All you need to know about working from home

It seems almost every post on our social feeds at the moment includes some mention of working from home.

A few weeks ago, the Pink Media team uprooted from our office in the Baltic Triangle and set up in our homes instead. In light of current government guidelines, many of us have found ourselves in this very same situation and whilst around only 30% of the UK’s workforce experienced remote working from home last year, that’s now a very different story.

Many of us are new to the concept and it can be tricky to adapt to your new home office. We’ve compiled some top tips to help make your working day that much more productive and help to ease some of the anxieties about working in isolation.

Some research would actually suggest that working from home improves your productivity as it allows you to really get stuck into projects without those typical office distractions. Be sure to structure your day and write a daily project list to hold yourself accountable for the work that needs to be done and communicate that with your colleagues daily, so you know exactly what is going on across the team.

Your home office set up is important and although it’s not always possible to assign a separate room for working, use what you do have to create a comfortable space. Whether it’s your kitchen table or your dressing table, during the working day, try to eliminate all of your usual clutter or anything that could offer a distraction and create a designated space that will lift your mood and encourage creativity. Having a source of natural light is always a bonus alongside some uplifting and inspiring items such as stationary, indoor plants or even your favourite mug or water bottle. Every evening clear your work space ready for the day ahead.

It’s easy to stay in your loungewear when you’re working from home, but try and get yourself ready for the day as if you were heading into the office. One of the biggest concerns that home workers face is the lack of boundaries between office hours and leisure time so it’s important to replicate as much of your regular routine as possible. That way, when 5pm comes around, you can relax and officially mark the end of the day.

On the topic of maintaining structure within your schedule, aim to wake up at the same time every morning and take your breaks as you would do during a typical working day. It’s easy to become consumed by your workload or answer emails over your lunch break but use that time to step outside for a walk or enjoy a meal that will fuel your creativity for the afternoon ahead.

Communication is key at this time. One of the main struggles that researchers have highlighted when studying those working from home is that mental health and wellbeing can be affected, and feelings of loneliness, isolation and stress can set in. There are a number of ways to make sure you still feel connected to your colleagues and your clients.

We are advocates of using tools such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Microsoft Team and Slack to check in with each other multiple times a day. Rather than a phone call, make it a video call and retain that personal face-to-face interaction as much as possible. In this digital world, we have all of the software available to us to make communication seamless.

The New Normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every single one of us as we’ve quickly had to adjust to our new normal.

For the Pink Media team, we all began working remotely from mid-March (before the lockdown was officially announced by the Prime Minister) and we had to instantly adjust our working styles and find our best practises ahead of a prolonged period of working from home.

As an agency, we have always worked collaboratively across all of our clients and within the office, with individual members of the team working on various elements of our PR & marketing campaigns, hosting a weekly Monday morning ‘mega meeting’ alongside daily catch ups.

Fortunately, technology has allowed us to continue to do those things almost seamlessly from home through apps such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and FaceTime. Each morning since working away from the office, we’ve checked in with each other via video call to discuss daily deadlines, client information and any other business – not only does doing so allow us to create a virtual office environment (and bring with it some ‘normality’), it also keeps us socially connected in a world where social distancing is in place.

From a client perspective, we’ve been working closely with a number of businesses across a range of sectors and have learned that no matter what the individual niche or industry, every employer and employee has had their day-to-day lives turned around in some way or another, and we’ve adapted our service offering to change and evolve with them.

For example, Delifonseca – our longest standing client – was forced to close their restaurant following government guidelines and were left wondering what their business could do to survive. The next day, we were on site (pre lockdown) to work on the production of a social media video campaign to promote their change to business – the food hall and deli was to begin to offer no-contact delivery and collections to suit the changing lifestyles of their customers. The videos went live that very evening and resulted in immediate social media engagement, reaching over 15,000 people locally, and Delifonseca saw a spike in orders that’s kept the business continually thriving in these unprecedented times.

We’ve also had plenty of enquiries from business owners who aren’t sure about best practises when it comes to marketing. Some have closed their business for the foreseeable, some are working at a reduced capacity and some remotely from their homes. Although our answers for each are different, the overarching advice we have continued to give our clients is to keep lines of communications as open as possible.

