In an attempt to remain relevant in the rapidly changing world of social media, platforms are forced to redesign and introduce new ideas to keep users engaged. Instagram is the most recent to introduce a new content format to their app: Instagram Reels.
Instagram Reels is a new short-form video format that allows users to record and edit 15 second, multi-clip videos with audio, effects and creative tools. Reels is Instagram’s attempt to compete with TikTok, a short-form video social media platform that blew up in the U.S. this past year thanks to COVID-19 and life in lockdown.
How can you create, share and find Instagram Reels?
Users can create Reels in Instagram Stories, which can be found in the top-left corner of the Home feed or by swiping right on the Home feed screen. Reels comes with a variety of video editing tools including audio, AR effects, timer and countdown, align and speed. Although Reels are created in Instagram Stories, they can be shared to Stories, close friends, direct messages and a user’s feed. If shared to a user’s Story, a Reel will behave like a Story and disappear after 24 hours, whereas if a Reel is shared to a user’s feed it will remain on the user’s profile page like a traditional post. Public profiles also have the option to share Reels to a dedicated space on the Explore page.
Reels in Explore showcases the top-trending Reels on Instagram. On the Explore page, users can discover entertaining Reels made by anyone in a vertical feed that is customized to each user. Users can like, share and comment on Reels as well as interact with the Reel’s audio.
How can businesses utilize Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels launched in the United States just this past week, meaning there currently isn’t much data backing how successful Reels is for business profiles. Regardless, Reels should be a fun and creative outlet for businesses to capture and engage their audiences. We’ve gathered a few ideas and best practices for creating an Instagram Reel.
- Get Involved in the Trends: Using trending audio and hashtags is a great way to get a Reel in front of a larger audience and remain relevant with followers.
- Keep Content Simple and Fun, but Stay on Brand: Get creative with content and explore the video editing tools, but be sure to stay on brand. Keep content funny, intriguing and to-the-point. Don’t try creating content that doesn’t fit your brand’s identity.
- Start Your Own Challenges: Create your own challenges and a challenge hashtag. Encourage other users to take on the challenge, share the hashtag when they post and nominate friends and followers to do the challenge.
As a new content format, Instagram Reels is a great opportunity for businesses to explore the opportunities it offers and engage with their audience in a fun, new way.
It’s no secret that social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives and business practices. According to We Are Social and Hootsuite, the average American spends 2-3 hours per day posting, scrolling, sharing and engaging on social media. The latest social media fad? An app called TikTok.
TikTok is a social media platform where users share 15 or 60 second videos and audiences engage by liking, commenting, sharing, duetting and following. Although stigmatized to be a silly app dominated by teenagers, TikTok is quickly becoming a great platform for businesses to promote their brand, products or services to a large audience. Even better, all video editing services are built right into the app making it easy to create and upload content.
How is TikTok beneficial for businesses? Being relatively new, especially to the business and marketing world, TikTok is not as saturated with ads as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This also makes advertising on the app less expensive compared to advertising on bigger platforms.
TikTok can be a great platform to build your business, but it’s important to first determine if it’s the right platform. Content is king when it comes to social media. TikTok thrives off quirky, fun and authentic content. The app has earned the reputation of being a casual platform where users can be creative and feel comfortable expressing themselves. Spend time on the app to become familiar with the culture, what content is most successful, how users can engage and how to edit videos. It’s important to fully understand your business’s identity, culture, audience and goals to determine what content will succeed on the app while keeping it authentic.
If you’ve determined TikTok is right for your business, here are a few ways to use TikTok to promote your business:
Create a Hashtag Challenge
A hashtag challenge encourages users to create or recreate content, tag the branded hashtag and nominate friends. These challenges should be fun and engaging and can be anything from a dance, styling or using a product, making a dish or anything in between.
Partner with TikTok Influencers
Partnering with TikTok influencers is a great way to reach a large audience. When choosing an influencer to work with, keep in mind the type of content the influencer posts and make sure their audience matches your target audience.
Utilize TikTok’s Advertising Options
TikTok recently introduced four different types of advertising options for businesses. The app also offers precise targeting, ensuring an ad is hitting your desired audience. The advertising options include:
- Infeed Native Content: This option allows businesses to share an ad to the TikTok “For You Page” that is similar to Instagram and Snapchat story ads and supports website links and app downloads.
- Brand Takeovers: This option allows businesses to take over TikTok for a day. Businesses have the opportunity to create images, GIFs and videos with embedded links to websites or hashtag challenges.
- Hashtag Challenges: Rather than hoping a hashtag challenge will go viral, businesses have the option to use promoted hashtags.
- Branded Lenses: Branded lenses are similar to Instagram and Snapchat filters for faces and photos.
Overall, TikTok is a great way to generate brand awareness and engagement, as long as businesses are willing to be funny, creative and candid. This type of content is likely to succeed quickly and keep TikTok users coming back for more.
When it comes to reaching a diverse group of audiences, few forums offer the universal appeal and built-in advertising command of college sports. Historically, talented athletes lending star power to the collective $1 billion industry have been barred from financially benefiting from NCAA team participation. That all changed a few weeks ago – and it could soon mean big opportunities for your company’s PR campaigns.
Following decades of pressure and questions surrounding if and how to compensate college athletes, the NCAA Board of Governors voted to allow athletes to be paid for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. While they still can’t collect a paycheck from the collegiate institution they play for, the ruling unleashes boundless opportunities for college athletes to cash in. And you better bet these transactions will be mutually beneficial: Organizations ready to partner with college athletes in this new capacity are poised to tap into a publicity gold mine.
