Today, we receive many messages every day, those could be things we already know or new news, the question is: What do we do with that information?
Here are some interesting facts that we as marketers should open our eyes to and always keep aware: 65% of Internet users see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies, 79% of consumers place equal weight on both online reviews and personal recommendations, 63% of consumers need to hear something at least three times before they believe it.
The above facts confirm the importance of organization’s reputation in order for it to be successful and growing. Before the age of social media, a lot has happened around firms but it wasn’t known or viral, however; today it takes less than a day for it to reach thousands of people around the world. This clearly means that organisations should be extra careful and have all the means and resources in case of anything that might go wrong at any time.
The key to the mention above is to have Public Relation for the organisation who are proactive and ready to support in building the image and reputation. Public relation is the practice of managing communication between a particular organization and its publics. It is essential to the business due to the amount of information people tend to talk and share about to others which could be in favor or not to the business. Therefore; being active on social platforms will support in rebuilding and reacting if anything happens faster than using a traditional means and that’s because social media is today’s trend and that is the first platform people tend to start writing about an organisation.
The graph illustrates, the amount of activities and messages published over social platforms in just 60 seconds, this indicates how active consumers are. As we can see, Twitter, Facebook, email, and Whats up are heavily used. This also means that we should be aware of any misinterpreted messages that might go around and shared between different networks that might have an impact on our businesses.
Since the topic of Public Relation is essential, let’s move on and talk about ways to leverage the use of it using social media.
- Content Creation: This is key hence, with the right content, people will read more and will share it via the network. That way we get our message through the crowd. At this stage, your content should include the benefits the customers will get from using your product or service, emotional benefits would be better to mention. Moreover, use visuals to support your content to make it more appealing to the people.
- Bloggers: They are normally active on social media and well known hence, people follow the bloggers who write about things which interest them. Therefore; using a certain blogger who has a good influence over your target audience would be great as they tend to be trusted and listened to. For that, It will also be good for the influencer to write a review about your product or service.
- Connect with Media: You can use the social media to connect with them especially with the ability to create a hashtag that can be viral and shared over and over. The key to this is to have a good story to cover and tell.
To emphasis on the importance of PR through social media, have you all heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge?
This was one of the most successful and profitable campaigns that went viral through #ICEBucketchallenge. The aim of this campaign is to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, known mostly in the US as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and encourage donations to research through an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head. The campaign went viral and involved even key industry influencers such as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. Towards the end of 2013, the ALS association collected about $2.8 Million and today they have reached more than $ 100 Million. To know more about how it started, watch the video which is very inspiring. Ice Bucket Challenge
After going through the importance of PR and social media, it is good to touchpoint on another side of the ball, that is when a crisis happens, how to react!
Based on the above graph, the steps we should follow are:
- Pre-crisis: we should always predict and prepare for any circumstances that may occur, therefore; we should always have a ready social media playbook/guideline. This is a guide which is important to have that includes the way you communicate with your audience. Also, it is something you can share with the agency or person who will be handling the social media platforms on your behalf. The purpose of this is to keep all your communication consistent across all platforms.
- Response: if a crisis happens, it is essential for you to respond and react honestly and truthfully. Moreover, you should support what you say with facts and always comment on what you know at that moment and don’t over say things.
- Recovery: here you will need to rebuild you image and the duration will depend on the size of the crisis. Therefore; it is essential for you to take long-term corrective action and rebuild bridges with stakeholders.
In summary, as marketers, remember to always keep an eye on the social media monitoring tools to see if there is anything written about our organisations. Some useful tools are Radian 6, Sysomos, Talk Walker, Google Alerts, Topsy, etc. The last but not least, always keep this in mind “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” – Bill Gates.
To read about Public Relation and Business Reputation: