Social Media

Journalist of the Month

PIC Rachel  headshot.JPG

Rachel Tompkins is a freelance writer, journalist and editor with more than 14 years’ experience working for national magazines, newspapers, websites and apps. Rachel began her career as a writer for Take a Break magazine before going on to work on the launch of Pick Me Up Magazine in 2005. Debuting with a readership of half a million, it was the most successful magazine launch of the decade and won the BSME launch of the year. Today Rachel works as a freelancer feature writer for the national press and has taken time away from her busy deadline schedule to answer the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions.  

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

That would depend who you asked! Colleagues have previously called me a terrier - because of my tenacity when chasing a story. I'm conscientious and a worrier, which means I feel an immense sense of responsibility when being trusted with someone's story. I'd like to think that my friends and family would describe me as kind and funny too.

2.            What magazine do you love reading and why?

Take a Break will always have a special place in my heart because it's where my journalism career started when I left City University. The same goes for Chat and Pick Me Up because I worked on the launch of Pick Me Up and was the Features Director of both titles before going freelance. I love their clever headlines and eye for a great story.  When I'm relaxing, I love Top Santé for some health and fitness inspiration and Guardian Weekend for thought-provoking longer reads.

3.            What is your favourite book? 

Through The Wall by Caroline Corcoran. It's out on October 17th but I was lucky enough to get a preview press copy and I literally can't put it down. It's dark women's fiction, or a psychological thriller, which is extremely relatable to me on so many levels. 

4.            Which song makes you dance?

Don't Stop Believin' by Journey, I first heard it in a piano bar in San Francisco on my honeymoon and it's become the anthem for so many nights out.

5.            What has been your best career moment? 

Getting my first job for Britain's top selling magazine felt pretty incredible at the time. Back then Take a Break sold well over 1million copies a week and I went on to learn so much there. Since becoming freelance there have been many little moments when I stop and pinch myself, for example a recent article I wrote for The Guardian Weekend about women without children. It took a lot of work to pull together and it was very moving and insightful to speak to some of the women involved. I was really proud of the end result. 

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

Believe in yourself and worry less. 

7.            Where are you happiest? 

At home in Oxfordshire with my family. After living in London for about fifteen years I cried the day we left. London will always hold so many fond memories, both with my career and also family and friends, but I've made a home in Oxfordshire now and I love our life here but also the fact that I can get the train into town in less than hour so I still feel connected.

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

Can I be cheeky and say two - Prince Harry and Meghan! They intrigue me so much, I would just love to know what goes on behind closed doors with those two!

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

To be able to fly, very quickly! That way I could whizz over and see my sister (who lives the other side of London) in seconds and catch up with friends who live far away without having to waste time getting there and back. Many of my good friends have migrated out of London like me now and one of the things I miss about living there is being able to hop on the tube and meet up with them easily. 

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

What's the most unusual campaign or client you've worked on? 

We pride ourselves on being a creative agency and thinking outside the box to get results for our clients. Here are a few of our favourite unusual campaigns we’ve worked on…

Three Pregnant Dads

Our client The Book of Everyone came to us with the objective of launching its latest bespoke book; a personalised gift for Mother’s Day called ‘The Book of Mum’. To ensure the brand wouldn’t get lost amongst the Mother’s Day gifts already on the market, we needed to really grab the media’s in the run up to Mother’s Day – the concept of ‘The 3 Pregnant Dads’ was born. The company directors, themselves three middle-ages dads, wore “Empathy bellies” that weighed 33lbs/15kg for the duration of the month. This included; when attending client meetings, using public transport and even when heading to the pub! Everything was filmed and documented and shared with the media. The campaign secured 383 pieces of national and international coverage across 38 countries within a 3-week period. ‘The 3 Pregnant Dads’ were featured across all national titles and TV, including Lorraine Kelly, This Morning, Good Morning Britain, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Huffington Post and Times Magazine US amongst many others. Our 3 Pregnant Dad’s campaign led to a 2,765%, increase in sales, 2,000 shares on one Daily Mail article alone as well as a 1,850% increase in Facebook social media engagement.

