Prohibition blog

March 2012

Viewing posts from March , 2012

PR stunt of the week goes to Alton Towers

The PR stunt of the week, so far OK so it’s only Monday, has to go to Alton Towers. The reason is the team there have managed to get national coverage on the fact the new ride “Nemesis Sub-Terra” ride has been classed for the over 12s by the British Board of Film and Classification. As soon as I read that I thought – genius move. This was obviously carefully thought through to make it sound very, very scary and even the board admitted they had never classified a ride before. So that get’s a big tick from me as that story has made both the Sun and Metro.

Then I spotted this viral video that was filmed in preparation for the launch. I think it’s OK and a clever idea but they could have used different camera angles and made it work a bit harder. A big thumbs up for coming up with a different idea and using it across platforms but I think we could do something a bit more daring and scary and more engaging. Good ideas don’t always have to cost the earth to deliver.

I am pretty impressed with the amount of likes the park has on its Facebook page too as as it has almost 1million – they must be hoping to smash that soon. They should come up with a clever social campaign to drive people onto Facebook, when they are on the rides. A check-in on a ride should get you something free at the park or at the very least entered into some sort of prize draw on a particular day.

What they really need to do is to identify bloggers and invite them to test the ride out first for free – I am willing to give it a whirl and share my screams as I love the brand and the park and my wife would love to see me scared out of my mind.

This was also cross posted on my personal blog.

Pinning Your Hopes On Pinterest

None of us need to be told that social media is a fast-moving world and the site du jour is a vivid example. Pinterest has come a long way in a very short space of time. Launched just two years ago and still in open beta status, Pinterest is already attracting more 1.9 million visitors a month in the UK, and more than seven million globally.

Pinterest is an image-sharing service, based around the design metaphor of a pinboard. Users ‘pin’ images of things they find interesting or products they like onto virtual pinboards with different themes. Despite its focus on visual imagery, Pinterest is closer to Twitter than Facebook in its approach to social networking: users ‘follow’ rather than friend others users to view their inboards, and can ‘repin’ pictures they like onto other people’s boards, just as Twitter users can ‘retweet’ other people’s witty remarks or insightful comments as they wish. Pinterest also supports Twitter-style hashtags.

One of the easiest ways to use Pinterest is as a product moodboard or shopping wishlist and the site certainly brims with pinboards devoted to such topics as home decor, hair and beauty and wedding planning, leading to a popular perception that the site is ‘for girls’. This may sound like a stereotype but in fact the analytics bear this out: a massive 83 per cent of the site’s users are female in the US. Interestingly, the gender split is reversed in the UK, with 56 per cent of users male. Of course, pinboards can be created on almost any visual topic.

Superficially the site resembles flickr in its focus on pictures but the resemblance ends there. Flickr is built to host and display large numbers of photographs and other images in virtual catalogues but these are, in the vast majority of cases, created by the user themselves. Jus its name implies, however, Pinterest by contrast is firmly focused on allowing users to pin and share images which have caught their interest around the web. And of course, many of these images will be subject to copyright. Major stock photography libraries such as Getty Images and iStock have already expressed concern about Pinterest users repining their images without permission, with the former known to be having discussions with Pinterest on the issue. Commentators have cast doubts on the legal status of copyrighted imagery on Pinterest, and it is an uncomfortable fact that site users run a theoretical risk of legal action by pinning such images.

Pinterest has now established a system allowing copyright holders to notify the site of copyright breaches and as recently as last month the site also introduced a HTML meta tag which will allows sites to prevent pinning. Flickr has already begun to offer this tag as an option to its users.

Social media sites almost invariably grow from the ground up: they are created to provide a compelling service for individuals and it is only when (and if) they begin to take off that commercial and business interests begin to explore the possibilities of the site. Thanks to recent explosive growth, Pinterest has now reached this stage, with a variety of firms beginning to slowly and cautiously establish a presence. These include US department stores Nordstrom and West Elm, international clothing retailer The Gap, and popular vintage and handmade e-commerce Etsy, which already has more than 50,000 followers on Pinterest.

Of course, the site’s focus on visuals limits Pinterest’s commercial potential. If you are a lawyer, accountant or sell car insurance, Pinterest is probably not the social networking site for you. But if compelling pictures can be attached to your product – or your client’s products – with some degree of relevance, then a presence on Pinterest could yield value. An attractive product photograph linked to your or your client’s site could easily be repinned by one or more of your followers. In turn their followers will see the photograph, and some may repin and display it to their followers, and so on. This is the online equivalent of that most valuable of all marketing commodities: word-of-mouth advertising. And anyone sufficiently interested in a photograph to repin it is also quite likely to click through to your site and may even make a purchase.

Pinterest is still in its early stages but is already pushing more traffic to commercial websites than LinkedIn, Google+ and Youtube combined, according to a report recently published by Shareaholic.

But Pinterest is not a shopping catalogue and the same rules unwritten rule applies to commercial use of Pinterest as to any other social network: don’t be too strident. Blow your own trumpet too loudly and your are likely to be ignored. Create a sense of community around your images. Repin images posted by your followers if they are relevant or of potential interest, even if they show products you do not sell. Give your followers more than a commercial reason to follow your pinboards.

And of course, don’t forget to make it easy for people to pin your images. Don’t rely on people to acquire the Pinterest ‘pin it’ java bookmarklet themselves – sprinkle ‘pin it’ buttons liberally across your site. They should be as ubiquitous as the familiar Facebook ‘like’ button. A range of Pinterest plugins are also now available for popular blogging platform WordPress.

