by Jamie Bui
Creating and building brand advocates can be considered a low-cost, high-return marketing strategy as opposed to spending millions of dollars on advertising. A brand advocate is someone who enjoys a brand’s product or service so much that they would willingly tell others about it. It could be via social media, in real life or in a publication. Sixty percent of customers search for peer testimonials, trustworthy recommendations and online reviews during the decision-making process. Therefore, it is important for brands to include advocates in every aspect of the business.
A marketing funnel is a way of breaking down the customer journey all the way from the “awareness” stage (when they first learn about the business) to the “purchase” stage (when they are ready to buy the product or service). As a result, “advocacy” is the last stage in the marketing funnel when the customer is loyal to the brand and willing to share it with others.
There is no certain procedure on how to create and build a successful brand advocate program, because every business and every customer is different. However, building a brand advocate is more likely a long-term process than just short-term buzz. Therefore, there are several general tips to help brands get started on how to get customers to share their positive experiences with the brand.
Long-term loyalty is crucial to get more high-quality referrals and drive sales. Above are a few tips on how to create and build successful brand advocates. The most fundamental thing to remember is to be in it for a long haul. Always keep the needs, wants and expectations of the best customers in mind to create a suitable marketing campaign.
What’s on the Horizon for Online Media
by Holly Bartlow
The work of a public relations professional is often defined by his or her select means of communication. When communicating through social media as most modern professionals do, we must recognize and keep up with current and emerging trends. Here are some insights on the behavior of social media audiences for the year.
1. Rates of consumption won’t increase. Researcher’s have seen a one percent drop in consumption habits. Therefore as users slow their dependence online, competition for attention from audiences is expected to increase.
2. Smart speakers will be the forefront of technology. It’s estimated that by 2021 roughly 2 billion people will be using a digital assistant and 50 percent of all search queries will be conducted through voice search. Manually searching will be a thing of the past, and Alexa will become queen.
3. There will become a stronger divide between television and the internet. By next year, audiences will be spending just as much time watching TV as they do searching the internet. The average person will spend slightly over 2.6 hours a day browsing the internet and 2.7 hours a day watching television. It’s expected that TV will become less popular as technology advances.
4. Increased focus on privacy. There is no doubt that the online community has feared invasion of privacy. Future social media networks and companies are expected to offer more advanced privacy settings and profile privacy in the near future.
5. Video will be the top dog in media trends. The focus of the live option continues to grow. Instagram live, Snapchat stories and Facebook live have dominated social media.
6. The self care movement is remerging. Social media can be a constant bombardment of information and stimulation. Social media users are beginning to build each other up, rather than tear each other down by rekindling humanity amongst users.
As online media communities increasingly adopt these characteristics, PR professionals must work harder and constantly strive to stand out amongst growing competition.
Students! Create good content. Create it often and make it heartfelt to your audience.
by Juan Villagomez
Another beautifully cloudy day at CSULB featuring the Walter Pyramid, perfect 70-degree weather and endless opportunities to learn.
It is likely that by the end of this blog post you will have forgotten some, most of, if not all of the caption to the photo above. As time passes by you will be more likely to forget. On the other hand, the visual content itself you will retain for a longer period of time and that's why knowing which to use is important when it comes to using photos or videos.
I personally chose to use a photo over a video simply because it was easier for me to do so and not because it is more effective. I had the image on file and it was exactly what I needed to demonstrate my point.
Now for the topic at hand, should you use videos or photos, which one is the best and most effective? Well the short answer is both of them are and in terms of when to use them, it depends on a variety of things. One of the most important variables is your consumer. They are the ones who will be viewing your content, so it is important that you do your research. Where do they get their content from, how do they get it and what are they more fond of between photos and videos?
Another thing to keep in mind is the file size. Video files are larger in size and take longer to post. If a video is too large in size, then it may buffer for some people and if that happens, most of them will just move on. You want to use the photos and videos that attract consumers and help tell your story. So choose the one that will be the most effective for your consumer and for the particular message that you are trying to send them.
Take other things you can learn from research into account, like the time of day for instance. Maybe there’s a certain time when your consumers prefer a photo over a video and vice versa. You also have to take into account the platforms they are on and what is popular on that platform. If your consumer prefers videos while on Twitter and your particular message is best suited for Twitter versus say Instagram, then it would be more effective to use a video at this time versus a photo.
The key thing to ask is, which one best tells your story. Is a photo enough to do so or do you need to use a video? Sometimes you can use both. Always make sure both are of high quality; no one likes a blurry photo or a bad video. If you want followers and observers to perceive a top brand, deliver top content.
