Social Media and PR: The Hashtag Community

Previously I discussed the need for PR practitioners to utilise social media platforms to engage and build relationships with stakeholders and publics.

If you haven’t read my last post, click here to read it now.

Let’s look at Instagram in particular.

Welcome: the #hashtag community. These are communities created by companies or publics centered on sharing content of particular interest.

These communities are influencing the relationship PR practitioners and companies have with their publics and stakeholders, and strengthening these relationships through open, two way communication.

Search the hashtag “creationaday” in Instagram and you will be flooded with photos featuring Chobani yogurt. This hashtag symbolizes a community of Chobani loving ‘gramers creating content about Chobani and sharing it.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.28.40 AM

#creationaday posts on Instagram

Hang on a sec, publics creating and sharing content willingly featuring your brand? That’s right. And they are gaining an increased interest in your brand to boot.

According to Hilary DuPont who is part of Chobani’s brand communications team, Chobani joined Instagram because they recognized that their customers were using it and they wanted to position themselves exactly where their customers were.

 

“We’re on the platform every day so we know what’s trending. If our customers are posting about smoothies, we are too. We want to be doing what they’re doing.”

And it is this philosophy that has gained them over 72 thousand followers on Instagram and growing daily.

Chobani’s followers are actively responding to Chobani’s content, showing the relationships Chobani has created.

When Chobani posts to Instagram, users see the photo – whether it’s a recipe or an idea – and they will post their own photo of themselves trying the idea and with the appropriate hashtag they join the conversation.

Chobani Instagram post

Chobani Instagram post

It is this engagement and communication through Instagram that is the very thing that is strengthening and building the relationships with their publics.

“The nature of social media makes them helpful tools for public relations practitioners, as they allow organizations to create dialogues with audiences” (Briones et al. 2011).

Not only has Chobani created an Instagram community, they even have a name – “Chobaniacs”. You know you have a strong relationship with publics when they have a collective name.

Are you part of a social media community? Let me know by leaving a comment.

 

Source:

Briones, R., Kuch, B., Liu, B., & Jin, Y. (2011). Keeping up with the digital age: how the American Red Cross uses social media to build relationships. Public Relations Review, 37(1), 37-43.

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