Author: Fareeha Faheem

CAPITAL JINGLE BELL BALL

Usually my weekends revolve around Netflix. This weekend however was different.

I was given the opportunity to attend the UK’s biggest Christmas Party. Capital FM’s Jingle Bell Ball. And wow, what an experience! The long journey down to London was definitely worth it!

The event took place at the O2 and while the arena was massive, there was not one empty seat in sight. It was completely packed. A sold-out event indeed.

Harry Styles, Rita Ora and Liam Payne were just some of the stars that put on one amazing show. I thoroughly enjoyed all performances, but the highlight of my night had to be Stormzy’s set. His energy was infectious and left no one in their seats. Everyone was up and dancing.

I can see why Capital call it the UK’s biggest Christmas Party – it certainly is!

Another favourite moment of mine was when Harry Styles performed What Makes You Beautiful. Although completely unexpected, it was the sweetest surprise. You see, like every other teenage girl in 2011, I was utterly obsessed with One Direction. So, hearing their first ever song after so many years left me regressing and reminiscing over childhood memories.

While it was only brief, it was wonderful.

Granted that performances are a huge part of Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball, it’s not the singers that make the event so incredible. It’s the fact that the show can be enjoyed with the entire family. Unlike other concerts, the Jingle Bell Ball is for everyone. It’s an opportunity to bring family and friends together regardless of age.

Thank you Capital, for arranging such a phenomenal event.

I will absolutely be attending next year.

If you missed the show, not to worry, you can view all the amazing performances here: https://www.capitalfm.com/events/jingle-bell-ball/all-a-z-live-2019/

P.S This is NOT a sponsored post; I just had the best time!!!

ORGANIC ENGAGEMENT IN A WORLD OF PAID CONTENT PROMOTION

Organic Engagement

The value of organic engagement is constantly challenged in a world that now finds paying for posts a common practice. It seems that the only way to gain tangible results online is through a mammoth social media budget.

This is simply not the case.

A strong social media presence is crucial to business success but spending thousands on promoting content is not the only way to grow your online existence. And it definitely isn’t a marketing ‘hack’ that guarantees results. Especially if it’s just another attempt to sell.

While it may come as a surprise, social media is not for selling. Instead, it’s a tool for driving brand awareness and offers a great opportunity to build relationships with consumers, who may then go on to purchase your products.

In today’s world, consumers are more likely to interact with a brand that adds value through engaging content. Paid for posts are not the only way to achieve this.

Topical Social Days

Holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter have always presented a great excuse for brands to generate online content. But now there are many other, non-conventional days to consider when planning your posts.

From Data Privacy Day to World Emoji Day, there are plenty of opportunities for marketers to utilise. While not all will be relevant there is definitely something for everyone. This is especially useful for Twitter; where hashtags can be used to join in on the conversations surrounding topical days and in return increase audience reach instantly.

Competitions

Whether its Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, competitions are becoming a very popular method of engaging with followers and rightly so! Not only do they provide a fantastic opportunity to engage with your existing followers but can also help to grow your audience.

To successfully run a social media competition, it is important to decide upon a prize, the entry mechanic, time frames and most importantly the terms and conditions.

Once these four things are agreed, the entire process is extremely straight forward and simple to execute!

Influencer Marketing

Amidst the noise on social media, there is a relevant influencer for every business. The key is finding one that has cultivated a decent following from people who are potential buyers in your market.

The reason why influencer marketing works is because often an influencer has built their following organically over a period of time. This, in turn, means their followers are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Word of mouth has long been considered a marketeers most reliable tool, with influencers it’s the same but online!

If you are intending to work with bloggers and vloggers and want to ensure you’re making the best choices, check out my blog on ‘How to pick the right influencer for your brand’ – http://www.opencomms.co.uk/how-to-pick-the-right-influencer-for-your-brand/

 

In the internet age, it can be difficult to navigate the tricky world of social media. While paying for promoted posts may work for some, it is not a ‘quick fix’ for achieving overnight success.

