Technology, the frenemy of tomorrow's workforce

Technological change seems to occur at the speed of light. As one technical innovation develops, another is just beginning. It can be extremely difficult to keep up, even for those twenty-something millennials who seem to have the advantage on Generation X.

Yet as more and more jobs are absorbed by technology, young people are struggling to find employment. And if this is the case for Generation Y, what will the job market be like for Generation Z?

In a recent report by the World Economic Forum, persistent jobless growth was rated globally as the second highest concern. Larry Summers, former US treasury secretary, placed responsibility on the education sector to “meet the needs of this age.” He warned that if current trends continue then whole sections of society will find their standards of living going backwards.

Of course, it’s important to remember that doom and gloom shifts newspapers. While it’s inevitable that jobs will be lost to technology, this is not to say that new opportunities are not already cropping up in their place.

From manufacturing through to media, developments in technology are opening up a raft of new opportunities. Even the PR and marketing industry has seen a seismic change in job roles to keep pace with the exciting possibilities around social media.

Getting ready for work

The best safeguard against being replaced by technology is knowing how to use it. If we want today’s students to enjoy a brighter future, we need to make sure that they go into the workplace fully able to use technology to maximum effect.

Why not start implementing curriculums that prepare for certain roles, such as digital marketers, social media managers and software engineers. Why not include blogging in English lessons? What about robotic engineering in Design Technology? What about getting schools to start trading with one another? The possibilities to digitise the workforce of tomorrow are endless.

The UK’s Year of Code is one of many signs that reform has already started. Including a new initiative to train teachers in software coding, it’s hoped that the scheme will encourage these new skills within the classroom and, further down the line, technology entrepreneurship. In fact, the government has ordered that HTML coding become a compulsory topic covered for every child aged 5 – 16 years old.

There’s also a growing network of University Technical Colleges (UTCs), government-funded schools that teach students technical and scientific subjects, educating the inventors, engineers, scientists and technicians of tomorrow. Perhaps more schools should take a leaf out of their book.

In a study by Deloitte, 84% of London businesses said the skill set of their employees will need to adapt over the next decade. Expertise such as ‘digital know-how, ‘management’ and ‘creativity’ were most desirable. Indeed, at 634th in the list of careers most likely to be overtaken by technology we like to tell ourselves in the PR industry that we’ll be completely fine, at least for the foreseeable future.

The truth is that whether we’re young or old, the demands of today’s workplace mean we all need to keep up-to-date on how to make best use of the technological advancements of the 21st century.

What are your thoughts about technology and the job market? Are we prepared? What can we do to give children the best hope of a successful career in the future?

Optimise your Twitter – 10 Tips On How To Gain and Keep Followers

Bird twitter icon in flight

A straightforward indication of the success of your Twitter communications strategy begins with examining the number of followers you have. Put simply – the larger the audience, the more exposure your messages or tweets are going to get.

We all judge the popularity and validity of a Twitter account by those digits under the followers heading, and despite this being like all judgements - rather shallow - it’s important to recognise that when visitors come across our Twitter accounts they will be doing exactly the same.
Of course, there are other factors to be considered during analysis such as the frequency of tweets, the times of the day your followers seem most receptive and how many retweets and favourites you get each month, but we think that in terms of cementing great foundations for your Twitter account to operate at its best, social media managers should focus on gaining and keeping followers, especially when an account is first created.
Remember, no followers equals no audience, but lots of followers doesn’t always mean the audience is receptive. It’s important to analyse your followers from time-to-time, to re-evaluate whether as an audience they are right for your campaigns as they develop.

So in order to keep this short and sweet, but thankfully not limited to 140 characters, we’ll share with you our top ten tips on how to get and keep the best Twitter audience for your social media strategy.

1)      Remember the rules. Twitter works under the same rules as any other form of communication. Common sense, respect and manners will get you everywhere, whereas blatant ads or promotions will lose you followers.

2)      Have a personality – show emotion, get excited, be humorous and people are more likely to engage with you. Entertaining your followers with funny comments is a great way of gaining retweets, but avoid any quips which could be interpreted as offensive. Technology can make us all seem like robots sometimes, so it’s important to portray the human behind the computer.

3)      Don't forget to share. Any useful information or content that you stumble upon can be shared via tweets, just remember to credit the authors by mentioning their Twitter account, if they have one. There’s a good chance they’ll follow you and you will have enriched your own account at the same time.

4)      Make the most of Follow Friday! Simply tweet #FF along with a few of your favourite followers - make them feel special and it’s likely they will return the favour. Ultimately, you should end up with a couple more followers every Friday.

5)      Shorten where necessary. Depending on your audience and the context of your tweet you could try using text language, for example gr8 or yr. Only do this with obvious words though in a few parts of your tweet. It will save you characters at the end which you can use for hashtags or other people can use to comment if they RT you.