Because, let’s face it, Instagram is taking over
by Alyssa Makhlouf
As social media has progressed, Instagram has undoubtedly made a name for itself as one of the best business tools. It offers an easy way to connect with your audience… and it’s FREE for everyone. Instagram recently took a bite from Snapchat’s domain and introduced Instagram stories. This update is a genius marketing tool for businesses because there are so many different uses for it. Who doesn’t love free advertisement?
Here are five easy ways to make the best out of Instagram stories!
With hundreds of millions of users using Instagram stories every month, it has proven that it is going to have major staying power. It’s in every brand’s best interest to start utilizing this amazing (and free!) tool for their public relations social media strategies.
For more information on Instagram stories, here’s the direct link to FAQs on Instagram’s website.
What it means for brands
by Samantha Vargas
Photo via yourdigitalresource.com
Facebook announced the latest changes to it’s news feed algorithm on Jan 11. The News Feed algorithm will begin to prioritize content from friends, family and groups over content from brand pages, businesses and media. Facebook calls this initiative “Closer Together”. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that the goal is to “help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.” The change was sparked by recent feedback from the Facebook community that public content such as posts from businesses, brands and media were crowding the personal moments on their News Feed. Zuckerberg said, “the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do – help us connect with each other.”
As a solution, over the next few months, Facebook will be making updates to rankings so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about. They will be prioritizing posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. What do these changes mean for your brand?
Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri wrote in a Newsroom blog, “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it.”
Here are some tips to help keep your brand alive on the News Feed.
These tips will not only help improve your Facebook content strategy, but your content
strategy on every social media platform. Change can be intimidating but if you are dedicated to consistently providing quality content and actively engaging with your audience there is no reason to fear this algorithm change.
Four Essential Pieces of Advice for Implementing Public Relations Tactics When Planning an Event
by Michelle Matos
Over the past four months, I spent hours and hours a week planning the biggest event I’ve ever organized: the Society of Women in Business’ first-ever International Women’s Day Conference. Public relations played a huge part in making this event happen and was a factor toward success. After finally executing the event earlier this month and seeing the outcome of all the work my team and I put in, there are a few lessons I have taken away from my experience planning this event. Here are a few key takeaways, from a PR perspective, that I would keep in mind when planning events in the future:
1. Start Early!
It’s easy to underestimate how much time and attention to detail goes into planning and executing an event. You’ll need to allow plenty of time for communication with your team, your audience and anyone else you reach out to in planning this event (i.e. advisors, potential sponsors or donors, the media, etc.). Often times, things need to be approved by multiple people before they can be implemented, so keep in mind that it’ll take time to get your message to each necessary person, and if changes need to be made that will require time as well. Getting a head start will also allow leeway for mistakes or unexpected events.
2. Invite the Media
Don’t forget that pitching the media is a fantastic way to get the word out about your event/organization. Write a press release and distribute it to every media outlet that reaches your target audience. There are plenty of media outlets just here on campus, but don’t limit yourself to just on-campus media. If you think your event is significant enough to possibly gain attention in the greater community, it couldn’t hurt to reach out to other local media outlets. You may be pleasantly surprised by what and how many media outlets would be willing to cover your event.
3. Have a Contingency Plan
Think of possible crises that could come up, and come up with ways your team should handle such situations. The number one goal of crisis management is to prevent a crisis from happening in the first place. The second is to stop or mitigate the effects of the crisis, and you can do this through planning ahead. Although a crisis may seem unlikely, it’s best to be prepared in case something goes wrong. If not handled properly, one unexpected event could hinder the overall success of the event.
4. Use A Hashtag
Almost every event these days has its own hashtag. Make sure your team and audience know to use this hashtag on ANY post referring to the event. Use the hashtag heavily while promoting the event, encourage people to use it while they are at the event, and continue to use it on all related posts after the event! To encourage even more use of the hashtag, consider doing a contest on social media, and offer an incentive for those who participate.
by Adrienne Anes
When it comes to creating a marketing and PR plan, always remember this: you are what you publish. Many times organizations and businesses aim to sell their products and services without really focusing on answering consumers’ needs. Companies must put their products aside and pay close attention to their buyers to see what they want, what kind of people they are and the list goes on. A business’ buyers are their target audience. In order to appeal to them and make the company successful, they must create a buyer persona: a fictional representation of an ideal customer for the company based on data and research.
A buyer persona might include:
Buyer personas are crucial tools for companies. They answer the who, what, when, where, how and why when it comes to appealing to the right customers. Now next time a company plans on devising strategies, they need to create a detailed buyer persona because it changes the game for all businesses when it comes to marketing and public relations.
