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Category: Digital

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a brand new reality tv show called The Circle that aired on UK’s Channel 4 last week and lo and behold, people are already outraged by it. Welcome to television programming in 2018.

The Circle’s premise is a game show where being liked is everything, with a bunch of players holed up in a housing complex making friendships, flirting and bitching it out to be the winner of a £50,000 prize. It’s essentially the Big Brother format, but there’s a modern-day societal twist because the contestants are all housed in separate apartments and will never meet face-to-face during the show.

Instead, their interactions will only exist on a specially designed social media platform where they’re encouraged to shape, bluff or completely distort their persona in a desperate bid to be ‘liked’ by their fellow contestants, the player who is ‘liked’ most wins this nightmarish popularity contest. Sound familiar?

It should do. Not only is it a jazzed up and plugged-in version of Big Brother for the Snapchat generation, but the concept is also conspicuously indebted to Charlie Brooker’s Emmy award-winning Black Mirror series. Particularly the fantastic episode Nosedive, in which people live in a world where social interactions are constantly being rated (that dreaded down-rating tone!) and every individual has an overall rating which has a real-life influence on their socioeconomic standing.

The common ground these shows share is an exploration of the very real consequences of social media and how us Humans are so easily beguiled by its capacity to curate an idealised version of ourselves, or you know, create a completely different persona altogether.

The Circle immediately ignited controversy by featuring a player who’s gambit is fabricating an online identity in which she presents herself as an oncologist that treats cancer. This is, for obvious reasons, a despicable and manipulative tactic to win internet brownie points on the show and, let’s be honest, probably the very reason why Channel 4 picked such person in auditions. Controversy is their currency, after all.

The thing is, in reality, there’s little to nothing preventing someone from doing the same sort of thing on LinkedIn or Facebook either, which may also be the poignant comment C4 producers wanted to make on our digital society. Maybe.

The question is, where does the responsibility in keeping check on this online activity lie for our real social networks? Do the tech companies need to police it better? Do we need to take a closer look at home to why people create fake online personas? Or perhaps we just rely on the discerning Nev & Max from MTV’s Catfish to oust these online charlatans for the delight of the viewers at home. It’s certainly a tricky topic and judging the people behind fake or augmented online profiles is a moral minefield.

However, one intriguing development we’ve seen in recent months is that the tech giants behind our real-life social media platforms, which over 3 billion of us use, have started to implement features specifically designed to curb usage of the very applications they created.

Which is sort of bizarre when they look to gain so much advertising money from our mindless scrolling, albeit it comes across as a solid PR move. Facebook-owned Instagram launched a ‘Time Well Spent’ tool which allows users to see just how long they’ve spent scrolling through doggy snaps and memes, but also self-manage daily limits on how long they can spend in the app.

The two leading mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, have also baked similar tools into their latest updates, giving users to ability to self-police their time on their devices. It’s encouraging to see the tech companies feeling an obligation to help us better understand our relationship with social media – it’s a start at least.

So yes, The Circle is a sensational take on the issue of social media and sure, it offers a cheap hit of reality entertainment in the gap that Big Brother left. But the producers came up with the idea for reason, and that’s because it’s something almost all of us find relatable. The jury’s still out on how the balance of our digital lives will affect our IRL lives, but the needle seems to be tilting ever further towards our virtual selves.

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Simon Franklin
Simon Franklin

In short, no. Let’s explore further though.

This question and similar were present at Social Media Week 2016, alongside the overarching theme of the ‘invisible hand of social media’, referring to algorithms, bots and next-level targeting that follows us around our favourite websites like a friend that you thought you liked, but now can’t stand. It’s annoying right? But, not the leading cause for the demise of the world as we know it, surely? Well, no. Something unnerving is happening though.

Let’s talk about Brexit (again). Cast your mind back to the way that you voted, in or out. Have a think about how you made your decision. For many of us, that included chatting to friends and colleagues, reading the papers on our commute, googling “what happens if we leave/stay” and of course, checking our social news feeds.

