As social media becomes an increasingly important communication vehicle, public relations professionals are constantly trying to build it into their campaigns. Social media’s benefits are most apparent when it’s used creatively and effectively. Public relations practitioners value social media because of its ability to reach the masses directly; however, to stand out from the clutter, innovative messaging and creative tactics may help tailor campaign messages and provide originality that will stand out to subscribers.
In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post – an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary – we look at tactics used to inspire conversation, research results that offer insight into creative social media content, the impact of humor in social media messaging and how a global corporation is communicating with followers on a local level. We will also discuss the difficulties associated with managing social media for a small business or startup.
How PR can take social media to the next level (PR Week)
“Putting the ‘social’ in ‘media’” is one of the recommendations made to help with the process of integrating engaging messaging into a social media strategy. While many are using the same strategy amongst various channels, the article suggests different approaches to help create distinctions between clients and tailored messages for different channels. Increasing engagement for a new campaign through public relations can be done by “creating a distinct brand for clients across social channels.”
Tactics that can help create a more conversational and distinct social media campaign include:
- Hold a Twitter chat with influencers
- Establish integrated social media with bigger campaigns
- Build an interaction strategy
In a recent report, the 2013 Global Creative Index from The Holmes Report showed that “the most successful PR campaigns are driven by creativity and include both rich content and a seamless use of social media.” The study analyzed more than 25 public relations programs for over a year to assess the effectiveness campaign elements, use of social media and a variety of other factors. The results of the report reflected upon the importance of “creative ideas” and “compelling content that spurs engagement” in order to create the desired brand awareness.
By installing creative ideas and measurable content, agencies can then provide results that “translate into real business revenues for their clients.”
Why you should be funny on social media (PR Daily)
Adding humor to social media messaging can not only help to shape a brand’s voice, but it can also generate buzz between the brand and consumer. According to the article, “In the social media universe, humor done right can get you lots of attention. Several highly popular brands rely heavily, if not exclusively, on humor.” Large brands with large followings can interact with one another through humor, or create funny content alone, both of which offer ways to establish the tone and personality of the brand.
Corporations, non profits, and other organizations may be hesitant to use humor because of the serious nature of their products or causes, so humor may be used rarely, but they are still encouraged to generate creative content. However, for brands that can implement humor into their social media plan, the benefits are apparent. The author notes, “Being funny can help transform a disconnected, corporate image into a familiar-feeling, humanized one.”
On a daily basis, McDonald’s tackles the challenge of managing their marketing strategy across 188 countries, all of which manage their own social media. McDonald’s global director of digital and social media, Sosti Ropaitis, aims to maintain the mantra of “storytelling with inherent social value,” and works to ensure that each location is providing a personal, “grassroots” relationship with its social media followers. While all of the local marketing units fall under the large umbrella of the corporate brand, Ropaitis guides the locations not only to meet the needs of the followers in their area, but to also help the brand communicate large, sponsorships, such as the Olympics and the World Cup at a local level.
“We use our monitoring tools to identify content opportunities and just get a better grasp of how our online communities engage with our brand. You can run the risk of sounding very corporate, very rigid, not as human,” Ropaitis said. “Any time we have a little bit more of a human tone, or expose that fun nature of the brand, people connect with that.”
While tweeting on behalf of a global corporation may seem like a daunting task, using social media effectively on behalf of a small business is no trivial feat either. Forbes offers tips on how to build your presence on social media by learning from leaders in the same industry that are already using their platforms successfully. Small businesses should also learn the healthy balance between creating content that’s “funny but not crass, snarky” and avoid content that makes them look like a bully to competitors. They’re encouraged to build off this friendly vibe by using Instagram and other photo applications that can visually show what the business is like to potential customers.
It’s important to build your presence and create these relationships with customers, but it’s advised to keep posting to a believable amount – if there’s constant posting onto platforms, followers may question if the business is actually getting its work done. Social media content should be like a Billy Mays infomercial: “entertaining, informative and produce.”
Faith Goumas is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.