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Social Media Audits and Social Listening

Social Media Audits and Social Listening

Social media plays an integral part in contributing to your online reputation. It is often the first stop for consumers looking to learn more about a brand or individual. Your company and personal pages are therefore of utmost importance, and should be consistent in terms of their tone of voice, brand messaging and visual identity. It is also crucial to consider who your existing audience is, and what content resonates with them. Analysing these patterns and details is central to ensuring your social media channels are performing at their peak and are optimised for current trends and best practice.

Social Media Audit

Similarly, you may be concerned about your company’s share of voice. Maybe you’ve begun to optimise your channels and content already? Or you want to know how effective your content is, not just to engage with your followers, but in the wider world of social media, including comparisons with your competitors. Social Listening tools provide valuable insight allowing a brand to consider how they might increase their share of the market and grow both within their existing segment and into new demographics and groups. At PHA, we use our online monitoring tool, PHA Pulse, to do just this for you.

Our tools allow you to comprehensively measure both your channels individual success, and how your business measures up in the wider marketplace. This picture is built from a number of key metrics, such as share of voice, percentage of target audience engaged and overall reach.


Facebook Social Audit Fig.1: An example of a page’s demographic breakdown on Facebook.


Social audit

Audience: understanding your core audience is central to every brand and business. Understanding who follows you, likes or shares your posts on social media, , is an integral part of shaping conversation and increasing engagement and growth. Likewise, the demographic breakdown of your audience, and their interests, will inform the style and tone of your content.

A social audit provides detail informing when and what to post to your page, optimising for your audience. Once you understand your social insights, you can evaluate and adapt your strategy on an ongoing basis to keep you on top form.

Facebook Social Audit

Fig.2: The above is a demonstration of Facebook audience activity times and numbers, crucial information for informing content scheduling.


Content: the evaluation provided by a social audience helps shape your content strategy, developing content strands that speak to and engage your core audience. Developing content which works in harmony with your key follower’s requirements and interests can help increase engagement, whilst additional content strands and themes can target new segments to increase reach and share of voice in your industry.

Best practice: a good social audit will always provide a best practice guide for your brand’s individual channels and consumers. This will touch on everything from paid for campaigns, to emoji’s and hashtags. There are stark differences between each platform, so figuring out how to present your brand on each is of great importance.

Competitor analysis: keeping an eye on your competitors is always worthwhile, and the same process applies to social media. You may select certain pages to evaluate either due to recent appearance and growth in popularity, direct competition, or because of particular offerings they possess. The audit will analyse what techniques these competitors use, how their audience responds, and how it could be applied to your brand or business.


PHA Pulse


Often, it can be easy to misinterpret the importance of social listening. Having refined your social media strategy with an audit, it is crucial that you possess the tools needed to monitor discussion around your brand in order to paint a picture of what content is working, strands that need to be refined, and overall perception of your company.

PHA Pulse, our in-house online monitoring platform, has the ability to monitor your brand across not just social media, but across the online spectrum, from news content through to blogs, forum discussions and video.

We analyse each entry to determine audience reach, sentiment and emotional rating, plus its impact, in the form of a visibility score.

Using the aforementioned metrics, we can track your online and social media performance alongside those of your biggest competitors and determine a share of voice. This unique metric drills deep into content, be it published press coverage or social media posts, and converts data into a digestible format.

What are the benefits of determining share of voice? Firstly, it lets you visualise your online influence in comparison to your rivals. Coupled with a social media audit, it allows us to track the performance of your rivals’ content, and monitor the topics, keywords and conversations that are most lucrative when it comes to generating audience interest and engagement. Moreover, by tracking share of voice over a prolonged period of time, we are able to determine what works best for your social channels, as well as charting the progress of your social influence growth.

What’s more, social listening tools possess the ability to go deeper than in-house social media channels when it comes to audience insights. Where Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can provide location insights, gender and age breakdowns, social listening goes one step further: PHA Pulse can determine the social reach of individuals, as well as provide aggregated topic data on social media users. From determining a particular audience’s perception to your brand and wider industry, to gaining insight into the other pages they follow and discussions they immerse themselves in, this data can paint a very detailed picture of your audience.


If you’re interested in learning more about PHA Pulse and social media audits, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help enhance your business or brand.

Rachel Shenton – from Hollyoaks to Hollywood Oscar Winner

In 2013, The PHA Group started working with actress Rachel Shenton.

When Rachel joined the agency, she had recently stepped down from playing the character of wannabe glamour model Mitzee Minniver in Hollyoaks for three years, in which she quickly established herself as the scene-stealing fan favourite.

At the time, British talent was proving to be hugely successful on the American small screen, with actors like Andy Lincoln, Hugh Laurie, Damian Lewis and Charlie Hunnam winning rave reviews and industry plaudits, and pulling in massive audiences for their work on an American network and cable television. Game of Thrones was establishing itself as a runaway success, but there still wasn’t a huge proliferation of British actresses landing such prominent and regularly recurring roles.

Furthermore, the transition from UK soap star to Hollywood Heavyweight? Not exactly the typical career trajectory one sees very often. Teetering on the melodramatic, soap operas aren’t always renowned for their high quality of acting and I would definitely say that casting directors are – or perhaps, were – a little apprehensive and cynical about hiring talent from that world. If your background is in theatre or arthouse / independent cinema, there’s greater credibility there. But avoiding typecast and establishing yourself as a serious player after inhabiting a soap character for years doesn’t come without its challenges.

