Social media interview questions

16 Social media interview questions: prepare to land that dream job Here are some social media interview questions – so you can prepare for before you go in and get that dream job. I asked some of my wonderful network of comms and social media professionals questions they have been asked, and questions they askedContinue reading “Social media interview questions”

The comms approval process

  If you’ve been through the comms approval process a few times, you’ll know: the pain is real. Getting through layers of people to edit and sign-off a piece of content – whether it’s a video, a design, a press release or other copy – it can be excruciating. They’ll drain all the life outContinue reading “The comms approval process”

The comms unicorn

The comms unicorn exists! This comms unicorn is often the cartoon people remember me for. I drew it because I can’t count the number of times people have said to me ‘do your comms magic on this’, or ‘sprinkle some stardust on that’. Maybe sometimes it can feel like it trivialises our work. Because weContinue reading “The comms unicorn”

Going viral

Going viral – it’s the dream of attention and love for our brand. But we comms pros are not miracle workers. If the content is important to your colleague/boss/client, but utterly irrelevant to the audience, it won’t fly. You can help them solve problems, work on ideas and creative that WILL engage audiences, or evenContinue reading “Going viral”

Why humour on social media should be part of your strategy

People tell me that they can’t do humour on social media, or any fun content, because their comms is for an organisation that does important work. “It’s very serious indeed, the tone would be way off if we were to get all jokey” “We can’t be light-hearted when our work helps people going through darkContinue reading “Why humour on social media should be part of your strategy”

The best church social media content

You can learn a lots from the best church social media, no matter what kind of organisation you work for. I’ve noticed a lot of church-type content in my homefeeds lately, like this sign in a cathedral that got shared all over social media. Social Media Comms Academy member, Matt Batten, runs a vibrant Twitter feed for LlandaffContinue reading “The best church social media content”

The Weetabix and beans tweet marked an important moment in comms history

I expect you have seen the Weetabix and beans tweet this week, and all the brand reactions to it. And maybe you’ve guessed it: content of the week goes to all the fabulous comms pros from all sorts of brands who got stuck in with a little bit of cheeky humour replying to the Weetabix tweet.Continue reading “The Weetabix and beans tweet marked an important moment in comms history”

Council fun and empathy is content of the week

We admire cool stuff from brands of all sorts. We’ve noticed: local government has been nailing it lately! So content of the week goes to THREE different local authorities doing COVID comms. But it’s not your ordinary safe stuff, this week, we can look at some fun and engaging social media – just because it’sContinue reading “Council fun and empathy is content of the week”

Empathy – the secret ingredient in social media engagement

Empathy is one of the core elements to getting your social media content and tone of voice spot on. First off, knowing who your audience is: (it’s not everyone!) – then getting their attention by demonstrating that you know just how they feel. When you design your ideas, empathy is what separates the boring, corporateContinue reading “Empathy – the secret ingredient in social media engagement”

Manchester Council’s touching Christmas message video

Winner of content of the week is a Christmas message video: What a fun and creative idea to turn the house from Christmas movie, Home Alone, into a fantastic gingerbread construction. And spreading that joy with the Royal Marsden Hospital is just a stylish touch, reflecting our national mood of gratitude for the NHS.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Burger King spoof is content of the week

This week we’re celebrating a cheeky and fun Facebook post from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR)! If it seems familiar, but you can’t put your finger on it, it’s a parody of the Burger King tweet that went viral a few weeks ago. The Burger King tweet caught people’s attention because it was encouraging theirContinue reading “South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Burger King spoof is content of the week”

The ‘commsplanation’: duff advice from the non comms colleague

I made up a word: “commsplanation’. Have you ever been commsplained? It’s where someone who is less qualified than you, or less experienced, explains something to you. They get hold of the tiniest amount of knowledge, and suddenly they’re giving you opinions so misinformed, so utterly clueless that you want to boot them up theContinue reading “The ‘commsplanation’: duff advice from the non comms colleague”

