Social media takeaways from December

Summer is officially here (hurrah!). With only 2.5 weeks until Christmas we’ve compiled our final social media takeaway blog for 2017. Here’s a recap of seven almighty social media updates and trends to keep in mind for planning and implementation of your social and PR strategy in 2018. Video is KING

Did we need to remind you? According to a recent Social Media Today infographic, video is expected to account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021.

Having the ability to create video content across your platforms remains KEY in your strategy. Grab your iPhone, a tripod and get practising with family and friends this silly season.


4K resolution for Facebook

Uploading and sending high res images via email is a thing of a past thanks to the latest Facebook Messenger update. Communities and businesses can now send and receive images in 4K resolution (up to 4,096 x 4,096 pixels per image).

Happy sharing.


Milestone moment for Instagram business community

The Instagram business community has grown to 25 million. If you’re a Queenstown business and you’re not already on this platform, it’s time to discover, connect and determine whether this is for you.

Still not quite sure how to reach your customers this Christmas? Relax. Our beloved Instagram is spreading some festive cheer to help you shine bright. Click here to succeed.


Ephemeral Content

Never underestimate ephemeral content marketing. Yes, it’s short-lived content (shows and disappears in seconds or 24-hours) however it’s a cost-effective and authentic way to connect with your fans, followers or audiences.

Humanise your brand by sharing your behind-the-scenes moments, show a real-time snippet of your CEO collecting your latest tourism award or showcase your media coverage and products in engaging ways. Whatever your content focus or strategy, it’s one to add to your team’s daily schedule.


A tweet ‘storm’ is brewing on Twitter

Along with the extended 280-character limit (do you like it?), Twitter’s Tweetstorm feature is in testing, enabling users to extend their tweets by adding additional context. Here’s how this might look.

To be honest, we have the same reservations as TechCrunch. Could this feature result in never-ending ranting and trolling from critics – potentially leading to additional ‘damage control’ from crisis management teams across the world?


Did someone say chatbot?

It’s top of mind and we’re looking forward to watching chatbots evolve for SMB’s next year.

Adding the ‘human’ to these artificial intelligence ‘bots’ remains key and businesses need to know there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your customer’s journey is key.


Organic social isn’t dead

Yes, paid social is important to reach new audiences and convert your customers, however organic social is key for nurturing engagement, relationships and interactions.

Sprout Social looks into the importance of ‘sprouting’ engagement on your channels to help your company grow.


Looking for some ‘social’ holiday reading?

We’ve got three recommendations for you…


Keen for Southern PR to help you through this process or point you in the best direction? Get in touch, we’re happy to talk it through.

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Social Media Takeaways from August

Feeling overwhelmed with the latest social media trends? Stay on top of news and updates with our NEW social media takeaway blog. We’ve compiled a list of updates, big and small, so you stay up to date with platform changes. The latest on social media for Instagram Happy Birthday Instagram Stories The beloved Instagram Stories…

One in five organic Stories earns a direct message from a potential customer, so happy storytelling Instagrammers!


Instagram added conversation threads to comments

The conversation threads update, available with Instagram version 24 or above, makes it easy to connect and respond to a specific conversation. When users hit ‘reply’, the comment now appears in a ‘nested thread’ similar to Facebook.


Instagram gets savvy with a choice of image orientations

As of last week (August 30), Instagram has given users the ability to share multiple images and videos in portrait and landscape orientations. Content must be consistent as there’s still restrictions on different formats (square, portrait and landscape) when sharing multiple visuals.


The latest on social media for Twitter

Twitter celebrates 10 years of the hashtag

A decade ago, Twitter user Chris Messina pitched the idea of ‘the hashtag’ and changed our online conversations forever.

His idea? Simple! The ‘#’ symbol could make for a better user experience by grouping tweets together. Now, the hashtag has evolved from being an unused symbol on our computer keyboards to becoming the heart of every PR and social media campaign created today.

Happy birthday ‘#’!


The latest on social media for Facebook

Facebook adds functions for 360-degree images

Facebook now lets you shoot 360-degree images directly on the Facebook app. The coolest thing? You can now use those images as your cover image – look for the new ‘360 photo’ option in your status bar.