Snoring Ruining the Nation’s Sex Life

In order to increase brand awareness and boost sales for our client Good Night Anti Snoring Ring we created a headline grabbing campaign. In order to secure column inches we set out to prove that the nation’s sex lives were suffering due to their partner’s snoring problems. We commissioned a survey that looked into the sex and love lives of our nation’s snorers. The survey revealed a whopping 30% of males admitted it took the spark out of their sex lives and 46.4 % of males felt embarrassed about their snoring.  One out of five males and females expressed that snoring put them off being intimate with their partner. To add a real life element we also worked with case-studies who were happy to speak to the press about how snoring affected their sex lives and relationships. On the back of our strategy we secured national PR coverage with the Daily Mail Online, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Mirror. Other titles included; Woman and Home, Top Santé, Prima, Take a Break, Pick Me Up, Health & Fitness, Closer, Bella, Natural Health, Chat and DIVA magazine amongst others.

What Does Your Poo Say About You?

For our client, private healthcare provider Ramsay Health Care UK, we wanted to secure national coverage and generate web traffic around Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. We started with the headline we wanted to see in the newspaper itself ‘What does your poo say about you’ and then built a strong bank of assets to support it.

We created an exclusive infographic that detailed the signs of bowel cancer in stools that are often overlooked.  We then created and executed a survey to over 1,000 people asking them if they would recognise the symptoms of bowel cancer and if they would do anything about them. This enabled us to source attention-grabbing statistics to add to our press release. Finally, we rounded off our assets with an expert comment from a Ramsay Health Care UK Bowel Cancer specialist. We approached the Mail Online and offered them the exclusive story. This resulted in the Mail Online running the piece in advance of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Once this was secured, we then rolled it out to further online titles, which resulted in the Express Online, Metro, Good Housekeeping, the Sun Online, The Irish Sun and The Scottish Sun. Not only did this boost the awareness of Ramsay Health Care UK within the national newspapers, but it boosted the website traffic by 208%.

Why Engagement Rates Really Do Matter

Long gone are the days where your follower count legitimised your social media presence, now it is all about interacting with your audience and boosting engagement rates.

As accepted wisdom once suggested, the more likes or followers an account has, the greater its influence.  However, in the world of social media, where a shiny profile can hide a multitude of sins, followers and likes are an easy game to fake thanks to the rise of bots and buying.

With measurements of social media success ever evolving and leaving last year’s benchmarks as obsolete relics, we thought it worthwhile to un-flesh the latest buzzwords- ‘engagement rate’.

What exactly is engagement rate, how is it measured and, most importantly, why does it matter?

What is Engagement Rate?

Obviously, the metrics vary from platform to platform, but generally speaking engagement rate is used to measure the level of interaction an account receives on its shared content. Simply put, it is the percentage of your audience which react or respond to the content you broadcast. The greater number of likes, shares or comments indicates a greater level of engagement.

How is it Measured?

Your engagement is measured by your likes and comments combined per post divided by your total following and times by 100.


Average engagement rates are notoriously unreliable as it is hugely industry specific. As a general rule anything over 1% is considered good engagement on Facebook whereas Instagram generally averages at around a 3% engagement rate, perhaps explaining the monumental rise of brands on the platform.

Twitter on the other hand only has an average rate of 0.7% given the volume of tweets and the speed of the timeline.

It’s a good idea to keep a spreadsheet of your different post types and the corresponding rates to accurately gauge what your audience is responding to, and what they’re not.

Why is it Important?

Followers and Likes are often referred to as ‘vanity metrics’ as although important, they don’t complete a full picture of how your audience is responding to your content.

For example, most people like a page because they see their friends do so or because they like a certain post at a certain time, but it is quickly forgotten. Therefore, even with high number of followers, it is still possible to see little interaction.

For example, the infamous Twitter fail from Rita Ora back in 2014. The pop princess tweeted she would release her new single on Monday if she got 100,000 retweets. Despite having 4 million Twitter followers, only 1,000 people retweeted her and the tweet was swiftly deleted.

Even with millions of fans supposedly at her finger tips, without an engaged audience, Rita Ora was effectively only speaking to 1000 people which is an engagement rate of 0.025%!

Evidently, a high engagement rate is a good indication that your followers are listening to what you have to say, developing trust in you as well as your brand and ultimately increasing brand awareness.

