16 Instagram Tips for your business

May 23, 2016 by

Instagram Tips fro business

Many of us are now using the very popular (Facebook owned – wait for all the adverts!!) Instagram photo and more recently video driven social media platform personally but using it for business can be a different story.

We love seeing great pictures and videos posted by our social media friends but seeing them posted by a business is quite a different dynamic.

A good starting point is why would someone want to follow your account – think about it!

The other thing to bear in mind when using Instagram (this applies to all of the social media platforms) is to think of the mood or mindset of the users. Yep, the typical Instagram user is probably chilling out so don’t be trying too hard with “big” messages or aggressive selling.

We have put together some simple tips to help you to get the most from Instagram, which we hope you will find useful – if you have others please let us know.

  1. Make sure your account name relates to your business/brand and is easily linked to your business i.e. the company name (this is a basic one that many get wrong!)
  2. Use a simple yet clearly identifiable profile pic (remember this appears as the tiniest of thumbnails on mobile devices)
  3. Use Instagram to showcase your products and services in a visual way that will draw customers in.
  4. Set a clear goal i.e. brand awareness, website traffic, increase sales etc. and keep these goals in mind for every post (caution – don’t be too sales orientated. It will chase people away!)
  5. Focus on your USP and what makes you stand out – What you post should draw people in and keep them wanting more.
  6. Use the text to explain what people will get from following you (include your web address)
  7. Incorporate hashtags to make it easier for people who are interested in your area to find you.
  8. Make your posts identifiable where possible – keep strong brand consistency across posts.
  9. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through, it enables people to see the “real” authentic brand and therefore relate to it more.
  10. Before posting anything think about who you are trying to target. Will this post be of interest to them?
  11. Bear in mind at all times that whatever you post represents the brand
  12. Tag people and other accounts when relevant, as it allows you to reach a broader audience.
  13. Connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to let your existing friends know you’re on Instagram.
  14. Follow people and other accounts that are relevant to your brand i.e. customers, businesses, celebrities etc. Use relevant hashtags when searching to find accounts you should follow.
  15. Actively engage with the accounts you are following – Join in relevant conversations and in turn increase you’re following.
  16. Use hashtags tactically to join conversations and increase your following

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a PR Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

My first month in PR!

May 21, 2016 by

Word PR.Wooden cubes on newspaper. Close up studio shot

So my first month in Fuzion has nearly come to an end and I have really enjoyed it so far. Prior to joining Fuzion I completed a small amount of work experience in PR when I was in college in Maynooth University, but during that short term I really did enjoy it.

Fuzion as a PR Company really stood out to me from the rest. Their online presence is fantastic, it is current, easy to find and there is a high level of engagement and they have a large portfolio of high profile clients.

Fuzion is also an award winning PR Agency so when I saw the job vacancy I jumped at the opportunity to apply straight away, then hoped and prayed I would be successful.

I love the fact that there is variety in what you can do in PR. It’s not the same mundane repetition day in day out. The wide range of clients and different projects are really interesting, which means we are always thinking of new and quirky ideas for different clients and most importantly their target audiences.

One of the many things that I find great are the brainstorming sessions, which are a really good way to bounce ideas off each other and to develop ideas as well. It’s amazing how you can start with nothing at all, and within a short period of time with the help of some simple ‘start-off’ suggestions and a fantastic group dynamic that feeds off each other, we can end up with some ‘gems’ of ideas!

I got the chance to attend some photo calls for the first time, which was great experience and one that has definitely been one of my favourite things to do so far. I have also gotten to meet some really great characters who always seem to come back with a funny story to tell!

It’s a great feeling to see the pictures the next day and throughout the week in the various newspapers. I also attended a client event where I took social pictures in order to use them for social media (we keep on talking about “Parallel Media” at Fuzion – all the channels work parallel) . Getting the chance to go to some really nice locations and meet some really interesting people isn’t exactly “hard work“!!

So one month in, I’m loving it and I’m looking forward to learning much more about the world of PR and communications!

Saidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is a PR intern with Fuzion who offer PR, Marketing and Graphic Design Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork 

I am Social Media!

April 19, 2016 by

Digital Influencers

I am social media

How many of us can actually say this?

