Today our series is featuring Janine Lloyd of Livewired, GlobalCom PR Network’s partner agency in South Africa, who provided us with some insights regarding their local PR practices and regional trends.
There are 4.3 million registered Facebook accounts in South Africa with about 4 million of those active and Twitter has 1.1 million users according to figures from March 2012. Social and digital channels are seen as critical for most of our clients and we have over the last two years incorporated digital in all our communications strategies. However the selection of which digital platforms to use depends entirely on the audiences we are targeting on behalf of our clients.
Digital platforms such as Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, Twitter, viral email and consumer websites such as Hellopeter (Hellopeter is a consumer complaint website in SA), have a huge role to play in our consumer campaigns for brands such as Kodak and Canderel. And for a client like Pringles who has the younger audience as a key target, the social network Mxit and the use of our own microsite has been a successful tactic. Clients have recognised the importance of managing their online reputation, engaging their consumers in social media and participating in online conversations.
Livewired has found Twitter highly beneficial for communicating with and following various influencers such as media and celebrities. Livewired PR has a regular blog which is often picked up by local media as a source and this has helped us immensely with our own marketing.
LinkedIn is used for all our business campaigns and we have achieved success in connecting individuals and companies to potential partners and lead generation in various spaces including property, financial, services such as advertising, marketing, digital and in the space of Fast Moving Consumer Goods.
We have also found during a crisis situation the use of social media is highly effective in getting positive information out to large audiences, although it does require a long term communication strategy to work alongside it.
2. Do you use social networking in your PR and communications work?
Social networking is used every day in our agency for communications with editors and influencers, however we are always mindful not to sell our products or those of our clients, these mediums are used for relationship building mainly. All our social media efforts are backed up with telephonic discussions and face-to-face conversations – social media will never replace the power of one-on-one interaction.
For connecting with other marketing professionals and potential leads for the business we use LinkedIn extensively.
We recently executed a blogging campaign to reach foodie and mommy bloggers to showcase Canderel Yellow, the sucralose based sweetener. The blogging campaign has been a huge success with positive interaction with influencers.
Lobbying in SA is definitely still a one-on-one effort requiring traditional tactics such as roundtables, forums, meetings and other events.
A year ago we implemented a digital strategy which would get Livewired PR to page one on Google search rankings and maintain us there. We use a content strategy which includes blogs, media releases and regular updating on the website to complement our SEO. Last month, the Livewired PR blog was rated one of the top ten business blogs in South Africa, for successfully combining effective design, images, well written content and functionality.
Some examples of campaigns include:
3. What would you see as most recent innovation in the field of PR?
The rise of social media and the huge proliferation of mobile devices in South Africa has placed digital communication at the forefront of innovation in our field. In South Africa there are 54 million active SIM cards (due to things like 3G cards etc); with mobile users sitting at 40 million. Many of these users are accessing social media and the web via their phones. The challenge for us as PR Professionals is to stay abreast of how our audiences are accessing information, but more so to ensure our communications are relevant, quickly accessible and do not put audiences off. Twitter is changing the face of broadcast with radio and TV personalities, presenters and stations utilising twitter to inform, engage and offer interesting content to their audiences.
Public Relations is evolving on two levels. Firstly the industry is moving towards an integrated approach where PR complements the entire marketing mix to amplify awareness and achieve exponential return. Therefore PR companies are integrating their services with promotions; digital media; advertising and marketing.
Secondly, Public Relations is evolving into a strategic relations service and is becoming an integral part of board level decision making.