Stop Reposting

In order to be valuable, the content you post needs to be specific to your business. Pugs in Game of Thrones costumes? Not relevant, save them for your personal page. The only way to ensure everything you post is specific to your business is to create everything yourself. If you’re just starting out, or are hitting a content brick wall, here are some tips:

social media for business

Don’t be Afraid to Hire Help

Creating enough content for your business can seem like an almost impossible task, thankfully there’s always help out there. Intern uni students or hire a freelance writer – you’re sure to find someone who enjoys writing, understands social media, and would love to get some experience. However, if you really want to be noticed, consider branching out into video content. Why? Because video is naturally engaging and easy to digest – it requires very little effort, your consumer simply has to sit and watch. The figures back me up:

  • 100 million Internet users watch videos online every day.
  • By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco.
  • YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month.

If you’re hesitant to jump into the world of video content because you’re afraid of the price tag, relax – in recent years, things have become much more affordable, and more businesses are offering video creation than ever before. At Messages On Hold, we offer, a professionally written, recorded and produced industry-specific video newsletter you brand as your own.

social media for business

  1. Not Every Post Needs to be Earth-Shattering

Remember, it’s better to post one relevant video you created on your website/social media and have that running for three to six months than repost a video that isn’t yours every week. In the meantime however, remember to post updates, share your blog posts, and keep clients updated with products and news. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering for you or your customers either, keeping it light hearted is just fine.

social media for business


If you’re struggling for ideas, Newsjacking can be a great source of content. Messages On Hold did this last year when a telephone sales rep from US company Comcast was recorded refusing to cancel a customer’s service. In the weeks following the recording going viral, Comcast’s share price dropped more than 5% – a dip many attributed to the negative publicity surrounding the recorded phone call. This happened to coincide with the launch of our online skills training, Phone Skills. We immediately put out a press release and wrote a few blogs on the subject, showing the terrible results of failing to train staff properly, highlighting the benefit of our product to our customers. But please be careful Newsjacking an issue held sacred by many may not give the results you’re looking for.

Good Example:

social media for business

Bad Example:

social media for business

Use Your Personal Experiences

You’ll be surprised at just how well your daily life can translate into content relatable to your business and audience. Our General Manager, Kirrily Davies did it in her recent blog post about leadership. By reflecting on her son’s junior football match on Mother’s Day, she was able to show the importance of every day leadership and how it can positively impact the people around you. Using your own experiences has the benefit of allowing you to write about what you know, and to develop a deeper emotional bond with you customers.

Every time you post ensure the content is relevant to you and helpful to your customers. If that means promoting your own products, even better! Also make sure you post and share your own content at least once a week. You adopted social media to promote your business – so do it!

– Steph

The Top Five Christmas Campaigns for 2014

Every year around early November, the internet starts to come alive with the excitement for the upcoming ad bonanza that is Christmas time. So in spirit of Christmas, here are our top 5 Christmas campaigns for 2014!

5) Sainsbury’s – Christmas Is For Sharing, made in partnership with The Royal British Legion. [Warning – turn your speakers down]

Talk about pulling on the old heartstrings! The famous war story of The Christmas Truce has been brought to life in this ad which at publishing date has had over 14 million hits. Sainsbury’s took a big risk with this one.  War isn’t a topic to be taken lightly. However if we look past the fact that in essence, the supermarket is using war to advertise their company, what we have is a beautiful representation of the spirit of Christmas. (Sorry for the saccharine, but if we can’t at Christmas then when can we?) What makes the campaign more palatable is the fact its promoting a chocolate bar of which all profits will be donated to the Royal British Legion.  A brilliant message indeed.

4) Tesco’s Wigan Light Show

Once upon a time, retailers would release one wizz bang Christmas ad and that was enough. Not anymore. UK Retailer Tesco has released a fun, sweet Christmas ad campaign which at face value is fine. But it’s not the official ad that we love. In 2013, Tesco customer Claire Hannah tweeted that her local Tesco wasn’t displaying the iconic ‘Tesco hat’. Instead of a miserly, boring response tweet, Tesco threw plenty of energy (and plenty of dollars) at a response (seen here) this year that’s already getting them plenty of free publicity. Not only did they respond to the tweet, but they added to their Christmas message this year in a spectacular, explosive fashion. It looks like the proof is already in the pudding in terms of free exposure thanks to Christmas-themed content.

