Latest News Social Media

Is social media advocacy the solution to reduced organic reach for brands?

How does having your own private social media army sound? Interesting…then please read on.

When it comes to posting content as a brand on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn it’s becoming increasing difficult to reach your audience if you just rely on organic (i.e. you don’t pay to promote it) content.

There is a rapidly diminishing return in terms of the natural organic performance of content – this can mean reach as low as 2% of your page’s audience – as networks push to make themselves more relevant to users and simultaneously try to grow revenue through advertising.

So, aside from reviewing the approach and tone of the content you’re posting or going cap in hand and asking for a bigger budget for promoted content on social media, what are the options?

Social advocacy

As I see it, the biggest opportunity for anyone delivering social media in 2019 has to be around harnessing the power of your employees as social media advocates who can utilise their personal social media channels to amplify your organisation’s messages and activity.

Advocacy grows the potential audience for your content beyond your owned channels to the networks of your employees and creates a more personal link between your messages and the audience – think of it as having your own private army of micro-influencers.

And you’ll be getting one over on those pesky algorithms. The platforms are much more likely to favour content that has been posted by an individual rather than an organisation.

Naturally, there are risks to taking this approach – you are delegating some control of your brand away from the carefully controlled confines of the marketing/communications team and in the hands of your employees, but with careful planning and oversight the risks to this can be negated.

For example, in our work with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we have helped to train over 100  advocates on how they can effectively use their presence on social media (across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) to amplify the SRA’s messages in a time and place that suits them whilst at the same time enhancing their own presences on social media – a true win-win situation.

Training and resources

In conjunction with training, putting in place a system to centralise and track advocates not only ensures that sharing content is a simple and straightforward process, but also means you can track and reward the advocates who are doing the most to share content. There are a whole range of these platforms out there including Smarp (which we use in our work with the SRA) and Bambu which we have access to as part of our membership of Sprout Social’s Agency Partner programme.

We’re currently working on a whitepaper which will provide a much more detailed insight into how we see social media advocacy developing over the coming months, but in the meantime here are our three top recommendations for setting up an advocacy programme:

  1. Plan ahead – make sure what you want to achieve from launching an advocacy programme is aligned with your organisation’s overall objectives
  2. Support your advocates – consider ways you can train your advocates around effective use of social media, provide context and give them the confidence to take ownership of their work in the programme.
  3. Put a structure in place to systemise the programme – this includes thinking about how you will disseminate the content you want to be shared, track the effectiveness of the programme and recognise/reward success.

If you want to register to receive a copy of our whitepaper when it’s published later in the spring or find out how you could make an advocacy programme work for your organisation get in touch with me – or Jess – – and we’d be happy to chat things through with you over a cup of coffee.

Thanks for reading,


Latest News PR

Distance based road user charging – it’s the future

That was the conclusion of the expert panel at a great Centre for London event last night to launch its new report on the future of the transport network and road user charging in London.

I was there with our client emovis, whose Chief Exec Anthony Alicastro was on the panel to give an industry perspective in front of a packed ‘standing room only’ crowd of around 200 delegates including London Mayoral candidates, campaigners and assembly members.

So, what might happen in London?

The Centre for London report titledGreen Light: Next generation road user charging for a healthier, more liveable London”, calls for London to move towards an innovative new road user charging scheme which charges drivers on a per-mile basis. Costs would vary by vehicle emissions, local levels of congestion and pollution and availability of public transport alternatives – and prices would be set before the journey begins.

The scheme would be integrated with London’s wider transport system via a new app and digital platform, which the report proposes would be run by Transport for London. The scheme, which the report calls City Move would provide Londoners with more choice about how they travel around the city.

City Move would utilise the latest technology to give Londoners all their travel information in one place, allowing them to compare, plan and pay for journeys. Drivers, for example, would be presented with costs and impacts of using their vehicle versus alternative modes of transport.

It’s not policy yet – but the report’s authors are calling on all Mayoral candidates in the capital’s 2020 election to make a commitment to tackle the issue, and momentum is gathering, so watch this space

What’s the role for communications, PR and marketing?

Where do you start. It’s all about good communications. There are challenges around public acceptance of the introduction of road user charging or tolling, but in cities like London the debate has moved on – it is no longer about whether to charge people – it is about how to do it.