Cameo celebrities: endorsement not-for-profit brands can afford

Getting a celebrity to promote your brand has long been a desirable but costly way to get your audience’s attention. Some charities could rely on a patron who believed in their cause, but often celebrities have wanted tens of thousands of pounds for an endorsement. But for most not-for-profit brands, it’s been not just outContinue reading “Cameo celebrities: endorsement not-for-profit brands can afford”

Ten phrases social media managers hate

You might imagine that the phrases social media managers hate to hear would be “we’re out of coffee”, or “there’s nowhere to charge your phone”. But there are phrases that strike even more fear into social media managers. To celebrate National Social Media Managers Day, we’re chuffed to have a guest blog post from anContinue reading “Ten phrases social media managers hate”

Comms strategy: when dreams don’t match reality

I hope you know that you’re not alone if you find your comms strategy dream does not always match the reality. I drew a doodle to illustrate this.   If you’re a comms pro, social media manager, or marketing person, you might think, ‘How do other people do amazing work so effortlessly?’. The thing is,Continue reading “Comms strategy: when dreams don’t match reality”

Creative social media during the coronavirus crisis – 5 tips

This is a practical guide to maintaining creative social media during the coronavirus crisis.  Actually, all of the advice here is relevant at any time, but it’s pretty vital now. There’s loads more I want to tell you, but I’ve brutally edited it down to 5 areas that I think will be most useful forContinue reading “Creative social media during the coronavirus crisis – 5 tips”

How to give your brand an engaging social media tone of voice

Developing an interesting and engaging social media tone of voice is a hot topic for lots of us who look after social media for brands. It’s all very well saying we should be less corporate and more human – but what kind of human do we want to be? Because some humans are awful! Here’sContinue reading “How to give your brand an engaging social media tone of voice”

Social media for a royal wedding – behind the scenes

These days during huge news events, we are all scrolling through social media to find out the latest updates and see photos of what’s going on. As Princess Eugenie’s upcoming wedding is fast-approaching, I think about the local council’s communications team. What a huge job it must be to do social media for a royal wedding, helping:Continue reading “Social media for a royal wedding – behind the scenes”

My advice for a career in communications

I’m sharing some advice for a career in communications as part of the second #CommsCreative challenge: to blog useful tips for other communicators (read more about the challenge here). I’m now old enough to have enough bags of experience to fill all of Louis Vuitton’s shops. I started as a press officer, took on more generalContinue reading “My advice for a career in communications”

The creative communications strategy

We can make a real difference to the impact of our comms by working to a creative communications strategy. The thing about being involved in your organisation’s strategy is, it’s all so serious, and the results can often feel conventional and just STANDARD. But we are creative comms people, and ‘typical’ just won’t cut it. Continue reading “The creative communications strategy”

Comms Creatives Club newsletter: fancy some inbox inspiration?

Have you signed up to the The Creativity Coffee Break newsletter? Sign up now! Every week, I send an email newsletter with comms stories, ideas and tips. It can be easy to get snowed under with work and get into a a habit of doing things the same way. The Creativity Coffee Break newsletter aims toContinue reading “Comms Creatives Club newsletter: fancy some inbox inspiration?”

Ten tips for comms pros from the NHS Communications Conference 2018

It’s amazing how invigorating it can be to get out of the office to learn and network with other communications professionals. Yesterday I loved hosting the NHS Confederation’s Communications Conference 2018, and I’m so grateful to share some excellent insights into comms and life, from a delegate at the event, Katie Stephenson. It was great to meetContinue reading “Ten tips for comms pros from the NHS Communications Conference 2018”

2018 survey: Comms in the UK housing sector

Busy UK housing communications professionals rarely get time to meet other comms teams to compare teams and work experiences. So in early 2018, I asked PR and comms practitioners in the sector to take a short survey, where they could honestly answer how work is for them right now. Some patterns have emerged, and IContinue reading “2018 survey: Comms in the UK housing sector”