What is the fundamental difference between Pinterest and other big fish in the social networking pond? On Facebook, Twitter, Quora and Google+ I think it is fair to say that words are fundamental. Yes, you can post pictures and videos but in most cases these only illustrate the words and ideas expressed. On Pinterest this equation is reversed: images are the fundamental semantics of the site. Descriptions and comments serve only to illustrate the pictures and provide them with meaning and context. The image is primary.

What the new Facebook Pages mean for Public Relations

Come 30th March all Facebook pages will have to make the change whether they’re ready or not. Pages will adopt the Timeline design that users already but with added analytics. But it’s more than just a facelift.

There are a number of different types of post that you need to get your head round to be able to best exploit the Timeline. Pinned posts are for the most important pieces of news. They remain at the top of your news feed for up to seven days meaning that they will not fall lower down the page as you update it and also allows the conversation to develop over that time, instead of having to be restarted by having the same story posted again the next day. Posts can also be starred, which stretches them out the full width instead of just half of the timeline. Like pinned posts, it is done to make the post stand out, but will drop down the timeline with more posts. Milestone posts also allow for bigger pictures and more space to tell a story instead of just sharing information.

One of the most noticeable things about the new look will be the cover photos. Facebook has laid down strict rules on what is not allowed to be used in the cover photos, meaning that brands simply have to design a cool picture with the logo in and little else. Brands cannot have any prices of promotion of products, contact details or pleas to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ their page. On the subject of promotion, however, brands can post offers for their products that can sent straight from your newsfeed to your inbox.

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It is now possible to send direct messages to the page instead of simply posting on their wall and, unlike Twitter, it doesn’t require the user to be following the page to be able to send them. It will be possible to block this, but that would only be recommended in extreme cases. Cutting off a communication link between the brand and the consumer will look weak and defensive and strengthen the reputation of those brands that do deal with their customers.

Now when you look at a brands page you will not only see what they are putting out, but also what other users are saying about them although they can choose to either moderate them or turn them off altogether. This will allow for the brand to choose what messages that customers will be able to see instead of just cutting them off completely.

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All in all there is a lot more to do than before. The amount of new information that there is to screen will mean that those that are able to dedicate more time to the pages will pull ahead of those that can’t. Essentially it becomes about who can offer the best level of customer service and deal with the new influx of messages and posts. Isn’t that all everybody wants?

For a full list of the new terms of Facebook Timeline check out allfacebook.com.

The Top 5 Public Relations Twitter Tips

With Twitter reaching over 500 million users it’s safe to say that they’re not all going to be useful, and with such high numbers it often becomes difficult for your target audience to find you. So how do you make yourself stand out Twitter? Here are our tips:

1. Be relevant – To make sure that you engage your target audience you need to make sure that all your tweets are relevant to their interests. As an organisation you will fall in to different categories such as technology, sports, etc. Make sure your tweets are focussed on your area of expertise and hashtag whenever it’s appropriate to help make your message more easily seen by your audience.

2. Have two personal accounts – Having two accounts can be seen as something of a safety net. You have an interest in something and like to tweet about it but you don’t want potential clients seeing what your view on ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ is. Instead, set up one account for business to be used for sharing helpful information and conversing with fellow professionals. The other can then be used for your own personal interests. Just make sure your usernames are quite different.

3. Find the news – Instead of letting people find out what’s happening in the world, you should bring it to them. Anything found that you feel would be relevant for your audience can be retweeted or linked with your own comment. This shows clients that you are actively looking at what is happening in the world and not just reacting to events that could harm you. Those who do this frequently can also find themselves positioned as an expert in the field.

4. Follow the right people – To show that you have a genuine interest in a company instead of just wanting business, you need to show that you care about their area of expertise. If you’re looking to attract an interior design company, for example, then show you have some knowledge of their industry by following other relevant accounts. In this instance, you could follow companies that could supply materials, magazines and television programmes. This will also help you keep up-to-date with how their industry is changing.

5. Have fun with it – Although it is serious business making sure your companies Twitter feed is relevant it doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun with it. While your followers will be interested in the serious aspects of your business, every once in a while they will want to read something that, while still on-topic, will make them laugh. Twitter is mainly used as a source of entertainment. Anything too serious will just drive followers away, so try and have some fun with them.

Our tech PR client launches the most powerful Android 4.0 tablet under £200

We have been very busy over the last few days but we are proud to announce our client’s fastest ever tablet PC and the world’s most powerful tablet under £200 to use the Android 4.0 operating system and support the output of 3D content. We have been seeding it online and we have managed to secure some great coverage all over the place including on the home page of the number one tech site in the world Engadget.

Our MD Chris Norton loves anything technology or gadget related so it’s a love thing rather than a work thing.image

The new Scroll Extreme has been added to our popular and award-winning Scroll tablet portfolio. It is packed with a variety of innovative new features and is the cheapest high quality tablet of its type in the world, at only £189.99, initially exclusive with eBuyer.com and available to pre-order from today.Scroll Extreme Main

Operating on Android’s latest tablet operating system 4.0, commonly known as Ice Cream Sandwich, the Scroll Extreme delivers a smooth and intuitive user experience with a superior performance powered by its 1.2GHz Cortex A8 processor.

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The Android 4.0 operating system makes popular actions more visible and lets the user navigate with simple, intuitive gestures. An entirely new typeface optimised for high-resolution screens has improved readability and brings a more polished feel to the Extreme’s interface. New virtual buttons in the system bar enable the user to navigate more easily. Multitasking has also been made easier and more visual.

Our client has made the Scroll Extreme exclusive for pre-order now with eBuyer.com.

This tablet is a fine piece of kit and we are delighted to have been involved in another successful product launch.