Time to dust off that chip on your shoulder and bite into social media

As I complete an internship at a publicity firm, I walk away with invaluable knowledge regarding the power of social media and the value of social media influencers. One of my main tasks, which I found myself savouring, was the research of social media influencers on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and correspondingly through their own blogs or personal websites.

Naturally, the more followers you have, the greater your influence and popularity. However, it is interesting to note that more male driven areas of activity such as Motorsports and technology, do not have many followers on social media unless they are enormously successful, like Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo or MotoGP retired rider Casey Stoner. Therefore, the more active and popular your area of interest, currently such areas as beauty, health and lifestyle, and fitness, have gained and continue to attract large levels of followers. It is through these popular profiles that publicists can promote their client’s products, through product placement.

I respect that this can be common knowledge but after the ‘cash for comment’ scandal, it still is an area of vital value to address the ethical issues surrounding public relations and specialised areas such as publicity. Evidently, it has become of vital importance to clarify to readers whether a post has been sponsored, as seen with Rebecca Judd, an Australian celebrity, anchorwoman and lifestyle and fashion blogger, whose Instagram post below displays product placement.

becjuddinsta

Nicole Warne, an Australian blogger who has become internationally known, blogs about travel, fashion and beauty with the assistance of product placement. Her Instagram post below displays her subtle yet professional integration of product placement within her personal account and links to her blog:

garypepperinsta

These posts, through Instagram’s power of visual appeal, combine beauty and simplicity to subtly and successfully integrate product placement into a seemingly every-day (although lavish) post. Within the new generations of consumers, a generation that has grown up with technology and therefore has no fear of technological advances likes those of our ancestors. What is interesting about this new generation is that ‘these kids are regularly consuming so much information that their brains have started developing differently to process more information, faster’ [1], highlighting that the younger generations prefer ‘quick communication, largely rooted in images, quick videos and emojis’ [2]. So it’s now so much more important to develop mutually beneficial relationships with social media influencers, through numerous fields of interest such as beauty and Motorsports, as ‘those using social media are four times more likely to spend’ 3] and ‘for every dollar earned from paid media, influencers marketing received $6.85’ [4].

As social media is essentially an interactive platform for both business and social levels, it means ‘marketers can “listen” to the target group risk-free and 24/7’ and by listening without actively participating in conversation, marketers and publicists alike can ‘learn about specific problems on a brand, which face-to-face dialogue would not elicit’ 5]. I grant you that this lack of interactivity with a brand, individual or organisations publics causes that systematic rift between the two entities and correspondingly can impact on the strength of any new or maintained relationship. Therefore, there still needs to be a consistent level of interaction with customers regardless of current or future product placement with social media influencers. Examples I have seen of this include the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), who in 2015 experienced a crash in their online and ATM banking systems, which caused huge quantities of their customers to be without funds. The below are 2 instances where CBA maintained interactivity and worked to develop and maintain relationships with their customers on Facebook during said incident:

On a funnier note, other organisations worldwide have used social media to both maintain relationships, communicate and also integrate a level of humor to their interactions. Examples include the American restaurant, Denny’s, who responds frequently to posts on Tumblr:

So the value of consistent research of social media influencers will help develop who sees your product/s, your relationships with publics who follow said influencers and it may also assist you in developing your own social media efforts and understanding. This may be through learning how to take the best Instagram shot, how to write the snappiest tweet to gain retweets or a Facebook status that will hopefully go viral. It’s time to continue looking to older generations and publics, whilst perfecting the online presence of your represented organisation or individual on social media.

 

Footnotes:

1. HULYK, T 2015, ‘MARKETING TO GEN Z: Uncovering a New World of Social Media Influencers’, Franchising World, vol. 47, no. 12, p. 32.
2. HULYK, T 2015, ‘MARKETING TO GEN Z: Uncovering a New World of Social Media Influencers’, Franchising World, vol. 47, no. 12, p. 32.
3. HULYK, T 2015, ‘MARKETING TO GEN Z: Uncovering a New World of Social Media Influencers’, Franchising World, vol. 47, no. 12, p. 32.
4. HULYK, T 2015, ‘MARKETING TO GEN Z: Uncovering a New World of Social Media Influencers’, Franchising World, vol. 47, no. 12, p. 32.
5. Bowen, G, & Bowen, D 2016, ‘SOCIAL MEDIA: A STRATEGIC DECISIONMAKING TOOL’, Journal Of Global Business & Technology, 12, 1, pp. 48-59, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 June 2016.

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