Now, more than ever, your potential customers are looking to communicate in the only way they can – digitally – which is why this is a great time to optimise your social media and digital marketing presence rather than to step back from it.

What’s more, by changing or adapting your services, you’re opening up the potential for a whole new demographic of customers who could remain advocates of your brand long after the pandemic is over.

This week, we’ll be blogging all about how to market your business when your customers are on lockdown, plus our top tips for working from home.

Stay tuned – and stay safe!

A warm welcome for our newest recruit, Becca

Today, our newest recruit Becca is taking over the Pink Media blog to introduce herself in her own words and share some insights about her first month at Pink Media HQ…

Sharing is caring, so what better way to introduce myself than through a blog about my first month with the Pink Media team alongside a brief summary of my background? My name’s Becca and I’m the newest recruit here, taking on the role of Content Creator, which will mean supporting the Pink Media team across social media, PR and marketing activities.

I’m a journalism graduate who has come to Pink Media following five and a half years as part of Skiddle’s content team – covering some of the UK’s leading music events and helping aid the sale of tickets through exciting written, video and social content.

Throughout my time at Skiddle, I took a keen interest in developing the brand itself – from creating the business’ mission statement to working on strategies for content and social media which would help establish a clear brand voice. The opportunity to work with multiple clients to develop their brand is one of the main reasons working for Pink Media appealed to me as my next step.

So, now all that’s out of the way, let me recap on my first month at Pink Media. It was an eventful one to say the least, primarily packing in creating a plethora of social media content, meeting a handful of lovely clients and attending not just one, but two awards ceremonies.

The first of which was the Merseyside Independent Business Awards, an annual event designed to celebrate independent businesses, their owners and those who support them, and the Pink Media team was out in force at the Titanic Hotel with fingers crossed for a win, and to our delight, our Direcror Nicola was deservedly named as the winner of the coveted Business Person of the Year title.

The second ceremony was hosted by The Women’s Organisation at Oh Me Oh My, where Pink Media scooped up the PR & Marketing Agency of the Year. It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many influential, enterprising women from the area, and you can read more about the two wins here.

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The month also consisted of a number introductions and client meetings. We had a great catch up with Hosted By National Museums Liverpool talking all things PR, and I’ve been on site with clients Carringtons Catering to take some photographs and videos for their social media account.

Finally, tackling some Halloween themed content rounded up an unforgettable first week at an (award winning!) business.

 

About Becca:

Content Creator Becca Frankland is our newest recruit, assisting with social media, PR and marketing activities within Pink Media, with a focus on creating interesting and forward-thinking content and opportunities through written, press and social media mediums.

With a successful background in journalism and social media, working for over five years for the UK’s leading what’s on guide Skiddle, Becca is familiar with how to create content which makes a business standout and encourages customers to engage.

With a passion for brand development, she is aware of how to convey key messages and executes it with an eye for detail. By regularly monitoring clients’ social media accounts and creating on-brand materials, Becca is able to support and improve platforms in line with strategic and growth targets.

 

An award-winning October

Over the past 12 months, Pink Media has worked with more than 60 businesses across the breadth of the country, ranging from local independent firms to corporate giants. It’s fair to say this year has been one of our most exciting years to date, and the month of October has especially been one for the books.

We kicked off the month by heading to the Merseyside Independent Business awards, where not only were our clients shortlisted in seven categories, but our director Nicola Pink picked up the award for Business Person of the Year.

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Nicola beat tough competition within a category that judges said attracted submissions of an exceptional standard, and was commended for her refreshing approach to business that sees her and the Pink Media team continue to form personable yet professional relationships with their clients whilst ever-expanding and creating new jobs in the sector.

“It was a real privilege to share the room with some of the region’s best advocates for independent businesses”, Nicola said. “Together, we’re helping to shape the North West’s reputation as a business hub. In the eight years that I’ve been a business owner, I’ve seen first-hand how companies in Liverpool and the surrounding areas have adapted and developed and as a result of our combined efforts, we are now a force to be reckoned with.”

The evening was also especially exciting for our clients Delifonseca, who picked up the awards for Restaurant of the Year and Retailer of the Year.

A few weeks later, we were invited along to The Women’s Organisation’s Celebrating Enterprising Women award ceremony at Oh My Oh My. The event was designed as a platform to showcase the best and brightest from their network; pioneering women who are great entrepreneurial role models within our region.

