By: Sebastian Szczurowski
While it seems like social media has been around for a very long time, it has actually only been popular for barely a decade now. With the steady rise of social media over the past few years many companies have been able to strengthen their position in the marketplace by using it to effectively promote their brands and products.
One of the main things that social media allows companies to do is gain faster and more widespread coverage to thousands or even millions of individuals in under the span of a few minutes. This is something that was unimaginable 15 or 20 years ago. The rise of the internet has allowed this rapid increase in media and news coverage outlets across the globe, and has enabled social media to become a powerful tool when it comes to increasing a brand’s visibility within its target market. When a company is able to establish a strong online presence it will become more visible to the public by implementing a communication strategy that helps to promote the company and gain more followers on social media in the long run.
Another well-known advantage that social media has had on the public relations industry is increased communication. Social media allows everyday people to post their thoughts about all sorts of topics with just a click of a button on their phone, laptop, or tablet. These communication channels can also be used to develop relationships with your brand’s consumers and help PR professionals create relevant content that will resonate with their target audiences.
Nowadays, most people have some form of social media account or maybe even have multiple accounts. Today’s social media platforms are designed to provide easy integration for all of their users which allows people of all ages and backgrounds to have access to some form of social media. This has made it much easier for PR professionals to increase awareness of their client’s business and the products and services that are offered.
Social media has allowed many companies worldwide to promote their brands and develop a sense of relevancy with their consumers. Social media allows PR practitioners to track results in real-time and learn more about the people who are interacting with their clients online and how often those interactions are occurring.
While social media is still in its early stages, its value in promoting client branding and as a means for conducting research, are rapidly demonstrating its importance as a strategic public relations tool that is only gaining momentum.
by Jonathan Haile
Some time ago, I was given a question on a test that I can’t recite, verbatim, but went something like, “How do public relations professionals convince members of the C-suite that social media is valuable?” The idea behind the question, I have to assume, is that while social media is valuable in getting audiences to embrace and share content, it doesn’t necessarily equal sales, profits, or return on investment.
This is another example of what has PR pros in a bit of a rut. Whereas, marketing professionals and advertisers have hard data they use to evaluate their work, creating and maintaining relationships don’t always have numbers that can be associated with them. A company’s bottom line is the most important thing and without hard data or facts, the social media pro can get lost in the fold.
That was then. This is now.
We have to thank technology for making things so much easier in many ways, but technology offers the PR pro new powers. It can change soft data into hard, quantifiable data, and ultimately makes the PR pro more valuable. Here are some examples:
Public Relations students at the University of Central Missouri have the advantage of training with Vocus to create media contact lists. I can tell you from experience, it is nice to have the world’s media information at my finger tips, but like many other students, I didn’t know about all the benefits of Vocus beyond its media list capabilities until I investigated further.
Vocus can monitor conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. It uses what is called the “Recommendation Engine” to seek out key influencers, the opinion leaders who companies want to interact with online. It monitors conversations in such a way that if a campaign is embraced by the public in New York and Boston but lacking in Philadelphia, the PR pro will have statistics and data that will help them adjust the campaign accordingly. These are just a few things Vocus can do.
Not far from UCM, one of Kansas City’s fast-growing companies is Spiral16. Its software, similar to Vocus, gives the user or the company “Actionable Analytics” reports from conversations found on social media networks. These customizable reports are client-specific, and they even take into consideration what competitors are doing and saying, giving companies an edge. Using this kind of software takes some training, and Spiral16 helps its clients reach the its full potential with webinars and training sessions.
Originally from Belgium, Engagor recently made a new home in San Francisco. Much like Vocus and Spiral16, Engagor monitors conversations on social media, creates analytics reports for clients, and allows them to manage content for social media pages, much like Hootsuite.
Google searches are popular; I think most people would agree. Every time someone searches for something on Google, advertisements related to the search will pop up on the top, right side, or bottom of the page. Online marketers bid on their ads, and ad placement is a combination of the bid price, strength of the certain keywords, and a few other things.
Get to know this software if you have the opportunity.
Chances are, you might not have access to Vocus, Spiral16, or Engagor, but Google AdWords is available and certification can give you an advantage in online marketing. Even so, try to understand the purpose behind the other three products. If you can find example analytics reports, get to know them. Understand why they’re valuable. In some cases they’re expensive to use, but maybe you can prove to the C-suite why they should make the investment. There are many other examples of software with these capabilities, but I’ll allow you to do the further digging.