To a buyer, sharing is caring
Understanding the journey of a prospective online buyer is essential to designing a flow of information that encourages the behavior you value. Shared media (social media, online reviews and user generated content on channels and sites you share with other companies and individuals), often pivotal in the online shopper’s journey, is a public relations game changer. However, it can also be a wildcard. After all, we don’t dictate who’s doing the sharing or what the audience is saying. This can be scary considering that, professionally, our goal is to control the product message and facilitate interactions between the company and consumer in a positive direction, typically with the overall intention to drive sales.
- In social media, it’s all about interactions.
Hopefully, your analytics software already captures product mentions on social media. Can it go beyond hashtagging and determine positive, natural conversation? If you’re using Facebook, this is essential to remaining visible. The latest news feed algorithm relies upon meaningful interactions to make page rankings. In January, Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook users he was changing the goal of his product teams from focusing on helping users find relevant content to helping them have more meaningful social interactions.
This can have implications for your PR strategy because where engagement was once measured with clicks and likes, often fueled by posts asking for viewers to “like if you agree,” that approach will now backfire and actually create a lower ranking. Instead, bringing discussion-worthy questions or topics to light, providing useful content and evoking reader interaction is more important than ever. More people will see your content if you provide a platform for engagement and foster a sense of community among your followers.
- Know who your influencers are.
Who are your brand’s influencers? When someone plugs your product or company into a search engine with the word “review” attached, which blogs or review sites appear? What is the overall tone of the reviews? This goes beyond actively managing online review ratings, stars, etc. With individually owned blogs or review sites, you may be able to cultivate a relationship with the owners to help make their followers aware of new developments in your different product lines. If your company or product appears on review sites, who are some of the site’s experts? Monitoring their early reactions to new products gives insight into the need for new or different strategy possibilities. While this kind of sentiment analysis can be time- and labor-intensive, it’s worthwhile, especially if your company is in the midst of rolling out something new or recoiling from a crisis.
- Teamwork is still key.
Many companies use promo codes, and a few enhance that concept to unique sharable discount codes. Creating a method for past buyers to share personalized promo codes is a smart marketing tactic that takes advantage of word-of-mouth advertising and is easy to track through sales records and discount code use. While the marketing department is actively measuring how these coupons affect revenue, PR should work hand in hand with them to gauge online reactions, code use and purchase correlation to earned news coverage or influencer actions. Being able to analyze the many elements that come together to create sales allows for both marketing and PR to see patterns of customer behavior and to maximize each area for greater ROI.
There are so many factors that go into an online shopper’s decision to purchase. Knowing and understanding the role of positive social sharing on a buyer’s journey is essential to doing business today. Social media is a great way to make new connections, build relationships and start conversations with target audiences. To learn more, download Axia Public Relations’ “Essential Social Media Management Guide,” a complimentary resource with strategic advice for cultivating these important relationships.
Clients love Noell’s high tech PR and instructional design experience. She earned her Master of Science in information technology management and business analytics from University of North Carolina. Noell has worked with Axia since November 2017.
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