Advice for PR and Social Media of 2014

After reading an article posted on Ragen’s PR Daily as well as doing research of my own, I have noticed some trends that PR and social media are doing this year. In a list format, I will give you some advice on how to work in the PR world in the year of 2014.

1. Let your brand’s superfans help do your marketing/selling for you. 

Your best promoters are going to be the ones who are absolutely crazy about your product. These people can be described as a brand’s superfans — the people who talk about them online, advocate for their products, and spread the word however they can — These superfans can be used as a great marketing tool for your brand or company. Mack Collier, the founder of #BlogChat and author of “Think Like A Rockstar,” said in his Social Media Tourism Symposium keynote, “You’re marketing to the wrong people…the real money is in connecting with your biggest fans. Your fans will go out and acquire new customers for you.” Love your fans back! They give you the best tools for you to help yourself and by treating them good, it will help you tremendously in the long run.

2. Give up control of your brand.

 Mack Collier also explains that brands must give up control to get control. It is quite a scary concept, right? I understand that as communication professionals, our job is to protect the brands we represent, so I know that we all feel a bit uneasy about giving up control. If we want our brands and companies to succeed, we need to let go and give up control. A trend today in our PR world is that our fans and community own our brand just as much as we do. For example, our fans now are able to create their own content (videos, tweets, posts, etc.) about our brands. If we create content geared specifically toward our fans (key word: fans, not customers) and give them the tools to promote us, they will do it in a way that reflects on our brand positively. We just need to have a little trust and faith that our fans will do it.

3. Think about content more strategically, and plan for the long term.

In order for our brands to make the most impact, we must be more strategic and think ahead for the long term and have a content plan. But more than having a plan for what content we want our brand to share, we must have a plan for which platforms the content will be shared on. Share quality information on at least three different platforms/channels.

4.We have to be smarter about using data.

Yes, although many of us PR people seem to be fonder of words than numbers, there is still a shift in today’s world in which numbers and math are becoming more important in our field. This means that wee must learn to love numbers and understand how and why using data can be so useful. Adam Singer once said, “Data is sexy…because data equals more money.” Not only does data equal more money, but numbers can help tell a story when working with the media, and also justify a larger budget and more staff/resources for an organization. Instead of shying away from analytics, statistics, and numbers, we must indulge and learn to work with them and morph them to benefit us as a useful tool.

5. Just be useful. 

When promoting our brands, we must just be useful to our customers and fans. “Youtility”.  Jay Baer explains, “Youtility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it.” If you’re useful and provide information that your customers are looking for, they will respect you and, ideally, purchase from you. Marketers should use their online tools to provide utility first and to promote themselves second.

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