So, why are we so thrilled about working with the brand Vatika? It’s not only because we’ve found ourselves working with a brand so enthusiastic to increase its presence and shout about its goodness, but because Vatika is already an extremely dynamic and exciting brand which has an ever-increasing popularity. It’s already one of the world’s leading hair and face care brands, most popular with women in East Asian countries, and now it’s at the pivotal stage of expanding into the Western market. Vatika Naturals is now looking to help women in the West to achieve the same naturally gorgeous hair that it’s been offering in the far East for decades – and we’re incredibly happy to be a part of this new venture.
Vatika Naturals is actually one of the brands owned by the Dabur group, founded 130 years ago, but it still maintains the ‘small time’ philosophy of attention to detail and dedication to quality which Its PR values. Their main aim is to offer women naturally beautiful hair – they harvest the best, most powerful ingredients that nature has to offer to produce natural, effective hair and face care products. Vatika Naturals wants its customers to feel better about their hair after using their products, to have healthier, shinier and less problem-prone hair after every wash. They aim to solve the everyday hair problems that women encounter with their hair from situations such as cold weather and central heating, offering solutions-based products for problems such as frizz, hair fall, dry hair and dandruff. We love the practicality of this approach. The range of ingredients in its include the exotic black seed, to almond and olive oil, to coconut and cactus and more. And in terms of their approach to hair care, we couldn’t put it better than the Vatika Naturals website itself, which explains how ‘Vatika is all about hair; not just how it looks, but how it feels, smells and, most importantly, how it makes YOU feel.’ Their philosophy is all about feel-good, good-feeling hair, and we commend the positivity that this inspires. So, by using the natural herbal solutions offered up by nature, Vatika’s move into the Western market will finally reveal to western women the hair care secrets known for centuries by women of the far East, which we believe is something for all women everywhere to celebrate – and we’re very excited to be a part of the movement that brings us all naturally better hair.
If you’ve been involved with any form Facebook marketing and engagement for your business over the past several years, you can’t have missed the name Amy Porterfield. Amy is a social media marketing expert who has become one of the most relied-on consultants and trainers in the online world by helping businesses build the leads, fans and loyal communities they want on Facebook as well as exponentially grow their email lists, which Amy calls the “beating heart of your business.”
I caught up with Amy this week to explore her thoughts on the one most damaging myth about Facebook marketing, as well as her insider secrets to rock your marketing efforts through Facebook. I also asked Amy what she would suggest to do immediately, to grow a consulting and training business like mine. Here’s what Amy shared:
Kathy Caprino: Amy, how did you land on Facebook marketing as your primary niche — why do you love it so much?
Amy Porterfield: When I left my corporate job with Tony Robbins, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were just starting to take off. In 2010, I was asked by Mike Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, if I would create and manage his Facebook page.
As the community manager of the page, I engaged with the fans daily, answering questions and sharing the best content we could put together based on the fans’ needs. I noticed that almost instantly a loyal community was born, making Social Media Examiner the go-to site for all social media-related questions and how-to strategies. After giving the community time to grow, Mike started to sell his virtual events to this community with incredible success. I was then offered a book deal to co-author Facebook Marketing All-In-One For Dummies. That’s when I dove into “everything Facebook” and started to really understand the power of the FB platform.
Caprino: There are thousands of social media marketing “gurus” promising all sorts of amazing results – what do you think about that?
Porterfield: There are plenty of well-versed social media strategists sharing their best tips for success. Social media marketing “gurus” with integrity will always inform their audience that there is no “magic bullet” to success. Those who promise results without clarifying the needed effort along with a solid marketing plan are irresponsible and unfortunately misleading the public. An effective social media consultant will get to know your audience and your business intimately. They will go behind the scenes to learn the day-to-day aspects of how your business works and what your audience is asking for, in order to tailor your content and direction effectively.
Caprino: What are some of the biggest myths and misguided notions about Facebook marketing that we need to dispel for small businesses and entrepreneurs?
