According to 5WPR founder Ronn Torossian, It’s been over two years since the pandemic first started, and although there are signs it is slowing down and might even go away soon, the world’s not quite there yet. The pandemic managed to impact practically everything and everyone all over the globe, and people had to figure out ways to adapt to it. That included the public relations industry overall, with plenty of PR professionals starting to work from remote locations to socially distance themselves from their coworkers. In fact, Zoom has since turned into a bit of a verb with the number of people using the video conferencing platform to do anything from attending meetings to online conferences, and even playing virtual games. However, this isn’t the only element that impacted the public relations industry in the last couple of years, nor is it going to be the last thing that’s going to change it in the future.
The return on investment of public relations efforts has been difficult to pin down historically. Although various outlets provide companies with information such as the number of unique monthly visitors, or their social media impressions, these data points don’t really provide the full picture that many companies need. Companies need to know whether their public relations efforts are effective with their target audiences at increasing brand awareness, shifting brand perception, convincing consumers to make more purchases and increasing their loyalty, and more. Fortunately, due to the number of analytics tools specifically for public relations purposes, tracking and measuring those data points has become a lot easier in the last few years. However, the tools and platforms that are currently available aren’t going to fix everything in terms of tracking the right metrics.
Companies need to start every PR effort they want to pursue with strong key performance indicators (KPIs) so that they’ll know what they want to measure, and the importance that each metric has to their goals. Additionally, when companies are able to utilize digital PR as an element of an overall promotional effort, which every company should already be doing, it will give them a more analytical context they can work with. This way, they won’t have to resort to using public relations metrics on their own, and companies can see how all of the data will fit into the overall marketing analytics strategy they’re utilizing.
Ronn Torossian notes that one of the fastest ways that business owners and subject matter experts can reach journalists and relevant media outlets is going to be through social media platforms, specifically Twitter. This is simply an extension of the public relations trend that’s already been happening for the last few years. If a business owner wants to quickly reach out to a professional in a media outlet, the best thing they can do is search for them on Twitter and reach out. Despite the platform’s documented issues with negativity and toxicity, Twitter is still one of the fastest ways that businesses and their business owners can convey information or break news stories about themselves to the press in a timely manner. Additionally, the platform is also incredibly useful for any public relations professionals that are looking for new opportunities, as journalists, reporters, influencers, and others are constantly sharing on Twitter whenever they’re looking for new potential sources or pitches for the various stories they want to talk about.
In the last few years, more and more consumers have started becoming a lot more interested in social responsibility and consciousness from the brands they decide to do business with. Additionally, according to reports, most customers tend to support the companies that have a stronger social conscience compared to the ones that don’t. Those reports have shown that over 40% of customers believe that businesses should be taking a lot more responsibility for the roles they have in society and over 50% of customers have stated that they’re going to be a lot more likely to make a purchase from a business that expresses empathy towards others. Additionally, consumers have also started asking for companies to go beyond simply talking about various social issues, and start supporting what they’re saying with real action.
Instead of simply talking about a social cause and donating money to a charitable organization, companies need to start taking a lot more action. Any company that still hasn’t clearly communicated its social values will have to start doing so, as soon as possible to make all of its public relations efforts a lot more efficient and generate more success. These days, most consumers are no longer providing brands with the benefit of the doubt and instead, they want to know and see that the businesses they choose to purchase from are actually doing a lot of hard work by supporting the causes they talk about through action. This is especially true during times when it might be inconvenient for the business to do so.
Ronn Torossian On Influencers
As Ronn Torossian adds companies that are both in the B2C and the B2B industry should be working with influencers on their promotional efforts. However, most companies in the B2B sphere have tended to lag behind their B2C counterparts, even though this strategy can be very beneficial for these types of businesses. That’s because referrals and brand reputation are a lot more important in the B2B sphere compared to companies in the B2C industry. Businesses that are able to find influencers that are right for them, which means people that share a similar target audience to the business, have a high level of engagement over a long period of time, share similar values, and have a lot of trust from their followers can greatly help a company’s PR efforts.
One of the biggest benefits of partnering with social media influencers is that companies can get all of the marketing and public relations advantages they might need that will come from simply partnering with the right person. That means the company will be able to get its name in front of the audience of the influencer, which will then attract more customers, increase website traffic, and generate more sales. Another great reason why companies should be creating partnerships with social media influencers is to improve their social proof. Social proof is a very important element that can influence the purchasing decisions of many customers, especially since most customers these days begin the buying journey by searching for products or businesses online.
In the last few years, disinformation, misinformation, and fake news stories have been shared at alarming rates to the point where they’ve also started to infiltrate every aspect of media. This has made many audiences highly attuned to anything that might feel insincere they come across, and if they figure out that they’ve been deceived in any way, they will feel anger and frustration at whoever has been deceiving them. That means consumers these days want to see authenticity from the brands that they decide to do business with. Although authenticity has been a rather popular element ever since social media platforms started allowing their users to directly engage with the companies they purchase from, since the start of the pandemic, this word has taken on a brand new meaning. Companies should be aware of that fact so that they don’t end up making a causal claim or an insincere post on social media platforms that ends up generating suspicion or resentment with their target audiences. That means, companies should start fact-checking every statement they make before it’s published for the rest of the world to see. They should also be ready to support any statements they make with results and supporting evidence. To take this trend a step further, companies should also start to examine their brand voice to ensure that it’s authentic to what the business stands for and believes in.
Augmented Reality (AR)
A lot of the content that’s shared in digital spaces these days is video content. Most social media platforms have already adapted to this trend given the success of social media features like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, Twitch live streams, and more. This trend in distributing visual content means that not only will companies have to start adapting to it as soon as possible, but also figure out the best way to deliver their brand messages in it. Fortunately, video content makes it relatively easy for companies to share their key messages, but the next step in this direction is going to be augmented reality (AR) and developing fully immersive visual experiences for the customers. When companies are able to use this type of content on social media platforms and other channels, they are able to engage in a more direct and meaningful way with their target audiences. The use of augmented reality in public relations efforts has opened up plenty of new opportunities for companies to improve and reinvent their brand engagement and overall promotional campaigns.