Hopefully, however, these attitudes will now become a thing of the past because Rachel Shenton has come along and completely re-written the playbook.

When we first met Rachel in 2013, she was immediately likeable: charming, humble, graceful and classy. But the character trait that struck us the most was just how seriously she took her craft. Her work ethic was second to none. She wanted to challenge and push herself, to grow as an actress and to work with some of the best writers, directors and producers in the business. She had big dreams and she wasn’t afraid to work hard and put in the time and the graft.

More relevantly, Rachel was involved in a great deal of charity work as the patron for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). After going through her backstory, we learned that her dad became deaf when she was just 12 years old, following the chemotherapy treatment he underwent for cancer. The need to communicate with her father encouraged her to learn sign language and it was clear at that moment that acting was never about the fame or the celebrity for Rachel – she had big dreams of shining a light on the lives of other people who don’t have the voice that we do. To empower them by giving them that voice. To bring to life the struggles of others that are massively under-represented in mainstream film and TV.

Essentially, Rachel wanted to keep her media profile alive whilst she concentrated on landing her next television role and our job was to raise and maintain that profile and keep her on the radar of casting agents, directors, producers and writers during her temporary absence from TV.

Her fluency in sign language clearly separated her from the competition and gave her a unique edge, a remarkable skill set and a compelling origin story. Many of the interviews we set up for Rachel touched upon this element of her story and there was a great deal of media interest in her personal campaigns and charity work.

The PHA Group prides itself on going the extra mile. First-class publicists, we are, but commercial agents by trade, we are not. But from day one, we saw and recognised the promise and the potential in Rachel and absolutely believed in her. So, further to raising and maintaining her profile in the media, we wanted to go one step further and bring Rachel directly to the attention of the people in the television industry who had real power to change her career. So, we got proactive.

The Media Management department at The PHA Group has promoted and protected a wealth of TV talent over the years. We’re therefore constantly attuned to the international entertainment landscape – the talent and the programming that are capturing the zeitgeist of the moment, what’s hot and what’s not.

We had been avidly following the success of a relatively new TV show at the time called Switched At Birth – an American scripted drama that broke new ground as the first mainstream television series to feature numerous deaf and hard-of-hearing characters appearing in a series regular capacity, filming some scenes shot entirely in sign language.

We introduced Rachel to the show and insisted she check out the previous two series that had aired to familiarise herself with the storylines and the tone of the programme. We then encouraged her to commission a show-reel of her work. Once this was ready, we strategically identified and targeted the creators of Switched At Birth and established an ongoing dialogue with them. The differences between American and British sign language aren’t vast and we made a strong, persuasive case – we handled the PR for an extremely talented British actress who emotionally connects with the material of the show on a profound level because of her own life experience. Moreover, she quite literally speaks the very language of the programme and could master the sign language scenes with ease. We knew Rachel would be an asset to the show and we deliberately timed our approach to coincide with the pilot season in America.

We didn’t expect to get such positive feedback so quickly. The show’s creators invited Rachel to audition during pilot season and as we suspected, they immediately saw what we saw. They loved her so much that they ended up creating the role of Lily Summers especially for her, a role that she immortalised until the show’s Season 5 finale.

The very last episode was broadcast in April 2017. During her time filming Switched At Birth, Rachel, with her filmmaker fiancé Chris Overton directing, somehow managed to find the time to write and star in a short film entitled The Silent Child. The 20-minute long film was largely based on Rachel’s personal experience as the child of a parent who became deaf.

Come awards season, The Silent Child well and truly swept the board, winning Best Short Film at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. This allowed the film to qualify for entry to the 90th Academy Awards. On 23rd January 2018, it was announced that The Silent Child had received an Academy Award nomination in the Best Live Action Short Film category, and on Sunday 4th March 2018, Rachel’s film won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. On collecting the award, Rachel upheld the promise that she had made to The Silent Child’s deaf lead actress, six-year-old Maisie Sly, and accepted her trophy in sign language. It was a momentous, inspiring, electrifying moment to watch and we could not be prouder.

So, whether you’re an aspiring actor, a breakthrough performer or a well-established name: work with creative teams that believe in you, that recognise your potential, that encourage you to test the limits of what you believe to be achievable. We believe that it doesn’t ultimately matter whether you’re a RADA bred performer or if you started off in a teen soap. Talent is talent, so dream big and work with the best! Because anything is possible!

Speak to a member of our award-winning team today or visit our Personal PR page to find out how we can help you.

Is Twitter news?

As is fitting with the nature of the platform, there are two potentially extreme opinions which should be taken when determining if twitter is news.

The first is that it is nothing more than an endless abyss of arguments, abuse and throwaway opinions that collate to paint an entertaining if not slightly terrifying picture of humanity.

The second and far more controversial opinion is that Twitter is now the biggest and best outlet for news in the world – a news outlet fit for the 21st century.

On the day of the presidential election, Twitter star and still president Donald Trump was elected. It was the largest source of breaking news worldwide, with 40 million election-related tweets sent before 10 pm.