3) David Jones – The Things We Do For Love

Speaking of saccharine! We’re proud to announce that Aussie retailer David Jones has jumped on the Christmas bandwagon and offered up a classic Aussie Christmas problem in their sentimental Christmas ad! Here in the wide, brown land, we’re not famous for our inclusion of chimneys in our architecture. This ad plays delightfully on this notion and reminds us why we celebrate Christmas at all. Because it makes the people we love happy. While this ad’s not racing up the viral stakes yet, we’re expecting a Christmas miracle!

2) Aldi – Aussie Christmas

Australians enjoy a fairly unique Christmas. While the romance of a white Christmas isn’t lost on us – most of us spend December 25 sweltering in the heat wishing we’d let the whole ‘hot food’ thing go. Aldi has jumped on this idea and offered a delightful mash-up of the traditional white Christmas and the quintessential Aussie Christmas. While the advertising elements of this ad might be a little overt, we’re willing to forgive it just to watch those zany Europeans having a crack at the slip n’ slide on the snow! And keep an eye out for the budgie smugglers – we didn’t know they existed outside Australia!

1) John Lewis – Monty The Penguin

And finally, it wouldn’t be a modern Christmas without a visit from Monty The Penguin. John Lewis must be rubbing their hands together in the lead up to Christmas now, knowing they’re days away from an absurd amount of free publicity. Before it was even released, the Twittersphere was abuzz with excitement. And, as expected, this year’s Monty The Penguin ad notched up 12 million views in the first week it was released. John Lewis pre-empted the insane response to the ad with more content marketing than you can poke a stick at including  a website where you can explore Monty’s world, a storytelling app, Monty’s Den in each of their stores and Monty the Penguin adoption toys which raise money for the WWF. Oh and Monty the Penguin has over 35,000 followers on Twitter. Not bad for a penguin. John Lewis spent £1 million on the Monty the Penguin ads but when you look at the YouTube shares, the interactive content and phenomenal free publicity this little guy has earned the retailer, it’s a small price to pay.

– Sophie

Best of 2013: Corporate YouTube Videos

I don’t think there’s anything I enjoy more about December than the inevitable “best of insert year here” lists that pop up. Oh wait there is one thing I enjoy more – collating the lists myself!

Here in the Copywriting department, we love poring over the exciting offerings from companies across the world and so we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the Top 10 Creative Videos from companies in 2013.

Some are clever, some are funny and some are downright astounding (here’s looking at you Volvo). While your marketing budget might not stretch to include Jean Claude Van Damme riding atop trucks, these videos still show you what’s possible when you combine the awesome powers of video, the internet and a little left-of-centre thinking.

10. LG:  LG Ultra HD 84” TV Prank

– A very sharable example of the stunning visuals delivered by the Korean company’s new TV.


9. Evian: Baby & Me

– While being borderline creepy, this weird ad notched up an impressive 67 million views after being launched in April.


8. Audi: Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: “The Challenge”

This copywriter found out about this chuckle-worthy video from her Star Trek loving Dad. And if Star Trek loving dads are sharing it, you know it’s hit the nail on the head.


7. CarrieNYC: Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise

– The marketers of the 2013 recreation of Carrie created a unique way to build online excitement about the film and manage to terrify some NYC coffee-shop goers in the process.


6. Dove: Dove Real Beauty Sketches

– A simple, but heart-breakingly effective message is delivered in this video which was shared by women and men across the globe.

5. PooPourri: Girls Don’t Poop

– While the Copywriting Department debated if this product was for real, this video was quietly racking up 20 million views.


4. WestJet: WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving

– A late entry just in time for Christmas, this video demonstrates how easily a video can go viral when you tug at people’s heartstrings – 16 million views in three days ain’t bad.


3. Virgin America: Virgin America Safety Video

– Way to reinvent the wheel Virgin America! I’m going to think about this video every single time I’m on a plane now and wish I was on a Virgin America flight instead.


2. Kmart: Ship My Pants

– Got some news you want to let your customers know about? Make a funny video and get YouTube to do the work for you! Kmart did and boy oh boy did this video get a workout in the Copywriting Department.


1. Volvo Trucks: Volvo Trucks – The Epic Split feat. Van Damme (Live Test 6)

– Just watch it. Like right now.


– Sophie

The Element of Surprise; Surprisingly Easy

Do you remember the good old days when you didn’t have to pump your own petrol? I don’t, because I was born in the nineties. But I’ve heard great things about those pre-World Wide Web times; milk delivered to your door step, corner shops where the shopkeeper knew your name, bank tellers that were neither automatic nor machines. But those little customer service quirks have gone the way of the dinosaur and the human race has evolved to have lowered expectations to help cope with this changing climate.

My generation is getting used to poor customer service to a point where we don’t even know what we’re missing out on. We’re desensitized to video game violence and waiters who won’t make eye-contact. While this may make us an apathetic lot, it also makes us strangely easy to surprise.

A bar in Perth recently announced it was going to go against the norm and sell coffee for $2.50. Big whoop. But in Perth, this is newsworthy because we’ve been subjected to coffee that’s on average 40 cents more expensive than the rest of the country.

So why not take advantage of these lowered expectations and surprise your disgruntled customers with some good old fashion service? Your customers will either react like this guy (watch the video, I’ll wait here until you’re done) or they’ll be so surprised by the interaction that it will become an anecdote shared by word of mouth or across social media.

The Interaction

The Interaction

There are many examples of customers making waves across social media, some good, and some bad. One positive example is the story of the Dragon and the Kangaroo. When the Galaxy SIII was released a man asked Samsung Canada for a free one and attached a picture of a dragon he had drawn for them.  Samsung apologised to the man, stating that they could not afford to send everyone a new phone who asked. Pretty run of the mill response, except for one interesting addition; they complimented his dragon and gave him a drawing of a kangaroo on a unicycle in return.

The man was charmed, took a screenshot of the conversation and posted it on Reddit with the caption “Well, Samsung Canada has won me over”. The image went viral and Samsung Canada gained the image of a cool, laidback and friendly company.  But then they took one step further. As a token of their appreciation for the positive media, they sent the man a one of a kind Samsung Galaxy SIII customised with his drawing of the dragon. (And of course, that photo made the rounds online as well).

The Payoff

The Payoff

Now I’m not suggesting you dish out free products to your customers, but they are likely to be surprised by outstanding customer service. They’ll also want to tell their friends. So take advantage of Generation Y’s careful combination of lower expectations and desire to share every life event online. You never know what will go viral.

– Emily

The New Literacy

Are you still relying on the written word to sell? Get with the times! The language of persuasion has evolved beyond the humble word, and if you aren’t keeping up, you’re falling behind.

Evolve or follow his lead

Evolve or follow his lead

Multimedia used to be magic. Once upon a time, Marketers could rely on a multimedia production to have a certain level of inherent seductiveness, simply by existing. An image in a shop front or the most humble television commercial would capture attention, simply because it was big and colourful. Today, anyone with a passing interest in photography and a few hundred dollars can print out their own life-size photo. As for video… 72 hours of (mostly amateur-made) video are uploaded to YouTube each minute. Multimedia is no longer the exception, it’s the rule.

But unlike the languages you may have been made to learn in primary school, being ‘literate’ in multimedia is much easier than you may think. In fact, we live in such a media-saturated world that you may just be surprised how fluent you are. Let’s look at some examples of companies utilizing this new language to great effect: is a popular online clothes retailer. Obviously, images of the item of clothing you’re about to purchase are a must, but they’ve gone one step further. Now you can watch a short 10 second video of the model striking a pose or strutting down a catwalk in your item of interest. ASOS have brought the customer closer to a ‘hands on’ experience in a way that few competing online clothing stores have. As a result, customers will be more confident in the product and more likely to make a purchase. Now consider going to a competitor’s website… these photos are nice, but I’m used to seeing videos of the clothes I’m going to buy.

One of our clients, eStore, is an Australian online electronics retailer. As well as selling familiar hardware and software, they also sell unique accessories like lens kits for your iPhone camera (view the video here) and portable business card scanner.  While these items might grab interest, a customer may be understandably hesitant given it’s an unfamiliar product. Fear not! Jump onto eStore’s YouTube channel and you’ll find handy product reviews, again giving as close to a ‘hands on’ experience as possible.

