The Impact of Social Media on PR

The world of public relations is changing, and we must change with it.

Since the birth of social media, people have used various platforms to build communities, keep in contact with distant family members, share personal life updates and more. But over the past decade, businesses have made use of platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to further their goals of connecting directly with the public.

According to a recent ING survey, 81% of PR pros feel they can no longer do their job without social media. Read that again. Now, let it sink in. But how much has social media changed your role in the past year? The past five years? Even ten?

As social media continues to evolve and new opportunities come to life, we as PR pros should be aware of the effect social media has on traditional public relations in order to create effective strategies for our clients. Here are just a few ways social media is impacting PR:

More data-driven initiatives.
Who doesn’t love more data? With more than 3.48 billion users on social media platforms, it’s no surprise that companies leveraging these platforms have more data than ever to help them make decisions. When looking at your company’s overarching goals, determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) will be most beneficial to your business. If you’re running an educational campaign, you’ll want to measure reach and impressions. If your goal is to increase sales, you’ll want to track engagements and click-throughs. And with platforms like Sprout Social, it’s easy! Then leverage these KPIs during the decision-making process to create better campaigns and earn better results.

Making use of the abundance of data will not only empower your team to create better social content, but it can also help identify which topics are “media-worthy.” By leveraging the social proof found on your channels, you can show members of the media that the storyline in question really will generate more readership.

More visual storytelling content.
Similar to PR, businesses can use social media to tell the story of their brand. Instead of searching strictly for earned media opportunities, businesses using social media platforms can reach their target audiences directly and engage with them on a deeper level. Consider creating video content to tell the story of a customers’ success with your brand and using your social media channels to share that story with your most loyal followers.

But don’t flood every social media channel with the same content at the same time. Strategize on which platform the content will perform best, test it out and alter your strategy for other channels. Once you find out which content best tells the story of your brand, you can further leverage that content to visually tell your story to members of the media.

More opportunities to work with “celebrities.”
Almost any brand would be thankful to be endorsed by a celebrity. And now, thanks to social media, you can! It might not be a movie star, but nano-, micro-, and macro-influencers are taking the social media world by storm.

Nano-influencers are defined as niche social media profiles with less than 10,000 followers. Micro-influencers are considered “mid-tier” and typically have between 10,000 and 200,000 followers, while macro-influencers are defined as having more than 200,000 followers.

Like trade publications, social influencers are a great way to reach a specific type of social media user. These users likely overlap with the target audience(s) you’re trying to reach with your traditional PR efforts. If you’re selling a product that makes people’s lives easier, consider partnering with lifestyle influencers to promote your brand. For example, Massage Heights Indy partners with nano- and micro-influencers around the city of Indianapolis to demonstrate the benefits of continued massage therapy through a 6-month journey. They invite influencers in for monthly complimentary massages and sit back while the social pros do the rest.

This tactic works for a number of industries and, in addition to storytelling, provides brands with user-generated content that can be leveraged as marketing collateral. It also lends a great deal of authenticity to your brand because it is real people telling real stories in a relatable way.

More affordable for small businesses.
Like earned media, social media is “free.” But, also like earned media, getting results takes time and effort. For brands who don’t have a large advertising budget, social media is a great way to share your brand story in an affordable way.

From exchanging products or services with influencers in exchange for content, to low-budget social media advertisements targeted to users in specific locations or with specific interests, social media is a great way to share content with your audience while maximizing your budget and providing stellar results.

More direct conversations.
Traditional public relations efforts are now vastly different, thanks to social media. Rather than drafting a press release and circulating to reputable media outlets under embargo, you can update your most loyal followers directly using social media, generating a buzz, and let the media members come to you. You can also tap into your brand ambassadors and leverage your social influencer partnerships to build an even bigger buzz about a product launch or an exciting company update.