From that perspective, Twitter, is the best place to go for news companies who are seeking readers. For breaking news, it’s even better, and will usually have a plethora of first-hand witness accounts and theories for you to decipher through once an incident breaks, long before any news network gets hold of the story.

In fact, the obvious likelihood from this is rather than being the ones delivering the news, it’s now the case that Twitter is delivering it to the news companies. The Oxford Circus terrorist attack Daily Mail Oxford Circuswas a perfect example of this.

In hindsight, we now know that a fight breaking out on a tube platform rippled through crowds in one of the most congested and visited parts of London causing widespread panic. Many were following the feed on Twitter as more and more people contributed their 280 character accounts of what they had seen. The Daily Mail was also doing the same, reaching the below conclusion.

They had come across the below tweet about a lorry that had crashed and a combination of tweets that claimed to have heard gunshots. The problem with the tweet was it had been sent 10 days before the incident, the problem with the gunshots were there weren’t any.

Twitter was now supplying the Daily Mail’s journalists their stories and consequently the nation’s largest paper headlines. It is usurping the newspapers most powerful instrument, it was dictating the news cycle. This isn’t the only time where the “news” generated on Twitter fooled everyone.

Ben Rothenberg’s excellent article on Slate exposed the perils of “Twitter news” in dramatic fashion. After tennis legends Billie Jean Kingand Martin Navratilova condemned comments made by Margaret Court that Tennis is “full of lesbians” and that transgender people were the “children of the devil,” a young Macedonian tennis player cut through the controversy and announced on twitter he would refuse to play at Margaret Court Arena should the opportunity arise.

Darko Grncarov, the Macedonian star labelled her views “totally unacceptable and disgusting.” The court named in her honour, became the centre of a heated online debate calling for it to be renamed. Grncarov’s own story now became one of extreme interest. Not only was he prepared to hinder his career to do what he thought was right, he then got an opportunity to announce on BBC Radio that he had just woken up from a six-month coma and was now, miraculously, going to take the ATP tour by storm.


Serena Williams followed him on Twitter, telling him it would be an “honour” for her daughter and her to meet him. Navratilova retweeted his story. James Blake wanted to commentate on his future matches. Adidas tweeted him “Welcome to the family Darko” after he tweeted the company offered him sponsorship.

Grnacarov amassed a huge following through the social network. Macedonia, a country so desperate for a sports star had one it could now adorn with national pride. He was now their biggest star, and nobody had even seen him play. More than 200 Grncarov Twitter accounts appeared devoted to him. Fuelling the fire of his fame, they tweeted about his crush on Nicole Scherzinger and his net worth of $1.5million. The official Twitter accounts of the ATP tour and ITF Tennis joined the fun, pestering Ellen DeGeneres to have him on her show. Rothenberg believes the tweets, which occasionally turned vicious in defence of their star, may have been from Twitter’s now infamous troll factories. The synchronised nature of the behaviour and the curious language raised eyebrows. News being generated by the site was causing a racquet in the tennis world.

As you have guessed, Grncarov isn’t a tennis player. He is a real person, he has played tennis (albeit poorly, as one of his Twitter videos demonstrated) and he did speak out in defence of transgender people. The problem is, that it was all just the first part of a well-organised ploy to use Twitter to catapult a young Macedonian into the world of fame. Twitter was generating news, but it was fake. Macedonia’s rising sun quickly became a false dawn.

It’s the effect the social network is having on the industry. Where a journalist would once knock on doors or wait outside houses, for better or worse, they can now open Twitter and peruse first-hand accounts of events, with nothing to corroborate the information, other than an anonymous name. Journalists don’t need to even leave their office anymore to report events with reasonable accuracy. Multiple accounts with familiar stories tend to form an impression of legitimacy, although we know they can be coordinated and organised. Some people just know how to use Twitter better than others.

The difference between the main stream media and Twitter aren’t vast but they are significant. It has blurred the lines between trained journalist and Joe public, and now both fall readily into each other’s traps. Twitter has levelled the playing field and it isn’t always pretty, at times it goes beyond the realms of sanity, but it is here to stay, and it may be here to dominate.

67 percent of American adults now rely on social media platforms such as Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Snapchat for news. That means a lot of people are now relying on themselves to determine the fake from the real. The Grncarovs from the Rothenbergs.

While newspapers are struggling to successfully monetize their product. Twitter posted $2.1 billion in advertising revenue in 2017.  “We are not the arbiters of truth,” said arbiter of truth Nick Pickles, the UK’s Twitter executive.

“We are not going to remove content based on the fact this is untrue. The one strength that Twitter has is it’s a hive of journalists, of citizens, of activists correcting the record, correcting information.”

Twitter is lowering expectations about its role in policing its news and by doing so, enhancing the power of those that use the platform. That’s why it is successful and that is why it is dangerous. It’s blurred the lines between journalist and citizen, and by doing so became the news outlet fit for the 21st century.

And if threatening nuclear war against North Korea doesn’t get your account suspended, let’s be honest, nothing will.

If you would like to find out how The PHA Group can help you grow your social media community and engagement speak to a member of our team today. Alternatively, check out our award-winning team Digital Studio.  


How to talk about a sensitive subject: The secrets of Health PR

Regardless of the sector you work in, PR professionals will always need to deal with sensitive subject matters. The subjects in question will vary dramatically depending on the type of client you are representing, however, it is important for all PRs to be fully prepared and understand how to handle challenging topics for discussion.