At the same time, I am not suggesting that organic engagement is the answer to all our social media prayers. But, recognising the alternatives to paid for posts is a step in the right direction for all brands wanting to successfully benefit from social platforms and maintain them without leaving a dent in your wallet.

HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT INFLUENCER FOR YOUR BRAND

It is common knowledge that leveraging influencers can help drive brand awareness and reach a wider audience. But the process of selecting the ‘right’ influencer is not an easy task.

Amongst the clutter and noise on social media, it is becoming increasing difficult to recognise credible influencers who can truly add value to a business. And while influencer marketing can be a great strategy to strengthen a brands online presence, when done incorrectly it can also have detrimental effects.

So, before diving into the lucrative world of #sponsored posts, here is a 3-step guide that can help ease the process.

 

1 – Recognise the different types of influencers available

The internet is home to a plethora of social media superstars. Before agreeing to work with any of them, take the time to understand the different types of influencers available.

Typically, influencers are categorised based on the number of followers they have.

Mega-influencers: 1M+ Followers

Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez, are all examples of mega-influencers. They are established celebrities who can help your brand gain recognition on a global scale. Of course, they demand a hefty fee, with some charging upwards of £800,000 per sponsored post.

Macro-influencers: 100K – 1M Followers

Usually macro-influencers are those that gained recognition through the internet itself. Such as vloggers and bloggers who rose to fame by building a follower base over time. Similar to mega-influencers, they can be very expensive to work with. But for businesses with a substantial marketing budget this is an effective way to increase brand awareness to a mass market FAST.

Micro-influencers: 1K – 100K Followers

A micro-influencer as opposed to others has a significantly lower number of followers. Typically, they focus on a specific niche and so are more suited for brands that want to target a certain type of customer. Unlike the other two, micro-influencers charge considerably less and maintain an extremely loyal fan base.

Nano-influencers: Less than 1K Followers

They are comparable to a start-up business. This type of influencer tends to have very little to no experience of working with brands. Despite having a small audience, nano-influencers attract a high engagement rate as they are most relatable for consumers. More often than not, they will accept products in return for social media coverage.

 

2 – Check for fake followers

As influencers battle for the social media spotlight, some can be tempted into buying fake followers. This black hat tactic can instantly grow an influencers audience from a few to thousands.

This is a huge problem on Instagram, where advertisement is becoming more and more important. Users can even buy interactions such as likes and comments from fake profiles to give a false impression of high engagement.

Collaborating with influencers whose followers and engagement is not genuine is not only a waste of time but can essentially be detrimental to a brands integrity. Fortunately, there are several online tools and programs available for detecting fakes.

 

3 – Identify any risks and red flags

Followers and engagement play a significant part when identifying the most appropriate influencers for a campaign. But, what’s equally important is reviewing the influencers social media channels to check for any red flags.

In today’s media landscape, nothing is ever private, especially on the internet! This is especially true for influencers who are constantly under the social media microscope. From inappropriate personal thoughts to controversial opinions and pictures, everything is visible.

So, before approaching an influencer, it is absolutely vital to make sure that ALL of their social media channels are thoroughly reviewed, and any risks are immediately identified.

Ultimately, influencers have the power to make or break a brands reputation. Finding the right person is less about who’s trending or has the highest number of followers and more about finding someone who represents your brands personality and values.

 

Influencers are certified social media butterflies and experts in creating engaging content who can help bridge the gap between a brand and its target customers. Working with them is an effective method to drive awareness.

If you are thinking of switching from traditional advertising to influencer collaborations remember to do the leg work and to make the choices that will deliver the value you are expecting.

 

MY FIRST PR CAMPAIGN

First PR Campaign

September marked a memorable milestone in my career; I was given the opportunity to work on my very first PR campaign.

Entrusted with the responsibility of bringing a client’s vision to life was undoubtedly a daunting one, however seeing my plans put into action was a truly rewarding experience. My contribution to the campaign not only improved my knowledge on how the process works but also public relations overall.

