Category Archives: Social Media

The Online Profile Builder is here! Bruce PR’s innovative digital marketing solution for SMEs

We’re delighted today to unveil details of our new Online Profile Builder. We developed this in response to the digital marketing needs of local businesses — businesses that are too small to have their own PR or marketing person, but too big to ignore the demand for online content.

Our Online Profile Builder is the perfect solution for businesses who want their business promoted but don’t want to do everything themselves. Bruce PR’s Online Profile Builder will solve the problem of having professionally written, high-quality content for your social media channels, and proper news items for traditional news outlets including newspapers — a crucial mix in the Highlands.

To find out more, visit our stand (Stand Number 1!) at the BNI Highlands Expo today at Eden Court. We’ll be able to show you just how our Online Profile Builder can solve your social media and publicity challenges, with one simple package. Click here to book a 5-minute telephone chat to get all the details.

How to boost your business with video

Laura Bruce from Bruce Public Relations speaking to a group at SCVO’s #DigitalMeetup in Inverness 25 January

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you will have noticed that the popularity of video has grown exponentially.

From Facebook to YouTube, we are consuming more video content than ever before. And the business case for video is compelling: according to Hubspot, after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.

2017: the year of video?

We’ve seen growing interest in video, but I believe 2017 will be the year that video really takes off across a range of social platforms. By taking a few simple steps, any business can capitalise on the potential that video offers to share your message far and wide.

The power of leverage

For small- and medium-sized businesses with small- to medium-sized marketing budgets, video offers a powerful tool to generate leverage in your promotional activity. Equipped with little more than a smartphone, you can create short videos to bring your website and social media channels to life, and reach potentially millions of viewers online.

What should you say?

One of the best uses of video is to help people to understand what you do, and how you do it. A “value proposition” is a tool to help potential customers understand the benefits you provide, the problems you solve, and why they should choose you over your competition. Your value proposition should be a top priority when developing video content, and it’s something we work with clients to develop before doing any marketing or promotional activity. Once you are clear on what makes your business unique, it is much simpler to communicate this and convince potential customers why they should buy from you. [More on this here.]

Educate clients online, and build rapport

Also, consider the questions you typically respond to from clients or customers. For professional services firms like solicitors, accountants and architects, a video can save time responding to queries about your fee structure or services you provide. Perhaps your video could spec out the path of a typical query, and take a potential client through the process so there are no surprises? One of your team could explain how your fees are structured, and which if any services or advice you provide free of charge. A video will save staff time, and also serve to educate your audience. Moreover, by using an actual member of your team, video can build rapport in a way an email will never do.

Use video to accomplish new tasks online

But your video doesn’t have to be about your products or services. I recently worked with a large accounting firm to develop a video to recruit graduates to become trainee accountants. Shared on their website and social media channels, the animated video truly engaged the target audience — outperforming all other recruitment tactics— and generated a talented pool of ideal candidates!

Get something down on paper first

While some people are talented improvisational speakers, don’t put undue pressure on yourself or your team. Start with a script, outlining your key message and some details you want to include. Scripting your video doesn’t have to be complicated, but preparing a script will ensure you communicate what you intend to. And keep it short. Hubspot notes that 5% of people will turn off a video after one minute, but this figure jumps to 60% by two minutes! And ‘word count’ will make it simple to see how much you’ve got before you start filming: between 120 and 140 words will take about one minute to speak.

The crucial ingredient: a call to action

Don’t forget to include a call to action. Make sure to give your viewers one clear action to take — invite them to visit your website, ring your office, download a PDF, or email an enquiry. And make it simple for them to take that next step, by including a link, an email address, or similar.

What are you waiting for? 🙂

Video can positively impact your business in a range of ways – from increasing sales and driving traffic to your website, to educating potential customers about your products or services. The sooner you start using video, the sooner you’ll experience the benefits.

If you want to use video, but are not sure how to start, drop me a line or ring me. I think every business could be using video, and I can help you make the most of it!

Laura Bruce, Bruce Public Relations Ltd. copyright 2017. 

This article is based on my column in the January 2017 issue of Executive Magazine, a monthly publication of Scottish Provincial Press.

Is Facebook right for your business? Take 126 seconds and find out

Facebook can be a powerful tool for some businesses, but is yours one of them?

Facebook can be a powerful tool for some businesses, but is yours one of them?

Facebook may all the rage, but is it the best fit for your particular business?

If you’re not sure if you should be using Facebook for business, we can help.