Around 2 billion people are on Facebook, checking it 14ish times a day. With the latest algorithms, when you check your feed you’ll only see posts from your fav people. Great, right? No. This is awful. Most the time you surround yourself offline and online with people you like. People who have the same values and opinions as you. How many of you culled your Facebook when you saw people with the opposing view, slapped there as their status? Or were shocked when the vote didn’t go the way everyone you know wanted?

This is the equivalent of turning up at a meeting, telling everyone your idea and everyone saying “Exactly what I thought, nothing to add. Let’s go for it.”. Whilst, this sounds beautiful (it really does), imagine that happening every single meeting. It’s so one-sided and unchallenging. Whilst this emperor-has-no-clothes style is fine when you share personal updates, it’s scary when wider issues are shared in just one light.

Facebook is incredible and as a Digital marketer, I’m a fan. However, they are moving to be an all consuming platform that you’ll never need to leave, the ‘new internet’ was a comment heard last week. Let’s just hope they continue to address the issue of curation, as they seem to be.

Who’s the real saviour in this end of the world scenario? Firstly, you. Everyone has a responsibility to themselves at the least to explore multiple angles before making a decision.

Secondly, Twitter or one of the newer social media platforms like Snapchat. This might be the moment where the rest of the attendees from Social Media Week disagree, as it’s been widely reported that Twitter’s growth is struggling. However, it remains an organic channel, with limited curation and censorship (Hi, Donald Trump) and frankly, the one place you can access breaking news and a flurry of different opinions.

Image credit: © socialmediaweek.org

Rachael Sanders
Rachael Sanders

Over the past two years, I’ve been day tripping down to the coast for Brighton SEO conferences, and this September rounded up to my fifth visit. In that time, I’ve seen the event adapt and evolve throughout its biannual affair (although, if you’re a veteran Brighton SEO-er you’ve seen it change a whole lot more since it began as a gathering in the upstairs room of a pub). September 2016 saw another revamp – a venue upgrade to the Brighton Centre on the beach front.

It’s a packed out event (free tickets sell out in less than 13 minutes) with lots of talks, training sessions, roundtables, networking drinks and socials all fit into one day. So here’s a quick guide to making sure you get the best out of the conference.

Before the Conference

Be on the Eventbrite website the minute the tickets are released…

Otherwise you won’t get a ticket. Make sure you sign up to the newsletter emails so you know when each ticket release date is, which is normally around three months beforehand. It’s just like getting tickets to Glastonbury, although tickets to Brighton SEO sold out quicker than the festival itself in April.

If you don’t get a ticket…. you have a backup option

In the case that you miss out on a ticket, fear not, you can still go to Brighton SEO. If you book a place on one of the training courses on offer, you’ll automatically get a ticket to the main conference the next day.

Book somewhere for lunch

Although Brighton is a big seaside city, everyone goes for lunch at the same time, and in the same places. Expect to queue for a table for a long time if you haven’t reserved anywhere in advance. It’s easy to be caught up in a queue and miss the first sessions back in the conference centre after lunch at 2:30pm.

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On the Day

Turn up to a talk around 20 minutes beforehand

That’s if you want to get a seat and not stand at the back, or sit on the floor. This year, around 3,000 people attended September’s event, and with each session being a “first come first served” seating structure, capacity fills up quickly, and you might not be able to go to that all important talk at all. Unless you have a previously subscribed wristband access, it’s important to hang around each conference room early, it also gives you more opportunities to network.

Go to the networking drinks afterwards

You get a free drink token upon entering the conference on the day, so it’s worth going to the main foyer at the event to take advantage of it. There’s a huge variety of people from different industries (not just SEO!), and many often attend the conference for new business and even career opportunities.  

Go to at least one talk you don’t specialise in 

Brighton SEO is good for helping you work out what you know, as well as what you don’t know within an industry that’s ever changing. Talks are based on various skill set levels and are grouped into a range of different categories, which means it’s worth going to a few talks that aren’t relevant to your every day job role. This will come in handy further down the line if your agency adapts or acquires a new client in a new industry area, or with a different content and media focus. 

