Dear Kensington Palace
So I had a post ready for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's 11th wedding anniversary but decided I wanted to talk about the recent happenings with Kensington Palaces (KP) social channels more. If you pay close attention to the royals on social media, then you are probably already somewhat aware of the "rebranding" KP has been undergoing. If you are active within royal social media spheres then you are probably also aware, a lot of fans aren't loving the new look (which is actually putting it kindly).
Before I go any further, I want to make some things clear. First, there is an opportunity for a respectful and kind discussion about what is working and what isn't but any criticisms should be constructive. I am a firm believer that we shouldn't complain for the sake of complaining, there should be solutions or ideas presented to fix whatever the issue might be. Next, I am not referencing any staff by name or holding any individuals responsible as there is a team that works together on this and it is not any one person's fault. Lastly, I always welcome conversation and debate but since this subject includes peoples jobs and livelihoods, if you want to comment, do not use any staffs names/advocate for replacements or anything of that sort.
Now let's get into it.
Dear Kensington Palace,
As a long-time royals fan and someone who works in social media marketing, I appreciate and understand the fact that in in order to modernize and remain relevant, social media strategy has to continually evolve in an ever-changing landscape. It is a good sign that you are aware enough to know that refusing to grow or change is a really good way to lose followers and engagement on social. Having worked with people and brands that refuse to try new things, it's honestly a relief that the team seems so open to trying new things and I admire the effort in the attempt. However, there's nothing wrong with realizing and admitting that its not working as well as one maybe hoped. It's fine to go back to the drawing board and try again, hopefully having learned some lessons about what works and what doesn't.
I understand that the goal seems to be keeping their focus on the work rather than William & Catherine individually but the Cambridges are the future of the monarchy and they need to be featured, especially on their own social channels. Throughout the pandemic, I was incredibly impressed and excited about how KP adapted to remote work and how they shared and promoted the Duke and Duchess's work via their social channels. The launch of their YouTube channel seemed like an excellent opportunity to share their work in a new format. But since resuming royal work as "normal" the messages have been inconsistent, information has been lacking and there have been countless opportunities to promote the real & impactful work they've done that haven't been utilized or even acknowledged.
William & Catherine have been working incredibly hard for their patronages, organizations and the commonwealth and any fans who are paying attention know this. However, judging just by their social media, that hard work and dedication doesn't come across. There are hardly any mentions of the fundraising they've done, charities aren't being tagged or mentioned in posts, there are entire engagements missing from their feed and big moments, such as anniversaries, come and go without any acknowledgement.
Here are a few of the changes that I (as a fan) have noticed, whether or not I think they work and how it could be improved.
Titles - I understand trying to step away from overusing full official titles as they can be quite long and there are a lot of conventions with titles the general public doesn't fully understand. To me, it's fine to refer to them as William and Catherine or W&C, a lot of fans do, but official titles don't need to be completely removed. To correct moving forward, incorporating a balance would be the most important thing here.
For more formal, official or military events such as Commonwealth Day, Investitures, Remembrance Day or the Diplomatic Reception, using full titles with HRH is completely appropriate. During more casual engagements such as sports events, podcasts or family portraits, referring to them as William & Catherine is completely fine. Titles should be used at discretion and can correspond with how formal the event is.
Photos: With so many royal photographers at every event, there are hundreds of images to choose from, so I do find the use of a personal photographer useful in certain cases such as on royal tours or behind the scenes (like at Earthshot). However, this shouldn't be used all the time as there are countless photographers with incredible talent.
Beyond personal photographers, when running a social media account for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, please include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in photos. I can understand wanting to highlight the people or charities more but that is what captions are for. Photos can include the charities and volunteers but, William & Catherine are the most easily recognizable part of any visit and they should be included in posts on their social media pages.
Posting Frequency: There should be a post for every engagement, life event, or holiday related to William & Catherine's work or family on Instagram and Twitter as those platforms are used most frequently by KP. Taking it one step further: post the accomplishments of the charities they support, bring awareness to the Royal Foundation, Heads Together, Earthshot Prize and Center for Early Childhood Research. Their biggest projects should be cross promoted across accounts and (as of now) the only time this happens is sometimes with Earthshot. KP doesn't necessarily need to post everyday but there should be at least 4-5 posts a week minimum considering all of the work that William & Catherine do.
Consistency: This is perhaps a bit more nit-picky but the fact that their Twitter, Instagram and YouTube handles are all different is such an easy fix. Making sure there is consistency to make it easier for fans to find their social channels is so important. Equally important is keeping an upload schedule.
While YouTube videos take a bit more time, energy and planning than a tweet or a post, there should be at least 1-2 posts a month in order to justify having a YouTube account. The last post was two months ago and their last "short" was almost a year ago. As mentioned above, there should be an instagram post for every engagement they attend, posting a story would be an added bonus. The fact there was no post for the London Air Ambulance gala (that raised nearly a million pounds!) is frankly baffling.
Finally twitter, since tweets don't technically require any media (i.e. photos or videos) there should be the most 1-2 tweets for each engagement and twitter should be used to promote the incredible work they are doing as its quite easy to schedule tweets and share information via the platform.
Captions: This is probably the area where the most improvement can be made. Captions for royals engagements should do two basic things, explain what they are doing or where they are and why it's important or beneficial. The short captions with emojis and no details really need to stop. Not every post needs to have multiple paragraphs but if the charity or organization isn't even mentioned, then there's no point in even posting it. Posts about their work need more details and explanations, it should be written in more professional language but not every post is going to be about work.
For family posts or holidays, feel free to play around with emojis, make it more personal and the language can be more casual. Louis birthday posts captions had a lot of people talking given that his name wasn't even used in the first post and photo credit was given to "The Duchess". While fans all knew it was taken by Catherine, there are a lot of people who would be able to be called "The Duchess". A simple but more personal post could have read: "Ahead of Prince Louis 4th birthday, we are happy to share new photos of the birthday boy, taken by his mother in Norfolk. Photo: The Duchess of Cambridge"
By no means are any of these recent problems on the social pages insurmountable, in fact, they are all easy fixes as long as the right strategy is employed. I admire trying to shift focus to the work and there are definitely ways to do that without the vague captions and random photos. I know fans have been discussing these issues on social, which brings me to my final point: Listen to fans, discover what they like and don't like and tailor the experience to the people who care the most, who want William & Catherine to succeed more than anyone.
With the utmost respect,
Women of Windsor
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