We can take you through a super-quick, 2-minute quiz so you’ll know once and for all if Facebook will truly help you build your business. . . or if you’re wasting your time, and money.

Click here to set up a free assessment. In just a few minutes, you’ll know whether the latest craze is a good investment for your business. . . or if you should be focusing your attention on a different platform. Don’t waste anymore time — contact us now!

7 simple tips to ensure your PR is E-L-E-G-A-N-T

Black cocktail dress on mannequin stand.

Choose elegance over fashion and you will always be happy you did.

Coco Chanel famously said, “That which is fashionable becomes unfashionable.” 

When it comes to promoting your business, do you feel like you are always chasing the latest fashion? All that running’s not good for your looks, darling. Choose timeless elegance, instead. It will do as much for your public relations as it will your personal style.  Why? Because while fashions may change, the principles of public relations endure.

Picture this: you’ve been invited to a party or a dinner. You have no idea what to wear. Most women will agree: when in doubt, choose the Little Black Dress. There’s something quietly reassuring about sticking with a classic. And so it is with public relations.

If you are hoping to generate publicity, the acronym ‘ELEGANT’ will guide you through some helpful reminders to ensure that your PR tactics are focussed. Follow these, and you’ll increase your chances of success. If you have news to share and are considering issuing a press release (or “media release”), the list below will help ensure you do the right things to generate the coverage you are hoping for.

Here are my 7 tips to ensure your PR is ELEGANT!

E – E is for “end”. In the words of Dr Steven Covey, “Start with the End in mind.”What is the goal of the publicity you are working to generate? Who to you hope to reach? What do you want them to know? Most of all, what do you hope they will do once they have read your news? Start with the big picture, and then work on the details.

L – L is for “leader”. Be a Leader in your field. Your words will carry far more import if you are perceived as an expert in your field. Remember, you don’t have to be the world authority on something to be an expert. You need only be the most prominent local authority. If you’re not the expert, find someone who is, and quote them in your media release.

E – E is for “evaluate”. Evaluate what will motivate your audience. Before you attempt to persuade, you should consider what your intended audience is likely to respond to. We recently announced a ‘good news’ story about a local business expanding. This type of story is something most business editors will welcome.

G – G is for “good”. What good are you doing? If you can communicate the benefit to potential customers, the local or wider community, this will help to ‘sell in’ your message. Are you creating jobs? Buying materials from local vendors? Training young people? Growing manufacturing capacity? Spell it out and it will sell the story.

A – A is for “articulate”. Articulate the benefits of your product or service. Spell out exactly what makes your product or service superior, unique, or unusual. Ideally, spell out all of these. In other words, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

N – N is for “news”. What news value do you have? In other words, what makes your message newsworthy? If you don’t — or can’t — articulate this in your media release, you can bet an editor won’t be interested.

T – T is for “timing”. Think about what is going on in the world, including holidays, seasons, or recent news events. Time your media release to coincide with other events. If you can find a hook that ties your story to a bigger news theme, that will improve your chances of getting coverage.

Good luck!

I hope you find this guide useful. If you have news you would like to share with the world, we’d like to help you get the impact you hope for. With more than 20 years in media relations, you can count on us to help you craft a compelling message. Contact Bruce Public Relations on 01463 216226.

Laura Bruce’s top 10 PR tips from two decades in public relations

Bruce Public Relations founder Laura Bruce, on the banks of the River Ness in Inverness

Bruce Public Relations founder Laura Bruce, on the banks of the River Ness in Inverness

To celebrate our 10th anniversary Bruce Public Relations in Inverness is sharing 10 of our “insider tips” to help you boost your organisation’s profile. Remember, if you have really big news to share, speak to a professional about the best ways to get the word out.

In no particular order, here are 10 simple things you can do to ensure your business has an edge when it comes to PR.