Our top three tips for communicating with the public and stakeholders on road user charging are:

  • Be clear on WHY you are introducing road user charging (e.g. to benefit the environment, to raise money for road improvements, to relieve congestion, to boost the economy). This doesn’t just shape what type of scheme you should deliver but it frames the public debate from day one.
  • Be clear how you are going to use the money raised. Transparency is critical for buy-in and focusing on the benefits you are delivering will be crucial.
  • Keep it simple – the great thing about the City Moveconcept is it keeps things as simple as possible for customers.

Once you get this strategic approach right you can get start being creative with the comms tactics and branding, but it is the messaging and positioning that sets the agenda and frames the discussion.

From our work on the merseyflow project and wider work with emovis over the past year on other schemes they are looking at around the world, it is clear this is something that both national governments and local authorities/major cities are looking at very closely.

In terms of maximising public acceptability, once you add in

  • the possibility of road user charging replacing road tax and maybe even fuel duty
  • an easy to use app that shows you the cheapest and quickest way to travel and gives you viable alternative public transport options
  • a scheme that can offer refunds if there are delays…..

…..then my view is this starts to become a very meaningful and realistic policy option.

For London, City Move would be healthier, fairer, simpler and greener than existing charging systems. Hard to argue against when you think about it.

Thanks for reading.


#teamDTW Design

Our simple guide to logo formats

How to be your designer’s best friend

Have you ever been bamboozled by a request for logos in a particular format or struggled to work out why that 5KB version copied from a word document can’t be made the size of the Empire State Building?

Then read on. We’ve created a simple starter guide to make your life a lot easier.

Your company logo probably exists in a whole range of formats.

The different formats can be identified by their extension, e.g. logo.jpg or logo.eps etc. But why are there so many formats? And which one should you use for different things?

The most common/useful formats and their best uses are:


These large files are the holy grail to a designer. An EPS file (known as a vector file) can be scaled to any size without losing clarity. They are perfect for print work and, as they are often the master file can be saved into other formats.


These are usually developed for web work, but these vector files will always be crisp and clear at whatever size they’re used. The small file size makes this format a good all-rounder.


You’ll recognise pdfs as being more often used as downloadable documents, but they can be used to provide a logo, as long as the logo was a vector file (not JPEG or PNG). As Acrobat Reader is free to download it is an increasingly common and accessible file format.


This file format has different qualities like low, medium and high. Usually used to store photographs, image posts on social media, emails and websites. This format is great for digital work – although it doesn’t support a transparent background – low resolution (72dpi and small in dimensions) is not recommended for print work.


This has all the features of a JPEG file but supports a transparent background, which means no more unwanted white patches around your logo. This format is ideal for PowerPoint presentations and Word documents. Again, low resolution (72dpi and small in dimensions) is not recommended for print work.

Does it really matter? The answer is yes if you want to put your best foot forward. You can see from the different versions of the DTW logo included here what a difference it makes.


Best logo file for digital purposes – PNG files

Best logo file for print purposes –EPS files

And finally, three top tips to remember.

  1. Changing the extension manually on a file (e.g. from a .jpg to a .eps) sadly does not alter the type of file – if only!
  2. On behalf of our design team, please don’t send your company logo embedded in a word or excel document!
  3. If you haven’t got or can’t find the right format, try your marketing or design team – whether they are in-house or outsourced – they will (or they should!) know exactly what you are talking about and be happy to help.

Thanks for reading


#teamDTW Creative Design

Looking after your elderly neighbours

As DTW marks its 30th year in business there’s a significantly bigger birthday going on over our garden wall. Our neighbour Gisborough Priory is celebrating 900 years.

Gisborough Priory is an English Heritage site which is run by a dedicated group of volunteers who catalogue, restore and host events on this historic site. To launch its 900th year, DTW joined forces to help produce a timeline, which is displayed in the visitor centre, detailing the many events the priory has endured through its turbulent lifetime.

We were happy to give our services free of charge as it’s important to look out for your elderly neighbours.

If you want to know more check out the work of the Gisborough Priory Project– they do a great job.

PS – the spelling pedants amongst you (we know who you are and we salute you – you are amongst friends here!) might think we have a challenge spelling our home town.

But don’t worry, it’s OK.

Guisborough is the correct spelling for the place and for our address, but very confusingly Gisborough is the correct spelling for the Priory (and the nearby Gisborough Hall Hotel).

