relations is a fluid process defined by constant changes in
consumer trends. Finding your audience alone can be a headache.
Luckily, technological trends are
funneling the majority of American consumers into a glorious
hotbed of free, instantly rewarding PR— social media. Social
networking can be intimidating to those with little Internet
experience, but if approached correctly, it can be a powerful
tool in your PR toolkit.
Get your business social networking
with a couple important starting points:
Listen for opportunities to contribute.
Be mindful of current events and the
trends news readers are following. Reach outside your normal
sphere of awareness, too. Be creative and thorough about
following the news, and you may realize that more news topics
can be related back to your business than you might expect.
“In the field of public relations, chance favors only the
prepared mind.” This is a (slightly altered) quote by Louis
Pasteur, who discovered germs. Because we are aware of germs, we
are acutely afraid of them, and the hand sanitizer industry
rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Recognizing
connections like that is critical to practicing successful PR,
and made possible with a cursory familiarity of different,
seemingly unrelated concepts.
When you are plugged into current trends, you can more easily
communicate your brand to target audiences. Press releases with
real-world relevance and a unique spin are much more likely to
be picked up by a journalist. In addition, if people view your
company as a conscientious participant in current events, they
are more likely to seek you out and listen to what you have to
say. With all that in mind, you can make your online content
relevant and useful to your target market.
The walls between business and
consumer are being quickly eroded by new communication media,
and irreversibly so. By 2011, your company should have a profile
on all the major social networks out there. The most exciting
aspect of technology-facilitated marketing is the ability for a
consumer to enter into a discourse with the business itself and
get a response in real-time.
Put a face to your company— possibly
your CEO, someone whom people will trust to provide expert
advice. Even if your PR department secretly ghostwrites all the
content, your company will communicate a sense of authority and
accountability. However you choose to interact with your virtual
community, do it constantly and consistently.
Be sincere and passionate. As you and your consumers are pushed
together by technology, those consumers are getting smarter and
less willing to buy into traditional PR methods. Does this mean
you are now marketing to a willfully difficult customer base?
Actually, what this trend in “hip” consumerism means is simply
that the average person is more sensitive to disingenuity than
they used to be. Conversely, those people are more responsive to
a business that genuinely appears to have their best interests
Once you have a handle on how to utilize your social profiles to
communicate with your customer base, PR can easily become one of
the most active departments in your company. Stay creative, stay
involved and stay current,
and the social network will lend
credibility to your business and flexibility to your PR efforts.
Matthew Stites is freelance blogger.
More Articles |
Submit Your Article |
About Public Relations Homepage