Looking specifically at the health sector, PRs will often find themselves dealing with niche, sensitive topics which the public do not wish to openly discuss. From tooth decay, to varicose veins, to odorous armpits – these are just some of the common health concerns that it is important to educate people on, but not the most glamorous of topics to cover.

As PRs, we must deal with such topics in a delicate, professional way. However, it is also the job of the PR team to bring these topics to life and take what would usually be perceived as an ‘unsexy’ issue and catapult it to the forefront of public conscious through targeted and creative PR activity.

Below we’ve detailed some of the key PR tactics that can be utilised when handling a sensitive subject:

 Don’t be afraid to ask questions…

As a starting point, it is important to ask ALL the awkward questions that no-one wants to talk about. This will help to establish the key messaging for a campaign and draw out the most press-worthy hooks. Armed with this information, you will then have the basis for PR’able content.

 Make it bite-sized!

Fertility Aware IVI

 The key to promoting a sensitive health topic is to make the issue feel relevant to the masses, and to make sure that the subject is easy to digest and understand. Feature articles focussed around ‘top tips about….’, or ‘myths and facts about…’ can be great ways to engage a mass audience and provide consumers with the must-know info in a bite size form. Also, for a more visual content strand, infographics can be a good way to provide information about a sensitive subject.

Case studies are key

 Case studies can also be hugely beneficial when trying to spread awareness of a sensitive subject and bring a challenging topic to the forefront of the media’s attention. Real stories illustrating a health condition or problem help bring a topic to life by adding a human face, and help educate a consumer audience on warning signs/symptoms they should be looking out for – which can help people to identify if they too are suffering from the condition in question.

All case studies must be handled with the utmost sensitivity. It is important to guide the case study throughout the entire process – making sure they feel totally comfortable with answering sensitive questions and being contacted by journalists. For media articles, all case studies will be required to reveal their full name and be pictured within any resulting articles so it’s also important that case studies are fully briefed on this from the get-go and feel completely happy to have their name and image in the public domain.

Think about your audience!

engaging an audience

When dealing with sensitive health stories, it’s also important to think carefully about who the target audience is and where they want the information to go. What’s the age demographic you are trying to engage with? Is the condition/topic you are dealing with more geared towards men or women? Does the condition require an expensive procedure to treat? These are all questions which you need to ask yourself when planning your PR activity to ensure that you are cutting through the noise and hitting the people who are most likely to want to hear from your client.

In summary, to effectively PR a sensitive subject matter, it is vital that you spend time carefully learning about the topic – drawing out all the required information whilst recognising the sensitivities around the issue. Make sure that your PR messaging reflects the client and subject matter suitably. Finding a delicate balance between the need to spread awareness and any sensitivities around real-life stories /making sure that the topic is featured via the appropriate channels is key to any successful PR campaign focusing on a sensitive subject matter!

If you would like some help on how to address a sensitive subject then please get in touch.

Mullins for Mayor – the power of personal PR

Charlie Mullins sparked a media frenzy when he announced his intention to run as an independent candidate for London Mayor in 2020.

The charismatic Pimlico Plumbers founder – and long-time PHA Group client – is a past master at weaving together his ambitions with increasing in his public profile.

PHA has helped establish him as a leading voice of British business, apprenticeships and as the one of the dominant figures among Remainers in the Brexit debate.

Having previously been a supporter of and donor to the Conservatives, he caused a stir when he announced that he has been banned from the party’s prestigious Black and White Ball because he had criticised Theresa May.

But his announcement that he plans to take on Sadiq Khan in the next mayoral race elevated his media coverage to a new level.

With PHA Group’s assistance, he launched the campaign during an interview with Michael Hayman on London Live. The broadcast was trailed in the Sunday Times.

His reasons for standing were classic straight-talking Charlie:

“I’ll give it a bash. I think I could do a better job than this guy for businesses.”

In a more expansive interview with Square Mile bible City AM, Londoner Charlie went on to explain that he didn’t believe the PM and the Mayor were “drinking from the same teapot” as him.

He revealed that as mayor, he would make travel for all apprentices free, saying:

“Getting people into work resolves most of the problems. And when I’ve been trying to explain this to the government before, they’re not getting it.”

In an environment of apathy towards politicians against the backdrop of Brexit and a vacuum where real political leadership should exist, Mullins for Mayor does have quite the ring to it.

Watch this space…



People power

Why personal brand equity counts

Some of the world’s most iconic businesses are known not just for their products or services, but for the brand’s personality and principles. That personality often stems from driven leaders and founders and carries real financial weight.

In the words of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Ultimately, we do business with people we like and respect and that’s where personal PR has a power to deliver business results beyond fame for fame’s sake. Take Steve Jobs, whose vision intrinsically linked to Apple’s success: when Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO roughly $10bn of the company value was wiped from the company’s stock.

Someone’s personal reputation can affect their business’ investment prospects, talent acquisition, product sales, customer loyalty and more.


Why personal versus brand PR?

 It’s sometimes easier for stakeholders to visualise what a business stands for when there is a human embodiment of its principles, rather than a faceless corporate standpoint. A successful personal PR strategy will leverage this and help dovetail a business’ aims into the current media agenda.

Take James Reed as an example – whose bee keeping hobby helped us have a down to earth conversation with media about workplace positivity and, and Angela Middleton – whose fitness regime helped her channel more energy into her apprenticeship business MiddletonMurray – and provided a platform to talk about motivation and careers more broadly.

After drawing on business leaders’ unique perspectives, the focus turns on crafting these into positive media messages and ultimately leveraging a personal brand to grow their businesses.

But what’s the right channel?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to personal PR but the strategy must be targeted to deliver the best value for your business, whether that’s through a presence on national broadcast shows or in influential trade media that reach a niche customer target.

Every publicity opportunity should have a rationale; if you share views through blogging on LinkedIn, are you engaging with the right LinkedIn groups? If you want to establish your expertise as a mainstream media commentator, are your customers or target audience consuming information from that media outlet? If you’re speaking at an event, are your buyers there?

Today’s media landscape is characterised by multiple channels, ‘fake news’, self-publishing as the norm and an increasingly blurred line between editorial and native advertising. So it’s more important than ever before to truly understand what media your key stakeholders rely on for information – and essentially, which forms of content they trust.

Using a charismatic individual as a platform for building brand awareness can help lift a brand from this noise and boost a whole organisation or movement’s credibility, in two key ways;


Trust & authenticity

Sharing personal views with people establishes an authentic ‘voice’ that is increasingly elusive now that every brand can communicate directly with consumers online. It goes without saying that people are easier to relate to engage with than a corporation.


Personality as a platform

When you combine strong personal views with a well-managed media strategy, personality can start to transcend the usual circles of business talk and influence wider society. Any person is essentially a platform for marketing a business; it starts with word of mouth and can then extend out to blogging, online, print and broadcast media.

Every public figure started somewhere – and that ‘somewhere’ is defined by a passion and focus to change a market, industry, people or perspective for the better.

We work with businesses who are ready to make their mark on the media landscape, and behind businesses are real people full of unique stories and experiences. The bravery to stand up, stand out and make a mark is at the core of propelling someone’s personal, professional, public profile and can have tangible impact on a business’ bottom line.

Personal PR is far from just a vanity project.


How to grow instagram for your start-up


Frequently termed ‘The King of Social’, Instagram started as a simple picture sharing app, used mainly between close friends and some carefully-selected family, to display the ‘best’ snapshots of your life. It was a refreshing alternative to the swathes of imagery that confronted you on Facebook, each one only slightly different to the last. It’s single-picture format enforced a kind of self-control not seen elsewhere. Of course, this wouldn’t last forever. Years later we have video, galleries and stories, and Instagram has expanded far beyond your own social circle. It has, however, kept its highly-polished aesthetic and fetish for ‘authenticity’.

Photo by @argonautphoto (Aaron Huey). Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly, #NavajoNation. Headed to #BearsEarsNationalMonument in Utah on assignment for the magazine. More photos from the region here and at @argonautphoto all this week!

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Now the app is one of the biggest Social Media sites in the world, with over 700 million users, 400 million of which are active daily! It’s impressive to say the least and the potential audience reach on this platform is ever growing. It took only four months to gain the last 100 million followers, whereas the previous took six months.

So, what makes it such a great platform? It’s seen as considerably cooler than Facebook, more interesting than Twitter, and more useful than Snapchat. Instagram has become incredibly sophisticated in storytelling, and doing so in an artistic manner. The ability to fluently and diversely communicate a brand or individual’s story has become indispensable. Authenticity is key to modern marketing, and Instagram is the platform that allows this ‘intimate’ insight into a brand. And what better brand to apply it to than a Start Up? A company that is rooted in individuality, ingenuity and passion. One that is already trying to tell its own story, and express its personality, unlike many conglomerates that churn out an all-encompassing ‘brand’ worldwide.

Engage your audience

So, we know Instagram has the audience and the tools to effectively tell your story, but what techniques can you employ to make Instagram work for you? As a Start Up, it’s important not only to put out great content, but to actively engage with your following, and users who you feel would be interested in your brand. This engagement, or ‘community managing’, is what will help you grow your channel, awareness, and ultimately your brand. It may seem like a lot of work, but just taking the time to reply to comments and reach out to users and brands can make all the difference.

Hashtag it

Building this community can be done several ways, but the most immediate is through hashtags. By putting up to 30 relevant hashtags underneath your post you can make yourself visible to the potentially millions of daily users who are engaging with account and brands like yours. Engaging with other users in these hashtags is the next step to generating conversation; and this is worth remembering. Social Media is not a one-way street, you need ask questions, respond authentically, get people interested and keep them talking with you and about you.

If you are local business, such as a restaurant, boutique or event, then you can utilise these hashtags to target a specific audience. Likewise, you may also use geo-tagging to involve the local community in a location-targeted campaign. These techniques allow you to build a community both offline and online.

Collaborate and listen

Many brands have taken to cross-posting and collaborations to bolster their online presence. This is a mutually beneficial process that sees both brands raise awareness, and is particularly applicable in a Start Up environment, where both have a chance to establish themselves in an industry. It’s not just other brands that you might consider this tactic with; featuring your customers is an increasingly valuable tool in promoting your brands merit. Not only will this provide potential customers with authentic, positive feedback for your brand, but it also rewards fans for being fans. In doing this, you encourage them to continue to share their interactions with your brand on Social Media. It’s a win win, they get to interact with the brands they love in an authentic way, and you get exposure and great content for your own channels. Just make sure you always credit them!


