Social Media: A Main Source of Information.

Previously discussed: The influence of Instagram on public relations and the development of relationships between businesses and consumers. Find here.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, Pinterest, YouTube, these social networking sites have revolutionised the way consumers communicate not only to each other, but also to organisations, eliminating one-way communication channels.

Consumers are turning to social media more and more frequently, for on-demand access to information, thus shifting away from traditional media: television, magazine, and newspapers.

Social media has opened the gateway for two-way communication discussion and interaction, on an immediate and 24 hour basis.

However, this gateway has also opened a whole new can of worms, one being the limited ability and power of public relations practitioners (PRP’s) to control the dissemination of information and discussion about their brand, products or services.

User-generated content is defined as:

“Term used to describe any form of content such as video, blogs, discussion form posts, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media that was created by consumers or end-users of an online system or service and is publically available to others consumers and end-users”.

We are at a stage where consumers, including myself are turning to social media channels such as YouTube to conduct their search for information. Based on their search, regarding particular products consumers are then making their purchasing decision.

5430856276_19e8357abc_mYouTube allows for consumers to publicly share reviews, opinions, advice, impressions or experiences of a product or services, as well as other content.

Laurent Curtis, is Australia’s number one beauty YouTuber with over 1.5 million subscribers. Having someone of this capacity release a review of their favorite products, is heavily beneficial for those brands mentioned, as it allows for their brand to be humanized, and potentially reach a whole new pool of consumers.

lauren beauutyUnfortunately, however not all product reviews are in the brand or organisation’s favour. Various beauty YouTubers also publish videos of i.e product’s they regret buying, which can heavily damage a brand’s image and reputation.

Whilst PRP’s do not have control over what is published, they can however shape the discussions being held, to coincide with organisational values and objectives.

Tip’s on shaping online discussion:

1. Provide networking platforms such as Campaigns which discussion can circulate around a particular subject or topic.

2. Actively respond and engage with customers about their questions or posts.

3.  Be transparent with information, promoting consumer confidence in your brand.

4. Be interesting, host competitions and provide exclusivity such as discount coupons.

5. Recognise and utilise the power of user-generated media and their stories.

Images Sourced From:
YouTube Icon: http://bit.ly/1hSAK8o
Lauren Beautyy ‘Products I Regret Buying in 2011’:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVg1dJ5kVrc

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