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Rachael Sanders
Rachael Sanders
Categories: Digital, General

IFA sometimes feels like Groundhog Day. The beginning of September always brings with it a wave of new consumer technology product launches and clearing up rumours, which makes it a busy time for tech fans, allowing IFA, Europe’s largest consumer electronics exhibition and the smaller cousin to CES in Las Vegas, to dominate global tech news during this time.

As electronics companies wrestle to position their products in the forefront of consumers minds, here’s a quick roundup for those who didn’t quite convince their boss to book them a flight to Berlin.

Advancement in 4K

Moving beyond your television, 4K is now becoming the next big thing in smartphone technology.

With Sony showing off their new line of Xperia Z5 smartphones, of which there are three, the Z5 Premium boasts an eye-watering 4K (3840×2160) screen for those times that you really want to show off your ludicrously high definition screen to friends and family. Are they waterproof you ask? Why yes, yes they are.

Wearable technology still a safe bet

With exciting new smartwatches being announced from the likes of ASUS, Motorola and Huawei, the name of the game this year is having a round face and a more luxurious quality.

Samsung show a clear step forward with their seventh version of a smartwatch Samsung Gear S2. Allowing for a round display and two models, Samsung is trying to punch with the likes of Apple in the space which might prove difficult as the Apple Watch was highly prominent on the wrists of those attending.

While you were sleeping

One trend that is appearing at IFA this year is the use of technology to track your sleeping patterns by placing devices in bed with you and watching you sleep (ala the Samsung SleepSense).

SevenHugs is a good example of this new trend as they are showcasing their hugOne device that allows the entire family to monitor their nightly escapades, humidity, temperature, and air quality.  The hugOne then gives the user a clear tracking method to move users to a informative and restful nights sleep.

Who took home the prize?

While Sony dominated conversations in the Press Room with their Z5 Premium phone, it was Apple who took the prize even though they don’t have a presence at IFA, as talk of their upcoming announcement next was the topic of choice.

This might be an indicator of the what people thought of the large announcements this year, and perhaps the word “lackluster” was used in various conversations, but it seems although Apple might not attend IFA, they don’t have to in order to be news.

At last night’s Brand Republic Digital Awards, we picked up the best Search Strategy Award for Bathrooms.com’s ‘Sweetest Mistake’ campaign.

­Born out of the insight that people misspell the word ‘suite’ as ‘sweet’, we created a microsite to sell a bathroom suite, made entirely of chocolate. With search strategy at the heart of the idea, Dynamo built the site, curated the onsite content and commissioned bespoke imagery.

The campaign directly impacted our client’s search visibility and increased their Google rankings, as well as achieving global print, online and broadcast media coverage and social media traction.

In a competitive category alongside Samsung, Direct Line and Royal Caribbean, to win best Search Strategy was a fantastic achievement, and highlights the value of Dynamo’s PR and SEO seamless strategy approach.

Rachael Sanders
Rachael Sanders
Categories: Awards, Digital

From digital marketing meet-ups and conferences to PR events, the term ‘PR SEO’ is increasingly a topic I hear people talking about.

Only a few years ago there used to be a budget scrum between the various elements of the marketing mix. With drastic changes happening to the Google Algorithm over the last few years the nature of how SEO needs to be executed has shaken up both the practice of and the type of the agencies that provide these services. Hybrid consultancies are on the rise and the consensus seems to be that it is necessary to blend PR with SEO in order to safely optimize on Google in 2015 and beyond.

Having worked in house in a digital marketing role and now agency side at Dynamo I can see from both perspectives why PR and SEO go hand in hand.

To put it simply, PR builds, crafts and helps to give brands more exposure to the public. For sometime SEOs have understood that Google gives preference to brands which are popular, as can be seen below.

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If you take a look at the key ranking factors Google uses to order who’s hot and who’s not, you can see that six out of the nine major factors can be influenced by what we would think of as traditional PR activity. With a little tweaking of the ‘old fashioned’ PR processes, the combination of PR and search marketing can be further enhanced. For example prioritising press lists not just on the publications circulation and target audience but also considering the SEO value the client will receive from the publication.

