Sociable Royals leave their digital mark

Catherine Arrow FPRINZ FCIPR, Unlocked PR

Whether you’re a flag-waving Royalist or a slightly jaded bystander it is unlikely that you will have escaped the daily media overload of Wills-and-Kate stories that have bloated front pages and dominated news feeds for the last seven days.

It has certainly been a very social visit. For every handshake and hongi there have been hundreds of tweets, carefully curated instagrams and more likes that you can shake a thumb at.

Though steeped in tradition, the Windsors have always been early adopters of new ways to communicate – right from way-back-when and their first Christmas radio broadcasts to today’s tweets. They recognised earlier than most that good communication gets them closer to their people, so have been quick to adopt platforms, channels and networks that suit the story they want to share, rather than the tales produced by mainstream media.

One of the channels currently in use is Storify, which I highlighted for you here a few years ago when it launched. The New Zealand tour has unfolded day-by-day on Storify, with Clarence House sharing the experience with the worldwide cohort of Royal fans.

If you have missed it, Storify allows you to aggregate content associated with a particular topic, hashtag or person, collate the material you want, add your own commentary and then publish. It is a neat way to tell a story but for practitioners it is a particularly valuable tool for monitoring and reporting social content.

Image sourced from Thinkstock by Getty Images

Image sourced from
Thinkstock by Getty Images

During this month’s professional development sessions on social media monitoring we were playing around with Storify and other curation platforms that help practitioners keep a ‘low-cost-no cost’ eye on content that matters to their organisations. These tools can help in the ongoing task of monitoring who is saying what and when as well as doubling as handy trackers before, during and after campaigns and programmes.

Clarence House – along with other global news publishers – uses Storify to collate and then share the content across their network platforms – recording and extending reach at the same time.

It is an interesting channel to observe as it underlines the fact that we are all publishers now – not just providers of news and content. In observing how the publishing platforms are used by others it is worth reflecting on how our organisations can make best use of their role as publisher rather than a simple – and often reactive – provider.

When people talk about social media they tend to associate all activity with the Big Three – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – but there is a vast realm to explore and the digital landscape has many hidden gems just waiting to be added to your organisation’s communication crown.

As practitioners we need to be constantly reviewing and adapting platforms, assessing their suitability for the task and determining whether or not they are still valid contact points for the communities we serve. And, where necessary, be brave enough to leave traditional approaches behind and break new ground. In doing so, our stories will be readily available to our communities, develop understanding and help to build the relationships needed to maintain a licence to operate.

Catherine Arrow will be leading the PRINZ Social Media Boot Camp on May 8 in Auckland, taking delegates on a digital exploration of the social media landscape and discovering how best practitioners can make use of online opportunities. Secure your place – book now.

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