This ruling frees individuals and companies to leverage the platform of these household names, and the outcomes will have a game-changing effect on business objectives. Most significantly, such a partnership offers companies an instant credibility factor that they might have struggled to achieve through previous PR tactics. Now, anything is possible. From a local perspective, partnering with the most recognizable athletes from your region on event appearances, promotions, or marketing initiatives quickly cements your brand with that of the athlete’s – which is already a “winning” one in the customer’s mind.
Companies of all sizes should think seriously about how utilizing a college athlete’s name, image, and likeness might enhance their current PR and marketing plans. We recommend starting by working with multiple athletes over an initial period of time, identifying which campaigns best align with your target audiences. From there, long-term partnerships might make sense to explore as a significant piece of your annual PR plan. No matter what route you consider, PIVOT PR would love to help you create a strategy that fits your unique needs – and is a slam dunk with your customers.
In this unprecedented time, businesses are feeling the effects of the Coronavirus in different ways. For some, the pandemic means new safety standards are needed to remain in operation; for others, downstream impacts from halted supply chains, emergency budget cuts to services deemed non-essential, or closures/restrictions to storefront traffic mean layoffs are inevitable.
Regardless of the level of impact, all businesses are taking these challenges day by day. As your business navigates the unknown, here are some tips for communicating with stakeholders amid the COVID-19 era:
- Designate one forum for the latest updates – We recommend one blog post that is updated with all things Coronavirus-related as needed throughout the lifecycle of this crisis. Share this out with your distribution channels and communicate that this is the point of reference going forward. Include links to “read more” in social media posts.
- Communicate major changes to internal audiences first – You always want to prevent employees/sales team members from learning big news on social or traditional media.
- Keep it simple – Don’t share speculation or entertain rumors associated with conversations still in progress until strategic direction on the matter is determined. Decide what’s ready and approved to share out, even if information is limited, and organize those thoughts into succinct messages. In this unprecedented time, every word can hold weight, for good or bad.
- Personalize the delivery – Notes from top executives/leaders make an impact. Keeping the tone approachable and candid reinforces brand trustworthiness and credibility of the message.
- Quality over Quantity: Don’t overdo it – Audiences are experiencing email/social media overload now and in the weeks/months to come; be thoughtful and selective about what you share. Reserve re-posts from other brands for the most pertinent information only.
- Communicate major changes to the media in an official capacity – Engage PR partners like PIVOT to prepare press releases or media statements regarding substantial changes to organizational, safety, supply chain, and other related aspects of the business.
- Develop a best practices one-pager for all teams, if not already – This can include a quick snapshot of updated policies, expected manufacturing lead times on products, safety standards for those still working in shared spaces, etc. Imagine this as something “tacked to everyone’s desks”.
- Make points-of-contact clear to internal and external stakeholders – This might be a section that lives on the blog post. Allocate one point of contact for Coronavirus-related inquiries, with name/email/phone number, to every major department in the organization.
Just like you, PIVOT PR is staying on top of developing news and best practices surrounding this crisis. Stay tuned to our blog for more insights in the weeks to come.
For the thirteenth year in a row, Elevate Lifestyle has given its subscribers a voice and a way to honor the top businesses, places and people in Charlotte through The Elevate Lifestyle “The Best Of The City” Awards. PIVOT PR was honored to receive the “Best Public Relations Firm” for 2020.
The media pitch is an essential medium within the public relations (PR) industry. A successful pitch can benefit any PR agency and the organizations they are working for. However, developing a pitch that sticks is no easy task. Because pitching is about building relationships, bringing consistent, relevant, timely information to your target journalist makes all the difference.
Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when pitching your next press release to the media:
- Remember: Quality over quantity. Keeping your message concise, with the most important information available first, will help journalists absorb and assess information more efficiently. Reports show the average reporter or editor spends just 5 seconds reading a news release – so keep your pitch, and corresponding press release, as succinct as possible. When it comes to engaging with the reporter, focus on anticipating their questions with quick, verified answers at the ready, and always offer an additional spokesperson or subject-matter expert for further discussion in an interview.
- Edit and keep editing. When it comes to writing both a pitch and press release, it never hurts to have multiple sets of eyes reviewing before you hit ‘send’. Even the shortest emails can be easy to flub! Checking for grammar, spelling, and accuracy is an easy way to safeguard against a missed opportunity to get your story covered.
- Make it personal. The last thing that any journalist wants in their inbox is another mass-generated email. Although this is a quick and easy way to distribute release information, it can lack the impact that a personal ‘note’ would bring. Take the extra time to personally share your information to the journalists you know by name, and with whom you have a working relationship with first. Where available, reference a commonality or anecdote referencing your personal or professional connection in the intro of your email.
- Choose the wrong audience. Knowing the audience your release is directed toward is a guiding principle of every press outreach strategy. Not every writer is going to find your release to be in line with their interest and knowledge. Spend some time figuring out who will consider telling your story by knowing what subjects they often cover.
- Release at the wrong time. Timing is everything when it comes to distributing your press release. Sending it out on a Friday or close to a holiday significantly lowers the prospect of coverage. And, journalists are often overwhelmed with a barrage of emails on Mondays. So stick to the middle of the week: According to research, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the best days to send press releases.
- Forget to do your research. Especially for news announcing a new product or initiative, sourcing is crucial. Omitting opportunities to hyperlink, fact-check, or provide counter-points ahead of anticipated questions leaves the journalist wanting more – and they don’t have time to do the work for you. Credibility is everything!