New Client Win: The Lagoon

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The Sunny Bird PR team are excited to announce they are now working with The Lagoon, The South’s First Surf and Adventure Park Coming to Bournemouth in 2022

The Lagoon is a man-made surf park with a highly engineered and hi-tech wave machine capable of making over 2,400 ocean-like waves per hour. The entire development looks to attract over 500,000 visitors annually and aspires to become a centre of sporting excellence fit for Olympians. 

 The Lagoon will be based upon a beach shack style, which will be both authentic and attractive, with ocean inspired décor. With a grass roof for the main building, solar panels and rainwater harvesters the site is planned to be energy-neutral for an environmentally friendly solution.

The people behind this ambitious project are Matt Radford, Founder and MD, who teamed up with Director Martin Spooner to create a fast-moving development company. The visionary duo have also employed an impressive team of local consultants with combined experience managing sites such as Legoland, Longleat, Merlin Entertainments. 

An all year round indoor and outdoor attraction, The Lagoon will offer a range of indoor activities from rock climbing to abseiling as well as five different wave areas to cater for everyone from absolute beginners to pros all at the same time. The Lagoon will also offer a tranquil environment with an offering of mixed accommodation styles from a contemporary 145-bedroom hotel to tree houses, woodland lodges, glamping pods and ‘hobbit’ huts. The eco-conscious development will bring a significant number of tourists into the area, create considerable employment and will also supply an important all-weather destination for the local community, holidaymakers and tourists alike. 

Sunny Bird, founder and MD of Sunny Bird PR, said: “We are very proud to be involved with such an ambitious and important project, being based in Bournemouth but delivering national PR, we are perfectly positioned to support The Lagoon in Bournemouth, the region, nationally and internationally along this very exciting journey.”

“Such a monumental vision and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

New Client Win: The Hampton Trust

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The Sunny Bird PR team are delighted to announce they are now working with award-winning domestic abuse charity The Hampton Trust.

The Hampton Trust was founded in 1996 to deliver domestic violence perpetrator programmes within the criminal justice system to reduce offence rates. To tackle the root causes of domestic abuse, the trust works directly with individuals who are being abusive. The charity makes it their mission to identify the complexities behind violent, coercive and controlling behaviour to end the cycle of domestic abuse and prevent harm coming to victims. Sunny Bird, founder and MD of Sunny Bird PR, said: “We are extremely proud to be working alongside such an innovative charity supporting victims of domestic abuse by reducing the rate of criminal and abusive behaviour.

“The work they do is vital, and we are eager to increase The Hampton Trust’s national presence, so the charity can continue making our communities safer throughout the UK.”

www.thehamptontrust.org.uk

New Client Win: Just Shutters

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The team at Sunny Bird PR are thrilled to announce that they are now working with the UK’s largest independent shutter company, Just Shutters.

Founded in 2006, Just Shutters have built up an enviable and unrivalled reputation for being the number 1 choice for plantation shutters in the UK. Just Shutters boast an extensive range of beautiful shutters including their own exclusive ranges that can’t be found anywhere else including the truly unique collection of eight stunning colours inspired by the British coast.

Sunny, Founder of Sunny Bird PR, commented: “We are very proud to be working with such a well-established and well-thought of brand, the reputation of Just Shutter precedes them. We will be working with the national brand on its PR across national consumer and trade media. Myself and the whole team at SBPR are very excited to start working with the Just Shutters team and achieving good quality media coverage for the brand.”

Journalist Of The Month

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This month we asked Senior Writer from the MailOnline, Chloe Morgan the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions. Chloe writes real-life features for the website’s popular Femail section and can often be found running laps in her local park or throwing shapes to R Kelly's 'Ignition.’ Take it away Chloe…

1.         What are the 5 words that best describe you?

This is a tough one to answer without sounding arrogant! So of course, I took the easy option and asked the one person I can always count on to pay me a compliment - my boyfriend! He described me as beautiful, caring, selfless, hardworking and intelligent. What a way to make me big-headed!

2.         What magazine do you love reading and why?

This is slightly biased as I worked there for nearly four years, but it’s got to be That's Life! magazine. It’s a fab team to work with and plus, who doesn't love a Jeremy Kyle story?

3.         What is your favourite book?

This is going back a few years, but I really loved Of Mice and Men which I studied at school. When I went to New York I saw it on Broadway too and it completely lived up to my expectations.

4.         Which song makes you dance?

Anything by Sean Paul never fails to get my limbs moving - albeit it not in any rhythm. Another classic that always gets me on the dance floor is R Kelly's 'Ignition.’

5.         What has been your best career moment?

I applied for work experience at various magazines when I was in sixth form and had several rejections, so getting one of my first work experience placements at TV Choice was a big highlight for me. I made some great friends there who I still see today and am so grateful they decided to take a chance on me. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn’t have achieved all I have today.

Also, getting the job at Femail, MailOnline as Senior Writer is a massive highlight. The chance to feature a real-life story which has helped a lady raise vital funds for a lifesaving operation is just one of the many reasons that I love to write.

6.         What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Hard work and perseverance will pay off - even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Starting out in journalism, I didn't know anybody in the industry and worried that I would never get my foot in the door. But through endless work experience placements and internships, I got there in the end and couldn’t be happier...

7.         Where are you happiest?

...but I could be even happier if was on a beach somewhere sunny with a Pina Colada in my hand! Or if money is tight, a run around my local park will do! After running the London marathon last April, a few leisurely laps at my own pace is a DREAM!

8.         Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

David Attenborough. I've watched all of his documentaries (more than once!) and am fascinated with his career and how he has changed our outlook on the world. Stacey Dooley is a close second. I got the chance to interview her a while back and massively fangirled her - and I don’t even regret it!

9.         If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

To click my fingers and be ready for a night out, and to click them again and be ready for bed - with my make up off! It's always such a chore...

10.     If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

PR always seems like such a high-pressured job. How do you cope with the pressure of meeting your targets?

Alex: “Lots of lists and office Yoga!”

Jess: “Prioritise the most important tasks, make time for switching off and always ensure you have a generous stack of highlighters!”

Lizzie: “Being super organised and a whizz at prioritising.”

Rachael: “At lunch I try to have a 15-20 minute walk. I think it’s really important to reset your mind and refresh yourself for the afternoon.”

Laura: “I like to enjoy a nice glass of wine in the evening!”

 

Journo of the Month

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Our journalist of the month this month is the fantastic Thomas Swallow. Thomas is the Style and Grooming writer for The Gay UK and has a passion for grooming, fitness and fashion. He’s also the guy behind @urbanmaleuk. Here, he answers the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions…

 

1.       What are the 5 words that best describe you?

Determined, enthusiastic, sassy, confident and well-groomed (I’m counting it as one word 😂)

2.       What magazine do you love reading and why?

My favourite magazine to read is GQ. I think it’s the only male magazine that features all the things I’m passionate about but holds the side of misogyny. As a gay man I can still like fitness, grooming and fashion, without it all being geared to getting laid. You know what I mean? 

3.       What is your favourite book?

Sounds cliché but it will always be “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Read it in secondary school like most of the UK and completely fell in love with the book. I think it’s such an important literary piece that defines the injustice present within the world.

4.       Which song makes you dance?

Avicii: Wake Me Up

5.       What has been your best career moment?

Getting published for the first time and seeing my name in print. Pretty sure I cried on the phone telling my parents. Yes, I am indeed a sap!

6.       What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Well I was at university in Newcastle, so it would probably be to invest in better fake tan. You know, orange just ain’t a look! In all honesty I’d probably just have told myself to relax more. I used to spend so much time at uni thinking of what everyone thought of me, me being gay and my appearance. The thing is there was nothing wrong with any of it and as soon as I realised that, I just became so much more of a fun-loving and confident guy.

7.       Where are you happiest?

Sweden! I went on an exchange at university there for half a year and I just fell in love with the country. There’s just something about it that I find so relaxing. If I ever need to focus and get something done, I head there for a mini break. If you’ve never been, try it! Plus their summers are consistently in the mid 20s to 30s…. #JustSaying

8.       Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why?

I think it would be Jake Gyllenhaal and not just because I want to marry him, although if by some chance you’re reading this, yes, I am indeed single! I just found him such an inspirational role model growing up. He has such a liberal attitude to life and he was an English major at university, so we’d at least have a starting point to planning the wedding.

9.       If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?

I would like to be able to speak any language in the world. Sounds a bizarre one but I love travelling and making connections while doing so. Some of my best friends live in other countries and I just wish they didn’t always have to speak English for me. Currently trying to learn Spanish… it’s not going well!

10.   If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

What do you consider the most enjoyable part of working in PR?

Sunny – For me it’s all about meeting inspiring new brands. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by creativity on a daily basis and creative people and I love being inspired by them.

Laura – No two days are the same in PR and I love the variety of stuff you work on. You become an expert in everything from business bartering software to the science behind snoring. You get such a breadth of knowledge working in PR – it’s great for pub quizzes!

Georgie – I love how creative we get to be in PR. Every day we are given opportunities to stretch our creative muscles, whether it’s coming up with a new angle to get our clients in press or whether it’s putting yourself into the customer’s shoes to write up a press release.

Jess – Every day is different, one day you might be working on pitching a cool new product to journalists and the next you might be hosting an event for a client. You never know where the next week is going to take you, so it certainly keeps you on your toes!

Elizabeth – The most enjoyable part of PR is that it’s all about communication and I love communicating! Whether that’s through words, graphics, events, social media, websites, radio, TV, interviews, interpretative dance, etc etc, each opportunity to connect presents a new challenge and a chance to shine!

Rachael – I love that PR is part of the media industry, so we keep up to date on what’s going on in the world and the news, not only for our clients but generally in the media too. I love spending time researching what journalists are talking about.

Beating the Algorithms on Instagram

Instagram is arguably one of the fastest growing and developing social media networks out there, having grown from 700 million users to 1 billion in just two years. This puts it just behind Facebook in the social media rankings for active users.

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Of that 1 billion people 34% of them are millennials, an audience that are far more clued up and cynical of brands on social media than their baby boomer parents. With 4.2 billion likes taking place on the platform each day (more than any other social media channel) Instagram is officially the happiest place on the Internet – providing brands with an invaluable route to reaching their millennial target audience in an organic way, cutting through the cynicism that millennials feel towards brands on social media and actively engaging them.

Because of this, 86% of top brands have Instagram accounts, but Instagram isn’t only great for huge corporates, it’s also equally brilliant for smaller brands and businesses who have a real opportunity to build a great network of customers on the channel. The great thing about Instagram is that it is an up and coming channel for businesses and brands, meaning that it’s far easier to master than Facebook for example, with less algorithms pushing brands to the bottom of people’s newsfeeds.

With these elements in mind we recognised that Instagram was a key social media channel for our business, with many sales of tickets for our courses coming directly from Instagram. In the month of January, we aimed to improve all our Instagram stats (post reach and post engagement on our best performing post, followers, overall post likes, overall post comments and our story reach) by 100% in comparison to December’s stats.

Getting the Strategy Right

In order to get 100% improvement across all stats we couldn’t rely on luck, so we formulated an Instagram strategy based on previous analytics. In order to compile this we looked back at the best performing posts for the last 6 months (these can be accessed through your Instagram insights) to understand what our audience liked to see. From this, we found that images tagging in lots of people and including our clients got great engagement and was something that we wanted to replicate. We believe firmly in not reinventing the wheel – if something has worked well recently, learn from that and replicate it in your future posts.

Interestingly enough, the posts that we had expected to perform just as well the second time didn’t do as well as we had anticipated, our likes improved in comparison to week 1 of December, but not enough for us to be hitting 100% by the end of the month. This might not be the same for every business account – some might find that replicating content is a great strategy to grow their channel and discovering whether it’s right for you is all about testing it out and seeing what happens! We learnt that it wasn’t right for our feed, therefore it was back to the drawing board and time to do some serious research with three weeks left to up our stats.

Improving Your Instagram Reach

Your Instagram reach is the amount of people that see your posts, whether that be on their main feed or on their explore page. Much like Facebook, Instagram reach differs from engagement as many people might see your posts without interacting with them. Reach is important to building a following on Instagram and getting in front of both new and existing followers and fans of your brand. The good news with Instagram is that reach is relatively easy to improve if done in the right way. In order to increase our own reach, we took several different tactics.

Hashtags

Firstly, we built up a bank of hashtags for our brand. Building a bank of hashtags isn’t as simple as tagging everything with #ootd or #love. Hashtags are under-used as a brilliant resource for brands. Research taught us that hashtags should be carefully selected. We created some guidelines for hashtag selection, these were:

1.       Hashtags should be community minded – simply selecting the hashtag with the most posts is rarely the right way to go for your business. Instead, find hashtags that generally have less than 50k uses to reach a really targeted and specific community of people.

2.       Hashtags must be targeted for the business – getting in front of people that aren’t interested or engaging with your content is pointless for hitting your business objectives. Hashtags should be targeted to reach people that you know for a fact will be interested in what you are posting about – whether that be new customers, other brands or organisations that you want to work with.

3.       Hashtags should be changed every month – like all elements of social media you shouldn’t stick with something because it worked once. You must constantly analyse your hashtags to continue to improve and grow. Plus, if you keep appearing on the same pages at some point that audience will tire of seeing your posts and it’ll be time to target someone new!

Instagram now allows hashtag analytics which is great to see. On your ‘insights’ page, you can view how many people found your posts via a hashtag and see which are performing best for your account. This can help you refine which hashtags you use and help you to improve your reach.

During our research we found lots of rumours that you should only use five hashtags on your posts or Instagram will flag you as spam. However, we tested this theory by posting with only five hashtags and posting with up to 30 hashtags (the maximum you can have on Instagram). Consistently, our posts with more hashtags on performed drastically better than those with only five hashtags, putting to bed those rumours.

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Instagram Pods

One of the new tactics that Instagram users are taking to get around algorithms for reach is ‘Instagram Pods’. These are a relatively new phenomenon in the industry, having come about to get around the fact that Instagram prioritises content that gets lots of engagement, very quickly. Essentially, Instagram pushes to the top of your feed the posts that have had a ‘flurry’ of likes and comments very soon after being posted. Instagram pods are groups that Instagram users have formed, in which they agree to engage with each other’s posts as soon as they have gone live.

This is a tactic that we tried in the office, getting everyone to like and comment on the posts as soon as we have posted – and it worked! The first post that we tried this out on went on to become our best performing post of the month.

One key thing to bear in mind if you are going to try this tactic is that Instagram only really ‘counts’ comments that are longer than four words, and sadly, emojis don’t count either.

Tagging in Other Users

Using high-profile users to get in front of their followers is a great tactic to improving your Instagram reach. Sharing content from bloggers and tagging them in or tagging in prominent thought-leaders in your industry can improve your reach if you’re lucky enough to get a like back. When they like or engage with your content, your post will appear on the ‘explore’ page of their followers.

Improving your Instagram reach very much sits alongside improving your Instagram engagement and the two stats go hand in hand – improving your reach will improve your engagement and vice versa.

Improving Instagram Post Engagement

Post engagement is a key metric for achieving most business objectives on social media, and engagement is the buzzword of the moment – but how can you improve it? Well, Instagram, like Facebook, is all about building a community and encouraging organic engagement. Here’s how you can do that…

Engage with Others

Engagement is a two-way street, and you can’t expect to get tons of likes and comments on your posts if you’re not engaging with others. Following key Instagram users, whether that be new customers, other brands or existing customers, and engaging with them regularly will help you to build a community of loyal followers that regularly comment on and like your posts. Engaging with others is a long game, and miracles don’t come overnight. It’s not as simple as just liking a few other people’s posts, it’s about building an ongoing conversation with people that are key for your business.

Engage with Your Own Content

Whilst engaging with others is vital, it’s even more important to engage with your own content! It might sound silly but many brands put up a picture on Instagram and expect it to get loads of comments and likes, when the process doesn’t work quite like that. When people engage with you by commenting on your posts, demonstrate that you are active by commenting back quickly. Not only will they appreciate your time and energy, but by asking an open-ended question it keeps the conversational ball rolling, getting you even more comments and thus improving your reach.

Bring Value to Your Audience

Why should people actually engage with you? Do you have an answer to that question? Nowadays, you have to earn your engagement, and no one is entitled to it. In the social media industry, there are three elements to producing brilliant content that adds value to your audience’s day: entertainment; inspiration and education. If your content falls into one of these three categories then you’re on to a winner! Here’s a breakdown:

1.       Entertainment – is what you’re posting going to brighten someone’s day? Make them laugh or cry (in a good way of course!). Users will actively come to your channel if they know you to be entertaining.

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2.       Inspiration – whether we admit it or not, most people use social media to improve their appearance in their social circles and show off the best parts of their life. Posting inspirational content encourages shareability, as users engage with your inspirational content to inspire their own followers in turn.

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3.       Education – are they learning something? Remember, you are the expert in your own industry, and you can help to teach them something with your channel. Plus, this is a great opportunity to show off your own achievements whilst also adding some value for your audience! For us, sharing a great article that we secured for a client with some information about how we did it performed well.

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Understanding how to bring value to your audience comes down to understanding them and what they want to see from you. By heading to your insights tab and checking out the audience insights you can find out more about your followers in detail. Then it’s all about brainstorming what type of content that audience would like to see and creating it.

Using Long Form Content

Adding value to your audience goes hand in hand with creating long-form content. The longer that a user spends on your post, whether that be reading the caption or writing a response, the more Instagram likes it and the higher up the feed it will end up. You can engage people for longer by using long-form content that they spend a long time reading, but make sure it’s adding that value for it to actually keep your followers engaged.

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Use People’s Faces

Users like the personal touch on Instagram, a behind-the-scenes look at the human face behind the brand if you like. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that posts with faces in get 38% more likes than those without.

Our Most Engaged Post

Following our research, we put all our points into practise. We created a bank of relevant hashtags for our audience, wrote some long-form content that taught our audience how they could do their own PR and shared it alongside a picture of our lovely Account Manager Alex. We tagged in prominent journalists and brands including our client, Jimmy’s Iced Coffee and posted it. We then had the whole team like and comment on the post. As you can see from the below – it worked! The post went on to become our best performing post EVER and drastically improved on our best performing post from December – our likes increased by 142%, our comments increased by 366%, our profile visits increased by 350% and our reach improved by 111%!

Getting More Instagram Followers

We hear very often about businesses who are setting out just to get more followers on Instagram, especially as Instagram reserves the coveted ‘swipe up to buy’ feature on Instagram stories for those with more than 10k followers.

Having loads of followers isn’t relevant if the audience isn’t engaged, and we would encourage always prioritising genuine engagement over follower count. However, we totally get why businesses would want to improve their follower count, whether that be so that they have the same amount or more as competitors or whether it’s just to access the swipe up feature.

We believe that the best way to improve your follower count is to build an actively engaged following, thus killing two birds with one stone. Here’s how we improved our followers by 226% in January:

1.       Following and unfollowing – there is an easy way to get your name in front of potential customers, and that’s by following them! We aim to follow 50 new people a day where we can, which really improves our follower count. However, we don’t want followers that won’t engage with us, therefore we’re super careful about who we follow. You could follow those that like similar brands to yours, those that follow influencers that you work with or even those that actively engage with your competitors. Taking this approach will help you to up your followers without sacrificing engagement.

2.       Increase your post reach – it goes without saying that the more people you get in front of, the more followers you will get. Using the above tips to increase your post reach will help you to organically boost your followers.

3.       Get in front of the right people – using the right hashtags and engaging with the right people as mentioned above is key to building that highly engaged following that we all want!

Improving Instagram Story Reach

Stories is an entirely different ball game from feed posts which we have been discussing in this blog so far. Stories are a hugely growing feature of Instagram, in fact, they’re growing 15 times faster than feed-based posts! We found stories the most challenging element of Instagram to master as they are a relatively new feature and there isn’t too much research out there yet. In the end, we managed to improve our story reach by 27% - it was the only stat not to hit 100%. Whilst we didn’t quite hit our target, we were pleased to have improved the reach at all due to how challenging it was. Here’s how we did it…

How Do Stories Work?

Stories are prioritised on your ‘storyline’ (the bar of stories across the top of your feed) by the brands and accounts that you engage with most. The more of someone’s stories you watch the higher up they will appear. In order to get around this, improving your stories reach must be approached as a long game. Consistently posting ultra-engaging and super-targeted content on your stories will make users realise that they want to be checking out what you’re up to, and the more they visit your stories the higher up they will appear. Therefore, creating story specific content (not just sharing your feed posts to your stories) is really important.

Make Use of Story Features

There are certain features available on stories that aren’t available on feed-posts, such as GIFs, location tags and hashtags. Making use of these distinguishes your stories from your feed posts and engages users far more than generic stories, meaning they won’t click past your content so fast!

Tag in Other People

On stories you can tag in other Instagram users, who can then share your content to their own story. This is a great way of not only improving your story reach but also getting on the feeds of brands that you admire and in front of those all-important potential customers.

Our best performing story was one that tagged in Sunny our MD, who has a highly engaged following on Instagram, which she then shared to her feed. This prompted lots of her followers to then visit our profile and engage with our feed posts too.

Summary

Overall, Instagram is a great platform for reaching a millennial audience in an organic way and cutting through the noise of advertising on Facebook. Remember though that millennials aren’t the only people on Instagram, so it’s all about checking out those audience insights to see who is following you.

Since doing this research and putting it into practise, our Instagram is consistently achieving almost 100% better than it was before the research, and the great part is that many of these tips are things that can be put into practise quite easily and quickly. For example, having a bank of hashtags in the notes on your phone that you can copy and paste onto all Instagram posts.

Like all social media, what worked for us might not necessarily work for you – so make sure you test all these tactics thoroughly to understand what works best for you and your business.

Beating the Algorithms on Twitter

How Our Twitter Page Went Viral

Unlike the other social media channels, Twitter is a fast-moving platform with users being recommended to post up to 10 times per day to keep up with the fast-paced newsfeeds of over 335 million monthly active users. More than 48% of users log in to Twitter every day to share short snippets (280 characters) from their life or their business.

Journalists, politicians and celebrities all frequently use it too. This means that Twitter is often the place to find trending news and it has a strong emphasis on real-time information — things that are happening right now.

Twitter was the first network to introduce #hashtags and @handles for users to find certain people and information to connect with each other. It’s thought of as the most conversational of platforms.

Beating the Algorithms

There are three ways your tweets are promoted on the newsfeed: the ranked and most relevant tweets, the ‘in case you missed it’ tweets and the remaining tweets in reverse chronological order of the most recent. The difference with Twitter compared to other channels is that you can choose whether you view the ‘best’ tweets or tweets as they happen. Therefore, to get the best out of the Twitter algorithm, timing is crucial; if your tweet gets engagement quickly then it will be pushed up the rankings and is likely to be seen by more people.

It is also important to find out when the best time to post on Twitter is through researching for your particular industry. Once you’ve established the best times to post, you can use scheduling tools such as TweetDeck to ensure you don’t miss a moment.

What you may not realise is that your tweets will be served to a small group of users first before being delivered to all your followers in order to measure engagement (almost like a mini test group). Your engagements are your likes, replies, retweets and profile clicks etc. This became most apparent when we created a post asking bloggers to get in touch, and once the engagement started increasing and gained more traction the tweet was pushed higher up people’s newsfeeds and it pretty much went viral!

Also, dependant on your number of followers your tweets will be prioritised accordingly, such as celebrities, journalists and news sites.

Starting a Conversation

Starting a conversation and engaging with users will increase your overall engagement. Of course, it takes time to reply to messages and ask questions but it is a great way to find new business opportunities and engage with your current clients or customers. Research also showed that people don’t want to be sold to on Twitter and that you should ask questions and run polls rather than just throwing out salesy tweets.

We focused on asking our audience questions and starting conversations which resulted in our total replies for the month of January being over 1,300 compared to December where we only had 28 total replies over the month! For example, the tweet below asked users to choose which front cover of our new book they preferred which started a conversation and had a total of 489 engagements:

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The Correct Hashtags

Tweets with hashtags get over 12% more engagements than their hashtag-less counterparts according to recent data which is a great way to get your content seen by new eyes.

To find the right hashtags for your business you need to do some research. Look at what your competitors are using, your industry’s hashtags and if you have influencers in your industry, see what hashtags they’re using too.

For one of our tweets, which we shared across all platforms, we put out a request for bloggers to get in touch with the team for upcoming projects. By using hashtags we knew bloggers use such as #bloggerrequest the tweet gained 6,536 engagements! This is the highest number of engagements we have ever received on our twitter platform. By asking ‘are you a blogger or know a great one’ it opened up conversation for users to tag in their friends. The more people were being tagged, the higher the tweet got pushed up in people’s newsfeeds and the more responses we were getting. Even days later the tweet was still receiving replies and likes! The tweet had 246,520 impressions (impressions are the number of times a tweet has been delivered to an account's newsfeed) which considering we have just over 3,000 followers was incredible. What is surprising is that this post did not perform anywhere near as well on the other SBPR channels.  

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You can also see what hashtags are trending on your newsfeed and if you have something to contribute to the conversation, get involved!

Tapping in to trending hashtags is also beneficial for getting your tweets in front of a large audience quickly. Throughout January we used hashtags such as #Veganuary and #DryJanuary as we saw they were trending, and businesses and brands were talking about them. We tied this in with some of our clients such as Jimmy’s Iced Coffee for their vegan-friendly Oat Latte and Conker Gin for an alternative cocktail if you have fallen off the Dry January wagon. By combining trending hashtags and tagging in our clients, these posts became some of our best performing of the month.

Twitter Chats

From looking at ways to increase engagement we found that ‘Twitter Chats’ can be a good way to engage with other users. A Twitter Chat is a live discussion focused around a general topic. They are scheduled at a certain time and a hashtag is used for people to take part in the discussion. Although these may work for other businesses it was difficult to find a relevant chat for our industry. We took part in #DorsetHour which is every Monday at 7:30 – 8:30pm where local Dorset businesses can talk about their business in a friendly conversation! We used #DorsetHour to get in touch with other businesses and shared news about our upcoming PR courses. One account was looking for Instagram followers, so we supported them and followed their Instagram account which also resulted in a follow back. A small step in relationship building a great conversation starter.

Worth a try if you’re local!

Competitions

Everybody loves to win! We created competitions across all our channels for our PR courses to see if this would increase engagement. By asking people to respond and tell us why they deserve a place it encouraged people to interact and resulted in 61 engagements, an engagement rate of 2.4%, which is great compared to the average Twitter engagement rate which is 0.7%.

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Polls

Polls are amazing as they require little effort from users, and the voters feel like they are inputting something useful or sharing their point of view. Voters also have to place a vote before seeing the result, which encourages them even more to get involved. Here is an example which had 18 votes, 6 likes, 1,044 impressions and an engagement rate of 3.1% which is great in comparison to the number of impressions it gained.

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Followers

When looking at how to increase followers, most of us know that by following and unfollowing other users you will gain more followers. Following and engaging with other tweets and profiles also attracts followers. We made sure to follow and unfollow 50 users a day which resulted in 593 new followers over January which was a 735% increase from December.

An Inviting Profile

Having an inviting profile is important for Twitter users when they land on your profile. For this reason, we updated our header image to an eye catching bold and bright image with our logo, our faces and lots of smiling! This is how we want businesses to see us. We also put up a poll asking our followers what they thought about our new header, again engaging in conversations with them.

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Retweeting Yourself

As the Twitter newsfeed moves fast it’s easy for your tweets to get lost. For this reason, you can retweet your own tweets to make them appear on people’s newsfeed again for a chance for it to be seen by more users. You can also boost engagement by retweeting your older posts that have already performed well or by re-purposing tweets that had high engagement the first-time round.

GIFs

GIFs are great for showing your personality. People like to see real tweets and humorous ones which are shareable and likeable! People responded to our fun Friday GIFs with other humorous GIFs. If your business is okay with posting light-hearten fun content, then GIFs could be a great addition for your feed and showing your personality!

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Summary

Overall it’s clear to see that Twitter is the platform for starting conversations, sharing your opinion and talking to people and businesses. It requires a lot of time and effort to use it correctly but there are tools to help you such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite which can make your life easier

Our engagement rate increased from 0.9% in December to 1.5% in January, link clicks from 93 to 212, retweets from 43 to 341, likes from 161 to 1.9k and replies from just 28 to 1.3k. We had 358,000 impressions (728% increase) and 8,782 profile visits (276% increase).

It’s simple to extend your reach by using the correct hashtags and mentions and tapping in to current trending hashtags to get involved and start a conversation. Many brands and influencers aren’t using Twitter to its full potential and they can underestimate the value of a simple tweet.

Even if you are using Twitter religiously, sharing valuable content and engaging with your favourite brands and influencers, of course there is no guarantee of success in social network and it requires a lot of trial and error to see what works for you and your business.

The bottom line is that you will need to play around with your Twitter account and watch your analytics (analytics.twitter.com), in order to figure out how often you should post and at what time of day. Use this information, such as engagement rates on tweets, to find out which ones worked well so you can plan your next week or months posts.

We hope these tips can help you to improve your Twitter profile, if you would like to find out how the team can help you grow your Twitter channel organically by 100% get in touch on 01202 293095 or email hello@sunnybirdpr.com and remember, Twitter is a conversation, Be sure to make your mark and start talking.    

Beating the Algorithms on Facebook

With one billion people using Facebook daily, it’s more important than ever to have an active Facebook channel for your business which is why we set ourselves a challenge to increase our engagement rate by 100% (that’s the number of people interacting with your posts). Although we spend every day on our social media channels as a team, we doubled our hours in January with staggering results.

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Since 2012, Facebook’s organic reach has declined dramatically (that’s the number of people seeing your posts). This is for two reasons - there is too much content in the news feed for everyone to see your posts and Facebook is prioritising the posts that are most relevant/interesting for each user. Working in communications, we were aware of Facebook algorithms changing on a daily basis, so with that in mind, we set off on our challenging journey…  

Before we started

Before planning your Facebook content, it’s important to understand your audience. There’s no point creating hundreds of detailed posts if they’re not going to be relatable. Work out your business objectives before beginning and compare them to your audience. You can find out your business audience by clicking on ‘insights’ at the top of your business page and going to ‘people.’ For Sunny Bird PR, we found our audience consisted of 70% women between the ages of 18-65, with nearly a third between the ages of 35-44. Going forward, we knew it was important to tailor our content to suit women in this age bracket.

It’s also important to find out the best times to post on your Facebook page by clicking ‘when your fans are online.’ For Sunny Bird PR, the majority of our fans were online between 5-8pm so we knew it would be best to post/schedule most of our posts then in order to gain the most traction.

Engagement

Facebook engagement is the number of people interacting with your posts, whether that’s liking, sharing or commenting. For Sunny Bird PR, it was important for us to increase our engagement by 100% in order to meet our business objectives and grow a following on social media. We researched some of the best ways to increase our engagement in 2019 and found that video was the most successful format. Videos on Facebook have dominated the channel in the past year so we knew that we had to implement the format in our strategy. Statistically, video posts get 59% more engagement than normal posts. In terms of the type of video, Facebook prioritises live videos in the news feed. In fact, live videos are likely to get three times as much engagement than regular videos according to our research so they should be created daily.

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Over the course of the month, there were many posts which we thought would increase engagement based on our research but it’s important to note that different things work for different channels. For example, we thought that a post asking people for the best UK festivals would increase engagement, but the results were poor (with only 11 engagements!) and we realised this was because our fans couldn’t take anything away from the post. There was no knowledge to gain and no genuine reason for our fans to interact (and it wasn’t a video!). 

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Our most engaged post was a live video which discussed some recent networking events we had been to. We asked our audience to interact with the video and shared our top tips on networking. The post reached 1,400 people, provoking 50 reactions, comments and shares.

It’s important to post inspiring content that will encourage people to interact. Ask your fans leading questions and encourage them to comment on the posts without making it too obvious that you are asking for engagement. The result? If you have a high engagement on your post, more people will see it because Facebook prioritises what it thinks people want to see on the news feed.

It’s worth nothing that Facebook engagement also goes hand in hand with the number of posts on your channel. If you’re posting ten times a day, the content will get lost in the news feed, so we recommend posting two times per day maximum. Just to reiterate, every Facebook page channel works differently so try experimenting on post numbers to work out the best structure for your channel.

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By the end of January, we had increased our engagement rate on Facebook by 117% with the final week’s engagement tripling (hint*Facebook Lives!).

Reach

Facebook reach is the number of people that will see your posts on their news feed, whether that’s paid for (advertising) or organically (without advertising). It differs from engagement because people might see your posts without actually interacting with them. For this challenge, we wanted to increase our Facebook reach organically without spending any money on advertising.

Although it presents more of a challenge in 2019, an increase in Facebook reach is important because with over one billion Facebook users, you want your company to be seen as much as possible. Organic reach is absolutely free and every user that sees your post is just as important as the other. Increasing organic reach is an uphill battle, but it’s certainly a climb worth taking part in.

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The good news? Facebook engagement can affect reach tremendously. If you’re posting content that’s encouraging interactions, Facebook will automatically move it up the news feed, thus increasing the number of people who will see your posts.

In order to increase our reach, we focused on increasing our engagement by planning posts that would prompt reactions.

Immediately, we thought putting a post out looking for bloggers would increase our reach by prompting our audience to share the post, but the results were surprisingly low with a reach of only 459 people (head over to the Twitter blog to see how differently these posts can do on other channels!). If you do have more than one social media platform, try experimenting with the same posts to see how differently the posts might work on each platform.

By the end of January, we had increased our reach on Facebook with the final week’s reach doubling. (Hint* Increase engagement not reach, reach will happen if you increase engagement!)

Page Likes

Interestingly (and annoyingly!) people can see your content without having to like your page, but page likes are so important for a brand. Essentially, the more page likes you have, the more credible your business seems.

To increase our page likes, we invited all of our friends and family to like our page, as well as targeting local businesses to like our page. When it comes to your business page, make your employees admins of the page (in page roles) and get them to invite their friends and family too.

From our research we also found that good content and engagement will also increase page likes organically. See it as a reward; if your Facebook post is doing really well you might find that your page likes start to stream in. It’s a win win for everyone.

By the end of January, we managed to increase our page likes by 197%. In just one week, we gained 141 page likes which double our page likes for the whole of December! This was a combination of posting tailored content and inviting people to like our page.

Summary

Just remember, what worked on our Facebook page channel might work differently on yours so it’s important to do your research before you set off, and that’s a combination of industry research and analysing your own page. Don’t forget to experiment! We wouldn’t have achieved a 117% engagement increase without overcoming some hurdles at the beginning. And use Facebook live!