Dealing with negative social media comments – dos and don’ts

The subject of dealing with negative social media comments crops up in almost every social media training course I run, so I thought I’d share my simple dos and don’ts to make things easier. So, this is how to handle unfavourable posts people might tweet your organisation, leave on their Facebook page, or any socialContinue reading “Dealing with negative social media comments – dos and don’ts”

Posting text and video bilingually to Facebook and YouTube

Posting text and video bilingually to social media sites is possible, but not simple! This is a practical post on posting to social media for audiences that speak more than one language. I work with many organisations in Wales that post bilingually, and I thought this may be helpful. It’s just tips from my own trial andContinue reading “Posting text and video bilingually to Facebook and YouTube”

Is your fear stopping your social media comms from saying anything?

Communicators often confide in me that they don’t really like using Facebook (and other social media) for their organisations because people will probably post snarky things in the comments section of each post. Especially if they’re communicating potentially controversial work. The general gist of what I hear is this: ‘If we talk about this, we’ll haveContinue reading “Is your fear stopping your social media comms from saying anything?”

A comms guide to the ‘sorry not sorry’ statement

Is it ever OK to respond to a breaking story about a mistake your organisation has made – with a joke? A BBC story about Cardiff Council I read this week, demonstrates that sometimes, using humour can be a great way to diffuse tension. Somebody at the council found the Christmas tree they had ordered wasContinue reading “A comms guide to the ‘sorry not sorry’ statement”

The most important social media measure? The ‘ex-haters’ number.

I’ve been developing a course on social media evaluation, and one metric stands out to me as most important. I call it the ‘ex-haters story’: the number of people you’ve won-around. In this post I outline: What the ex-hater metric is; Why it’s one of the most important measures; and how to make your ex-hater figuresContinue reading “The most important social media measure? The ‘ex-haters’ number.”

Standing up for the skills of the expert communicator

Have you ever wandered over to your head of finance and told them how they should interpret the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill of 2014-15? No? Funny how comms people often find colleagues from other professional disciplines advise us about comms subjects of which they have little knowledge or experience. Knowing how to tweet doesContinue reading “Standing up for the skills of the expert communicator”

Just how social is your social media?

Most are not serial killers – in fact psychopaths are more likely to find their way into politics, boardrooms or media organisations than be jailed for murder.” Will Black In this post, I want to show how some of the behaviours that have become standard or accepted in the world of social media communications, share qualitiesContinue reading “Just how social is your social media?”

My five favourite 2014 tweets with pictures

My top two most read blog posts this year were: number 1: a ‘how to’ flow chart, and number 2. a look at how social media can help public servants be less evil. Both are quite visual: they each include charts that make a point with more impact than lots of words. I had a look backContinue reading “My five favourite 2014 tweets with pictures”

Council social media: forget about the price tag

A great report from business advisory and accountancy firm BDO, Direct Message, has been released this week, showing results of councils reported use of social media. According to localgov.co.uk: “Two-thirds of councils are now using social media, with 77% saying it can lead to savings if used correctly, according to a new report. …[It] found that responsibility for socialContinue reading “Council social media: forget about the price tag”

Livestreaming council meetings on YouTube

Broadcasting meetings to residents live on the Internet needn’t cost the earth, as Monmouthshire County Council has demonstrated in recent weeks. The council has bypassed expensive monthly fees from livestreaming services by directly streaming meetings, from the council chamber in Usk, to YouTube. Joanna Goodwin, my old mucker from my time at Monmouthshire, works onContinue reading “Livestreaming council meetings on YouTube”

Public sector comms: how to not be evil

(Or, ‘How social media helped me get my heart back’) I’m going to keep this quite short considering this is post about obedience, public sector managers, the nature of evil and social media. I’m going to argue how findings of a few psychological studies suggest the modern communications person needs to be more in touchContinue reading “Public sector comms: how to not be evil”