The company known as The Longhairs (https://thelonghairs.us/) acts as great example of a website that creates the perfect buyer persona. This site provides services, products and support for the community of men with long hair.
For more information on how to create a buyer persona, HubSpot offers a free persona template.
by Lilian Lokonobei
Public Relations professionals are now including online newsrooms onto their company’s websites. Developed press releases and press kits can be easily found online by journalists covering certain topics…making it handy for everyone. Members of the public can also access press releases, digital media archives, and contacts for easy engagement with the agency or department. Online newsrooms are a way to direct traffic straight to your company’s website.
Having a uniform and simple way for journalists to reach the PR team provides a helpful medium for them to get their work completed. Still wondering what to put in your online newsroom? Follow these tips and you’ll surely elevate your brand and promote your business:
These components will help your team get ahead and boost its visibility by putting your public relations information in the same place. Updating your online newsroom consistently propels your brand and ensures your company gains potential clients and advances in the media industry.
Five tips for effectively approaching target audiences
by Elizabeth Jauregui
Whether it be a fashion obsession or love for homemade vegan cooking, it has become a reality that there are audiences that follow almost any topic. Search a topic online and you are sure to find a group of individuals that are interested.
With numerous niches being introduced, a question emerges — How exactly does one effectively pitch to these audiences to maximize all efforts?
The first step you need to make when focusing your attention toward a certain audience for a brand or business is to do your research. Read and learn as much possible about the audience that you will be pitching . Get to know the audience itself. What are their likes? What are their dislikes? What are the most promising discussion starters? It becomes easier to understand how to approach an audience once you put yourself in their shoes and begin to write from their perspective.
Your next move is to find the experts within said niche. Look for individuals that the majority look upon for guidance or advice. There are many that have become trend setters within their own realm and have learned the ins and outs of their area. You can then implant yourself within what people will be buzzing about depending on what these experts are setting their focus on.
The third step follows into how it is important to communicate your worth and value. Maybe you add a solution to a problem within the pertaining industry or bring something new that is trendy. People within an audience will become engaged if they are getting something out of it. Make sure to offer something that is interesting enough to catch someone’s attention to give a second glance.
Make sure to also master the right lingo. Pinpoint what phrases or keywords are used by the niche audience for that particular industry or topic. It hones in the idea that you understand what they are all about and can be ultimately effective in subtle persuasion.
Finally, offer a sense of trust. Credibility is key to earning new followers which can then persuade others to join the bandwagon. First, be ready to impress them with what you can offer then execute consistent delivery. Audiences only trust brands or companies that have been able to build a trustworthy reputation with past followers as well as new followers.
Overall, stand by what your business can offer to these consumers. If you can think like one, you will sure be able to sell to one.
Instagram changed, but for better or worse?
by Jenelle Ylanan
As the use of social media continues to increase, creators seem to be more interested in finding ways to switch things up for their users. We get notifications to update to the latest version of the app or sometimes find ourselves automatically scrolling through a new feed. Our beloved Instagram fell victim to a change that a majority of their users weren’t too happy about. Before the update, Instagram’s algorithm consisted of seeing posts in chronological order. In an effort to help users see content more relevant to them, creators decided to switch up the algorithm changing the news feed to prioritize posts from people whose content they enjoy, people they talk to or message directly, people they search for and people they know in real life.
With this new algorithm, many have expressed their disapproval by reaching out to the app creators and petitioning to change it back. Although it’s obvious the majority of users are reluctant to embrace the change, the ones affected the most are brands and influencers. Their main argument from social media changes was that their audience and followers weren’t seeing all their content the same way anymore. As the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them;” and that’s essentially what these brands and influencers have done – they found a way to make their content and profile even more relevant than before.
The key is follower engagement. If followers were to comment on a post, a simple “like” or a comment back goes a long way. If a brand were to also comment on other user’s posts, this can increase their visibility. Although the idea seemed redundant since Snapchat came out with it first, brands and influencers have also taken advantage of Instagram “stories.” If companies are worried that their followers aren’t seeing all their posts anymore, they can use their stories to boost their content. Even if posts disappear or don’t always show up, stories will appear at the top of the home feed for 24 hours. Followers can easily click on their story to see what’s happening and that will eventually lead them to their profile to seek more information.
The more a brand engages with their followers the more their posts will become “relevant” enough to appear on more Instagram feeds and therefore reach a larger audience. Even though a lot of us still dislike the new system, we have to look at it in a different light and realize that this could possibly be a slight change for the better. Since the change, I’ve noticed a lot more companies and influencers actually engaging with users and finding creative ways to reach their fans. Brands are now building better relationships with their customers and learning that audience engagement is a huge factor in their success in today’s social media world.
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