Technology expansion and Social Media takeover is a global conversation that is always there to be had. It has vastly taken over person to person conversations but it has also enhanced it, by allowing us to have our face to face conversations in several different ways through Apps and to be honest I really think this is fantastic!

However, these advancements have opened up a whole new careers sector of ‘Digital Influencers’, a new role that is not just about having a job, it’s a lifestyle and a way of expression, doing what you love and sharing it with others.

So what is a ‘Digital Influencer’?

For me it is someone who exists across multiple platforms and through sharing their thoughts, skills, lifestyle, likes, dislikes and discoveries with a dash of personality have carefully nurtured an online following of people, who are genuinely interested in what they have to offer or live to criticise their being!

So how has this simple thought sharing activity grown so much that it is now a sought after career?

Recent findings from the Sermo Digital Influencer Index, shows us that bloggers/influencers have extended their reach and influence by creating a multi-platform presence in a global, female dominated “Industry” – yes it think it has grown so much that it can now be referred to as its own industry!

The research also showed that because of access to these other platforms, blog readership figures are falling and Instagram is leading the way because it is the one platform that allows users to be visually appealing and is a somewhat compact version of Facebook and Twitter with a higher rate of engagement. Another interesting finding was that Digital Influencers were now creating multilingual content to achieve global status and inherit more followers – smart!

Many Digital Influencers have built a solid and lucrative business from doing what they love and showing people who they are.

Much of their business includes brand collaborations, affiliation sales, charging for posts or mentions and making appearances to name a few! This has worked quite well for some of Ireland’s Digital Influencers and Sermo paid recognition to Ireland’s Top 10 with one particular influencer making the Global Top 16, Suzanne Jackson of SoSueMe. (see below for full list)

zanne Jackson - SoSueMe

The PR world is very much aware of the Digital Influencer world and many are now staple contacts in all PR agency press databases.

Here are some of our top Digital Influencers:

  • Suzanne Jackson – So Sue Me
  • Pippa O’Connor – pippa.ie
  • Joanne Larby – The Make Up Fairy
  • Lisa Jordan- Just Jordan
  • James Butler – Jus de James
  • Marissa Carter – Coco Brown
  • Grace Mongey – Faces by Grace
  • Rosie Connelly – Hearts Heels and Handbags

Sermo Digital Influencer Index

Top 10 – Ireland

  • So Sue Me – Suzanne Jackson
  • Pippa – Pippa O’Connor
  • Chloe Boucher
  • Anouska  – Anouska Proetta Brandon
  • Thunder & Threads – Leanne Woodfull

 

  • Erika Fox – Retro Flame
  • My Name is Vogue – Vogue Williams
  • James Patrice – James Butler
  • Penny and Polaroids – Nuala Gorham
  • Ciara Doherty – Ciara Doherty 

and some rising Stars..

  • Lauren Bejaoui
  • The Daily S’elf – Nadia el Ferdaoussi
  • Catherine Poulain

What’s your passion, what are you obsessed about…is it time to start influencing?

Arlene Foy, Fuzion PR, Marketing Graphic Design, DublinArlene

Arlene Foy is a valuable part of the Fuzion PR team in our Dublin office.

Offset 2016 and ones boy’s obsession with design

April 18, 2016 by

Offset 2016

If you know me, then great… if not, here are a few starter points:

This post is like me, it requires a bit of work. You’ll have to click links. You’ll have to forgive my overuse of exclamation marks, parentheses and the Oxford comma. And possible bad language that I wouldn’t even dream of using in the company of my mother, or even more, your mother. There may be mentions of testicles (all relevant). And finally, like a goldfish needs water, I need design.

Some people watch football. Others collect stamps. Some people go train-spotting.

Me? I look at design.

It started in 1990, when Mr Nott, my art teacher recognised that I was pretty rubbish at art, but I knew vaguely how to construct things into an order that conveyed a logical sense of information. I could tell a visual story. And he showed me some work that wasn’t art, but was artistic. It was creative, it was design.