6)      Avoid using @ spam. Long lists of attached usernames (except for #FF) can flag up your account as spam to other users and will quite likely result in your account being blocked, and, oh dear, less followers.

7)      #takecare. Be careful when using a trending hashtag to promote your campaign. Certain political trends could really go down badly, whereas anchoring a relevant hashtag group such as #UKmfg for UK manufacturers could engage your campaign with the right business.

8)    Name drop. Associating your brand with a well-known product or company can be a good way of getting extra attention. For example, when ABB Robotics installed a cell at innovative metal designer RoboFold, we made sure to tweet about it and mention their account, leading to their re-tweeting us and exposing our client to a whole new but relevant audience.

9)     Take a joined-up approach. Leverage all your other social media and online platforms by linking them to your Twitter account. So if you have a blog make sure every entry has a share button which can be scaled across to Twitter, and a button which goes directly to your page. If you’re using Facebook, use one of the numerous apps which will share your Tweets - go sparingly though, as Facebook users don’t normally expect the high frequency of activity from a user that is common to Twitter.

10)   Don't be needy. Neediness online is as unattractive as it is in the real world. Whatever you do, don’t be needy. Whether it’s for followers or an RT, it comes across as really unprofessional.

Considering social media as a marketing tool? With experience in social media management across a wide range of platforms, Armitage Communications can help. Call us on 0208 667 9660 to find out more.

A courtship with content

Girl and boy hold a balloon with social media icons as well as pdf, e-guide, webinar

There are many ways in which using content to win new customers is like trying to find a romantic partner. Not only do you have to stand out from the crowd and attract someone, but then you have to face the tricky business of keeping them interested too.

Like the Frankie Goes to Hollywood Christmas hit that somehow finds its way into your CD player every year, we believe that you should make love your goal when it comes to shaping and using your content.

Okay, so we’re no authors of Mills & Boon type romance novels, but a business to business marketing relationship can be compared to that of a blooming love affair of the 21st century. Take for instance, the initial meeting in which your target customer comes across your social media content or e-shot. For any social media content to drive visitors to your website, the media needs to be informative, entertaining and educational, not pushy – no avert promotional plugs please. Just like a cheesy chat up line which is transparent and quite frankly, embarrassing, the first encounter should be natural, with genuinely personable content leaving the visitor wanting more.

Letters of Love

Now you’ve snagged your ideal buyer persona’s attention – they’re aware and quite intrigued by your existence – you obviously want their mobile number, or by extension, contact name, email address and company details. For that to happen, they need to be pushed just that little bit extra to your landing page or website, so clear flags need to be posted such as links or buttons on your  Twitter, blog, Facebook or e-shots. You wouldn’t have acquired your current boyfriend/girlfriend’s number without asking directly, would you (unless you’ve used some worrying tactics) and so, overt calls to action such as ‘Visit our page to find out more’ are vital if you want to further develop a relationship.

Fantastic, you’ve nabbed their digits, they have subscribed to an affair with your content, but will the affair turn into a fully-fledged committed relationship? Flirt on, content strategist, as this is where you drip feed the prospective customer with love letters or more specifically, in-depth marketing materials such as white papers, e-guides, webinars and videos. Don’t be shy, show off all your qualities! As you would optimise your appearance for a video chat with your crush, optimise your content to really exhibit how brilliant your brand or service is.

Furthermore, just as we all moderate ourselves to an extent to fit in with our perceived idea of what our lover wants, select materials which you believe are relevant to the prospective customer. For example, if you have a white paper which details your understanding of the type of service they’re likely to need, send, send, send!

Bring in the wingman

Now your love interest is seriously considering making the pair of you official, consolidate the business partnership and nudge them into actually paying for your products or services. This is achieved only through authenticity and clear presentation, with media such as product literature, testimonials and case studies being the most appropriate. Just as it would be better for you to get a friend rather than an ex to sing your praises, ask current clients to review your relationship, and communicate their positive comments to the potential customer.

So the deal is sealed, your bond has been validated for the entire world to see, you now have another client and a return on investment for all that hard work optimising your content strategy, or alternatively, staggeringly impressive pulling tactics. But remember, a happy customer will promote your company to other potential clients, leading to more business. You wouldn’t want your partner to badmouth you to his/her friends and family, would you? So don’t become complacent, wine and dine your client to keep them engaged.

Keep drip feeding them content to remind them of the brilliant customer experience they have had or are having with your business, offer news and views on themes which you know will draw them back in. A good relationship also provides a platform for you to inform them of other products and services that may complement their needs – surprise your darling, you’re not afraid to try something new – and before you know it, you’ve optimised on the potential ROI your content marketing strategy can achieve. You’re the real-life Romeo of the content marketing universe!

Want some advice on your content marketing strategy? Here at Armitage Communications, we believe content is king, and have plenty of tools to help you on your way. Call us on 0208 667 9660 or visit our website to find out more ;)