Here is what I learnt –

Research is the unsung hero of PR

Press releases, content writing and social media maybe pillars of Public Relations, but it is research that lays the foundation for everything we do.

From initial planning stages to execution, every effective PR campaign must have research at the forefront of all decision making. Overlooking the importance of it can lead to unwanted repercussions and essentially damage a brands reputation.

In contrast, when done correctly, research provides countless benefits. It is not only a vital tool for targeting the right audiences, influencers and journalists, research also helps to prepare for all eventualities that may or may not occur.

Every decision in PR is accompanied with better and worse options. Research is what helps to determine which approach is most appropriate.

Ideas are always welcome

Regardless of how big or small a campaign may be, new and creative ideas are always appreciated.

Although expressing ideas as a PR newbie was slightly intimidating, I soon recognised that the team at Open Comms encouraged original thoughts and valued all suggestions. The philosophy here is that no idea is a bad idea.

PR requires out of the box thinking and notions that gain attraction. Ideas can be expanded, reduced and inspire other ideas. So, simply because a suggestion may see farfetched or perhaps not big enough, are not reasons as to why it should not be expressed.

Expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst

While no one wants to fixate on all the things that could go wrong, an effective campaign is one that evaluates all negative possibilities and is equipped to respond accordingly.

Operating in an especially unpredictable world, it is essential to prepare for the what ifs. Without correct preparation and planning in place, a campaign cannot cope or adapt to challenging situations. Whereas covering every outcome (with a HEAP of creativity) has the potential to minimise any negative impact on a client.

I have always known that a client’s reputation is the number one priority in PR but now I also understand that for this to be true, risk management and robust scenario planning are key.

POST-GRADUATION BLUES: A TEST OF ENDURANCE

The transition from university to professional life is often accompanied with glaring self-doubt and concerns about the future. A feeling exclusive to graduates and a cycle that starts every July, post-graduation anxiety is a real struggle!

Although it’s been many months since I walked across the podium, I can still remember the uncertainty that took over as I embarked on my journey into unfamiliar territory.

But, fast forward a year, I am now part of an incredible team, fulfilling the position of Junior Account Executive. While I’ve only been here at Open Comms for a short time, I have already learnt a tremendous amount, developing both professionally and personally.

So, from someone who’s been there and done that I can happily confirm that there is light at the end of the tunnel! The path may seem bleak at times and maintaining motivation can be challenging but you have to trust the process. Yes, this is easier said than done, but there are ways to stay positive during a tricky time in life.

Reflect on your successes

I often found myself fixated on all the things I had yet to achieve, especially because life seemed to be at a halt. If you find yourself in this very predicament it’s time to take a step back and reflect on your achievements.

Graduating from university is not an easy task, it requires determination, perseverance and a lot of hard work, so if you got through it, remember to acknowledge that!

Switch off sometimes

Regardless of how you do it, it’s important to take a break from thinking. For me it’s when I’m at the gym or engrossed in a Netflix special. The mind is our most powerful tool; it can elevate us into positivity but also drown us with worry. Taking a break simply allows us to end any pesky negative thought loops and focus our energy into something else, even if it is for a short while.

Don’t compare yourself to others

A common mistake and an easy trap to fall into is comparing ourselves to our peers. Allowing others to set a benchmark for success only derails us from achieving the very best of our OWN dynamic abilities.

Talk it out

Perhaps not an easy option for some, but personally I have always found significant relief after talking about my worries with friends and family. Like the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. Simple conversations with loved ones can offer different perspectives and help us view things more clearly.

My experience with post-graduation anxiety lasted almost a year, but I’m thrilled to say those days are behind me. I hope for anyone who might be in the position I was, there is comfort in knowing that the negative feelings do not last forever.

In a world of possibility, graduation is just the start of an exciting journey filled with opportunity! Enjoy it.