From here I figured out what I needed to do to get into college and onto a design course (mostly fail all my Pre’s in the pursuit of the perfect portfolio of 18 year old rubbish art samples that showed the slightest glimmer of hope), and over the course of many years, of different directions, of false starts, and hard, hard work, I made it!

I graduated with a degree in design, and I got a job. But since the early 90’s I’ve watched television with an eye for fonts, I’ve read newspapers with more of an eye on the layouts than the stories, and I’ve bought countless books for the covers, never ever opening them or reading the content.  

But the thing about design is – or at least was – that it was largely something that you read about in Creative Review, or Eye, and marvel at. Then the Internet happened (yes, I am that old) and a community of discussion & sharing grew where we could discover things that we’d read about them, and see more, see similar and learn more. But there was a disconnect.

What could you do with that sort of lust from a distance?

Offset 2

Offset

I don’t remember my first Offset. I just remember being mind-blown by talent, passion and determination. But I remember being in the same room as some of the people who inspired me to create, to learn, to try and try harder. I remember that sense of astonishment that someone on a stage in front of me was the person who designed something that I’d known for years and wanted to know more about.

Remember your first concert? – it’s a bit like that.  

And 5 years later, it’s all there again. that sense of bewildering, confusing, heartbreaking brilliance, where someone describes the experiences of their professional journey and the highs and lows of being a creative.

Looking back at my notes from this year, I sat through 21 hours over three days of talks by my peers, and here is a small selection of those who, as a friend of mine so eloquently described as “not so much having lit a fire inside me, more created an inferno” of wanting this more, and more, and more.

Shred of Decency

Rothco, one of Ireland’s foremost advertising agencies spoke about their structure of gangs – a less Marketing-Speak term for ‘teams’. But despite the BS, they shared their process (anyone can bring anything to any department at any time), and the creative freedom that failing and mistakes bring. And their genuine elation of being part of the defining moment that the Yes campaign helped bring to a New Ireland last year, through their involvement in their Shred of Decency campaign (see more about it here: https://rothco.ie/rothco-daintree/ or here: https://vimeo.com/124607988)

Also, their honesty in bringing a stick and a football and combining that with the incorrect use of a bus companies logo and just how on the edge of fresh underpants they all were while presenting was refreshing (this is the result: https://twitter.com/NetworkNoel )

20 euro note

Robert Ballagh told us how he sold his bass to Ireland’s first black man, and started painting, ‘cos “He thought he could”, and my admiration for him, and his talent multiplied by a huge degree. There’s a piece of his work on display in Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery – go and see it, and sure if you have ever held the last issued £20 punt note with Daniel O’Connell on it, then you’ve handled a masterpiece. 

Mr. Bingo

Closing the first day was the unstoppable Mr. Bingo. A force in modern post social-media dynamics, and a vocabulary coarser than even mine, he was a master class in rejecting the approach that everyone else follows and carving a path that others couldn’t dream of.

Go to his website and click on the link about him working for free. You may know him from his hair portraits (http://www.mr-bingo.org.uk/index.php?/latest/hair-portraits/ ) but what you really should know about him is his wonderful Hate Mail project, and the insanely brilliant kick-starter project that he ran to fund the book of Hate Mail.

Click here at your peril!

Day two started well, the Assemble Studio of architects/creatives/disruptives who explained how, well, if you want to do something, then do it. They made me think of space (not the thing with worm-holes and Wookies in it, but the immediate area that surrounds each and everyone of us) and how we accept what is “our” space, and how we use it.

And then the day went batshit crazy!!

Jonathan Barnbrook

Piranha Bar, Jonathan Barnbrook and GMunk arrived on stage, one after another to literally shake the bejesus out of us.

Suffice to say this, Piranha Bar’s new film “Doom Newt” looks on fire, and their approach to doing what they want, because that’s why, reinforced so much of my own thinking. Barnbrook has had the enviable position of being the late David Bowie’s graphic designer.

His work on ★ was an eye opening 40 minute talk of working with a genius. Plus his work on the brilliant Adbusters from the 90’s was phenomenal. And then there was GMunk. I’d seen a bunch of his work over the past few years, not knowing who had done it.