Reporting in the PR industry has until recently revolved around AVEs, but the online metrics that Google Analytics and reporting tools like Majestic offer have a much wider reach in understanding RIO. Pulling data and figures is all well and good, but it is only of use if you can tie this into measurable KPIs. Knowing that an article from E-consultancy drove 100 visitors, 20 of which then bought your product, is something that circulation alone just can’t do. Equally, understanding that a specific PR campaign moved rankings for key search terms from page two to page 1 is highly valuable and impacts the spend clients allocate to PPC, which is directly quantifiable in monetary terms.

PR campaigns like bathroom sweets where we created the world’s first bathroom made entirely from chocolate for Bathrooms.com is an example of how traditional PR can have outstanding results by utilising SEO tactics.

The campaign built over 50 links of DA 40 and above in sectors spanning from food, interiors, lifestyle and design; capturing the attention of audiences across the UK , Europe and in the even the USA.

Google algorithm updates, like Panda and Penguin mean a squeaky-clean link building strategy is the only way to ensure the hard work and investment you are putting into your PR and SEO now really goes the distance and provides long-term ROI.

This multidiscipline knowledge base can also help inform PR strategies too, determining what type of articles, publications and activities your key audiences are most receptive too.

Rachael Sanders
Rachael Sanders
Categories: Client, Digital, Knowledge

Kicking off the first in a season of search marketing conferences this year was Brighton SEO, which brought some of the top experts and speakers in the field down to the coast for another great event. This is one of the largest free SEO events and has continued to grow each year, with word on the door being that 1500 people were on the waiting list for the 2015 event!

It was exciting to watch the talks on topics from a varied range of digital marketing and social content trades. The most exciting part of the day was to watch our very own Digital Account Manager Rebecca Lee speak about, ‘A Supercharged Approach to PR SEO Success’.

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To make sure the rest of the team back at Dynamo HQ could enjoy the talks, our co-founder Peter Bowles live-streamed the sessions from the audience using the new Periscope app.

Rebecca’s talk highlighted the importance of implementing public relations activity for SEO benefit. Focusing on how news jumps, strong journalist rapport, creative brainstorms and great story making can contribute to online coverage and building safe links to a client’s website.

Her talk received high praise from members of the audience on Twitter:

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Identifying a healthy balance and functional interaction between these two core practices of PR and SEO is essential to what we do at Dynamo and it was great to see other talks at Brighton SEO 2015 highlight this.  One of the best was presented by Samuel Scott, who offered one of the most engaging talks of the day entitled, “Stop Thinking About Links And Start Thinking About Publicity.”

The day of talks, roundtables and speeches closed with Brighton SEO’s founder Kelvin Newman having a “fireside chat” with Apprentice winner and Internet marketing specialist at ClimbOnline, Mark Wright. Wright revealed anecdotes of his time on the Apprentice show, company life after his win, as well as the mix of criticism and support in the SEO world since his victory.

Once 6’oclock came around and Kelvin Newman officially closed the conference, most dashed to the main dome bar to exchange drink tokens for wine and beer for a couple of hours, discussing the day’s events, networking as well as enjoying the last few hours of the sun in Brighton town.

All in all it was a highly informative and productive day at Brighton SEO for our team, and a big congratulations from everyone at Dynamo to Rebecca for her inspiring talk at the event!

Rachael Sanders
Rachael Sanders
Categories: Digital, Speaking

We’re delighted to learn today that we’ve been shortlisted for 9 PR agency and campaign awards from PRMoment, one of the most liked and read PR publications in the UK. There were over 600 entries for the 2015 awards, and Dynamo has been picked as a finalist in the following categories:

– Best use of evaluation for our Bathroomsweets.com campaign for Bathrooms.com
– Financial campaign of the year for our crowdfunding campaign for M3D which raised over $3 million
– Consumer PR campaign of the year, again for our Bathrooms.com campaign
– Media relations campaign of the year, for M3D
– Low budget campaign of the year, for M3D
– Small agency of the year
– Consumer PR agency of the year
– Integrated agency of the year
– Technology agency of the year

The winners will be announced in March, and you can see the full shortlist (and who we’re up against ) here.

Paul Cockerton
Paul Cockerton