The function is soon to come for video.


Facebook adds new controls for influencer and brand collaboration

With influencer marketing spend on the rise, Facebook is technically ‘making it easy’ by enabling brands to boost content as it appears on the influencers Facebook page.


The latest on social media for LinkedIn

LinkedIn adds an in-app video creation tool

Although a bit late to the video content party, LinkedIn has added the capability for users to shoot and upload native video. The feature enables users to spark engagement and build relationships/connect with professional networks by increasing productivity through ‘work hack’ videos or sharing your front row seats at a national conference.

Have we missed anything? Get in touch.


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Crisis Communications: What to do when your business reputation is on the line

Accidents happen. Incidents happen. Sometimes to the biggest and ‘best’ businesses out there. But it shouldn’t really matter whether you and your business are ‘big’ or ‘small’. If you’ve spent years of your hard-earned cash and sacrificed so-called work/life balance to build your business. If your personal reputation and brand is on the line if…

Sadly, it seems a fair few businesses adopt the head-in-the-sand approach to crisis communications.


Being honest enough to admit that you and your business are not perfect (that business really, truly doesn’t exist) and being prepared before the crisis happens is not that hard.

Yes it costs to call on a communication company for training and in the event of a crisis. But what’s at stake here? The most important thing in your business is your reputation; what you’ve built up over the years is something you should be prepared to protect.


If you’re in any kind of business you’ll no doubt have operational plans, rules and regulations coming out of your ears. In, for example, aviation, adventure tourism, or events, the levels of compliance are probably driving you nuts, as you’re constantly having to refresh or re-do the mounds of *online* paperwork or show that you meet the latest standards.

But what’s the point in having all that documentation if it can all be unravelled in a matter of two or three days if you don’t respond appropriately to a crisis?


Southern PR’s Director Fiona Woodham shares her ‘Crisis Comms 101’ top tips to help get you started:

  • Consider all the scenarios (from death, to injury, to your workplace burning down or a staff member going rogue)
  • Think about how, when and why you will communicate clearly and effectively with media, stakeholders, staff and customers
  • Think about how you will communicate with all relevant agencies involved in your incident – these might be police, your industry representatives, Victim Support or even the likes of your local RTO or Tourism New Zealand
  • Consider what your key messages would be around any of the potential incidents that might afflict your business and how and when you would communicate those to ultimately protect your business and achieve a ‘business as usual’ status
  • Review your operational plans in the light of the above scenarios and ask yourself whether you’re comfortable with successfully delivering timely, accurate and targeted crisis communications to all the channels above while you’re in the middle of dealing with the incident itself
  • Contact your PR agency so they can review your plans and assess what levels of training might be required BEFORE you need to put them into action

Accidents happen. Incidents happen. They’re going to happen because no matter how well you think you know your business and the people that work in or on it, human nature comes to the fore. People make mistakes. Things go wrong.

“Say sorry,” says Fiona.

“The company is sorry, the staff are devastated, saying sorry isn’t an admission of guilt. It’s all about reputation and trust, not about pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.”

Businesses that deal with incidents best, big or small, are inevitably the ones that have planned for the unthinkable and are confident that their systems, processes and training are in place.

Hear more from the Southern PR team on what it takes to prepare for a crisis in our upcoming workshop – Southern PR Presents…Crisis Management 101.

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Sharing the Process – A Story About Southern PR’s Re-brand

So, you’re thinking of a company re-brand? Well done, you’ve taken the first step – The Decision. Here, at our little Southern Public Relations office in Queenstown, we were slowly but surely thinking the same thing.  Even though it was an allegedly monumental task, it was also a story that needed to be told in…

“What’s the ultimate definition of ‘brand’?” we hear you ask.

A ‘brand’ is one of those words that’s widely used, but not always fully understood. Over time, the word has gone from its more literal meaning of a trademark used to identify a product or service to encompassing everything that identifies as that company, including the relationship it has with its customers or clients.