Three ways leaders can get more from social media

If you’re a chief exec or a leader, you’ve probably given Twitter, blogging or even Facebook a go. Maybe you love it. But are you getting the most from it? Sometimes people tell me they’re on social media, they’re starting positive conversations about their work but they’re fed up of the same old topics croppingContinue reading “Three ways leaders can get more from social media”

Social media flow chart for comms pros

* 09/01/21 Social media flow chart – updated for 2021! When I first posted this chart 7 years ago (and more than 52,000 downloads ago!), I had no idea how popular it would be. People have sent me tweets showing photos of it pinned on office walls, and still people regularly tell me it’s beContinue reading “Social media flow chart for comms pros”

How to respond when rumours start to spread on Facebook

‘Rumour Cascades‘, a  joint study from Stanford University and Facebook, provides some fascinating insights that can serve as advice for public bodies on halting the spread of misinformation. This was first published on the Guardian website in mid May. A new study, jointly conducted by Facebook and Stanford University, has shed new light on how rumours spread on theContinue reading “How to respond when rumours start to spread on Facebook”

Five interesting ways councils are using infographics

This article was first published in the Guardian, you can read the original on their website here. We are in an era where we get our news and entertainment in increasingly brief chunks and on smaller, mobile screens. Councils, like other organisations,  are in the race for people’s attention. Whether interactive, beautifully designed or creativelyContinue reading “Five interesting ways councils are using infographics”

IC Space: three social media ideas for internal communicators

Here’s an article I wrote for the IC Space, sharing three social media tips for internal communicator. You can read the original posting over on the Government Communications Service website. The IC Space is a fantastic place for internal communication professionals across government to learn and network so I was delighted to be asked toContinue reading “IC Space: three social media ideas for internal communicators”

Five lessons social media managers can learn from the police

As a bit of a public sector social media obsessive, I’ve picked up lots of examples of police use of social media from twitter and the news. Police forces have done some fascinating work using social media that all PR and social media people can learn from.  So here are five principles we can considerContinue reading “Five lessons social media managers can learn from the police”

Isn’t it time ALL employees were encouraged to use social media?

I’ve been banging this drum for years now – organisations should be encouraging all employees to use social media. At a conference I spoke at yesterday, two PR legends, Professor Anne Gregory and Jørn Madslien referred in their presentations to the Edelman Trust Barometer and what some of the fascinating insights in the report meanContinue reading “Isn’t it time ALL employees were encouraged to use social media?”

Your organisation doesn’t need a social media expert, it needs its experts on social media

[Photo by Pete Prodoehl] I learned the other day that Homebase don’t refer to their employees as ‘staff members’ or ‘colleagues’. They call them experts. I love this: it shows that they’ve hired people to be good at their roles – it boldly acknowledges the skills and know-how each person there brings. Here are fiveContinue reading “Your organisation doesn’t need a social media expert, it needs its experts on social media”

Police in Granada have Twitter handles on their uniforms – three reasons why it’s a great idea

I noticed on Twitter last week that in Granada* the police officers have the force Twitter handle sewn into their uniforms and it’s also on police cars. Police in Granada have Twitter handles on their uniform pic.twitter.com/xwH2AX8sp4 via @gordonmacmillan #gov20 #ace — Helen Reynolds (@HelReynolds) June 25, 2013 It’s a simple and effective way toContinue reading “Police in Granada have Twitter handles on their uniforms – three reasons why it’s a great idea”

Unrestricted staff access to social media – case studies from a local authority

Free use of social media across a whole company – it’s not a concept everybody agrees is productive. But where I work, it’s helping us to achieve some of our organisational values of openness, fairness, teamwork and flexibility. I speak about this very often with people interested in the approach taken where I work, MonmouthshireContinue reading “Unrestricted staff access to social media – case studies from a local authority”