Porterfield: Entrepreneurs and small business owners tend to make the mistake of considering Facebook a direct selling platform . This mindset is misguided and can lead to frustration and “throwing in the towel” on Facebook. What people need to understand is that Facebook can be a powerfully successful road to making the sale, but it is not the “store.” Facebook is a place to cultivate relationships with potential customers, encourage engagement, share relevant and helpful content, and while developing trust with your fans, taking interested buyers through a sales funnel OFF of Facebook.
Caprino: Amy, what are the three best insider secrets you can share about how to rock your marketing through Facebook?
Porterfield: My three “secrets” are:
1. Get to KNOW your audience
I cannot emphasize this enough. If you listen closely and ask the right questions (surveys are great), your fans will tell you exactly what’s missing and where their frustration lies. I particularly love private Facebook groups for this purpose. Whether your group is a bonus from a paid program or a free group where membership is requested, it’s a fantastic opportunity to be a community leader and go-to source in your industry.
2. You need an effective Facebook marketing strategy
You need a blueprint of sorts, to know what you want your prospect to do and how you want them to do it. Know that you are leading folks through a sales funnel, and it’s a process. My favorite way to do this is to guide interested prospects to my email subscriber list. I often do this by offering a free webinar where they can learn in greater detail how to build their businesses effectively. From there the “know, like, and trust” value continues to grow as I communicate with them via email.
3. Don’t be afraid
Don’t shy away Facebook ads – they can be extremely effective for a moderately low budget. While every social media platform is different, when it comes to paid advertising, there is nothing more powerful than Facebook ads. These ads are extremely effective because of the unique, highly-targeted ad possibilities. You can target your ads to fans of other Facebook pages, build custom audiences, create a look-alike audience, and even target folks who have visited your blog post. By leveraging some paid ads within your marketing campaign, you will gain visibility and stand out from among the noisy crowd.
Caprino: If I hired you as a consultant to help grow my consulting and training business, with a small budget (say $5,000), what would you tell me to do first?
Porterfield: The first thing I would suggest is to create original content that fills a need (think pain point) for your audience. I would drive Facebook ads to your content while building your email list. Your email list really is the “beating heart” of your business because online business is a relationship-building process and email allows you to cultivate your customers over time. I created a strategy called the “Fill Up Formula,”—a content-focused webinar strategy; I will walk you through a simplified version. Keep in mind that the final stage of the process will be to fill up a webinar with people who are already interested in your product or service that you can pitch at the end of the webinar.
Here’s how to do it:
- Create a blog post (or podcast episode) of original content that is relevant and directly aligned with your webinar content.
- Design a pre-webinar opt in freebie, such as a guide or cheat sheet that again, is fully-aligned with your webinar content, and place it in your blog post as a freebie. You will be able to send the folks who opt in an invitation to your webinar.
- Using free social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., send people (i.e. direct traffic) to your blog post.
- If you already have an existing email list, send out a broadcast sharing your blog post.
- Using Facebook ads, you will have already placed a “custom audience pixel” (specific tracking code) on your blog post that gives you the ability to re-direct the FB ad to those people who have already visited your website. These people are considered warm leads because they have already shown genuine interest in your content. You’ll later target this warm market with a FB ad directing them to your webinar sign-up page.
- The idea is that you’ll be filling up your webinar with people who are raising their hand, eager to receive your message and hear about your paid offer.
And here’s a final tip: Facebook loves when you send Facebook ads to content that is not locked behind a sign up form. Therefore, sending ads to a blog post directly tends to be less expensive when running ads.
Caprino: Finally, any other advice for entrepreneurs and small business about social media marketing as a whole?
Porterfield: Here are a few final recommendations:
Find your “sweet spot”
Discover that place where your audience spends their time, and focus your energies there. Spreading yourself too thin by running around from site to site is a recipe for disaster. Start in one central location, get to know your audience, and expand from there.
Realize that social media is second in line to building your email list.