For me?! @chapabouttown is ready to chow down on some Turkey and Duck Dinner! 🍗 #FuelledByCanagan

A post shared by Canagan (@canaganpetfood) on

Do what works for you

There’s a plethora of techniques to employ on this ever-expanding channel. To do it perfectly, you would be using a variation of careful curated daily posts and stories to provide the most artistic storytelling experience you can. You could run competitions, and cross-post and promote other brands. You could shout about your brand down every relevant avenue, and target it perfectly with paid posts and influencer marketing. This is a lot to take on, especially as a Start Up. It can seem overwhelming, but it is also wholly unnecessary to try to do all of them at once, and to sustain them. Our advice would be to cherry pick what works for your brand, and remember that creativity and authenticity are at the heart of successful Social Media marketing.

Get Creative

If you want to champion your brand on Instagram effectively, the main thing to consider in this whirlwind of possibilities, is creativity. Instagram is a platform that welcomes creativity more than any other. This is the point of difference needed to stop users endlessly scrolling through their feeds and focus on your post. This is the first point of engagement with a consumer, and one of the hardest things to engineer. You want to disrupt and simultaneously engage; having a creative edge here is key.

‪How to grow an avocado tree:‬ ‪1. Find an avocado stone‬ ‪2. Wash it‬ ‪3. Add some cocktail sticks‬ ‪4. Half submerge it in water‬ ‪5. Wait‬

A post shared by innocent (@innocent) on

Of course, this is perhaps easier said than done. But with a proper strategy, and some practise, you should quickly find yourself building your brands presence and identity online. Building and maintaining this presence is of huge value to brands and businesses, after all 32% of all internet users are on Instagram. That’s a big slice of the pie to be missing out on!

The power of positive PR reviews

Consumers are becoming increasingly sceptical of traditional forms of advertising and marketing. Instead, they would rather buy into businesses through a recommendation which feels genuine and authentic.

Positive reviews within the media can offer your businesses the opportunity to connect with customers or audiences on a more personal level and gain their trust. Each review is a form of promotion, as it exposes your business’ name, product, or service to its readers – thus increasing their awareness of who you are and what you have to offer.

A glowing review within a newspaper, magazine, online, or on the TV and Radio, is extremely powerful, as it has the power to reach large audiences and encourage people to invest time and money into your business.

Not only can this positive coverage help to elevate your reputation and bring new customers to your door, but it can also improve your search rankings online, spark ‘word of mouth’, and allow you to communicate with audiences that you have struggled to reach before – making it an integral part of your marketing and communications strategy!

But how can this be achieved? Here we give you an insight into the world of PRs, and how they are able to benefit your business by generating positive reviews within the media:


To achieve a flattering review for your business, product, or service, it is vital to communicate with the right type of journalist – at the right type of media title.

PRs spend a lot of time building and maintaining strong relationships with journalists, learning what they want in terms of news, topics, and products, and delivering it to them in the right way. So, when a new business comes on board and needs their profile raising, PRs can leverage these strong relationships to capture the interest of journalists, communicate the business’ key messages and, ultimately, deliver positive, high impact review coverage.

For example, last year The PHA Group was employed by the global home appliance manufacturer, SharkNinja, to help raise awareness of the new Ninja Coffee Bar. To achieve this goal, we reached out to our vast list of media contacts and invited them to a ‘Coffee Morning’ event in London where they could try out the Ninja Coffee Bar for themselves. The event saw 60 high profile journalists in attendance and, as a result, generated over 60 positive reviews – in titles such as the Daily Mail, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan,, Red Online, Mail Online, Stylist Online, Harper’s Bazaar Online, Look, Now and The Sun on Sunday.


Offering the media, the chance to experience your brand first hand is another great PR technique, if carried out appropriately and correctly. By offering journalists the chance to trial a product or service, PRs can introduce a business to journalists in a more personalised way, ensuring that it will be at the forefront of their minds going forward.

Of course, any review given by a journalist will be based on their personal opinions and experiences, which can never be controlled by a brand or a PR! What we can do is understand in advance what information the journalist needs, or what experience they are expecting, and ensure that this is delivered during the trial so that they have everything they need, and have had the best possible experience of the brand, when writing up their review.

For example, last year the revolutionary food and nutrition app, EDO, approached The PHA Group and asked us to help drive more app downloads, by generating positive reviews within the media. To achieve this, we approached selected media to offer them a trial of the app. During these trials our team provided each journalist with a step-by-step guide on EDO, helping them to understand how to use the app to unlock nutritional information about the foods they were consuming.

Because of this personalised experience, we managed to generate over 20 positive reviews for the app over a short three-month period – across influential titles such as the Mail Online, Notebook, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Metro, London Evening Standard and Woman’s Own. The Mail Online alone article generated over 2,000 downloads in just one day and the Cosmopolitan piece led to 900 downloads after a week of publication!


‘Creativity’ is a skill that PRs frequently use to create a buzz around their client’s product, brand, or service. Cooking up fresh and creative ideas by ‘thinking outside the box’ can help to capture the media’s attention.

