Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. We find and share our new favorite clothing and food brands on blogs; we meet people with similar interests on Facebook; we get our news in one sentence on Twitter; we share a pictures of that awesome eggs benedict we had for brunch on Instagram and we can even find our future husband or wife on dating sites. We have an amazing ability to be connected, stay in-the-know and share our own interests, ideas and opinions on just about everything.
In the public relations field, it’s important to understand how social media continues to evolve, and in turn how this evolution changes the way our society communicates and receives information. We can learn practically everything about a person before we even meet them face to face. You can get to know your first college roommate before stepping foot on campus or your blind date before you ever shake their hand. We recently saw a TV show exclaim that “blind dates” no longer exist in our world. Blind date? I think I’ll Google him first.
This idea isn’t restricted to personal life, it also translates to brands and companies. Before a consumer decides to make a purchase, they have the ability to go online and find out anything they want about the product. And, it’s easier than ever to crowd source 500 of your closest “friends” to learn their opinions. We’re beginning to see that these interactions and conversations about brands and with brands via social media are an important factor in consumers purchasing decisions. In fact, in one study, 71% of consumers said they are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.1
Today, even actions such has ‘liking’ and ‘pinning’ on Facebook or Pinterest have proven valuable communication tools for both brands and consumers alike. For instance, 4 in 10 social media users have purchased an item online or in-store after sharing it or marking it as a favorite on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.1
Whether it’s finding your next date or researching a new protein bar, more and more consumers look to social media platforms as helpful information sources, communication outlets and decision-making tools. Interestingly enough, 78% of consumers report that companies’ social media posts impact their purchases.1 Thus, it’s important for our brands to be involved in the conversation, whether it’s risky or not. Yes, social media can be a double-edged sword, but, more often than not, when done strategically and thoughtfully, the opportunities outweigh the risks. These platforms are where conversations take place and opinions are formed, making them extremely valuable tools for our brands, and opening up important lines of communication with consumers and well-known influencers.
Nowadays, thanks to social media, anyone who has the desire, can have a voice. People can now get their point across in 140 characters on Twitter, by commenting on a recent Facebook post and even by creating a 15 second video on Instagram. As public relations professionals it’s our job to understand the ins and outs, new trends and the ways our society communicates via these outlets. It’s essential to understand how and why people turn to particular social media platforms so that our brands can successfully use these unique tools to communicate, collaborate and inspire their audience.
Check out another recent post about how to keep your brand’s social media presence in check.
At Pollock Communications, we specialize in building awareness for food, health and wellness clients and we know that understanding how to use the right social media tools for a brand and maintaining a strong social media presence is crucial to delivering stellar results for our clients. For more information on how we can help build your social media strategy, contact us.