Don’t you love the English language!

Thanks for reading


Digital Social Media

How to target your audience effectively through social media

Recent headlines around data and social media means both consumers and marketeers are feeling wary about using and sharing data on platforms like Facebook. Is data being used ethically? How can it be used to effectively target the right audience?

This blog is not here to scaremonger. Instead, it is going to show you how, when done right, targeting using social data is a win/win for everyone involved.

We’re going to focus on Facebook, but LinkedIn and Twitter have similar advert targeting platforms and functionalities.

How targeting works

Once a consumer has signed up and accepted those terms and conditions (the ones we all accept, but hardly ever read), a social network can start gathering information on them. They look at who they follow, which posts they like, where they log on from, what device they log on from and – through cookies – what sites they visit. 

It’s worth noting that social networks like Facebook are not unusual when it comes to this data gathering – Google is just the same.

The networks then provide this information, confidentially, to advertisers so they can serve content that they think is relevant to the consumer. For example, if a consumer has interacted with a lot of fitness and swimming content from their phone, and you are running the new swimming baths nearby, you might want to advertise your new swimming lessons to them when they’re on their phone next.

Facebook targeting

Image source: Buzzfeed

How to target effectively

Poor targeting is the thing that gives social data a bad name. If you’re a passionate swimmer, you’re not really interested in seeing an advert for expensive running shoes. You also don’t particularly want to see an advert too specific: “You love swimming, why not try running instead?”. This can, quite rightly, freak people out.

Facebook has advertising policies that outline what advertisers can and can’t put in their adverts to ensure the content is relevant to their users. Users can also access, and limit, the information Facebook provides advertisers via their account settings (and for the record, Facebook doesn’t listen to our conversations).

When you first start looking to run an advertising campaign on Facebook, the best place to start is Audience Insights. This helps you define who would be best suited for your content and see how you can make it relevant to them. Again, let’s reiterate, this is all confidential data, there will never be any personal information like names, emails and addresses available to advertisers.

When you go to Facebook Audience Insights, you can filter for users within certain locations, demographics or interests. Once you’ve defined those filters, you can look at which pages they like, how they interact with posts, and what devices they use.

Audience Insights

So, with our swimming example – we can see that the people we’ve defined on the left are more likely to click on ads than the average Facebook user, and use Facebook on their iPhones more than desktop.

Audience insights 2

Then, once we’ve got that audience defined, we can save it and use it when setting up an advertising campaign.

Facebook ad targeting

During this time, Facebook helpfully tells you if your audience is defined enough to run a decent campaign as seen here – the target is always to be in the green.



Facebook relevance

With this information, we can create relevant ad content for our audience, and make sure our ads look good on mobile.

Once your campaign is up and running, you’ll get a relevance score, which is a number between 1 and 10 that tells you how your target audience is responding to your ad. The higher the score, the more relevant your ad to your audience. This will hopefully mean that your audience is seeing the right content for them and won’t be annoyed or disappointed at seeing your content in their news feed.


We’ve established the sort of data that social networks can get from a user, and how it is used for advertising purposes, but the key thing to remember is that the better the targeting, the happier your audience will be and the more effective your marketing will become.

Here are some key things to remember to make sure you target your audience correctly:

  1. Don’t be too broad or too niche – you want to cast a net wide enough to get your message out, but not too wide that people who wouldn’t be interested in your content get annoyed at seeing your ads in their feeds.
  2. Tailor your content to your audience – using Audience Insights is a great way to get a steer on the kind of content that works for your audience.
  3. Stay relevant – if your relevance score is under 5, have a look at your campaign results (in ads manager). See where people are clicking, who is clicking and tweak your targeting accordingly.Ad demographics4. Talk to an expert – If you’re really struggling, or just want a sense check, there are plenty of social media experts who know the ins and outs of good audience targeting.
#teamDTW Latest News News

DTW signs up to support Tees Valley Careers scheme

DTW has signed up to a new scheme all about giving young people from across the Tees Valley a taste of working life to help them become ‘work-ready’ as they set out on their career journey.

Chris Taylor, Managing Director of DTW, said: “We’re always happy to help young people step onto the career ladder and the Tees Valley Careers approach is great. It’s genuinely one of the best and most employer friendly initiatives I have seen.”

