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Harnessing the Power of Social Media in PR by Emily Stock

There’s no denying that any Public Relations (PR) agency with no social media strategies for themselves or their clients are going to fall behind in the game. It is difficult for any company or individual to put a clear value on the power of social media engagement for their brand. In May 2017, Facebook and Instagram had 17 and 5 million active monthly users respectively within Australia. (Source: Compare that to a large news publication or television show and you can already see the publicity potential that this new media platform has.

The problem that most companies have experienced at any given time is harnessing the power to further their brand awareness and influence in an appropriate manner. Social media strategies are not a one size fits all approach- what works for one brand most likely won’t suit another. A fashion label’s social media presence is not going to be the same as a finance companies.

Social media is an extremely visual experience for all users, so activity and promotional activity online needs to be aesthetically pleasing and exciting yet still fit in with a brand’s values and direction. A company or organisation can utilise a range of social media tools to communicate with all relevant stakeholders instantly. One of these that has been increasingly popular is collaborations with social media influencers, who have a large amount of dedicated followers and a unprecedented volume of influence. Brands will often pay these influencers to promote their product whether it be through a social media post, a review, a tag or a competition.

Not only has this created a different world of advertising for companies who previously only dealt with traditional media outlet, but also a new sector for both PR and marketing agencies.

The rise of social media in the PR and marketing world has meant university courses have quickly had to incorporate it’s presence into their curriculum to adequately prepare students. Is social media a thing that can be taught the same as a marketing strategy, or is it a generational thing that only younger people have a knack for? Macquarie University has renamed it’s PR courses to include the phrase ‘Social Media’ in the title, meaning academics are recognising it’s place in the industry. PR agencies should also be ensuring that all new graduates and interns are well trained on the importance and power of social media across their brands

InsideOut PR, a boutique public relations agency based in Sydney established #AsSeenOn in 2016. A service dedicated entirely to connecting brands and bloggers, #AsSeenOn represents both sides of the collaborations and has responded quickly to the demand they saw growing as a result of social media influencers.  Paid endorsements by online influencers are now used by 52 percent of online marketers – a number that is rapidly closing in on display ads (58 percent) as the top paid avenue for online advertising. “In our years of working with brands across Australia, and with influencers we saw an opportunity to connect the two. We found it can be quite hard for PR people or marketing people to find the right social influencer for their brand,” director of InsideOut PR and #AsSeenOn, Nicole Reaney, explains.

Author: Emily Stock, PR/Marketing Coordinator at InsideOut PR

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