For example, to announce the launch the Zyliss Control Knives we organised an experiential event which invited the media to take part in a ‘Cutting Edge Masterclass’, where attendees were able to brush up on their chopping skills and try out the new knives. The event was held at L’Atelier De Chefs on Wigmore Street and to provide an additional draw for the media we arranged for celebrity face Nadia Sawalha to host on the day. The masterclass saw an attendance of 20 key journalists which then resulted in 29 pieces of positive review coverage for the new launch including Daily Mirror, Daily Mail Weekend, Daily Star Sunday, My Weekly, Your Home, Prima online and Good Housekeeping online.



Working with celebrities, influencers and bloggers is another popular PR tactic which can help to boost awareness of a business and drive sales, through positive reviews.

Whether they are posting about a service on social media, being photographed using a branded product, or attending an event – these influential personalities can help to shine a light on a business by bringing it to the attention of their fans and followers.

Before working with influential personalities, PRs will identify which personalities would be a good fit for the business and who would be able to communicate the business’ key messages with the right audiences.

Using this approach, at The PHA Group, we recently hosted an event to introduce key digital influencers to the new Simply Straight from JML Direct. Over 20 reputable influencers, including – The Collyer Twins, Made in Chelsea’s Nicola Hughes, The Fashion Rubix and Talented Lex – were invited to attend a special evening event held at the ME Hotel’s Personality Suite. At the event, attendees were welcomed by celebrity hairstylist Darren Ambrose who provided one-on-one styling sessions, using the Simply Straight, throughout the evening. The event led to over 30 reviews of the Simply Straight product across the influencers’ websites and social media channels and because of this coverage, the Simply Straight product was ranked on page 1 of Google for the key search term ‘hair straightening brush’ for over 6 months.


Online Reputation Management: Complete guide to your online brand

Social media purging: personality vs. protecting your reputation

By Amy Andrews

Whether we log on to keep in touch with friends and family from around the globe or to connect for business, social media has become rooted at the centre of our everyday lives.

Over the past decade, the use of social media platforms has roared, with Facebook receiving 2.07bn monthly users, and Twitter over 800mn monthly users, according to Statista. Moreover, it is estimated that the average person spends nearly two hours on social media channels every day – more time than spent on eating, drinking and socialising.

Photo by on Unsplash

Blogs have even gone as far as to calculate the average miles the average 25-year old’s thumb has scrolled over the last 14 years, turns out, it’s an estimated 7 miles.

As a result, the potential of an individual’s global reach has increased considerably, and a person’s online appearance has never mattered more. The likelihood is that regardless of whether people are on the hunt for comments or posts to catch you out on, eventually they will find something.

For the A-Z list of celebrities, business owners and influencers among us, this poses a very real threat.

Numerous public figures have discovered the repercussions of making ill-judged comments. Both Stormzy and more recently Jack Maynard have been held to account for tweets from their past containing homophobic language.

The CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, Mike Jeffries, was pulled up on a comment he made six years earlier regarding only wanting pretty and popular people to wear his clothes. This then gained momentum on social media and

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

resulted in a 15% decline in sales. Despite being followed by an immediate apology, these resurrected tweets still echo today with some arguing that A&F has never fully been able to regain its status on the market since.

And for us ordinary folk, even recruiters and hiring managers will look through public profiles online as part of their hiring process, and according to SimpliLearn 19% of managers hiring decisions are influenced by social media searches.

Of course, the option is there to privatise accounts, but this can send the message to a potential recruiter, employee or even a journalist that you have something to hide. Remember the concept of six degrees of separation – you may think your private profile means your personal life is kept away from your professional alter ego, but someone you are connected to may not have the same privacy settings, revealing those pictures and posts you wanted to hide.

If this means sifting through your 2000+ tweets and Instagram posts to get rid of potentially offensive musings or drunken snaps, then boil the kettle, take a seat and get started, because social media has a bigger hold on business reputation than you know.

Whilst posting the wrong thing can be detrimental, equally, purging your account completely and leaving a blank canvas in its place can be just as damaging. If you own a business and you’re building your network, if you’re applying to jobs in a creative industry or if you’re building your Instagram to become an influencer, your personality will be your brand. People need to see personal traits that they can relate to and views and interests that they can align with to feel they know and understand you. 

Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

Your social profiles could be the make or break of your career so be proactive with your online identity. Every now and then, log out of your accounts and search your name on Google to see what others can see, if your business puts you in the limelight, set up Google Alerts and always be sure to put notifications on your Facebook and Instagram so you’ll be the first to know when you’ve been tagged in a post. This way, you can either accept or reject the tag depending on whether it aligns with your online brand.

Benjamin Franklin once said “it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it”. In today’s digital age, this statement rings truer than ever before. Word spreads faster, screenshots take 0.5 seconds and content can go viral in a matter of minutes. Whether a celeb, business owner or social influencer, your focus should be on proactively protecting your reputation from the offset, rather than desperately trying to re-build and transform it on a world stage.

The most ‘on-point’ fashion and beauty influencer campaigns of 2017

With brands working with influencers in bigger and better ways than ever before, from designing collections to fronting a movement, we look back on the most impactful influencer campaigns from the fashion and beauty world in 2017…

In The Style – ITSsarah

Set up in 2013, In The Style is an example of a UK brand whose success has been driven by the Instagram-shopper, as a result, the amount of influencers they work with has increased. Already part of the reality-star collaboration bandwagon, with collections from Made in Chelsea’s Binky Felstead and Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby, in 2017 they shifted to work with their first blogger – Sarah Ashcroft.