The appeal of the Tees Valley Careers scheme is that it isn’t just about offering work experience. For a small business like ours that can be a challenge due to client commitments and logistical challenges, particularly for school age children.

The scheme gives employers options like going into schools and chat to students, take part in mock interview exercises and careers days. We think these can be hugely valuable to young people in our area. The opportunities are all co-ordinated by the Tees Valley Careers team which minimises the ‘hassle factor’. It means employers like DTW can get involved when there are opportunities that fit in with our industry and which work for us.

For young people looking to take their first step into the world of work, anything they can do to engage with employers and gain a better understanding of work situations will really help them in their early careers.

Chris added: “We’re passionate about helping young people as they start out in their career. This is a great initiative that is local to us and something we’re very much looking forward to being involved with.”

You can visit the Tees Valley Careers website to find out more about getting involved.

The Tees Valley Careers scheme is being delivered by the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

#teamDTW News PR

Joe gives his view on work experience at DTW

Last week we played host to a third-year journalism student – Joe – from Teesside University – on work experience. We think it is important to give young people opportunities and experience in the world of work and in the PR and communications industry in particular. And it also keeps us on our toes having bright young things coming in and asking lots of awkward questions. Good luck with the future Joe!

Read on to see Joe’s views on his week at DTW Towers.

Hi – my name is Joe – I am a third year Teesside University student studying Journalism.

I’m in the final stages of my degree and I wanted to learn more about public relations, how it works, how companies operate etc.

I was given this opportunity by DTW for a week of work experience to gain an insight into the world of PR. I learned a huge amount over the week as I spent the week learning how to write press releases, work shadowing, sitting in on meetings and learning about problem solving, strategies and the bigger picture of PR.

Everyone who worked there was extremely friendly and welcoming which made settling in quickly much easier and meant it wasn’t difficult to ask anyone questions when I didn’t fully understand something.

I spent the week sat with Chris, Managing Director and Karen, Senior Strategist. Again, this could have been daunting, but their friendly nature was relaxing. I learnt a lot and the experience was hugely enjoyable, it has confirmed that PR is certainly an option as a future career for me.

Thanks everyone!

Joe Robertson

#teamDTW Animation Creative Latest News

Merry Christmas from everyone at DTW

We’ve made a little Christmas animation just for you – you just know you need to brighten up your day by watching it.

We have really enjoyed working with you in 2018 and look forward to catching up with you again in 2019.

Thank you for helping us do what we love – it is through our work with amazing clients and partners like you that DTW has been able to win seven industry Gold awards this year – we couldn’t have done it without you so it’s a huge thank you from us.

Have a fantastic Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!

#teamDTW Creative Latest News

Mersey Gateway – an ideal Christmas stocking filler

Think you can’t fit a 10 kilometre infrastructure project in your Christmas stocking? Think again!!

For anyone who loves amazing infrastructure and engineering combined with beautifully well written and designed books the new The Mersey Gateway Project – A bridge to prosperity is a must.

Featuring some amazing not seen before images of the iconic new bridge over the River Mersey in Halton, it tells the story of the three-and-a-half year construction and the 20-year battle to get funding and planning permission.

We may be slightly biased as Paula and Sarah in our design team have done all the designs and artwork and we’ve had a hand in copy editing but we think this is an amazing book about a wonderful project.

Full marks to Laura and Michelle at the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board and Halton Borough Council for getting the story out of their heads and on paper.

The Mersey Gateway Project – A bridge to prosperity is available now for just £9.99 and you can pre-order your copy on Waterstones website.

#teamDTW Latest News News PR

Triple award success for DTW at 2018 CIPR PRide awards

What a night! The DTW team was delighted to come away with three Gold awards from the CIPR North East Pride awards on Friday night (7 December).

Hannah Cheetham (right) picked up the hugely well deserved Outstanding Young Communicator award. We also won two big awards for our work with Sunderland City Council on its new Northern Spire bridge.

All in all, an amazing evening put on again by the CIPR at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle.

To win Regional Campaign of the Year and Public Sector Campaign for the Northern Spire work is a real recognition of the blood, sweat and tears that Karen and others have put in on this project over the past three-and-a-half years. We’re very pleased.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ annual PRide awards recognise the best public relations work done by agencies, freelancers and in-house teams across the UK.