You will never own the social sites, but you will always own your email list. The key is to engage with folks through social media and let them know how they can be a part of your list by offering a free irresistible giveaway.
Dive in with confidence
No matter where you are on the continuum of online business or entrepreneurial success, mindset plays a huge role in how your business will continue to grow. Know that what you don’t know, you can figure out and everyday you are carving out your path.
More than anything, potential clients want to feel supported and reassured that you have what they need to fill their gap towards success. You may be surprised to learn that of even greater importance than your content is your likability, authenticity, and presence.
So, as you probably heard, the 21st of October 2015 marked ‘Back to the Future Day’ – the day that Marty and Doc travelled forwards to in the 1989 film Back to the Future II – and, as you might expect, many of the brands that were mentioned in the original movie have used this opportunity to promote themselves. But is this a good thing or a bad thing? A great PR idea or an annoying attempt at shoving irrelevant products down consumer’s throats? Here’s our list of the best and the worst ways that brands jumped onto the Back to the Future bandwagon.
Pepsi had the potential to do really well out of the Back to the Future link, as they are featured prominently in the movie and could have replicated the futuristic Pepsi Perfect with current technology, but instead they damaged their reputation with over-hype and empty promises. In the movie itself, Pepsi Perfect is a futuristic version of the 1989 Pepsi drink, and the recipe comes with added vitamins. So what did Pepsi do to mark the occasion? They’re celebrating by releasing a limited edition run of a few thousand bottles of Pepsi Perfect in a collector’s case. The case looks cool (despite there only being a disappointingly small number available), but the main problem with this is that it’s not ‘Pepsi Perfect’ inside… it’s regular Pepsi. In an age where drinks companies daily manufacture vitamin-added and electrolyte boosting drink varieties, it seems like Pepsi could have committed more to the promotion, and at least modified the recipe a little bit. Further, Pepsi didn’t handle the people side of this promotion particularly well. Although most people reasonably expected the release date of the drink to be October 21st 2015, some of the bottles went on sale early, meaning that many got snapped up early before some fans could get access to them. This resulted in public outcry by Future fans that feel cheated, and of course an avalanche of angry tweets, all of which have served to diminish Pepsi’s reputation with the public.
Toyota ran an ad campaign for its newest car, the Mirai, with a Back to the Future theme. Three teaser ads, one featuring Fox and the other star of the series, Christopher Lloyd, who played Doc Emmett Brown, have been released to preview a five-minute video that will be published on October 21st. But, you might find yourself asking, where was the Toyota in the original movie? Anywhere? Well, the answer is that we barely saw anything of a Toyota at all, only catching a glimpse of a Toyota pick-up truck at the point where the first film ends and the second one begins. This film clearly belongs to DeLorean, not Toyota, and it’s a mistake to try and make the brand fit. What’s more, although it’s true that the Mirai will run on hydrogen fuel cells and that the cars in the movie ran on fuel cells powered by rubbish, it’s really not the same as these futuristic (flying) cars, as the technology doesn’t run on rubbish at all (the bit that the movie emphasised) and the Mirai isn’t the recycler’s dream car that this connection implies. Not enough of a link and more of a convenient tack-on to the previously-scheduled Mirai release date, if you ask us.
It wasn’t all bad PR on 21st October 2015, as Nike got it completely right with their self-lacing trainers. We all remember the gym shoes that automatically tighten their own laces in the movie, followed by a flash of the Nike logo on the side, but we never thought that we’d actually see them in 2015. But, Nike really has delivered for us – announcing the release of the Nike MAG self-lacing trainers coming in Spring 2016. It isn’t just the product that Nike got right here, it’s the way that they went about releasing it. First, Nike released a limited edition run of the same type of trainers back in 2012 (gauging people’s interests impressively early) – but these weren’t self-lacing, only replicas of the design of those in the film. So then we waited until 2015 and watched as Nike very subtly put out a handful of cryptic tweets to Michael J Fox’s twitter account, including ‘See you soon’, driving fans wild as speculation over the possibility of a release in time for October 21st flourished. Then, as the day itself approached, the build-up continued as Fox himself tweeted a letter that he had received from the designer of the shoes, Tinker Hatfield. It gave him the honour, ‘as the first, most celebrated wearer’ of the Nike Mag shoes, ‘we wanted you to be the first to receive a living pair.’ So, after making them wait on tenterhooks, fans finally got to see what must be every Generation X-child’s dream – as Nike posted a clip of Fox himself trying on the trainers, in which he can be heard saying, in the classic McFly way,‘Ah, that sound…that’s insane.’