At this point of the day I was pretty tired, but he bounded onto the stage, and it was like a missile going off in a fireworks factory, in about 50 minutes, blasting us through his ‘8 Pearls of Wisdom’. Click here for a slightly older version of this talk. I will never do him justice so take a long lunch and watch all 68 minutes of this, I promise that you’ll clap at your screen at the end.

The motion control projection mapping in was utterly incredible (it’s called ‘The Box’ and it’s at 28.28 in the link above), and the work on the Windows 10 and Adobe Brands is jaw dropping.

Una Burke

Sunday was wrapped up beautifully by the Studio Dunbar people, talking about (amongst other things) the misappropriation of their work for the Dutch Police, Una Burke (image above – Big Shout Out to the LSAD graduates! High Five!) spoke about how fortunate (its not luck, she’s bust her chops to get where she is) she’s been in the fashion industry.

Ok, there’s been a bit of luck but also that research is a key part of any project and how it influences your decisions and end goals.

mcBess

mcBess, a French illustrator brought a wonderfully cynical sense of humour to his talk, complete with highly inspirational quotes (“I like to draw” mcBess, 2009,”) and some great illustrations to illuminate his quotes

So what did I learn?

..so much. but I’ll try to wrap it up like this:

  1. Fail, but learn from your failings.
  2. Collaborate. More often than not someone else may bring something to the table that shakes things up for the best.
  3. Be brave. Take your hands out of your pockets, and run through nettles. People will admire you.
  4. Check your testicles. Check any outsourced work for testicles. And grow some testicles. Three different speakers mentioned testicles, and in more ways that you can imagine, this may have been the most important lesson for all of us to take away.
  5. Reference, catalogue, credit.
  6. Always try to reinvent yourself. Stay fresh.
  7. I need to design.

Bonus learning: Gifs. No matter how much we are told, it’s impossible to pronounce it Jifs. Even if 2016 was the year that gifs were in every presentation.  

Phew…see you next year

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads our creative Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland 

Six simple Facebook tips for your business

April 13, 2016 by

acceleration

We’re hearing lots about how Instagram and Snapchat are taking over as the social media platforms of choice… but I don’t think we can disregard Facebook (2.6 million people in Ireland are active on Facebook) just yet.

It’s been around for quite a while now, has a huge following, and people understand it!

If you’re a business, I think it’s vital to have a Facebook presence, but it’s also so important that you use it correctly so you’re not wasting your own time and resources. Whether your goal is to boost sales, engage with current and prospective customers, or simply build awareness of your brand—having a strategy in mind will help you to use Facebook more effectively.

Facebook is a great place to share updates about your business, but don’t get carried away.

People don’t want or need in-depth information on everything your business is about. I manage a number of Facebook pages for different types of clients, and based on my own personal experience, I’ve put together six simple tips that I think could help businesses maximise the benefit of this popular platform

1.    Type of Posts

Aim for a mix of post types – photos, videos, text, competitions, polls, links to relevant blogs/ articles etc. Keep things lively and interesting!

I’d suggest you post photos and videos to your timeline most frequently. Why am I suggesting this? Simple… it’s because they’re proven to be the most engaging types of content on Facebook.

Also, posts relating your business to community activities or events in your area are always a hit with “local” Facebook users, so don’t forget these. When you reach a milestone like 1,000 (or even a few hundred) “likes” on your page for example, why not shout about this?

This makes your fans feel they’re part of a growing community. 

2.    Post Consistently

How often should I post on Facebook?” is a question I’m often asked – this is like asking “how long is a piece of string?” It depends (sorry!).

Make sure you are generating regular content on your page, and don’t go long periods without posting. I recommend you are consistent in the quality and types of posts that you create so your audience knows what kind of messages to expect from you.

With so many businesses, people aren’t there late in the evening or at the weekend to post, but these are times when the general public spend a lot of time on Facebook, so make use of the scheduling feature. Take some time before you leave work each day or on a Friday to create posts, and schedule these to reach your fans at various times at night or over the weekend. The same applies to times like Christmas, where posting to Facebook might be the last thing on your mind (mmmm, turkey!) . 

Note: Be sure to check the Insights (statistics) for your page, which will tell you the times of the day that your fans are likely to be online most and plan your posts accordingly.

