Social media marketing: the new word-of-mouth

2020 was a challenging year for all, but social media has revolutionized the PR market during this time. As Falcon.io put it, “it is safe to say that the new way of word-of-mouth marketing is social media marketing”.


In times of global instability, consumers are more likely to buy from companies that are purpose-driven and speak-up about matters. According to Falcon.io, companies have been responding to this; 80% of brands have increased their focus on purpose and social responsibility in terms of their outreach to media.


Withal, combining your companies’ social and PR activities seems like a no brainer, but yet some brands are still struggling with this or are hesitant to make the switch.


Thus, we decided to join Falcon.io “Social Media as Public Relations 2.0” webinar where industry experts Maggie Lower, Chief Marketing Officer at Cision, and Daniel Chessa, Senior Director of Marketing at Falcon.io, discussed the importance of intertwining social and PR activities.


How to combine PR and social?

This largely depends on your company structure. Nonetheless, one of the main things to consider when thinking about intertwining these departments is considering how you apply your content strategy to these various channels.


“Your content is going to be consistent across touchpoints –whether you are out talking to the world, your consumers, stakeholders, or investors–, that’s what’s important, your orb design has to reflect unbelievable choreography”, explains Maggie, Chief Marketing Officer at Cision.


Social listening

Additionally, social listening tools are essential. Your current and potential consumers are constantly evolving your brand at scale, and it’s happening right now in ways some brands cannot even imagine. Thus, it is pivotal to be on top of social listening and aggregating consumer data, “it’s not just about the data, it’s about bringing meaning to that data, it’s about being able to drive insights from that data”, adds Maggie.


Also, don’t just focus on your brand. Focus on other news that may be important for your brand and share these with your audience and customers; this will portray that you care about more than just profit.


Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing can also become a pivotal part of your PR and social strategy, but it can become challenging. For example, according to Falcon.io’ recent study, they asked brands to present common challenges they come across when working with influencers – the cost of partnerships was at the top of the list with 34%, finding the right influencer to work with is at 31%.


As a result, look for alternatives rather than just focusing on influencer marketing. For example, your employees might be the right fit. Establishing a network that enables your employees to share what your brand stands for is one of the better ways to combine PR and social. Employees are mostly happy to do this, as long as you guide them through it, like which platform best to use? According to research presented at the webinar, Facebook is number one with 87%, LinkedIn is second with 79%, then Twitter (77%) and Instagram with 74%.



Martech or marketing technology is all about “adopting that proactive approach instead of the reactive one”, explains Daniel.


Martech is one-way professionals can invest in the predictive marketing approach. There is a whole infrastructure of technology available for companies to process data, forecast consumer trends, and help make intelligent decisions.


Automation and integration with AI are a big part of social listening tools. Many more prominent companies like Twitter, Adidas and Nike use many of these technologies to programmatically target micro and macro influencers for their campaigns and social listening tools.


Technology and social PR together can be a potent tool for campaign building. Alongside AI, it can allow you to stay on track with your brand message while tapping into predictive analytics.


Why you should combine social activity and PR

PR’s revolution on social reliance has increased dramatically. PR is no longer media relations and press offices, but instead, its dependence has grown on social media management (77%), content marketing (77%), influencer marketing (67%), and link building for SEO (56%).


Social media is for social interactions and for your consumers to listen to news about your brand. For example, platforms like Reddit, Twitter and Tumblr are also widely used for this purpose, and usually, these platforms provide information on demand.


Additionally, we live in a time of consumer data. Data is a rich source for CMO’s, and it can provide us with insightful, actionable insights, “33% of all PR professionals are using social listening tools”, explains Daniel Chessa, Senior Director of Marketing at Falcon.io.


Social listening tools are being used across the board, from price controlling, brand reputation and potential brand opportunities. Data provides knowledge and empowers marketers and PR professionals.


Additionally, personalization, which is another highly anticipated 2021 trend, also largely depends on data, “we know that personalization (…) will give us much more engagement and much more understanding within our KPI’s”, states Daniel.


Brands who are getting it right

Apple – Creativity goes on campaign

At the start of the pandemic, Apple released a remarkable video campaign that encouraged creativity more than ever. It touched on the struggles of lockdown but how people can remain to live an active life.


The campaign was hugely community-driven and shared snippets of videos from their customers using Apple products to connect with their family and friends during this difficult time. The campaign is profoundly touching and has proven successful, with over 4 million views on YouTube and 48 thousand plus likes.




Nike – Dont do it campaign

Nike is one of the most loved clothing brands by GenZ, one of the main reasons for this is their courage and authenticity to speak out about issues that matter.


Their recent “Don’t Do It” campaign, which is the reverse of their usual “Just Do It” slogan, focused on the issues of racial injustice in America and the Black Lives Matter movement.


The campaign, which has been viewed more than 8 million times on Twitter, also has a trending hashtag #UntilWeAllWin which further emphasized the “let’s all be part of the change” message.



Starbucks – What’s your Name UK campaign

While Starbucks is known for their coffee, they are also known for getting the customers’ names on the cups wrong. But when the coffee giant released their #whatsyourname campaign in the UK, now every time a customer’s name is wrong, they will be reminded of Starbuck’s inclusivity.


To top it off, Starbucks also patterned with a UK organization, Mermaids, which has been supporting transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children and their families since 1995. The campaign has also won the Channel 4 “Diversity in Advertising Award”, and on Twitter, the ad has over 6 million views.



The future of PR and social

“The alignment between PR and Social is happening, and it’s hitting its stride, and we’re excited to see that trend, and we think that trend makes so much sense”, adds Maggie Lower, Chief Marketing Officer at Cision.


Social media never sleeps; invest in technology that can help you with this. According to a recent study, social media professionals state they are the most stressed they have ever been; thus, it only makes sense to help support your staff in any way you can.


Influencer marketing is on the rise, and it’s changing how many brands approach PR: “Consumers, particularly in digital, are looking for ways to interact with their brands as people, so if they don’t understand what the sole of the company is and what the company stands for, they are not going to spend time getting to know how you can partner”, adds Maggie.