When you do connect with media and secure coverage for your brand, make sure to promote it on social media – but be strategic about it! Connect with the writer on any and all available platforms so you can tag them in your posts. You should also tag the publication itself and consider engaging with both the publication and the writers’ content on a regular basis. If you show them some social love, they’re bound to return the favor at some point!

Don’t just think of social media as a sales tool, think of it as a way to connect with your audience on a deeper level and create a community of people with like-minds and similar interests. You never know when you may need to leverage this audience down the line to brainstorm new content ideas, campaigns and products by tapping into existing conversations or simply listening to what customers want and need.

Need help getting your social media strategy up and running? Check out our services page or contact Lauryn Gray to find out how we can help!

Benefits of Leveraging Influencer Relations in Your Social Media Strategy

I’m guilty. I follow a ton of influencers. I read their microblog captions, like their photos and videos, and check out the products they promote. I’ve even purchased a product, or three, after seeing my favorite influencers post about them. Instagram reached over 1 billion active users nearly a year ago, and it’s already recognized as the fastest growing social network of 2019. So, it’s no surprise that nearly a third of my newsfeed is influencer-related content.

Influencers aren’t a new concept, though. Back in 1931, Coca-Cola launched one of the first “influencer” campaigns, getting Santa himself to represent the refreshing taste of Coke. Over the years many other brands leveraged celebrity endorsements, but marketers soon realized that leveraging even the most popular names in Hollywood did not correlate to engagement.

Instead, consumers became more reliant on peer-to-peer reviews (thanks, Amazon), and non-celebrities proved they could bring home the bacon drive conversions. Now we’re living in a world ruled by influencers, and brands both large and small are seeing results from leveraging these types of relationships.

Below is a breakdown of the benefits your brand receives when leveraging influencer relations successfully in your social media strategy.

Reaching a larger audience.

One of the biggest benefits of working with social influencers is the opportunity to reach a larger audience with your message. This works especially well if you do your due diligence in making sure the influencer’s followers match that of your target audience. As increasing brand awareness is often one of the main goals for brands, the opportunity to reach users in a more organic way is valuable.

Street cred.

Not only do influencers provide a wider audience for targeted messaging, but they lend additional credibility to your brand. Users recognize influencers as experts in their field, whether it’s beauty, travel, tech or anything in between, so if they’re repping your brand it’s more likely the message will be well-received.

In fact, in a survey by Fullscreen, consumers aged 18-24 are more likely to trust influencer posts (54.8%) than consumers aged 25-34 are (36.5%). However, this older demographic is more likely to trust what an influencer says about a brand (44.3%) than what a brand says about itself (20.8%).

Influencers are storytellers.
Scratch that. Good influencers are storytellers. And by blending your brand’s messaging seamlessly into the influencer’s story, your business will be seen as more authentic. Rather than talking AT your audience, use influencer marketing to start a conversation about your brand and talk WITH them.

Higher earned media value.

So now you’ve reached a larger audience and your brand has gained additional credibility. What about the effect these relationships have on your company’s bottom line?

According to the 2019 Influencer Marketing Report, “businesses who understand influencer marketing gain impressive returns, up to $18 in earned media value for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing. Even average firms achieve impressive results, with an average earned media value of $5.20 per dollar they spend on influencer marketing.”

It’s one thing to follow influencers and consume the content they share. But working directly with influencers on a regular basis to create engaging content for your brand is an entirely different beast. Before getting started, make sure you know what story you’re trying to tell, then outline your goals, KPI’s and expectations of deliverables from the partnership.

Interested in adding influencer relations into your social media strategy? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com and set up a consultation today!


Social Media Advertising: The Basics

So, you want to advertise on social media? Smart choice. Not only is advertising on social media more accessible for small businesses, it’s also more effective.

 

According to the Global Web Index, “the average internet user now spends about 15 minutes longer each day on social platforms than they do watching TV.” With 50 percent of people using Facebook daily, and more than 2.2 billion monthly active users on the platform, this platform is a great place to start.