3.    Monitor and respond to comments on your page and focus on engagement

Don’t ignore the interactions your fans have with your page – I’m talking about comments here. You can monitor and respond to comments via the ‘Notifications’ tab at the top of your page. It’s not essential to respond to every comment, but I do recommend keeping an eye on what people are saying, and definitely responding if they ask you a specific question.

Responding to comments will also allow you to build up a rapport with your Facebook fans, showing them there’s a real person behind the page, who cares about what they have to say!

If you want people to interact more with you then ask questions and set up polls that invite a response. At the end of a post, remember to invite fans to comment, like or share, and perhaps be in with a chance win a prize (people LOVE winning stuff!) .

When people do respond, keep that conversation going.

Like4.    Regular/recognisable features

Try including a regular weekly or monthly feature, such as a “Wine of the week”, sharing your recommendations and expertise with your fans. Let fans know this is an ongoing feature, so they’ll come back next time as well. Why not give them the opportunity to share your post and be in with a chance of winning a bottle of that wine?

5.    Don’t sell, sell, sell!

Facebook is all about the personal experience, so trying to simply sell something to your fans won’t work… so much so that they may decide they don’t want to be your “friend” anymore.

Posts should be informal and fun, and even informative. If you are promoting something make the fans of the page feel they are getting a special deal by actually giving them a special deal.

6.       Boost your posts

The point of running a Facebook page is to get more exposure, and hopefully more customers for your business. Many people hate the idea of spending money on Facebook advertising but I am sorry to break the bad news – unless you allocate some spend (even a little bit) your page won’t go too far!

It’s just the way that Facebook works now – many of your posts will not reach your fans. The more the people that like, comment or share a post, the wider reach it will actually have.

In order to maximise the reach yourself I suggest using the “Boost” option for Facebook posts. This allows you to target “People who like your Page”, “People who like your Page and their friends” or “People you choose through targeting”. The latter allows you to actually target specific demographics which is really handy.

You can boost posts from as little as €1.00 per day, and it will tell you how many people you can expect your post to reach – so you see what “bang for your buck” that you’re actually getting. If you delve into the advertising features on Facebook you can also target users within a radius of your chosen location, which can also be very handy.

7.    Bonus Tip!…Live Video

Because you have read this far you deserve a bonus tip. Facebook have now added a ‘live video’ feature which enables you to deliver live footage as it happens. This is a really exciting feature and as you record the fans of the page can interact, asking questions and making comments. One of the great things about this feature is that Facebook love it and as a result when you are using the feature your page tends to be favoured and it gets great visibility, unlike many of your posts.

So there you have it, six simple and effective tips (plus a bonus tip of course) to bear in mind when it comes to your business’ Facebook page.

Happy posting!

Alison O’Brien

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Social Media Tips for Business – Infographic

April 12, 2016 by

We have put together some simple social media tips for business in this infographic … we hope you find it useful!

Paul Wade one of our talented graphic designers is responsible for this great work.

If you ever need to chat about social media you know where we are..

Fuzion - Social Media Tips Inforgraphic

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

April 8, 2016 by

London

Did you know that 48,000 Irish people run part of their business in Britain?

I didn’t until, out of curiosity, I popped along to a conference aimed at those interested in dipping their toe in the UK market. Entrepreneurs by their nature are ambitious so there’s naturally a perception that a leap across the pond will be the Holy Grail for business growth and expansion. Wanting a bite of the cherry is naturally tempting for entrepreneurs in Ireland in light of the fact that the UK accounts for €4 out of every €10 generated from our export sales.

So if you’re doing business in Ireland – it can’t be too hard to do the same in the UK. Can it?

While in theory the markets may seem similar, it’s vital that those considering stepping into the UK market invest a great deal of time and planning. It takes months of advance budgeting and planning as well as in depth desktop research of the; market, landscape, locations and workforce. How will you generate the right awareness for your business in such a large marketplace and do you know enough about that marketplace to start to answer that question?

Do you have the finances to sustain the business and the promotion of it while you are on that awareness curve?

Justin McInerney of Accuflow spoke at the conference and was refreshingly open about his experience of setting up his multi million business in the UK.