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Here, Pink Media was named PR & Marketing Agency of the Year further adding to our growing trophy cabinet. We were delighted to be recognised amongst some of the region’s most entrepreneurial, talented and hard working women and it was particularly rewarding to have received the accolade from The Women’s Orqanisation, who’ve given us so much support since our business was established back in 2011.

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We’d like to say a huge congratulations to all the winners at the ceremonies we’ve headed to this month, and a massive thank you to the Merseyside Independent Business Awards and The Women’s Organisation for having us. We’d also like to say a big thank you to our friends, clients and fellow local businesses for their lovely messages of support on the back of our duo of wins.

 

 

 

 

Instagram for business: Part Four

Welcome back for another instalment of our Instagram for Business masterclass series!

This week, we’re looking at how you can use the increasingly popular ‘Stories’ feature to boost the visibility of your profile, better engage with your customers and show off your personality whilst beating Instagram’s sometimes tricky algorithm…

For those feeling out of the loop, Instagram’s algorithm is the way the app sifts through all of the content available and selects what will appear on a user’s feed, which means that on average, users often only see 30% of the posts from the accounts they follow. 

But what can you do to make sure your posts are visible? It’s simple – Instagram’s new Stories feature!

Ever since being added to Instagram back in 2016, statistics have shown that not only are users staying on the app longer and visiting it more frequently throughout the day, but that more than 300 million people are using Stories daily. Stories appear on the top of the Instagram feed and regularly reappear as users scroll down with an “in case you missed it” headline, which is why they should definitely become a part of your regular Instagram activity.

One use of Stories is sharing pictures/videos that you might not want to put on your Instagram grid, because they don’t fit in with your chosen theme, etc. For example, you can re-share pictures that customers have shared of your business to your story which shows you appreciate your customers, without messing up your pretty grid that you’ve worked so hard on.

Stories are also excellent for going behind the scenes of the business and showing a more personal side of both the company and staff and can also be used for important announcements and reminders of events if you don’t want to keep posting about them on your regular feed.

There’s more to Stories than just posting a picture or a video…

Polls

Polls are a sticker which can be added to a story that ask the viewer a simple question. It’s an excellent tool that can be used for market research purposes as the results are instantaneous. For example, you can post a pictures of potential colour schemes for a new range of products and ask your followers which ones they prefer.

Ask Me Anything

‘Ask Me Anything’ allows your followers to, well… ask you anything! It’s great for allowing your followers to ask you questions about your products or services or about the business in general. Answers to the questions can then be shared on to your Stories so that the rest of your followers can see them too.

If you have anew product being launched, you can encourage your followers to ask you questions about it, like how it works, when it’ll be released, how much it will cost, etc. Not only are you directly engaging with your customers, you’re also advertising your new product at the same time – it’s a win-win!

Swipe Up

Once you have over 10,000 followers, Instagram adds a swipe up feature to your Stories which allows you to add external links. A good use of this, for example, is when you’re sharing a new product on your Stories, you can add a direct link to it on your website. 

Story Highlights

Unlike regular posts, stories only remain on your profile for 24 hours and once that time is up, they’re gone – unless you save them as Story Highlights. We first discussed Story Highlights in a previous blog post when we explained how to set up a compelling Business profile. You can have an unlimited number of story highlights on your profile, and each time you add to one, it will appear first in the Story Highlights.

To add Stories to your highlights, you just need to select the ‘Add to highlights’ option after clicking ‘share’. If you ever want to delete an image from your highlights, you click onto the one in question, select ‘edit highlight’ and untick the images you no longer want to appear.

Story insights

Instagram has a number of built in analytical features for Stories that allow you to see what’s getting the best engagement from your followers. You can see how many people viewed, how many swiped off before viewing all of your Story, how many visited your profile and any answers to poll questions, to name a few. By analysing the statistics, you can see any areas that need improvement and try to get better engagement for your next Stories campaign.

Next week, we’ll be looking at how to plan your Instagram campaign to achieve maximum success, and discussing how to choose campaign targets, time management and determining the role Instagram will have within your overall marketing campaign. If you have any questions about Instagram for business or want to know more about the services Pink Media can offer to assist you with social media, get in touch with us on 0151 909 2231. See you next week!