By Raven Jade Emmert
Many believe that social media gained its momentum within recent years, but this is actually not the case. The beginning of social media can be dated to nearly 20 years ago with the launch of the networking platform, “Six Degrees”, which allowed users to create a profile and “connect” with other users; this supported the basis of many social media outlets we see today. Seen as ahead of its time, it allowed users to create a profile and “connect” with other users. This supported the basis of many social media outlets we see today. The role of social media within public relations has introduced a new realm of “influencer” marketing, ultimately ending the era of one-way messaging and providing an interactive appeal and stronger customer engagement for many companies. Here are 3 ways you can modernize and build your business by implementing these social media tactics:
So often in life we are told that in order to succeed, we must be our true, authentic selves. This rule of thumb also applies to social media. When analyzing what practices successful business social media profiles are following, one of the most widely recognized traits is the charisma of the business. For example, Wendy’s is widely known for their quirky, fun personality showcased throughout all of their social media platforms. Immediately upon viewing their Twitter profile, their bio states: “We like our tweets the same way we like to make hamburgers: better than anyone expects from a fast food joint.” With nearly 3 million followers on Twitter alone, Wendy’s has surpassed KFC, Taco Bell, Burger King and Subway in follower engagement. While Wendy’s is not the first and only brand to reference pop culture in their content, their ability to remain relevant despite having opened their doors nearly 50 years ago.
Throughout classic public relations, consumers have found themselves not necessarily engaging with the company, but more so having campaigns and media storytelling simply spoken at them. With the introduction of social media, companies were able to not only engage with their audiences in a more intimate way, but increase the amount of feedback presented by their followers. As the basis of social media is to further connect and “network” with one another, it thrives off of conversation. In February of 2014, Caribou Coffee pulled off a PR stunt so elaborate, it nearly shut down the Mall of America. With the help from brand agency Colle+McVoy, on the ground floor of the largest mall in the country stood a 5-story interactive Pinterest board which represented different inspirations for their newest coffee blend. “Inspiration” being the key word, as their momentum for this project was to capture the essence of their fans through what influences them the most. They began by filling their corporate Pinterest profile with motivational photos for their followers, such as quotes, unique photos, and potential ingredients for their future coffee. They also began a campaign to become more inspired by their audience, which entailed the hashtag #InspireCaribou. This hashtag allowed fans and followers to share their own inspiring photographs for Caribou to view and take note of. Some of these included a tropical rainforest, a group of friends surrounding a smoky bonfire, or a continuous silky waterfall. All of these photos represented not only the followers, but also notes of how their future coffee should taste. This genius campaign not only intrigued Caribou’s fans, but also allowed them to feel empowered and as if their personal inspirations meant a tremendous amount to the company.
With so much traffic accumulated by “influencers” of their respected fields, public relations professionals have taken note of just how critical these marketing tactics have become in terms of product promotion, campaign momentum and overall public persona. One of the many reasons for this being the consumers ability to relate to fellow bloggers and influencers, as they are not seen as mega corporations, but rather just an honest opinion. For bloggers and influencers, their ability to connect with an audience based on factuality and trustworthy opinions is what drives their success. The opinions and product knowledge according to people’s favorite bloggers is an important component and on a much more relatable scale than a traditional celebrity endorsement. A great example of this is Katy Bellotte of thekatyproject.com. She is a YouTuber turned blogger that thrives off of the feedback from her fans. She posts honest, heartfelt and factual content pertaining to body image, being a millennial in the workforce and just life in general.
Social media has tremendously impacted modern public relations as it has undoubtably altered all traditional forms of public engagement. As our consumer climate changes, businesses must accommodate with it. Social media is one of the largest tools of consumer outreach accessible today, neglecting to increase public awareness through these channels is a neglect to proper business building.
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