As PR moves toward the digital space and the lines between public relations, marketing and advertising begin to converge, you start hearing whispers about Social PR, Influencer Engagement, and Social Influence. What does this all mean and how does it impact my business?
Let’s start off in the wading pool of Social PR, get comfortable, and dive into the fun stuff on how it works.
Social PR can be a bit confusing if you don’t have the right context. It doesn’t have anything to do with CSR (corporate social responsibility for those non-abbreviators) or non-profits – though you can use it for your social enterprise.
Think of social PR as another medium to drive earned media to your story or message, whether it be a product launch, an event production, or a fundraising call-to-action. Essentially, it is used in conjunction with traditional and digital media relations where stories are pitched to news desks, online publications and bloggers. The beauty of social PR is that it is more than just pitching a story angle – it’s cultivating relationships with brand loyalists, spreading your story to select individuals, reaching your audience and having them amplify your story to their fans.
This is not to be confused with community management where you actively respond and amplify incoming engagement from fans. This is your own message being pushed through the social funnel in bite-sized, visually delectable chunks to people with influence.
Influencer engagement is part of the process of social PR, where you source individuals who possess a lot of clout or ‘influence’ within the specific demographic you wish to target. They are the cool kids rocking those Nike kicks before they were deemed fashionable. So like any friendship, you want to join their inner circle and build an authentic connection. Even though we’re behind a screen on social, people still want to establish genuine relationships and not feel like it’s a transaction. When the time comes for them to endorse your story, it becomes easier to share and amplify your message because you already built up the conversation.
Social influence as per Wikipedia’s spot-on definition “occurs when one’s emotions, opinions or behaviors are affected by others.” We all use our external environment to make decisions, create opinions, or find solutions to things. We look to the people we respect or that have a particular influence on our values and beliefs. This is where influencer engagement works its magic. You ‘follow’ certain people because you value what they do, how they act, or what they stand for. These people have an influence over you whether large or small. Same goes for your audience. So when you engage with an influencer to share your brand, business, or individual profile’s message, you leverage their network to amplify it to their fans.
No, it’s not a Jedi mind trick. See what I did there? May the 4th be with you 😉
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