Social media and public relations go hand in hand (just like besties). As a PR professional, you strive to generate a positive public opinion for your clients. But to do so, you need to be where the people are to influence them - and those people are on social media.
Traditional PR marketing content, like print, TV, and radio, can still be effective, but digital PR is king. If your digital PR strategy does not include social media, you are missing out on a HUGE chunk of visibility (and eyeballs).
Having a basic presence on social media is not enough, either. You need fresh and exciting content as well to balance out your recyclable content. That’s where viral social media trends come into play.
The majority of today's consumers use social media - and not just for socialising. They use it to learn about new brands and products, interact with brands, and even make e-commerce purchases. This means social media is the perfect place to build brand awareness for your clients.
You can't expect people to have a positive opinion of your client's brand if they don't even know much about them in the first place. To build that awareness and leave consumers with a good impression, you need to connect with them on social media.
Newer generations of consumers get the most value out of social media engagement. Their opinion of a brand can be heavily influenced by a brand’s marketing and overall presence online.
To stand out, you have to genuinely engage with consumers to get them to take notice of a brand. Think of social media as a form of digital collaboration. You provide consumers with great and engaging experiences, and they are more likely to give you their loyalty in return. Viral social media trends are one of the best ways to take part in that digital collaboration.
"You provide consumers with great and engaging experiences, and they are more likely to give you their loyalty in return."
But to avoid overwhelm when starting your viral PR strategy, it's best to choose one or two platforms to focus on.
If you are trying to take advantage of trends, you want to be on the sites where you can catch trends early. It’s important to note, however, that just because a social media site has the most users does not necessarily mean it is the trendiest app.
Facebook, for example, has the most users at 2.9 billion monthly active users (MAU). However, this is primarily because Facebook is one of the oldest and easiest-to-use social media sites.
While it's good to have a Facebook presence, it's not really considered trendy nor the best for viral marketing.
Instagram and TikTok, on the other hand, are much more popular among today's generation of consumers. Instagram has two billion MAU and TikTok one billion. While the MAU is slightly lower, the engagement is higher.
Better yet, consumers use Instagram and TikTok to learn about and interact with brands. So, if your clients are targeting Gen Z and millennials, social apps that initiate viral content are crucial.
"...social apps that initiate viral content are crucial."
Let's take a look at some of the latest social media trends that can help you improve your PR marketing strategy. Of course, this can fluctuate quickly, so it’s best to keep your ears to the ground on your chosen social platforms.
The best times to post on social media, in general, are Tuesdays through Thursdays between 9-10am. Most social platforms see increased activity around this time.
(It’s an interesting shift from weekend posting times that were more popular before the COVID-19 pandemic, illustrating the impact of societal context on how users engage with content.)
Mid-mornings, midway through the week, are more popular now across the board - but that doesn't mean that you should post content at those times and call it quits.
Instead, focus on generating quality content. Then, see how well the content performs for your specific industry.
Every platform and niche will have different nuances, so picking times for posting should be based on social analytics and unique times of high engagement for YOUR client's brand.
The average attention span of today's consumer has significantly shortened. Video content is the most engaging, but it needs to be short, snappy, and sweet.
If it's too long, your viewers are likely to lose interest. While you can post these videos on virtually any platform, this trend is thanks in large part to TikTok's format. Anything more than one minute and viewers will move on.
While TikTok might not have as many MAU as Facebook, it has recently - and quite rapidly - become the trendiest social app. As such, it's crucial to include TikTok videos when making content for your clients.
Use footage of behind-the-scenes, events, or even fun employees that are willing to jump on dance trends. Keep an eye on TikTok trends and see what you can add a unique, brand-relevant spin on.
Consider how to make trendy content that appeals to today's consumers. Millennials and Gen Z love brands that have a sense of humour, so don't be afraid to let loose and get a little more casual with content.
Memes can be in any format, but they are typically repeated from a template that has already gained some traction. Follow some popular meme pages and see what sticks out to you as applicable to your client's brand.
Using influencers to market a brand is currently at its peak. Most users today get their information about brands and products from influencers.
This is because influencers feel more real, relatable, and genuine. After all, they are consumers themselves. People are generally more trusting of their opinion than something that comes directly from the mouth of the brand itself.
But instead of reaching out to the biggest influencer you can find, it's often better to niche down. Find an industry-specific influencer with a large-enough following to generate genuine interest in the brand.
The product or service your client provides must be something that goes along with that particular influencer's current personal branding - and it should be something that they would authentically enjoy.
Authenticity is key.
"The product or service...should be something that they would authentically enjoy."
Social media should be included in every PR professional's toolbox. It's the tool that is most effective today and is one of the best ways to reach and influence audiences.
But, you can't just wield social media like everyone else - you have to continually stay on top of the latest trends and use them to your advantage to have the most impact.
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