So, can the Nike promotion get any better than that? Surprisingly, yes. Nike aren’t actually releasing the trainers until Spring 2016 (which means more interest-building waiting for their fans) and will only begin with a limited tradition release that will go on auction in aid of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research – so they’re not even keeping the proceeds of the campaign. And the best part? Records show that Nike applied for a patent to license “automatically lacing trainers” back in 2010 – so, despite their slow and steady release of information to the public consciousness, they’ve been planning this all along. Clever!
We’ve all heard of PR crises, it’s one of the first things that people learn about PR and it’s a phrase that’s often overused in the media to describe all of the various dramas that different companies experience with the public. Because it’s such a high-profile term, you might think that a ‘crisis’ like this would never happen to your company, but beware – a PR crisis can be as small as a customer service complaint if it gains some momentum, and it can happen to anyone, anywhere – so surely it’s better to be safe than sorry and to learn how to prevent and deal with these crises if they ever come your way? Yes, we thought so too…
So, what actually is a PR crisis?
A PR crisis occurs when someone in your company does something to damage the reputation of your product, service or company. This can be anything from replying to a customer in an inappropriate manner to breaching anonymity by not properly blind-copying all recipients into an email (we’ve all heard of the recent GUM clinic scandal in Soho).
That sounds pretty nasty – how can you prevent these problems?
Preventing a PR crises is pretty easy if you’re an open and honest company anyway, and if you’re not, then now might be the time to reassess your priorities. Preventing a PR crisis requires you to:
• Be ethical and always put your customers first – the phrase ‘the customer is always right’ will get you a long way in preventing negative public opinion of your brand if you truly take it on board. It also helps to be personal and treat people like individuals at all times.
• Be transparent – make the ethos and practice of your company as public as you can whilst keeping it relevant – and if any problems crop up with complaints, show them exactly how the mistake happened and what you’re going to do to solve it.
• Solve customer problems quickly before they get the chance to escalate into a crisis.
• Always think before you act or post public messages – think about the tone of voice or potential reaction that your social media posts or emails could have before you even send them. Is there any way that what you’re saying could be misconstrued or offensive? We all know the problems with the ambiguity of texting friends and family – sometimes you simply can’t get across the same tone of voice without saying things face-to-face (and remember that your use of punctuation can make a big difference to how your post sounds to the people reading it – the classic ‘Let’s eat, Grandma’ and ‘Let’s eat Grandma’ problem is definitely one to avoid).
And what do you do if for some reason somebody makes a mistake, and a PR crisis actually does happen?
• First of all, don’t panic and don’t post any comments or statements on the internet right away. You need to think about everything first and do some research – knee-jerk reactions are how these things escalate into major issues.
• Use social media monitoring devices and your own research to take the temperature of the public’s reaction. It’s not just about what happened internally but about how it’s being perceived externally, and the public mood and opinion of the problem should influence how you deal with it.
• Brief everyone in your team/company on what happened and decide on the company line – the stance that you’re going to take on the ‘crisis’ and what statements you will release to explain it or apologise for it.
• DO apologise if you’ve done something wrong and don’t try to sweep it under the rug. Being accountable and accepting that you made a mistake is the best thing to do, even if you have a whole list of reasons as to why you were ‘technically’ in the right. That’s exactly what the GUM clinic in Soho did when they faced their recent PR crisis, and it worked wonders for them.
• And finally, communicate frequently and truthfully with the public, particularly in the immediate wake of the crisis. People might want constant updates on how you’re fixing the problem, and if these come directly from you, it’s more likely that your customers will begin to trust you again. You can then monitor how the public opinion of you changes over time on social media to check whether your current approach is effective or not. And remember that strong existing ties that customers have to your company will help to soften the blow of any PR crisis, so it’s best to always be kind and open in the first place (again, lots of people have come out in support of the Soho GUM clinic saying that they believe it was an honest mistake, as they have had nothing but excellent customer service in the past).
So there you go, that’s the lowdown on PR crises. We hope that you never have to deal with one yourself, but if you do, you’ll hopefully be a bit more PR savvy by this point – and you can always ask us for some extra tips if you need them (now that’s customer service…).
Digital media is the PR tool that every smartphone user holds quite literally in the palm of their hand. With a click or two on the old dog and bone, you can access a world of apps that replicate almost all of the features of a computer (so, some may say, there’s no excuse not to be productive when you’re away from the office). This means that, unless you live in a technological and social vacuum, you probably use apps like Twitter and Facebook on a regular basis to help raise the public profile of your company. However, apps aren’t just for social networking; they can also make your business’ day-to-day organisational tasks seem like much less of a chore and allow you to effortlessly boost your productivity at the click of a button (or two). That’s why, as 2014 draws to a close, we’re taking a look at the best new digital media apps available for your company. These are the apps-to-watch (and download) in 2015 to make your job a whole lot easier:
First of all, every mobile business can benefit from a more user-friendly mail system on their smartphone. Mailbox is probably the best new app for those trying to sift through hundreds of spam emails on their androids or iPhones. This app allows you to easily swipe unwanted emails away to one side so you can delete them without hassle. Out of sight, out of mind, out of inbox. It also allows you to ‘snooze’ non-urgent emails so that you can prioritise your replies, giving you more time to focus on the most important messages. A similarly useful mail app is Inbox by Gmail, which has the particularly good function of allowing you to bunch similar messages together, perfect for those compulsive organisers amongst you.
Another new set of helpful business apps that we’ve got high hopes for in 2015 are the new calendar apps Sunrise Calendar and Peek Calendar. Sunrise Calendar, available for both android and iPhones, is well integrated with Google’s cloud-calendar service, providing you with an easy to read visual-display of your appointments and to-do items that will make all those tasks look just that little bit more manageable. Peek Calendar is another championer of the swipe system, allowing you to easily flick between dates and appointments so that you never miss a trick.
And for those of you who want a holistic approach to your business’ organisation, there are plenty of new productivity-management apps that we recommend you try in 2015. The first of these is Droptask, the visual to-do list for your android or iPhone. This app is particularly good for projects, allowing you to to create goals, track your progress and even connect with other members your the task group. Another productivity enhancing strand of digital media are the new keyboard apps, like Switftkey and Swype. Swiftkey is a very clever android and iPhone app; it actually learns your writing style to allow it to make smart predictions to speed up your typing. Forget old-school predictive text, this is 2015 technology that gets to know you. Or, for a completely different android or iPhone typing experience, try Swype, where you simply trace your thumb along the virtual keys to produce sentences. But perhaps smartest of all is Workflow, the app that allows you to create and save connections between actions and automate processes on your smartphone. Simply drag and drop actions to build connections between them. For instance, you can set the app to automatically make Safari pages into PDFs, saving you the time spent manually converting them. Now that’s smart technology.
So there you have it, our pick of the most useful apps for businesses to watch out for (and download) in 2015. With these time-saving tools at your fingertips, you can sit back, relax and focus on the PR side of your company profile… Facebook break, anyone?