He warned businesses to exercise caution and that achieving success in the UK is a hard slog: “Many don’t realise that at the beginning that travel and operating costs can reach £1,000 a week”

He also went on to describe how he first set up his business in an area which sounded good on paper – it was a hub for countless other business, but the downside of that meant that the workforce was transient and he found it difficult to retain staff given how many employment opportunities they had on their doorstep. I can only imagine the resources and time the company spent on hiring and rehiring staff.

At the conference, organised by Cork Chamber, I got chatting to an entrepreneur who was keen to investigate the UK market but from a brief and casual chat about their business, it struck me as to whether they were anywhere near optimising the Irish market opportunities with their product.

While it might make perfect sense to look at the ‘bigger opportunities’ the grass may sometimes seem greener when it comes to the UK or any overseas market. It might just make sense to optimise the Irish market first – explore each and every opportunity to achieving business success here first when you have the best and right positioning. If you haven’t achieved that in this country then it might be illogical to feel you can achieve it in another, more competitive market such as the UK.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing which has offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Ronnie Corbett and 10 PR Tips

April 4, 2016 by

Ronnie Corbett and 10 PR Tips

Words and all their meanings were delivered straight to the camera from Ronnie Corbett’s arm chair.

His marvellous meandering monologues (The Two Ronnies) came to mind this week as I reflected on his passing. His super, well constructed easy humour had a certain innocence that did not offend.

It did get me thinking about the English language and how important it is to be clear. The incredibly funny skit with Ronnie Barker in the hardware store, where only after much toing and froing does it become apparent that he wanted to buy “fork handles” instead of the “four candles” highlights this perfectly.

There was also a really funny interaction within a conversation about purchasing ‘O’s. Ronnie Barker first supplies a garden hoe, then a length of hose & finally Ronnie Corbett says “no, the letter “O”!”.

It got me thinking about PR and press releases and pitching to the media and how important it is to be clear when pitching a news story about..eh..a new range of candles:

  1. Get to the point: Tell the journalists what has happened, what is being launched or who is doing what. Add some brief context about the company, the product and perhaps the market that both either addresses. Flowery, descriptive stuff in the first paragraphs is like fog on a sea-rescue mission!
  2. Basic facts: Are you launching a product? How much it is? Where is it available?
  3. Conciseness and readability wins: A brief succinct summary of the event, product, executive or story at the top of the release makes you the PR star of the day.
  4. Fonts: Don’t try to be fancy or use special effects. Your goal is to be readable and as clear as possible, not to win a digital calligraphy contest.
  5. Avoid making your pitch sound like an awards speech: Try not to use adverbs and descriptive terms to make it ‘sound better’. This dilutes the credibility of your pitch. For example do not say that you are launching an amazing, must-have new app that taps into the latest cloud computing paradigm in the industry. I thought you were launching candles??? Be clear that you are launching an app that does A,B and C, in the context of D, E and F: that the market is currently G and that your client is available to contact at H (email) and I (mobile)
  6. Journalists advice: A well known, wonderful journalist in The Irish Independent (now a friend) once rang me after I sent in a pitch saying “Aisling, I will decide if the PRODUCT/SERVICE? is amazing and if it will work in the feature!
  7. Personalise: Always personalise your email pitch and take the time to acknowledge something the journalist has written or some other personalised note.
  8. Follow up: Be friendly, polite and happy when you follow up with a phone call. Know their deadlines and always ask if they have time to talk.
  9. Smile: Remember, they can hear a smile in your voice.
  10. Manners: Say thank you when a journalist covers something for you – it takes so little time and means a lot.

While writing this, I’ve just heard that a cement lorry has collided with a minibus carrying prisoners to Portlaoise Jail. Gardai are now looking for 13 hardened criminals.

Ronnie Corbett RIP ..we will miss you!

Aisling White - FuzionAisling White 

Aisling White is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design based in our office in Dublin, Ireland

Bloggers must now declare if they are being paid to promote products or services!

March 24, 2016 by

transparenct for bloggers

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) revealed in January that they are coming down hard on bloggers who do not disclose if they have been paid to promote a product.

