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PR and Social Media predictions for 2014

I wanted to steer away from Hanson Search’s first blog of 2014 being a cliché New Year, New Job post (even though statistically that topic is very relevant for many of us). Whilst laying down the foundations for my own 2014 Annual Plan I was researching different predictions as to what the future holds for PR and Social Media and what trends had been forecast for the year ahead. One article in particular struck a chord with me as it mirrored recent conversations I had been having with a number of clients and candidates. The article was published by a PR practitioner on the back of attending a number of leading industry thought leadership events so certainly should be topical. I thought I would share some of the predictions and take a closer look at what they mean. Let your brands Superfans help do your marketing for you The reasoning behind this is that your brands biggest fans The Superfans are already the people already happy to talk about your brand online and actively recommend new people to use your products / service. As we all know word-of-mouth brand advocacy is an extremely effective marketing tool, therefore the idea is that brands should focus their marketing activity on connecting with and looking after their most loyal fans… arming them with the tools needed to go out and continue to spread the good word about your brand. Give up control of your brand This could sound like a strange concept, but as many brands have already experienced to their detriment your brand and reputation really is already partly owned by your fans and community. The idea here again is that you allow your brand Superfans and biggest brand ambassadors to produce their own content, user-generated content, and generate their own conversations about your brand. This is obviously not a new concept as it has been happening for years, more that this is something that should be increasingly factored into your marketing strategy. Allowing user-generated content to play an important role in your marketing strategy requires a great degree of trust, however if you are looking after this group and providing your core group of fans with the right tools (see point 1) this should certainly help influence their own content in the correct way. Think about content more strategically and plan for the long term Of course it’s important to have a content plan – however the point here is to make sure you have a very organised and very comprehensive content plan. This plan should factor in everything about your content, including the release of larger pieces of original content – and know who’s producing it, all the way down to individual tweets. It’s important to factor in which platforms you will use and who will be responsible for promoting it and definitely to plan for the long term so that you have consistent and regulated messaging. Be smarter about using data Data has been a hot topic for 2013 and it looks like it will continue to be so for 2014. Data plays a key factor in making importnat business decisions and also effectively helps tailor campaigns. It is important to understand and embrace how useful data can be when planning a campaign and to know the data that is driving the success of organisations. In addition 2013 saw an increase in the use of data to create bespoke tailored campaigns from some of the industry’s biggest brands including Unilever – the success of such campaigns relies completely on accurate and consistent data input. Be useful With social media allowing brands to become more and more integrated with consumer’s personal lives one of the simplest, yet most effective tips for 2014 is for brands to make themselves useful. The theory is that your customers are far more likely to stay loyal to you and respect what you have to say if you are providing them with useful information and things that they are looking for first and certainly above directly promoting yourself. With data now telling us more and more about our target audience, what they are interested in, what they search for, what they comment on etc. this is something that brands should constantly be looking to improve and deliver on. Thanks to Jessica Lawlor for sharing the predictions, let’s see what 2014 brings...  

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