How to Improve Your Engagement Rate

Think of social media as a committed, long-term relationship with your followers. Ideally businesses and brands want to ensure they deliver the best customer experience through these platforms. In that sense, improving engagement is by no means rocket science but it does take dedication.

1.       Start a conversation

The cardinal rule is to give your audience something to ‘engage’ with. Talk about your industry, share some behind the scenes content or share something of value with your followers which isn’t just a product or service. When people realise there is a human, or humans, behind a brand they will be much more likely to follow it.

2.       Promote Brand Enthusiasts

A simple yet effective way to boost conversation is to promote your fans. Posting user generated content helps boost engagement by rewarding those who follow and engage with you and consequently encouraging others to do the same. The guys at Jimmy’s Iced Coffee are great at doing this and making customers feel part of something bigger.



3.   Jump on Trending Topics

If something is viral, you want to be part of it! If it’s trending or in the news in any way think how to harness a topic and divert traffic to your channel. Clothing giant Gap did a good job of this when the retailer promoted its sustainable wares for #EarthDay.



4.      Be Responsive

Make sure you respond to questions and queries as quickly as possible to keep your followers on side. It’s important to appear alert an attentive, otherwise people will think you don’t value them as a follower. Like this painful feed from telecommunications company Airtel.



5.      Join the Conversation

If starting a conversation seems like a big step right now, or if you’re stretched for time and resources, an effective way to boost engagement and simultaneously creativity is to join a Twitter chat or Q&A. You’ll be surprised how quickly you will see results, whether directly or indirectly from picking up tips and ideas along the way!


How We Increased Our Social Media Presence By Over 100% In January

Most businesses we speak to say the same: “we know social media is important but we just run out of time” and that’s where we come in. As an agency we invest a lot of time working on our own social media to ensure we know the very latest algorithms, features and updates so that we can get the best results from each platform for us and our clients.

In January we saw the brilliant Paul Sutton for some specialist social media training, with the goal of improving all areas of the Sunny Bird PR social media channels by 100% compared with December’s figures. We absolutely smashed our results, and here’s how:


LinkedIn is a tricky one, as a business page you don’t have as much clout as a person and it’s also much easier to engage with a person rather than a page. As an agency we run the Sunny Bird PR LinkedIn through Sunny’s personal account rather than on a business page for this reason. For our clients we run a mix of company pages and people depending on their needs, flexibility and restrictions. In addition to considering the type of account you use, there are a number of things you can do to maximise your LinkedIn presence:

Connect with people with whom you have worked or with similar interests and demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership in your posts. Rather than selling your services, drive people to relevant and valuable content on your website or blog. Post regular status updates about what you're working on and who you're working for, making sure your feed is a mix of company and industry news.

Participate in groups as they give you a great opportunity to reach and engage potential customers online. Taking part in these discussions can help establish you as an expert in your field. Try LinkedIn advertising; paid advertising on LinkedIn is still a relative bargain, and can get your business in front of your market quickly. Experiment by boosting a post by £10 each day for a week to see which posts/audiences return the best results giving you a foundation for your strategy.

As a result of these measures, our LinkedIn follower growth increased 281% from December to January, and our most viewed post was up by 241%.


Facebook used to be an amazing tool for building community around a brand, but with organic reach on a steep decline towards zero (that’s the number of people who see your posts without you paying for increased reach), it’s getting harder to reach your audience on this giant social network. There are still things you can do to maximise your Facebook reach and engagement however:

Prioritise video as this is favoured by the Facebook algorithm, especially if it drives likes and conversation. Aim to make videos engaging by capturing people’s attention within the first three seconds or by including a call to action, and add live videos to the mix as these have proven popular with many audiences. Respond to comments on your page as Facebook favours posts that generate conversation and engage with other businesses for the same reason, with the added bonus of reaching each other’s followers.

Experiment with the “preferred audience” button to make your posts more likely to reach those who would be interested in it, and consider placing some advertising budget into sponsoring your favourite posts to further increase your reach.

Utilising the above strategies saw our business Facebook page’s monthly reach go up by by 177% and post engagements increase by 130%.



