Managing the spread of information about your company takes on a distinctively DIY flavor when you're a small business operating with limited resources. Good public relations takes more than just making good social media content and responding to customer concerns. Finding a winning strategy to promote your brand is critical to getting and keeping the attention of the consumers that you need. Here are five ways that your startup can take public relations to the next level.
1. Leverage Emerging Technologies
Over the past decade, technologies that have the power to revolutionize how we do public relations work have emerged. Most prominent among these are the plethora of smartphone applications and artificial intelligence (AI) programs which are proving to be massive time-savers in a field where time is money. PR is a team project and involves coordinating the effort of multiple media specialists in order to craft a message. Something as simple as a time card calculator can help business owners and managers keep track of progress made by marketing team members without having to juggle paperwork or stay glued to a desk.
2. Sponsor Community Events
More than ever, public relations is about building relationships with people. According to a recent Nielsen study, 92% of consumers state that recommendations from family and friends about a new product or service are trusted to a greater degree than any other advertisement. Start building those bridges and making your company more personal. Sponsoring and supporting nonprofits is a great place to start. Operating booths at festivals or forming a team to participate in a fundraiser walk are tried-and-true connection builders. Participating in events doesn't have to be done in person. Certainly that's ideal, but webinars can bring together a global audience without the incurring the costs of travel.
3. Connect With Influencers in Your Industry
Media coverage alone just isn't enough. Creating partnerships with influencers themselves is a valuable way to get your message out there. Many social media influencers on sites such as YouTube are willing to become paid brand ambassadors for companies in their sphere of influence. This in turn expands your influence because the message gets to people who are already interested in what you're offering through the influencer's built-in reach. Some influencers will even do this for free if they love what your company is about. Find out if your brand already has fans among popular bloggers and connect with them.
4. Tell a Great Story
Getting people to love your company in the first place is the job of a great storyteller. That's more or less what public relations does, after all. Let people know what's special about your company. What differentiates you from your competitors? Even more to the point, what makes the culture and vision of your business something new that people need to take notice of? The latest marketing research doesn't equivocate on the idea that having and living out a company vision is necessary to being seen as authentic by the public. Don't just tell them who you are. Show them.
5. Think Wisely About Social Media
The 2020 CIPR State of the Profession report cites a changing social and digital landscape as one of the greatest challenges in public relations. You might think that just having a louder voice across more platforms is the future of public relations, but this is far from the mark. As platforms diversify, it becomes possible to reach out to niche markets. Facebook, for example, has an option for creating business pages and offers help in targeting specific audiences. Think hard about what the specialty of your business is. What thing are you best at, and what segment of the public are you best at serving? Tailor your presence to your audience instead of putting undue focus on hits and likes.
The march of progress has changed how we do business, and public relations is no exception. Yet the fact remains that not all of this change is negative. As more businesses have discovered the social potential of the digital world, PR and marketing professionals are finding new ways of using this power to build brands and earn consumer trust.