BC Tip: The Independent Group – lacking visibility

A new UK political grouping launched in a blaze of publicity recently, but their website was left in the shadows

The Independent Group’s website

The Independent Group’s website

The Feature

The UK’s proposed exit from the European Union is having profound political effects, and one recent development has been the formation of a new political alliance by defectors from the main parties.

The politicians have called themselves ‘The Independent Group’, and launched their venture with a great deal of attention in the UK.

While they have amassed significant numbers of followers on various social media networks, their brief website https://www.theindependent.group/ has come in for some very public criticism in the mainstream press and broadcast channels. Images are repetitive, and often of low quality.

It is not very visible on search engines: a search for ‘the independent group’ only revealed the official site on the fifth page of Google results. Results for news coverage of the group, and for sites about a movement of artists in the 1950s with the same name, dominated the results listings.

The Takeaway

It is unsurprising that such a controversial project should come in for criticism, and perhaps the group should not be judged too harshly for having a website without a lot of material on it at this early stage in their existence - but undoubtedly it could have been slicker.

Digital managers preparing for the launch of sites at short notice – for use in a crisis, perhaps – would do well to note the effects of an obvious lack of preparation, and in particular poor image choice.

Clearly social media has been the focus for The Independent Group, but the lack of attention to the website’s search engine visibility is questionable – especially if the group becomes a party, as it is likely to do so, and needs to attract donations and publicise its policies. Any company will be unable to rely on social media visibility alone.

How visitors will find you is a key question for any new website – especially if you do not have control over your name or even URL, and/or you do not have a lot of material to start with. Paid search marketing may well be worth considering in this case – but long-term, a good organic search presence is essential.

For more commentaries, tips and downloads for online corporate communications professionals, visit our website.

If you have a query or for more information about Bowen Craggs, please contact Dan Drury: ddrury@bowencraggs.com.

BC Tip: The Ryder Cup - Keeping up the momentum

The Ryder Cup’s social media accounts kept interest in the golf event alive long after the final putt was sunk

Ryder Cup - Team Europe’s Instagram

Ryder Cup - Team Europe’s Instagram

The Feature

Golf’s Ryder Cup, the biennial team contest between Europe and the US, concluded recently in France.

There are accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for both the USA and Europe teams. In the week following Europe’s victory, various celebratory posts appeared on the team’s channels. There were Twitter and Facebook votes about successful players, while collages, videos, graphics and cleverly filtered images, including some informal behind-the-scenes posts, filled the Instagram page.

Two posts used across the social channels stood out: a video produced to inspire the European team, which they watched before the event, shared and liked by thousands and viewed over 1.5m times. And a humorous vignette of two of the team’s most successful players, in bed with the Ryder Cup trophy.

Meanwhile the defeated USA team’s accounts, such as Instagram, struck a more muted tone, and looked forward to the next event in two years’ time.

The Takeaway

The mix of material posted to social channels helps to maintain engagement beyond the Ryder Cup competition itself – something that corporate digital managers can replicate in the wake of a significant company announcement, event or milestone.

Internal content can be used to give an insight into the way a company works, while bespoke material, tailored for individual channels, can attract significant audiences on social media.

This can simply be used to keep an organization in the public eye, or to give people a reason to return to the corporate website. Social referrals to corporate websites are often low, as we found in our last Google Analytics benchmark, so this is an area in which companies are frequently missing an opportunity to attract users to their sites.

It is key to keep the tone of posts appropriate though, as the differences between the approaches of the Europe and USA teams demonstrates.

For more commentaries, tips and downloads for online corporate communications professionals, visit our website.

If you have a query or for more information about Bowen Craggs, please contact Dan Drury: ddrury@bowencraggs.com.

BC tip: BP - Making existing material go further

BP selects some of its best images from 2017 for an effective New Year photo feature  

BP 2017 picture show

The Feature

BP has an online magazine which is one of the main sections of its website.

At the end of 2017, BP selected nine images which it had previously published in the magazine during the year to create a new article ‘Picture show: the faces and places of BP in 2017’.

The images are varied, ranging from an employee working in a laboratory to schoolchildren at an event to a landscape of an offshore platform. Each one is titled, credited to a photographer and has a short caption.

The feature was posted in the Observations sub-section and heavily promoted around the site, including on the global home page, and on the company’s Twitter feed.

The Takeaway

Individually the images are impressive, but taken together their impact is increased. The user is drawn to scroll down the page to see all the photos, partly by the strength of the images, but also by the bold titles such as ‘Line of sight’ or ‘The colour purple’.

The images seem to have been chosen and captioned carefully to convey the wide range of projects and locations that the company operates in, to convey key messages, and to provide a retrospective on the year.

For example, the top image ‘Hanging out’ is of an employee high up on rigging, installing equipment on a platform. Not only is the image stunning, with the operator in the foreground far above a ship in the background, but the fact he is wearing safety gear – and that the caption underlines this – is designed to communicate BP’s approach to safety.

A link to a magazine article from April 2017 on the company’s North Sea business, where the platform in question is located, is an effective way of drawing the visitor in to related information.

Crediting the images is a nice touch too – not just to recognise the photographers, but it also helps add to the magazine-feel of the piece. One criticism is that the original articles in which the photos were published are not linked: this would add context and interest.

Overall this is a powerful way of telling the company’s story and engaging the website’s visitors, simply by reusing valuable material the company already has. A useful pointer for companies that could be helpful not just at New Year, but at any time in the editorial calendar.

https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/bp-magazine/observations/bp-best-of-2017-in-pictures.html