Instagram is the king of visual content and offers some brilliant opportunities to showcase the creative side of your business. Growing your platform on Instagram organically can prove to be challenging as algorithms are forever changing, but as it currently stands Instagram has some great options for engaging with other users. Here are some tips to help you maximise this engagement:

Use hashtags that are relevant to your brand as this is how most people find new content on Instagram. Check how popular a hashtag is by visiting the ‘Tag’ tab on the search bar in the Instagram app. Type in a topic to see its most popular hashtags and use these to reach the right audiences. Like and comment on pictures that relate to your brand or product and find bloggers’ or journalists’ pages and comment on their posts. Hold a contest by posting an image and asking people to like or comment on it in order to help boost your engagement and increase your followers by following at least ten relevant accounts every day to encourage them to follow you back.

Remember that quality beats quantity; only feature your best images and utilise the Instagram app’s built-in tools to optimise the brightness, contrast and saturation of each image. Ask questions in your posts and on other people’s posts, to increase engagement and boost your visibility to others.

Increasing our efforts to engage with others and produce quality content on Instagram saw our monthly follower gains increase by a fantastic 100%.


Twitter is an ever-evolving platform and one which can often feel hard to stay ahead of the curve on. With its fast-paced newsfeed of 280-character snippets of information, Twitter requires time rather than money to ensure you reach your audience at all times of the day.

While tweeting often is key, it’s important to maintain a balance to ensure your newsfeed isn’t too broadcast heavy. To up your engagement in a meaningful way, aim to make two thirds of your tweets interactive by initiating conversations with other users and brands. To help with this, you can use a social media tool such as Hootsuite to keep on track of what’s trending and what’s relevant to you.

Make sure your following consists of relevant accounts as these are the ones who are likely to engage with you. While it may feel good to see your follower numbers rise from an influx of spam accounts, these won’t engage with your content and as such, have no benefit to your brand. Don’t be afraid to recycle tweets; as the Twitter newsfeed moves so fast, you can feature the same post multiple times without the same person seeing it twice. If you have spent time creating brilliant and timeless ‘evergreen’ content, post it more than once to maximise the exposure.

With a new focus on engaging with relevant audiences on Twitter, we saw the number of new Twitter followers per month increase by a whopping 750% and Twitter mentions go up by 625% compared to December’s figures.

Do you want advice on how to maximise your social media efforts, or would you like someone to take it off your hands altogether? Then call the team now on 01202 293095 or email

How We Increased A Client’s Social Media Presence By Over 1,000%

Back in July, we started working with WAY Investments. As a long-established financial organisation they already had brilliant relationships with financial advisers across the country, but they wanted to become more visible to consumers.

WAY already had a Twitter account and a LinkedIn account, but posts had been few and far between. Our first point of order was to create a plan for how to increase the online presence and take the message of flexible inheritance tax planning to the public.

The Posts

We create a mix of posts on a weekly basis to ensure the WAY voice is current and topical.

Firstly, we scour national and trade press for relevant news stories on inheritance tax, the finance industry and other topics that may interest WAY’s core demographic of financial advisers. By sharing and commenting on current issues, WAY is cemented as a reliable voice of authority and a source of relevant news stories.


Secondly, we feature posts highlighting the benefits of the WAY offerings, to keep these at the front of advisor’s minds.


Thirdly, we include some light-hearted and creative posts, such as motivational quotes for those looking to plan for their future and pass wealth onto the next generation:


The activity

On a weekly basis we review and analyse post performance, to ensure that future posts are optimised to achieve the best results. We also follow at least 100 relevant new accounts on Twitter every week. This is a very effective way of getting attention from other people and businesses, encouraging them to look at the WAY Twitter profile and give it a follow back.

Where possible, we connect with other businesses by tagging them in posts on both LinkedIn and Twitter, such as charitable efforts or networking events. This not only fosters good relationships, but also helps WAY become visible to the tagged organisations’ followers.

The results

In our first four months of managing the WAY accounts, Twitter followers increased by an incredible 1,030% and it continues to grow every week. The number of Twitter impressions per month rose by 1,175% and the number of visitors to the WAY Twitter profile increased by a whopping 1,921%.

LinkedIn saw a 3,904% increase in impressions and a 700% increase in the average number of followers gained per month!

If you would like to know how you can improve your social media presence, contact the Sunny Bird PR team on 01202 293095 or