A brand is a promise a company makes to its customers. It exists only in someone’s mind. It’s everything the public knows about your brand offering – both tangible and intangible.

Because we’re a caring, sharing kind of company, we’ve decided to share our story and process with you. It’s in sections so you can easily digest our entire rebrand story from beginning to ‘Launch Day’ in a nutshell.



The initial decision came out of left field, with the sudden realisation we’d exponentially evolved to a point where our branding didn’t fit anymore – we had outgrown it! Some prevailing questions shaped our focus. There was a digital shift in the industry. Were we growing with it? Could we offer a more robust service to our clients, both current and new? Was our communications outlet a creative space offering where our clients could come for reputable connections and communication support? These were the foundation questions to taking the next step – The Story.



First up, we decided to reflect to the foundations of Southern PR and review the initial inspiration behind the company.

Before diving headfirst into our backstory, we needed to pin down the main protagonist to shape the story around – Southern PR director Fiona Woodham.

Note: We strongly recommend this exercise when telling your brand story as every business has a start-up story, giving it more dimension and becoming shareworthy.

Southern PR was founded with an adventurous spirit and a lofty objective: to offer honest and authentic connections to a curious, yet hungry audience. We’re proud to say that much of the essence of that objective still stands true today.

Most companies start the same way – with a challenge or struggle that needs to be fixed. Fiona had just started working for a brand-new radio station in Queenstown and was constantly receiving bad PR pieces. Fiona knew she could do it better. There were big businesses doing good business happy to use a professional service. Within three months Fiona had kicked all her goals, had all targeted clients locked in, and behold! Southern PR was born.



We drew our visual inspiration from a blend of different aspects and avenues nationally and internationally. These included emotive and descriptive words that were significant to the team, their perspectives and personalities. Our SPR team plays an extremely important part in how we operate each day and so it was a no-brainer to incorporate everyone’s ideas and tell the world a little bit about ourselves through our new brand. Let’s understand our vibrant and enthralling colours and the meaning behind each:

Pink – Calms and reassures. Pink is supportive, compassionate, nurturing, thoughtful, caring and understanding. Pink is intuitive and insightful.

This is particularly relevant to when companies reach out to us for crisis communications assistance. We’re a trusty source for advice and an authentic safe haven to turn to when things get a little tricky in the business world.

Green – The colour of life. Green is renewal, energy and freshness. Green is balance, harmony & growth.

News must be current otherwise it’s not news. We broadcast your message to the world in a way that’s always fresh and full of energy. We like to think we’re always growing with and helping our clients to grow, so green encompasses all that we do with our public relations services.

Black – Powerful and elegant, yet a bit mysterious. Design-wise, black gives the feeling of perspective and depth.

Now, it’s common to associate this colour with negative emotions and descriptions, but we see black as our solid foundation. Black is our contrasting element of the company, promoting power. A good communications story is powerful.

Stripes – Clean, easy-going, straightforward communications and clear distribution channels.

The stripes represent the clear and pragmatic approach Southern PR has towards any challenge big or small. We needed to capture that somewhere and stripes just seemed the best way to do it!

We know that we’ve got a reputation to uphold in Queenstown as we’ve helped many businesses along the way to launch, grow and get where they are today. We think we’ve earned the right to say we’ve “earned our stripes” by being a loyal and available support when required.



The actual process was a big hairy audacious experience uncovering some interesting and fun points, so we’ve attached an infographic to illustrate some facts and figures about our re-brand process.

  • Meetings 56
  • Ideas brainstormed 219
  • Doodles and scribbles 152
  • Design concepts 7
  • Tweaks and changes 402
  • Copy writing marathon 1
  • Chocolate bars eaten 46
  • Coffees drunk 560



This is the nail-biting part. The day we’d been working towards when all our hard work pays off – fingers crossed! This is when Southern PR’s brand becomes recognisable.

With our social media channels loaded up, introduction newsletter ready to go, everything organised and planned from compelling copy to customer service, we pressed the big (we imagine ‘green’) ‘Launch’ button!