  1. Learn to identify what may be newsworthy in your organisation. Are you launching a new service? Introducing a new product to your field? Are you involved in supporting a charity or other cause? All of these things create opportunities to open up dialogue with key audiences. [Hint: it’s not always the media you should be focussed on.}
  2. Identify the most appropriate social media platforms to reach your customers and clients, and establish a presence here. If you aren’t sure which platforms best suit your business, do some homework or speak to a professional for advice.
  3. Keep your website up-to-date. If you haven’t revised your website since it was built, it is probably out of date. Take a good look at it and see what needs freshening up, and make these changes.
  4. If you have news, consider issuing a media release. (If you’re not sure if you need one, contact us.)
  5. Anniversaries and milestones are ideal opportunities to share some news. If you have celebrated your 10th anniversary, or just built your 100th house, let people know.
  6. Share good news with your own team, first. There’s nothing better to build employee relations than treating your staff as “insiders”. Share your news with them, first. They can be great ambassadors for your organisation, and can take pride in your success.
  7. Take photos. You can’t go back in time, so make sure you get them while you can.
  8. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing insights from your industry. People who work outside your field of expertise may be quite interested in your observations. If you are seeing a trend develop, write a blog post for your website, or share your thoughts on LinkedIn.
  9. Make it simple for people to contact your organisation. Whether it’s through your website, by telephone, or over one  or more social platforms, ensure there is a pain-free route to contact you.
  10. Put a company ‘backgrounder’ on your website. It should contain basic information including when the organisation was established, who the principles are, the main products or services you provide, and a link to a contact form for more information. Some organisations do this on their “About” page, while others use a dedicated page for news. Either way, help people who visit your site to get a handle on what you do, and for whom.

Have you found these top 10 tips helpful? If your organisation has decided it’s time to start communicating, contact Bruce Public Relations. We’ll help you identify the most newsworthy information, and then help you communicate it the most appropriate audiences. We’ve been delighting our clients for more than a decade. Isn’t it time you got some PR TLC?

Laura’s Top 10 Tips for Terrific Networking

Networking can be fun. It is also good for business.

Networking can be fun. It is also good for business.

As a natural networker, I sometimes forget that it doesn’t come so easily to everyone. And even natural networkers sometimes forget how to make the most of networking opportunities (see #10 for the one I often forget to do!).

To help you make the most of the time you spend at networking events, I have created my own “Top 10” list. Which of these have you already mastered, and which do you need to work on?

  1. Dress for success. Ensure that what you wear matches the image you wish to project. If you are attending a business function, dress in business attire. A solicitor’s attire will probably be more formal than a graphic designer’s. When in doubt, dress more formally rather than more casually.
  2. Come prepared. Bring more business cards than you think you will need. I always try to wear a jacket with pockets. My strategy is to put a supply of my own cards in the right-hand pocket, and place the cards I receive into the left. Keeps it simple!
  3. Name tag on the right side. This is a great little trick. If you are wearing your name tag on your right side, it makes it simple for someone you meet to glance at your name tag as they are shaking your hand. It’s especially good if someone you have met before has forgotten your name — they can sneak a glance as you shake hello!
  4. Smile. Even if you feel nervous, smile. Remember that while most people don’t like networking, everyone likes a good sport. A smile is a great way to “introduce” yourself to the room as you arrive: even before you have said a word, you have made a good impression.
  5. Adopt an open stance. Position yourself so that people feel they can approach you. If you are speaking to someone, don’t face them directly — it will look like you are having a private conversation. Face the room and be approachable.
  6. Ditch your colleagues. The premise behind networking is to extend your network. You don’t achieve anything by chatting to the people you work with.
  7. Be cheerful. Once you start speaking to someone, keep it light. You may be fuming about something, but a networking event is meant to be light-hearted. Steer clear of controversial subjects, and stick to current affairs and local goings-on.
  8. Don’t say, “So what do you do?” This gives the impression you are only interested in speaking to someone based on their job. Instead, open with something neutral and friendly. “How’s your week going?” is something everybody can answer, and works as a good opening line. It also allows someone to highlight something they feel may be of interest.
  9. Know when to move on. Once you have made contact, don’t cling to the person for the duration of the event. You are both there to make new contacts, so allow them — and yourself — to move on with a polite exit strategy. Extend your hand and shake theirs, saying “Good to meet you.” If you haven’t exchanged cards yet, this is the time to do so. Ask them for their card, and offer them yours. And move on.
  10. Tip number 10 is for “Follow up.” Once you get back to the office, take the stack of cards from your left pocket (you did ask for cards, didn’t you?) and spend a few minutes entering the details into your contact list. Send a short email to say you enjoyed meeting them. You may also want to see if they are on LinkedIn, and if so, send a connection request. If you promised to set up a meeting, now is the time to act on that promise.

There you have it — my handy guide to help you make the most of your networking. Was this list helpful? I’d love to hear. Drop me a line and let me know.

“The party’s over . . . ” Now what? 3 things to do after you have won an award

Our client Frankie & Lola's softplay in Inverness was named Most Promising New Business. We are delighted for them.

Our client Frankie & Lola’s softplay in Inverness was named Most Promising New Business. We are delighted for them.

Last week’s Highland Business Awards were a punctuation mark in the Highland business calendar. On Friday afternoon, after a motivating speech about tourism and regeneration from Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals, twelve companies and one individual went away winners. We were delighted to help our client, Frankie & Lola’s Soft-Play in Inverness, to win the Most Promising New Business award. A number of finalists also have great reason to hold their heads high.

HM_Business_Awards_Logo_2015_200_76_80But now what? With the dust settling on the awards, Bruce PR recommends a few simple tactics to make the most of your new standing.

  1. Put something on your blog about the awards. Mention that you went along and how much you appreciated being named a finalist. Maybe talk about how your team put the application together, or how you found the process. Did you take photos at the event? Here’s a great place to put some photos.
  2. Share the blog story onto your social media platforms. Update your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. . . you get the picture. Share those photos, and give your followers and friends an insight into the event, and what it meant to you and your team.
  3. Incorporate your new status into your company’s corporate identity. Were you a finalist? Add “Finalist, Highland Business Awards 2015” to your home page and marketing materials. Don’t be shy. Did you win? Plaster your status and your award category all over your site, your social media, and share the news with your email list. People love good news. Especially your friends and colleagues. Give them something to smile about.

If this kind of stuff doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t worry. The team at Bruce Public Relations in Inverness has been helping our clients to have reasons to celebrate for more than 20 years. We’re pretty good at it, if we do say so ourselves. Get in touch if this is the kind of expertise your organisation would benefit from. We enjoy sharing our expertise, and helping your business grow.

Are you ‘driving around aimlessly’? 3 tips to focus your social media

taget practise“Public relations without research is like shooting an arrow, then requisitioning a target to install in the field.” — Anthony J. Fulginiti, APR — communication briefings

Last week I made a presentation to the Highland Business Women’s Club. I was invited to talk about my business, but I decided instead to focus on the importance of having clear objectives for your company, before you head off on a PR or social media initiative.

It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But it’s the hardest part of the process. So many companies I speak to want to start doing social media, or a blog, or making announcements, but they have not spent time thinking about where it is they want to go as an organisation.

I used a metaphor in my talk, and listening to the guests afterwards, I think it made an impression. “Social media,” I said, “is like the car. Public relations is the map. But your goals — that is the destination.” And I suggested that nobody in the audience should waste their time driving around aimlessly. They needed PR for the map it provides, but without a destination, they could spend hours on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and end up no nearer achieving their objectives.

Sound familiar?

Here are my three tips to ensure you don’t waste time in your social media activities.

  1. Spend time thinking about your business objectives. Get together with your key people. Don’t be afraid to include juniors in the discussion. They often have fresh ideas and a different perspective.
  2. Visualise the outcome you desire. Then write it down. What does it look like, in that place that means “success” for your company. Is it a second office? More staff? More lucrative clients? Be precise, so you will know when you get there. And think big.
  3. Assign the work. Choose someone talented to develop a plan to achieve these goals. If your company is too small to have a staff member devoted to communications, then out-source it to an experienced contractor. Not only will you get just what you need, if you choose well, you will also access a great reservoir of business experience.

If you think you could use some assistance developing your company’s goals, and then crafting a plan to make them happen, get in touch with us. We love this kind of work. We specialise in ideas, and PR is just one way we make things happen for our clients.

Did you know it was Women’s Entrepreneurship Day?

Untitled design (1)I didn’t. I am a woman, and an entrepreneur, but I had no idea about this celebration of women’s enterprise. That is, until my pal Nicky Marr posted on Facebook about being included in a compendium of women entrepreneurs published on the Women’s Enterprise Scotland website here.

According to their website:

WES plays a vital role in the promotion of women’s enterprise, through the media, and across the wider community. We provide spokeswomen, role models and contributors for the broadcast media and the press, for events, conferences, seminars and presentations.

We champion women-led business from every sector across the entire country. We challenge existing perceptions to gain recognition of the economic importance of all women’s enterprise, whether micro business, SME or stock market listed multinational.

We encourage courage, confidence and self-belief that women-led business is a positive, rewarding and achievable option for women everywhere, no matter the scale of their enterprise ambition. And we cheer on those agencies already providing gender specific business development, and cite best practice wherever we find it.

We’re active digitally, and use social media and online platforms to promote women’s enterprise, to share information and learn from each other.

#WESchampions

They sound like a great organisation, but I hadn’t heard about them, either!

And then it struck me: the problem with entrepreneurship — besides the difficulty I have spelling it correctly — is that as an entrepreneur, running a (thankfully!) busy business, I am not on their radar. (I did get in touch with them subsequently, to do just that.)