In The Style understand realise how effective influencers can be. Their customers are teenagers and young women who have grown up in the generation where bloggers, YouTubers and Instagram stars carry as much gravitas as a movie star and therefore signing up their first influencer they are cashing in on a huge trend which is only set to grow.

By choosing a high-profile influencer like Sarah Ashcroft to design a clothing range, In The Style have tapped into exactly what their young customers admire and want to emulate. Her Instagram bio reads ‘Doing It For the Gram’, which could pretty much be 2017’s mantra, and intrinsically tie in with In The Style’s Instagram-focused PR strategy.

By coining a hashtag – #ITSsarah – which to date, has just shy of 2,000 posts, In The Style has cemented themselves as a brand who knows how to work with influencers, and we expect big things from them in 2018.

Boden – Wear It Like A Mum

Sometimes when we hear the word ‘influencer’, particularly in relation to fashion, we tend to think of the Sarah Ashcroft’s of this world. However, influencer marketing is a strategy many brands are and should be embracing, whatever their customer profile. In their ‘Wear It Like a Mum’ campaign, Boden worked with a different kind of influencer, those who are Mums, taking the phrase ‘dressing like a Mum’, and turning it on his head.

Boden worked with a range of influencers on this campaign, highlighting amazing women with great style who just happen to be Mums too. This included women such as Anna aka Mother Pukka – a feisty blogger whose blog is her full-time job, but also influencers such as Clemmie from Mother of Daughters who still retains her job as a midwife.

What we love about Boden’s ‘Wear It Like A Mum’ campaign is the positive vibes, the strong team of influencers they have recruited and the fact that the idea isn’t just about the clothes – its messaging transcends further than this, which makes it memorable.

In today’s world there is a such a vast range of influencers out there – for some this is their full-time job, some juggle their Instagram with their work and others regard it as a hobby. It’s therefore important never to discredit working with different influencers – dependent on your brand, your campaign and objectives, influencer marketing will work in different ways for you.

The Gypsy Shrine – Micro-influencers

Influencer marketing comes in many different forms – whether that is recruiting a high-profile blogger, a squad of ambassadors or engaging with lots of micro-influencers. One brand who has been particularly on form with micro-influencers, is glitter beauty brand, The Gypsy Shrine.

Micro-influencers are an extremely valuable tool. Their followers are often highly engaged, respect their opinion and care what they have to say.  Not only this, they can help with brand awareness, and their images can be reposted as great content on your own I.G feed.

Festival fashion and beauty has undergone many different trends over the years, but what has seemed to stick from 2016 onwards is glitter (quite literally – you find it lurking at the bottom of your bag weeks after the event). The Gypsy Shrine’s glitter is relatively low value, meaning it will be at practically zero cost price to send out far and wide to a band of make-up artists, creative Instagrammers and people who love being #extra. Their Instagram feed is repost-after-repost of crazy and beautiful glittered-up looks – it is definitely a millennial brand who know how to market their products!

⚡️Christmas Party GOALS!⚡️ @ginimisselbrook wearing our Chunky Silver + Gold Glitters applied using Paw Paw ✨ All available online ✨ Link in bio to shop! ✨ Top from @claudiapink #ChristmasGlitter

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Sleek Make-up – #myfacemyrules

In 2017, make-up brand Sleek launched their #myfacemyrules campaign, designed to celebrate individualism and uniqueness with a love of make-up at its core. The campaign kicked off with a powerful video featuring a cast of makeup lovers, from medical students to professional make-up artists, along with the hashtag #myfacemyrules.

Whilst this campaign video didn’t feature influencers, Sleek got it right by starting a movement and coining a hashtag people can jump on. This includes the everyday make-up enthusiast and the influencers they have worked with since. Sleek have led the way by showing how an overarching campaign idea, encompassing advertising and PR, can incorporate influencer marketing. With a powerful memorable message underlying all activity, influencers and Instagram-users alike want to show they are part of this exciting movement.

Missguided – #MakeYourMark

2017 has been the year of body positivity, and with this, the rise of body positivity influencers pledges to not re-touch models and more diversity in fashion campaigns. Although we are almost at the end of the year, Missguided snuck in at the eleventh hour and wowed us with their brand new #MakeYourMark campaign.

This fashion e-tailer has made a pledge not to retouch any of their model’s ‘imperfections’ – to quote: ‘We’re on a mission to inspire babes the world over that love themselves, for themselves, to embrace your flaws, and to not strive for what the world perceives as perfection’.

To launch the campaign, Missguided has recruited a bunch of sassy girls, of a range of different shapes, sizes and skin tones, with one thing in common – that they love their bodies and want women to do the same.

Including influencers such as Emily of @darth-bador, who promotes self-love and appreciation, and Sam of @fattyboomtatty who is all about the self-confidence, Missguided can only be praised for this campaign (our favourite of the year). We have a little inkling that the body positivity movement is only going to go from strength to strength next year and hopefully more brands will adopt this thinking when it comes to their influencer marketing in 2018.