All big projects, design or not, re-brand or not, start with a desire to change. The hardest part is already done! Drawing on the backstory of why your company initially came to life is a crucial element of the planning process. This is where your story stems from and what fuels your inspiration for ideas. Multiple brainstorming sessions are highly recommended and make sure to jot down every idea at first no matter how silly it might seem. You’re just pouring out information for now and you can streamline the ideas later.

Record the process while you’re going through it. You never know exactly how many ideas you have or absurd amounts of coffee you drink over those months if you don’t record it! TIP: Then you can make cute little graphics to showcase your hard work and it doubles as content.

Remember to enjoy the process. It’s not very often you’re with a company long enough to go through more than one re-brand. Some say it’s life-changing!

Please excuse us as we relish in the experience of our new brand and reminisce on how far we’ve come to get to this point.

If you’ve got any questions on our brand launch or our services, then please drop us a line to see what we can do for you and your business.

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The Power of Public Relations

What’s the real value of PR? PR can work for any and every industry, from tourism jet boat companies, to wineries to commercial developments. A company with a message to deliver or a goal to achieve can benefit from PR. All you need is a creative idea that’s newsworthy and communicates your marketing message.

Why do PR? It’s a question that a lot of people ask, and it’s the least understood of all marketing tools. But while it’s possible to operate a business with little or no PR spend, it’s unlikely that your company will gain traction in your industry.

PR is about building strong relationships, media exposure and maintaining a good reputation.


Here’s our four ‘savvy’ reasons to do PR

1. You’re a little fish in a big pond

Beating someone else’s ad campaign with your own paid advertising can be difficult if your competitor can afford to outspend you. PR levels the playing field.

In advertising, money buys you more media space. In PR, creative thinking wins you media space. As a small to mid-sized business you often have the advantage here as you can often move quickly on creative ideas, while bigger businesses can run into a hamstring of sign off processes.

If you’re creative, most PR ideas can be done on a shoestring budget. If you craft a good pitch and media release for your desired outlets, your return can result in a primetime TV interview, a front cover feature on your local paper, or a national business story.

2. Effectively deliver your key messages

Communicating with your target audience is not always an easy task, particularly if your inexperienced in talking to the media.

Key messages are the core messages you want your target audience to hear and remember. They allow you to control communications, enhance relationships with your target audiences and are an important feature of a PR campaign.

A carefully crafted public relations strategy produces clarity about your company’s key messages and brand identity. Make sure it’s in sync across all of your marketing communications channels.

3. PR builds credibility

As Jean-Louis Gassée once said – “Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”

People are often sceptical of advertising however as PR is promotion in the form of news, editorial or a feature people so your audience believes it. PR professionals build relationships with the media and liaise with editors to publish and distribute news that promotes clients’ goals.

3. Prepare for a PR Crisis

When things go wrong, you need to manage the media storm and protect your well-earned reputation. A crisis can strike any company at any time, so planning for possible crises helps employees know what to do should a crisis hit.

Handled incorrectly, a crisis can cause far-reaching damage. We’re experts in guiding you through the dark days and helping you get back on your feet so get in touch if you’d like to be proactive about crisis planning.


At Southern PR, we help your business shine whether you’re a start-up or established business.

We do that by developing a tailored and relevant PR and marketing strategy that delivers on your business goals. We’ll help develop that content or fine-tune that story so you talk to your audience at the right time, with the right message, through the right channels.

To find out more about the services we offer, head to our services.


PR terminology glossary – the basics

Boilerplate – a short company description used at the end of a media release

Embargo – the sharing of unannounced, relevant information from a PR to the media that cannot be published before an agreed time and date

Exclusive – Offering first-look information to your desired media outlet. In offering a media outlet an exclusive the information can’t be shared between other outlets until the story is published

Hook/angle – a specific emphasis you choose for a story that you’ll pitch to the media

Launch – The official announcement of your new product or service. This is usually crafted in a media release

Lead time – The amount of time needed by reporters to gather information for their story. An online story is instant while most magazines have a long lead time (sometimes even three months!)

Pitch – A crafted note to a particular editor to gauge their interest in your client, in addition to a media release

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