This engagement in multimedia isn’t just reserved for the online environment. Have you entered a surf shop, cosmetics/clothes department or cinema recently? Video is now being used to brand companies and communicate information where a static image would once try. You’re competing for your customers’ finite attention, and the bar for stimulation has just been lifted.

So how can you start talking the talk? You no longer need to get a professional production house to create multimedia, with a computer and a camera you’re more than halfway there. If it suits your brand, efficiently shot and edited videos (like eStore’s) are a great way to occupy a space your competitors may not have. Simple editing software often comes standard with most PCs and uploading video is child’s play (if you don’t know how, ask a child). If you’re brand is more premium, there’s an army of super-savvy multimedia graduates keen to whip up professional-looking multimedia for far-below industry rates. If you don’t know where to find such a graduate, email your nearest Uni or TAFE and get ready to sift through expressions of interest.

A smartphone and an internet connection is all you need!

A smartphone and an internet connection is all you need!

For the retail environment, invest in an L.C.D. screen and loop a multimedia production to spruce up your storefront. For audible branding – don’t pay for generic radio, pay for music that expresses your brand. With license free ambient tracks from The Groove Gallery, achieving this has never been lighter on the wallet.

Okay, but what can I say about my business? You’re primary goal is to be ‘heard’, so saying something is far better than nothing. Clothing store? Do a photo shoot with some local models and make an animated slideshow then post that to Facebook.  Deli? Get your most charismatic butcher to star in a YouTube video featuring a specific cut and a matching recipe. Accountant? Film ten one-minute ‘tax tips’ videos.

And we’re not at endgame yet. Many forward thinkers have stated that programming is the new literacy. In the future, deeper interaction will come from progressively more immersive media that will rely on user interaction with programs, and the standard multimedia of today will seem like the ‘For Sale’ signs of yesterday. But until then – lights, camera, action!

– Jakub

Messages On Hold: Steroids for VoIP Systems

In April we posted here on what it takes to create a fantastic-looking and highly-effective web video. Today I’d like to share with you the finished product.


As per usual, Messages On Hold MD Kym Illman stars in our latest video production.

There’s no denying VoIP phone systems are becoming more and more popular. In fact, we encourage all our clients to make the switch from traditional PABX system to VoIP because not only are they easier to manage, they also provide our clients with more opportunities to reinforce their brand image and market to their callers.

That’s because unlike a traditional PABX or commander phone system, which requires additional hardware, select VoIP systems are capable of playing:
• A welcome message
• Menu prompts
• Voicemail messages
• After hours message
• and more

Until recently, a client of 5 years had been playing On Hold messages through one of our digital replay units connected to their PABX phone system. When they told us that they were beginning to outgrow their system and considering alternatives, we advised them that a VoIP system would allow them to manage their inbound call traffic much more effectively and directed them to watch our video on YouTube. (It’s since been uploaded onto our homepage and downloads page.)

Although many businesses make the mistake of recording the audio themselves, our client understood from watching our videos that their welcome message and menu prompts were hugely effective at shaping callers perceptions. They also didn’t want to run the risk of sub-par recordings compromising the effectiveness of their professional On Hold messages. So they had us script, voice and mix their phone greeting, voice prompts and after hours recordings instead.

If you have a question about VoIP and how to leverage it to connect with callers and support your sales teams, post your question on our Facebook page or contact us today.

– Lachy

Coming Back For MOH

Targa events are full of thrills and spills – I should know! I misread a corner during Targa Tasmania at 190km/hr and flew 35 meters into a paddock and copped a slap on the wrist for some colourful decals. Both of these events made for some great PR and set tongues wagging.

Despite not finishing Targa Tasmania and torturing the poor Messages On Hold Evo, the paddock crash was by far the most successful. At least in terms of brand awareness it was. To date, the video of the crash has had 130,000+ views! It also boosted the number of subscribers to my YouTube Channel.

kymTarga West, I hope to achieve the same success. Obviously I can’t keep crashing out and wrecking the Evo – that’d be lunacy! So what I have planned is something very special for subscribers to my YouTube Channel… something that will keep them coming back. Curious? Well, I can’t tell you much about it because I’ve been sworn to secrecy but what I can say is that it’ll happen in the first 8 seconds of each video and the first one will involve a distinct lack of clothing.

Why am I doing this? To increase sales at Messages On Hold. It’s small ideas like this that cost next to nothing to do but keep our company name at the forefront of people’s minds and that always translates into dollars.

I’ll be uploading footage onto our YouTube Channel after each day of Targa West. Click here to subscribe – even if it’s only to view the first 8 seconds of each video – the fun part.

Up, up and press play!

To get any media exposure in the world of motorsport you need to either win or crash!

At the recent Targa Tasmania tarmac rally I’m proud to say I secured some sensational exposure – unfortunately it was for the latter not the former reason.

Why am I proud of crashing out, you ask? At the end of the day, I’m a business person – rallying is only a hobby of mine. So rather than beat myself up over not finishing the gruelling 5-day rally, or the money I’d have to hand over to get the car back into racing condition, I set to work turning a seemingly bad situation into a profitable one.

First up, watch the 190km/hr crash here.

The Messages On Hold EVO 9 is fitted with several HD cameras, recording every kilometre of the event. I edit and upload the content to my YouTube channel here for all to see.

After the accident I grabbed one of the in-car cameras and recorded vision of the wreck, comments from the locals who arrived on scene to assist and a short piece to camera explaining what had happened. I edited the vision on a laptop while “passengering” back to the Strahan hotel.

On arrival in Strahan I found the video crew and presented them with a perfectly edited package complete with superimposed Messages On Hold logos. A short time later, it was being viewed on YouTube (at last count it had been viewed more than 110,000 times). You can see the full stage on which we crashed here.

Of course, I don’t recommend implementing this particular strategy into your promotional mix too often but if you’re faced with an adverse situation like I was, don’t be frightened to take full advantage of it.

LED Light District

Seven weeks to Christmas and I’m in full “Christmas Lights” mode. The 2010 display will be the nation’s biggest and best home lighting extravaganza, but more on that in just a moment…

Last year generous visitors and Messages On Hold clients gave $27,000 to the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. I’m hoping to raise $30,000 this year. That shouldn’t be too hard considering this year’s setup will showcase several never-before-seen attractions and 20% more cabling than 2009.

I can’t tell you all the exciting new things that will make this year’s lighting show a ripper because that would ruin the surprise, but I can give you a small taste of what to expect. Firstly, the music we’ll be using to sync the lights up is from The Groove Gallery – a license-free music company I launched back in September with Shane Warne. We’ve had 2 of our past videos booted off Youtube because we used commercial music so that won’t happen this year.

Starburst has agreed to supply thousands of their “in-demand” lollipops for us to give away. I’m super excited about my four green ‘VU Metres’ and magical ‘floating’ stars, all new for this year.

I’m also doing a short video diary/podcast each week taking viewers behind the scenes of what it takes to assemble a monumental project like this. I’ve already uploaded the first which you can watch on our Youtube Channel,Facebook Fan Page and very shortly – iTunes.

Please befriend Messages On Hold on Facebook, join The World’s Best Christmas Lights group or subscribe to our Youtube Channel. And remember to share it with your friends too! You can also view the video and forward it to your friends and family by visiting the homepage here!

WARNING: Some Scenes May Shock!

It’s not often I get dressed up in women’s clothing and parade in front of a camera but I did just this a couple of weeks ago.

I donned a wig and endured an hour of make up application. My General Manager Kirrily lent me a dress and one of the other female staff offered me the bra they were wearing that day to ensure I looked as realistic a woman as a 49 year old male can. It was all in aid of a new Messages On Hold infomercial on Youtube.


I must warn you, I appear completely nude in a later scene. MOH’s Admin Manager Tonya Allan agreed to do the camerawork for that scene on what was a “closed set”. It was shot against a green-screen background so the MOH graphic designers could go to work on the image in post-production.

Please, have a look at the video on I’d love to hear your feedback.

P.S. Tonya was my first employee back in 1989. I married her in 1995 to secure her long-term tenure.