talk about News’ forays into the early days of online journalism or the digital studio at Holt St that opened, closed and opened again. These things happen, you make the best decision at the time and go, whoops: Let’s stop now!

I haven’t always made the best decisions during the past three years. The day in September 2013, I had to tell three people they wouldn’t be employed by us any longer, stands out as one of my worst in business. With the help of trusted advisers, we were able to see where we went wrong, why it went wrong and how to avoid such mistakes in future.

Take the pain

You’ve never been afraid to take the pain. Closing News of the World, following the phone hacking allegations, was a monumental example of that. While, we’ve never had anything of that nature at The Copy Collective (and mindful our turnover runs into 7 figures while News’ runs into the billions) we’ve had to deal with pain following bad decisions.

Our advisers said that Dominique and I should “take the pain” following that difficult September. We did, it was bloody hard, and it took six months to recover but recover we did. We are now much more strategic in what we do and how we do it. We analyse and see our weak spots before jumping in.

Do more with less

This is a lesson the entire newspaper industry had to learn this century and nowhere was it more embedded than at News Corporation. When I started we had two daily editions of The Daily Telegraph and 380 staff. When I left we had The Tele, the iPad edition, the online edition and mX and far fewer staff than 380.

We’ve been transforming the back end of what we do at The Copy Collective, so we can do more with less. It’s paying off with costs at reasonable levels, profitability improving and capacity increasing.

Celebrate your wins

News Corporation always knew how to host a good party. Whether it was one of the terribly impressive events with a bunch of A-listers at some swanky do or the impromptu bashes that the “sub humans” (the subs’ desk) held at the Evil (Evening Star) or the Aurora – a good time was generally had by all.

Our parties are becoming legendary. Like the times when we get our Sydney-based contributors together for Melbourne Cup (we were having so much fun, we forgot to watch the race). We’ve had some awesome Christmas parties where amazingly personal information has been disclosed. And just recently, our Paris-based freelancers met to picnic by the Seine. I can’t take all the credit, but we’ve learned to celebrate in style – thanks, Rupert!

New Zealand office opens for The Copy Collectivea vibrant team of skilful copywriters commits to further New Zealand growth, writing copy that counts.

The Copy Collective is delighted to announce the expansion of its New Zealand copywriting services from 1 July, 2015.

To cater for the growing demand in New Zealand, The Copy Collective has invested in staff and infrastructure to ensure its support of clients is targeted to meet their needs.

Why a focus on New Zealand?

Development of the New Zealand business was a timely and natural progression notes Anna Shere, newly-appointed National Business Development Manager and The Copy Collective’s first New Zealand-based employee.

“The Copy Collective team has established strong and effective business partnerships with the Australian client base,” said Ms Shere, “providing efficient, creative and targeted copy time and time again.”

“Strong recommendations from our existing clients has triggered a growing rate of enquiries from New Zealand organisations. They’re looking for the depth and breadth of copywriter expertise that The Copy Collective can provide.

“Our clients also value that we use New Zealand-based writers wherever we can, so that the tone of voice truly reflects our Kiwi culture.”

Already the New Zealand client base includes recognised organisations such as The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ and Stroke Foundation of New Zealand.

About The Copy Collective

Established in 2008, The Copy Collective is a collective of Australian, New Zealand and other international copywriters whose versatile skills range from fundraising, marketing and digital copywriting to corporate and government writing, feature and speech writing, as well as editing and so much more.

This is no ordinary business. The Copy Collective team is full of heart, supporting and promoting causes aligned with the fundamental beliefs of the team. This includes sponsorship for the past two years of the Attitude Awards Trust in New Zealand – an organisation that works to change attitudes towards people with disabilities. The Copy Collective proudly sponsors a New Zealand student with disabilities as he completes his public relations studies through AUT University.

Find out how we can help

To find out more, visit www.thecopycollective.co.nz. You’ll find the downloadable resources section particularly valuable.

The team from The Copy Collective can be reached via the online contact form or call or email Anna using her contact details below. Anna is excited about adding a Kiwi touch to the business and would love to meet new clients and contacts.

Contact details:

Anna Shere

National Business Development Manager NZ

Ph: +64 9 905 4977

Email: ashere@thecopycollective.co.nz

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