The ASAI code requires “advertisers not to mislead consumers, not to offend them, make sure advertising is truthful and that consumers know when they’re receiving marketing material“.

Effectively if a blogger is taking a payment from any organisation for writing a piece that promotes them they become an advertiser.

This is quite a significant development and in a way it is highlighting the increasing powerful role that bloggers are starting to play in influencing consumers about products and services. In my view bloggers play a special role in the whole communications mix.

They are not a paid journalist and they are not a normal social media poster, they are something in the middle. They are someone who are normally really enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable about a topic and as a result when they give a positive review of a product or service this tends to be very significant and influential in particular if that blogger has a big following.

With the advertising code Bloggers are now required to publish the fact that their post has been sponsored or is an advert for a brand at the start of their blog post or video and include the hashtag #ad or #sponsored in any associated social media posts.

Honesty

As a blogger myself (www.thebeautydial.com) I think this is a positive move as readers deserve to know whether or not they are reading a ‘paid for post’ or not. I set up my blog as I love the beauty and fashion world and I love informing my readers of great products, bargains, top trends etc.

I would never recommend or promote anything I don’t truly believe in or that I wouldn’t use myself regardless of whether it was paid for or not and I think this is the position of most bloggers out there. When it comes to bloggers, we have your own reputation to uphold and in my opinion it’s a huge mistake to promote something just because you get paid for it.

These rules have been in the UK for a while now and have flushed out bloggers who are just doing it for the money. Like with all other media, readers/viewers should be made aware if they are reading/watching an advertisement or not. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with bloggers being paid to promote products, in fact I think it’s a good thing as many of us bloggers invest a lot of time and money into our work but I do think it should be something that is transparent when this happens.

An exception to the rule is when a blogger can receive a sample of a product for review and this is not seen as an advert in anyway as no money has exchanged hands. This is totally fair as making bloggers aware of new products through sampling is in no way a sponsored post or advert but it is simply asking a blogger to give an honest review of the product and the brand would have no say over what the blogger will say in the review.

These new rules have just come into effect in Ireland this month, March 2016 and in my opinion it is a move in the right direction for bloggers, their readers and ultimately the brands.

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a PR Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Dublin

 

BREXIT –What about IREXIT ?

February 28, 2016 by

European Union flag

This week we are privileged to have a guest blogger with us!

Roger Hobkinson, our favourite Londoner heads up Destination Consulting services with Colliers in Ireland. He was surprised that there was very little talk about our role in Europe in the run up to the General Election – are we too inward thinking?

Roger talks a lot of sense so I asked him to capture his thoughts in a blog post:

Blog post by Roger Hobkinson

This is going  to be provocative.  Ireland is sleepwalking into a European Super State, a sort of dysfunctional capitalist Soviet Union. As our exam papers used to say – let’s discuss.

Last Friday (26th Feb, 2016) marked the general election for the 32nd Dáil Éireann.  As a Londoner, Englishman and Brit who has lived in Ireland for nearly seven “interesting” years I am excited and honoured to be voting in my first Irish General Election, especially given the year this election falls in.

However I am feeling a little bemused as amongst all the scrapping and political point scoring in GE16, over admittedly very important every day issues for people –  water charges, hospital trolleys, jobs, housing etc – there appears to be no debate at all about Europe and Ireland’s place in it – zip, zero, nothing, rein, nichts, nada, faic/rud !!!

This at a time of massive challenge, change and catastrophe across Europe.  In the years following the financial and economic meltdown in Ireland, the Euro, that politically driven project that played a none too small part in creating the darkness that fell over the country, there is sure to be even more power handed over from Eurozone “countries” to Brussels and Frankfurt.  Are Irish people comfortable with that?

I’m feeling even more bemused as it’s the centenary of the Easter Rising the events that led to Ireland’s Independence from Britain and there has been mass coverage and debate about Brexit but no comment from the parties and/or  the Irish people on Ireland’s European relationship.  So you/(we!) are celebrating/commemorating the birth of the Irish Republic, then worry so much about what Britain may or may not do BUT not debating what is the best or desired relationship with the EU for Ireland and Irish people. This strikes me as crazy.

