PR Trends And The Future

Public relations has changed so much over the years. It’s hard to believe, but PR did exist before social media was huge; it existed before the Internet was even a thing! Ivy Lee, also known as the founder of modern day public relations, surely couldn’t have predicted that public relations would be as it is now. Starting out as merely some crisis communication and advocation, PR is so much more now. This article talks about some of the latest trends in social media PR.

Infographics haven’t been around for that long, but I think they’re pretty dang cool. What better way to share information about your brand than in a creative and colorful graphic? Infographics are great because they’re easy to read and easy to share. Reading things online is a lot easier when things are in chunks or separated into sections, and this is exactly what infographics do. I see infographics sticking around for a long, long time. Maybe they’ll combine infographics with gifs eventually!

Brand advocation is something that is pretty big but isn’t always as obvious as sharing an infographic. Whenever people have positive things to say about your brand on Twitter or Facebook, it’s like free public relations! So many people use social media to talk about the things they like (and dislike), and this is certainly something that’s only been around as long as social media has. More and more companies are gaining a big social media presence, and it’s a great way to get your audience involved.

Instagram was pointed out in the article as one of the newest forms of social media, and I have to agree that it is becoming quite trendy. The thing about Instagram is that it’s always evolving and changing, even if it hasn’t been around as long as Facebook has. Instagram has only had video sharing for maybe less than a year, and that alone is a huge change! They recently updated to add hashtag-able emojis, which I think is pretty cool. Instagram does a really good job at listening to what people want and updating frequently to meet these needs. I can see Instagram easily surpassing Facebook and maybe even Twitter as the most popular social media site in the future.

There are so many cool things with social media that have barely been around for a year. If you think back to when you first started using some of these social media sites, things were way different. Social media is constantly evolving into something bigger and better. I can only imagine what our favorite social media sites will look like in 5 years!

-Marisa

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Social Media: Failing And Succeeding During A Crisis

Crises happen. They’re a part of life; especially PR life. We all dread it and hope and pray we never have to deal with it, but we’re (mostly) prepared for it. Companies spend tons of time and money into putting together their crisis management plans to ensure that they’re prepared for the worst. Unfortunately, though, not everyone realizes the importance of social media when it comes to their crisis management plans.

Social media is the fastest way to send information and create an open line of communication with your audience. Sure, people still watch the news and read newspapers, but how long does that take compared to refreshing your Twitter feed? Not only that, but news spreads quickly via discussions. It’s important to utilize your social media accounts to let your consumers know what’s going on.

Germanwings did a good job of being transparent after their tragic plane crash in the French Alps. They tweeted information for the public, gave condolences, and offered free flights for the victims’ next of kin. They managed to reassure the public in a time of chaos. Not only that, they began using #indeepsorrow and changed their traditionally maroon and gold logo to black and grey to symbolize mourning. Germanwings is an excellent example of a well implemented crisis management plan.

Not all companies handle their crises as well, though. For instance, during the BP oil spill, Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, gave a press conference that only worsened the situation. Hayward lacked compassion and failed to reassure the public that BP was doing all they could to fix the leak. Social media did not work in their favor because the press conference instantly spread around YouTube and negative discussions began popping up everywhere.

Social media during a crisis is very important, but can also negatively affect your brand. Be careful in how you choose to implement it, and pay attention to what your audience is saying. Most importantly: think before you post.

-Marisa

Why should I monitor my social media?

Having unmonitored social media accounts is best described by our textbook as being a ship at sea without any kind of navigation or radar. It’s like blindly putting everything out there and just kinda hoping the magic happens itself. Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy!

Cision gives some really great benefits to monitoring your accounts. The process of tracking and measuring your social media may sound kind of complicated, but it’s entirely worth it in the end and an absolute must if you want to improve your brand.

  • Respond to complaints – this is my favorite benefit. By paying attention to what’s happening with your accounts, you can quickly see any customer issues and take care of them before they become even bigger problems. Your customers will appreciate that you took their complaints seriously, and you’ll be able to prevent negative news about your brand spreading around the internet.
  • Manage any crisis – this is pretty similar to the last one, but is very important because as soon as something bad happens, you can hit your accounts and start working on your crisis plan. Some of the worst crises have been managed well by simply updating your audience on what’s going on and how you plan on fixing it.
  • Monitor the competition – the easiest way to check out what your competitors are doing is by seeing what they’re posting and what other people are saying about them! Their accounts will be just as transparent as yours; you can see exactly what they’re up to from an audience perspective.

These are just a few of the reasons you should be monitoring your social media accounts. You can have all the strategies and tactics you want, but without means to measure your success, how do you know if you are successful? Take the time to measure your likes and comments or the conversations surrounding your brand. It will be well worth it in the end.

-Marisa

Making The Best Out Of Your Twitter Account

Twitter is fun. Everyone loves Twitter. All of your friends are on it, constantly tweeting their thoughts and what they’re doing. You all tweet your inside jokes and funny pictures you find. But Twitter can be so much more than just fun! Using Twitter efficiently can really help your brand stand out and become even better. To keep your Twitter interesting to your audience, use a variety of different tweets. Joel Comm, in his book Twitter Power 2.0, lists the six types of tweets:

1. Classic Tweets: “This is what I’m doing now.”

2. Opinion Tweets: “This is what I’m thinking now.”

3. Mission Accomplished Tweets: “This is what I’ve just done.”

4. Entertainment Tweets: “I’m making you laugh now.”

5. Question Tweets: “Can you help me do something now?”

6. Picture Tweets: “Look at what I’ve been doing.”

This list is a very straightforward way of showing the types of tweets you can send. Use a variety of them to keep things interesting! Even better, combine some of them to make super tweets! For instance, posting a funny picture would be a picture tweet and an entertainment tweet. One of my absolute favorite brands on Twitter, Denny’s, always has a variety of funny, interesting tweets.

Their tweet above from a few days ago is an example of an entertainment and picture tweet. Their Twitter feed often features a variety of funny, relatable tweets that always draws people in. Even I have found myself going to eat at Denny’s just because I love how great their Twitter is.

There are a few more tips, though, that can really help you in making the best out of your Twitter account. One very important one is, as Search Engine Watch says, avoid abusive hashtag hijacking. They couldn’t have said it better. The best advice I could give anyone starting out on Twitter is do not overuse hashtags! Take a second to do a little research and figure out exactly what hashtags are if you’re not sure (I’ve even written an article on them!) Excessive hashtagging can annoy your followers, and using hashtags that have no relevance to your tweets can seriously harm your credibility. Take advantage of hashtags, but do it in the right way.

Another really good tip they gave was to interact with the media when you don’t need them. Reply to their tweets, retweet their tweets, and share stuff with them. You can work on building a good relationship with them simply by interacting with them on a regular basis. This is what Twitter is for! Pay attention to even just these few tips I’ve listed, and your Twitter page will see immense improvements.

-Marisa

Don’t Forget About Instagram!

Instagram is a fairly new social media network (so new it’s not even in our textbook!) that has grown immensely over the past few years. With a huge amount of users, Instagram is definitely in my top five of the most important social media sites… and yet, it still seems to get overlooked. Many brands and companies have a great presence on Facebook and Twitter, yet seem to completely ignore Instagram. Instagram is basically just a photo sharing app, yes, but it’s so much more than that! I think many people don’t see the point of Instagram because you can easily share pictures and more on  Facebook or Twitter. There are many benefits to Instagram, though. Here are just a few:

1. Building trust and personality – This is the most important benefit! Instagram gives you a chance to show your company in a very informal, relaxed environment. According to koozai, showing the day-to-day business of your company gives a personal feel and shows your customers you’re more than just a name. Getting involved on a personal level with your audience really makes them want to get involved with you!

2. Gaining a competitive advantage – Again, koozai talks about how only about 2% of businesses are on Instagram, which is crazy! However, this gives you a great advantage. Take advantage of what other people are not. Your brand is going to stand out a lot more if you’re one of the only few actually getting involved with your audience and letting them get to know you on a personal level.

3. Reaching Target Market – This is a huuuuuge one! Instagram has a very specific user base of people mostly between the ages of 18 and 30, so anyone with a target audience of that age group should absolutely be taking advantage of this. Young people everywhere are all over Instagram, so it’s important to get on there and connect with them if they’re who you’re wanting to target. In fact, I’d say that that age group is probably most prominent on Instagram. Facebook has a wider age range, with older people logging on more and more every day, and Twitter is also starting to spread to the older age group. Instagram is the only one that still is mostly the “young crowd”. Take advantage!

Not only does Instagram have all of these great benefits, but it is simple. That is how photo sharing is better on Instagram than Facebook or Twitter. On those sites, you have to scroll through tons of text posts and links to see the occasional picture, but on Instagram, that’s all you see! Sure, there’s the occasional long caption, but it’s placed neatly below the photos and it’s easy to scroll through them and find what you want. The search feature is also really great, because you can see what your followers are up to, also. So if you’re not on Instagram yet, what are you doing?!

-Marisa

Why Permission Marketing Is The Best Marketing

There are two types of marketing: permission and interruption. Interruption marketing is more of an old-school type of marketing, and includes television or radio ads, magazine ads, etc. It forces the listener/viewer to pay attention to the message. Permission marketing, however, is when people agree to pay attention to the message being sent. They choose to follow or like an account or sign up for email alerts. Social media marketing falls under the category of permission marketing.

To me, there is only one true benefit to interruption marketing, as stated in this article: quick results. The people that you want to see it are going to be forced to see it right away. Other than that, it seems like interruption marketing is more annoying than anything. Just think of when you’re listening to a station on Pandora; don’t you hate when you’re interrupted by those ads that aren’t relevant to you at all? There isn’t even a target audience. Pandora just has random ads that come on at random times, and most of them aren’t of any interest to you. People are going to pay less attention to them because they’re interrupting their music and forcing them to listen something they don’t care about. On top of that, interruption marketing can be a lot more expensive than permission marketing because of the cost of advertisements.

But then there is permission marketing. Sure, the results take a lot more time to see, but in the long run it is worth it. Regular advertising shows up for a certain amount of time, while social media marketing bounces around the internet for who knows how long. It gets shared from person to person and essentially never dies. It’s a lot cheaper than interruption advertising, because a lot of it just relies on word of mouth. Make one blog post and a thousand people pass it on to their friends, who pass it on to their friends, etc. You can build relationships with your audience, which brings me to my point that you can even target your audience! Your post about the Super Bowl can be specifically targeted to sports lovers instead of forcing people who have no clue how many points a touchdown is worth to read it.

Permission marketing is targeted. It’s not just blindly throwing something out there and hoping that someone will latch onto it. You know who you want to see it, and you’re aiming for specific results.

-Marisa

What’s The Deal With Blogs, Anyway?

Blogging hasn’t always been around, and it hasn’t always been a popular form of social media. Many people are scared to try out blogging because they aren’t confident in their writing or don’t feel like people would be interested in what they have to say, so it would be a waste of their time. I, however, believe that blogs are a great use of your time! There are so many benefits to blogs, whether you’re someone who wants to write about their hobbies from the comfort of your own bedroom, or a company trying to expand their brand.

Personal Blogging

  1. Become a better writer. Being a better writer can help you in many aspects of your life! Employers are always looking for skills that they don’t have to teach you, and writing could always be one.
  2. Connect with others who share your interests. Enjoy knitting? Love learning about fitness and health? Blogging about these things can easily connect you with others who are also interested in them! You can build your own social network, tailored just for you.
  3. Make some extra cash. There are tons of bloggers out there who have turned little hobbies into some serious income. With just a bit of creative planning and advertisement, you can easily start making some money too!

Professional Blogging

  1. Communicate with customers. Blogs can allow you to communicate with the people who matter to your company most on a more personal level. It’s easy to attract new customers that are interested in your company through the social network of blogs.
  2. Drive traffic to your website. Hubspot talks about how blogging is basically free advertising. Instead of paying extra to get your company’s name out there, your blog will pop up on search engines and attract more visitors!
  3. Little effort, a lot of benefits. One blog post can drive up your traffic a lot more than you think. Sure, it’ll get read and tossed around on social media for a bit and probably die down, but it’s going to show up in search engines for quite some time. A post today with a few hits could turn into a million hits a year later when a news story hits that is relevant to your post.

So if you’re one of those people who are scared of starting a blog, don’t be! Get some practice in and take the chance.

The Five Types of Bloggers (lifehacker.com)

-Marisa