So, not only did I not know about WES, I also wasn’t aware of the global celebration that is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Apparently, it’s a very big deal. Complete with a huge global sponsor (and former client), pwc. Here’s a link to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day website: http://www.womenseday.org and a hashtag: #WomensEDay.

This whole thing of not being aware of something that is specifically targeted at you brings home the awareness that, when you are busy running your own business *and* haven’t sought public funding to start or perpetuate that business, you simply aren’t going to be on the mailing lists for a lot of things that people in the public sector may be aware of. That is to say, the very people trying to target you, are not aware of you.

I am delighted that Nicky Marr is part of my network. Here's the two of us with her gold medal at a recent networking event in Inverness

I am delighted that Nicky Marr is part of my network. Here’s the two of us with her gold medal at a recent networking event in Inverness

Which brings me to my point: the importance of networking. I never would have heard about Women’s Enterprise Scotland today if I hadn’t been a part of Nicky’s network. Hopefully, having now contacted them, and tweeted about Women’s Enterprise Day, they will know about me. Moreover, my network of Twitter followers and followers of our Bruce PR Facebook page will also become aware of this organisation. Because ultimately, it’s up to every one of us to help our fellow entrepreneurs get a hand up. So after this post is published, I will also put it on LinkedIn, where — ideally —  another group of fellow entrepreneurs will also see it.

Happy Women’s Entrepreneurs Day everyone! And thanks Nicky!

“Sex and Social Media”: gender differences & participation in social technology

According to Diana Nyad, women are learning to leverage the power they hold in social media (http://womensvoicesforchange.org/wed-5-13.htm)

Recent research suggests women are learning to leverage the power they hold in social media (image source: Women’s Voices for Change)

Marketers looking to make the most of social media would do well to understand the unique ways in which each gender interacts with each platform. This was the message from David Sim at a recent Highland Social event in Inverness.

Organised by Michelle Russell of Snow Marketing, Highland Social events bring together people working in social media, as well as those looking to learn more about the landscape as they dip a toe into using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo or any of the other social platforms.

Belying its risqué title, Sim’s breakfast talk, “Sex and Social Media”, examined gender differences in the way men and women use social media. It was a salutary message for anyone hoping to make the most of the time they invest into social media — for themselves, and for their clients.

David Sim from Open Brolly, with Jo Adams, left, at Highland Social

David Sim from Open Brolly, with Jo Adams, left, at Highland Social

Sim is a project director and co-founder at OpenBrolly. He designs bespoke web and mobile systems, and project-manages their implementation.

Science, he said, has shown that women have a deeper interest in people and relationships, generally speaking, whereas men are more preoccupied with practicalities and logical deduction. Our respective use of today’s social technology is a prime example of how these differences are manifest.

Men, David said, see business as highly competitive, and can be disappointed when they don’t see an immediate benefit from their “investment” in social media. Women on the other hand, are more interested in forming lasting relationships, and look to social media to share experiences with people. Women are disappointed when companies just talk about themselves. As women are a key audience for many brands, this insight is important for marketers attempting to reach us.

David had some interesting statistics:

  • 16% of adults have a Twitter account; 62% of Twitter users are women.
  • On Facebook, 58% of users are female. Women comment more on Facebook, while men tend to “lurk”. Both men and women have more female friends on Facebook.
  • Pinterest, David described as a “magnet for women”: it has the same number of users as Twitter, but 70% of them are women. Women see it as a form of window shopping.
  • YouTube has a slightly higher percentage of male users, at 54%. However, as 25% of men watch a YouTube video daily, it is a great platform to reach them.
  • Like YouTube, LinkedIn also has an audience of slightly more men than women, with 54% of users being male.

Social media provides us with a great deal — from education, to entertainment, to sharing personal experiences. What social media research tells us is that how you present your content is crucial. Depending on what audience you are after, you may be better off trying to create a dialogue, rather than presenting “Top Tips”.

Hearing David’s insights, it occurred to me that even SMEs and small local businesses should  consider a multi-platform approach to their social media activities to make the most of each sex’s way of interacting with social media.

Who makes the decision about whether to use or even investigate your client’s services or product in the average household? News that women — despite earning 60% less than men, on average — control the majority of discretionary spending, means that reaching them is paramount for your social media activities to be successful.

Understanding what women are interested in is a good first step to creating a dialogue on social media. But it’s only the beginning. The capacity to create good content, coupled with a comprehensive communications strategy, is the formula for long-term success when it comes to social media management.

If you would like some help reaching your audiences — with social media or traditional media — please get in touch.