So if this Brit raises my eyebrows in a puzzled manner and a bit of gnashing of teeth it is because I care for my new home, Ireland. It does appear the Irish establishment wants to be part of a European super state and hand over yet more sovereignty, fiscal and political powers in Brussels, Frankfurt and let’s be honest Berlin in the coming years.

The Good stuff

Now I happen to think the “European Economic Community, then European Union” has on the whole been brilliant for the people of Europe.

The best thing is that it has brought people together and of course stopped Germany and France (and other countries) fighting each other, its developed trade, jobs, opportunities, understanding (sort of), improved standards (even if some countries play more by the rule book than others) and many other things.  However I believe it is now going too far.

Yes I want to be part of a European Union, understanding that some powers need to be given up for a “common European good” to tackle geo-politics, environment, crime, migration, social and economic mega trends that shape all our lives.  However I absolutely do not want Britain to be consumed into a European Super State.

So David Cameron’s negotiations struck me as maybe not a huge amount of detailed result but the fact that the UK has apparently secured the opt out of “ever closer union”.  That’s the thing. That’s the core principle to my mind. Well played Dave!

Where we have all come from to help us understand where we are going..

Lots of Brits are portrayed as arrogant, imperialist etc etc (sigh, sigh) in their belief that actually Europe is not for me.  Let’s think about where different countries came from; Spain, Portugal and Greece were fascist dictatorships within the last forty  years, Italy slightly further back and only a nation state since the middle of the 19th century.

Eastern Europe and the Baltic states were part of the communist bloc, downtrodden by Soviet communism. France was a great, proud, strong and major power with a big colonial past who kept on fighting with its neighbour. That neighbour Germany,  became a nation state in the second half of the 19thcentury. It then tried to rule Europe twice in under 30 years.  Since 1945 Germany has been incredibly successful (what was that about Germany’s debts written off – oh the irony).

Then we come to us here in Ireland. We know where Ireland came from don’t we!! Europe has helped Ireland find its own place and assert itself in Europe and the world.

So all these countries have understandable and different reasons for finding a home in the EU club.

Then we have Scandinavian countries, one bordered by Russia (enough said), and the sexy sensible Swedes and the delightful Danes, who clearly like the EU but are perhaps a little distant from it.

Then we have the UK. Britain might not be perfect but as London 2012 showcased it is one of the worlds’ most open, tolerant and dynamic countries with probably the worlds’ capital at this point in time in London. It’s the fastest growing of the big European economies, the 4th biggest economy in the world, of course it will be overtaken by the likes of Brazil, India and Mexico as they get their acts together, but it will remain one of the strongest economies in the world.

Britain also that has huge soft power. Plus the UK is forecast to be the most populous European country by the 2030’s  at the same time that much of continental Europe has a decreasing population and the majority of Eurozone countries  have moribund economies. So if Britain votes to leave, Germans will not want to sell cars, Italians clothes and French wine to the UK ??!!!

Britain is also quite an old nation state, trading (global), strong links with the commonwealth from its colonial past,  a long established legal system and a political system that is not perfect, and in need of modernisation – it generally works well.  If I had a Euro for every time I’ve heard an Irish person in the last few years say “so and so politician or business person has got away with it again” (and we keep voting for them even worse!) – if that was in the UK or US they would be in front of investigative political, police and judiciary powers.  So in legal, political and trading terms the UK does lots and has lots of experience as to what works for it.

So maybe that pushes out an alternative narrative as to why Britons don’t want to be consumed into “ever closer union”?

Game over?

With my British head on I believe Britain should stay in the EU – on balance it will be better off in rather than out. I also want Great Britain to remain England, Scotland and Wales.  If Scotland votes massively to stay in and England votes to leave, I can’t argue with the Scots for wanting another referendum.  Although the irony of course is that they would almost certainly have less “power” in the emerging European Super State than as part of an increasingly “federal” UK.  Plus Britain “in” I think will be better for Ireland.

So hopefully post June 23, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic will still be in the EU and maybe more importantly for some still in Euro 2016 !!!

Roger HobkinsonRoger Hobkinson – Colliers International

Thank you Roger for the incredible insights and as always, many words of wisdom!

Follow Roger on Twitter or on LinkedIn.


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