Twitter: The king of all social media outlets, Twitter, is the easiest and most powerful PR tool that you can use to raise your company’s profile. We’re not going to tell you how to use Twitter per se, we trust you to figure out that on your own, we’re just going to let you know how to use it to your most advantage: by being hyperactive, visual and generous. Being hyperactive simply means tweeting, at least once a day, about something meaningful (like a new offer), with relevant hashtags – just be careful not to overload your followers with cheesy or ‘spamtastic’ posts or you might find your numbers dwindling. Being visual means taking photos of your product or company at work to let your business speak for itself. If you’re a restaurant serving food, post pictures of your most delicious deserts. If you’re an events company, show us how popular you are with a crowd photo. A sentence takes multiple seconds to read, an image is seen in an instant. Before your followers have even decided whether or not to read your post, they’ve seen your picture. And lastly, be generous. Be kind to other companies and tweeters and they’ll return the favour – if you retweet someone one day, they’re more likely to do the same for you the next. It’s all about building good relationships and encouraging people to care about your brand.
Instagram: The same advice as the visual side of Twitter applies to Instagram, but even more so. On Instagram, visuals are everything, so make the most of them. Put time into creating the most artistically placed photo possible and you’ll reap the benefits. Even if your product isn’t aesthetically pleasing, people will appreciate your efforts. I mean, who wouldn’t want to buy masking tape from the man who manages to make it into a Van Gough-style masterpiece?
Facebook: Facebook is losing influence as a business tool, but it’s still a useful resource for people to find out information about your company. Take advantage of the fact that Facebook allows you to type more words and write the full account of what you’d like to be able to say on Twitter. Style your Facebook page as a mini-version of your website, with all the relevant information about yourself, and you’ll reach a wider range of customers who don’t yet know your background story. People don’t like random posts from businesses on their profile pages, but if they see your name on another company’s page, they may well click on to your own, so make sure you make a good first impression with a succinct description and up-to-date events news.
When choosing a PR agency, don’t be fooled into thinking that a firm is the ‘best’ from their impressive client list or reputation, choose the firm which is the best fit for you. Often, larger companies with high-profile clients will have the majority of their energy directed towards these larger brands and not be able to give your business the attention it deserves.
Instead, we recommend comparing the agency’s client list and ethos with your own brand because, after all, it’s your brand that you want them to publicise to the best of their ability, not anyone else’s. Have a look at the agency’s past client list – have they got experience working with businesses of your size, or in your sector? It’s useful to research these businesses to see if you like their approach and image. Try it on for size and see if it fits you. Of course, your brand is always going to be unique and distinct from these other clients, but it’s useful to get an idea of the work which the agency has produced.
As well as this, don’t forget to scrutinise the website of your chosen PR company. In PR, image is everything, and a key feature of a company’s image is how they have decided to present themselves on the web. Ideally, a professional website with well-written, exciting copy should put your mind at rest. If the PR agency you’re looking at ticks all of these boxes, contact them and see what you think. Pay attention to your first impression of the firm. Are they polite, attentive and responsive to your ideas? Do they make time for you? The right PR company will always make you feel valued and important. Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, yes, we did notice your new haircut, and we love it…
Its PR are proud to be working with the woman behind some of the most glamorous hair seen on the red carpet, Hannah Gaboardi. She has eight years of experience under her brush and an approach to colouring that keeps clients coming back for more. She tends to the tresses and is the number 1 speed dial to the likes of the Eccelstone heiresses, Danielle Lineker and Donna Air, all regularly returning for Hannah’s signature style and talent. Hannah has a particular penchant for ‘balayage’, a French technique of painting colour on to the hair for an irresistible, sun-kissed effect. She is a rising star in London’s hair scene, and one to keep an eye on for 2014. A definite one for your speed dial!
Thanks to @eatravelivemag for their review of The Mandeville. Marylebone is certainly on the rise with its new hotel additions, The Chiltern Firehouse restaurant opening, the new hotel imminently opening, Roots & Bulbs on the high street, Richard Caring’s new venture, among many other things! We’re proud of The Mandeville being at the helm of these changes. Check out the review!