 

Facebook, and by extension Instagram, is the most popular platform for social media advertising. But depending on the type of ad you’re running or the audience you’re hoping to reach, advertising on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or even YouTube may be a better option.

 

USING VARIOUS PLATFORMS TO PROMOTE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONTENT

At Dittoe PR, we have clients advertising across the top four social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

 

With each of these platforms, there are obvious differences to the types of content being shared on each channel. For example, using LinkedIn for business-focused content and using Instagram for photo and video sharing. There are also nuanced differences to the types of advertisements you can create, the copy and creative used for each and the demographics available for targeting. Let me break it down for you!

 

Types of ads.

Knowing the difference between when to boost an existing post versus create an advertisement is important. First, look at the copy and creative you plan to use. Many platforms such as Facebook, limit the content for ad copy to less than 100 characters. If you’re looking to share more information, a boosted post may be your best bet. This allows the information to live on your page after the ad has run its course.

 

If you’re promoting an upcoming event, like a flash sale, a grand opening or a hiring announcement, and you’re okay just sharing the essential information – OR – if you want the content to be removed from your page after the ad ends, consider creating an advertisement instead.

 

Demographic targeting.
Each platform offers various demographics to target by, including location, age, gender, income, interests, job title/function, employer and more.

 

Knowing the audience you’re trying to reach with an advertisement is likely the most important step in creating a social media ad. If you end up targeting the wrong group of users, the advertisement will not be successful. A common practice we use at Dittoe PR is reviewing third-party or channel-specific reports for each individual channel, or the channel you plan to promote, and taking a closer look at the age, gender and location of your followers.

 

If you’re trying to target people that don’t currently follow you, reach out to the users with demographics that fall outside of your top followers. But, if you’re trying to promote a new service or newsworthy coverage to your followers, or users like them, targeting your top follower demographics is a great idea!

 

For example, one of our client’s goals this quarter is to reach a larger audience of fitness enthusiasts. To align with this goal, we promoted copy and creative that discussed the recovery benefits to massage therapy to coincide with the fact that most people make New Year’s resolutions to “get fit” or “stay healthy.” We also partnered with local fitness influencers to help spread the message, then we shared and boosted their content to the client’s Facebook pages to further promote this message.

 

HOW TO SELECT CONTENT TO PROMOTE

Sometimes, selecting content to promote can be overwhelming, especially with a client who has a lot going on or provides a wide range of offerings. By focusing on what is truly important on a case-by-case basis, PR pros can break down what types of information are going to be most relevant to the users your clients are trying to reach.

 

Partnership goals.

When promoting content, think back to the primary goals of the PR partnership. Does your client want to gain more followers? Do they want to open a dialogue with their customers? Are they trying to increase foot traffic at a certain location? All of these goals will play into the types of content you’re promoting and the way you’re promoting them.

 

Facebook allows businesses to promote based on a number of potential results, including: getting more leads, promoting your page, getting website visits, promoting your business locally, getting more website purchases, and receiving more messages.

 

Organic performance.

One of the easiest ways to select content to promote is by reviewing your recent top performing content. If a post is performing well organically on your page, throwing some ad dollars behind it and boosting it to a targeted audience is a great idea. It’s pretty common for people to pay more attention to posts that already have garnered engagement, rather than clicking on or reading a post that has no likes or comments.

 

Timely content.

Another great way to select promoted content is by sharing information that would be relevant to your followers.

 

For example, February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day takes place on Feb. 14. For our client Massage Heights, we homed in on the heart health benefits stemming from regular massage therapy and including last-minute gift ideas available for purchase.

 

Adversely, for our client Merchants Capital, we regularly promote recent loan closings for affordable housing developments to promote the work of the team and encourage borrowers to contact them for assistance on their next project. These types of posts not only position you as an expert in your field, but they promote your brand in an efficient and relatable way.

 

Want your business to reach new audiences through social media advertising? Learn more about Dittoe PR’s social media services and connect with Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation!