Posted: 13 February, 2012 in Social Media
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sometimes it amazes me how much the future of our economy relies on the use of social media. For people in the public relations field, social media helps professionals connect their clients with key publics more efficiently. This is especially true when it comes to having a small business in today’s tough economy. Social media can connect people all over the world at anytime of the day. The ability of social media websites to foster two-way communication connections is unlike anything the business world has ever seen before. Companies are now able to connect with their target markets in an interactive way that allows for instant feedback on products, services and daily operations. In addition, it is aiding entrepreneurs and allowing them to thrive in this economy.

For many brands, their public relations department controls all of their social media. From updates and monitoring to figuring how to grow their Facebook and Twitter followings, the public relations department does it all. For smaller companies, everyone participates and contributes to the growth of the company’s social media. In both situations, the people taking charge of the social media become the link between the company’s publics and its brand. They are there to feed information, ideas and opportunities straight to the consumer. In addition, they are there to get feedback directly from the consumer, which helps to make changes that better serve the consumer’s needs.

Think of social media as digital word-of-mouth marketing. For those who do not know, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to get news and information about your brand out to the public. For the most part, people trust the human source they are getting their information from and are more willing to try something that source recommends. So, it is understandable that brands want to get people talking about their products and services. The booming availability of social media websites allows for more people to access brands in a way that was not available a few years ago. This means, if companies are using social media correctly, they will be able to reach their target markets more easily than before to get them talking about their brand over the target audience’s personal social media websites and to their friends.

Large companies, such as fashion icon H&M, use social media to tell their consumers about the latest trends going on throughout the company and what they can expect from that industry. The company’s public relations and marketing departments work together to put out buzz about sales the stores are having or events that are coming up. This gets the current followers to gossip to their friends about what a good deal it is and in turn possibly gets them to go to the company’s store. If their current follower’s friends are satisfied with the brand they will go back and use their personal social media websites to generate more buzz about the company. The point is that because of social media pubic relations professionals are able to connect with current and potential consumer more easily than ever before to help the brand grow. This is an amazing feet compared to earlier years when connections were limited to paper media, phone or face to face interaction.

Social media has become a vital tool for smaller businesses looking to compete with the large well-known companies. Recently, PRDaily published a story about a man in South Florida, who runs a very popular food truck. With the growing popularity of food trucks in major cities, it can be hard to get people to trust you brand enough to try the food without requiring some liquid courage first. So, how did Jim Heins grow the demand for his food truck? Simple, social media enable him to gain interest and buzz about the products he offers from his food truck. By using Twitter and other various social media platforms, he was able to build a following. Heins used techniques like:

  • Staying true to his consumes over the social media websites
  • Being natural when talking about products and service
  • Promotional items that were posted at times to gain interest

By gaining a little knowledge and experience with using social media websites to network, Heins was able to build up his brand and grow a loyal following in South Florida.

Social media has become something bigger than I think any of us could have imagined. I look forward to seeing where social media takes the public relations field and my career in the future. It will be interesting to see how advanced social media will get. Imagine all of the new ways brands will be able to connect with their consumers in the future. The possibilities of what this medium could bring are endless.

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