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Social media has become the first impression buyers have of your brand, and public relations exists to manage the brand’s image and create relationships with current and new consumers. Combined, social media and public relations are the most powerful way to reach your target customers. About half of all mobile users discover new brands via social network app but struggle with conversions due to the inability to feel and touch the product or lack of credibility. So where is the disconnect?
In studies conducted by We Are Social and CMI Content found that:
2.80 billion global social media users in 2017, equaling 37% penetration,
40% of users say credibility trumps the source of information,
21% rank blog posts as influential in their purchasing decisions.
Startup business owners often do not budget for public relations. It is viewed as a low priority because they cannot tangibly measure their immediate return on investment. PR is the long-term investment in the evolution of your business as it becomes a brand. It is cheaper than advertising and more credible with buyers as it provides an objective third party endorsement. The average campaign takes approximately six months to see any traction and when every dollar counts, it provides the best bang for your buck.
Social media has shown that people don’t buy what we do; they buy why we do it. It allows you to gather the geographic and demographic data for your buyers but how do you market to them? It is through the social channels that public relations thrives, so it makes sense that it is the natural next iteration for a startup’s marketing strategy.
WHY ENGAGE WITH THE BFF OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media takes all aspects of brand and transforms it into a culture, more importantly a lifestyle. Startups have found much success in sponsored posts with sprinkles of micro-influencer marketing and celebrity gifting that captures that lifestyle to boost their followers and engage audiences. This strategy does little to communicate the brand message, drive conversations or impact consumer perceptions. Enter PR.
The common misconception is that traditional marketing has been phased out, but in fact, it is more impactful when partnered with PR. PR is the perfect vehicle to spark engagement with buyers and consumers. Its strategies are earned not paid and influenced not promoted. Modern PR practices support by social media by opening doors to media outlets and influential trendsetters to add third party credibility for brands. Publicists understand how to incorporate the social approach into tactical public relations methods, including: social sharing, co-created messages, infographics, precise messaging to target markets, etc.
HOW TO INTEGRATE A PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY
An integrated social media marketing and PR strategy is more than a few posts, tweets and shares. It is the coordination of product releases, promotions, trend integration, and original content to design a strategy that is authentic to your brand and generate the initial buzz. Key performance words and editorial links provide a way to gauge the online reach and measure digital impressions so strategies can be tweaked or edited along the way.
Press placements and social media mentions create extra exposure opportunities to share your brand happenings. Thanks to online publications, blogs, social channels (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.) these placements have renewed life that lives on in the search engines forever. Social sites also allow for both the brand and publicity team members to serve as brand influencers as they produce original content authentic to their personal or professional brands for their audience.
Over time, public relations becomes an integral component within an organization to chart the future of the brand. Through studying the trends, PR professionals can utilize their relationships to procure the third party endorsements to give your brand credibility.
It’s clear, social media and public relations are made for each. When brands combine these strategies, it’s a powerful duo that can have beneficial results. Social media allows companies to easily create a relationship with the consumer, and public relations provides the holistic approach to marketing and credibility.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
S. Angelique Mingo is the Creative Director at Sinala Noir, a fashion and lifestyle communications agency for contemporary brands on the rise. S. Angelique designs multi-tiered public relations and social media strategies to help generate buzz and build brand awareness. She specializes in storytelling, brand development and project management and is known for her energetic, hit-the-ground running approach to every client.