Earning Street Cred with Your Audience

In an era of continual accusations of “fake news,” facts can now be alternative, and with an erosion of trust in some media, it’s crucial for PR firms to know how help their clients communicate with apprehensive consumers. Though it may seem overwhelming to have to control a brand’s image in a time when content is so easily produced and spread, here are five simple things you can do to increase your clients’ credibility with their audiences: 

1.  Be honest. This may seem obvious, but a lot of companies post things online that are seemingly harmless that end up costing them customers. Visuals sell more than anything, so be very mindful when editing photography. Bad photoshop fails go viral all the time. It’s always disappointing to go somewhere that “looked completely different online.” When working with influencers, always have them disclose when they are being sponsored. And when you or your client do make a mistake, take responsibility and apologize quickly.

2. Show your humanity. Showing the more human side of a company is extremely effective when it comes to gaining the trust of the consumer. What is the real human impact your company has? Is your establishment engaging positively with the local community? Show it! Posting about your regular customers as well highlighting your staff will add faces to your brand rather than just products. Posting “get to know” and fun facts about the people in your company is a fun way to express your brand’s personality. People are more likely to trust other people than larger entities. 

3. Go overboard with fact-checking. We don’t want any fact to be alternative. When publishing stories with statistics and numbers: Check, check, and check again. It only takes one person finding a different number on the internet to discredit an entire story. Content is quick to be created, but we should never get lazy with the journalistic aspect of publishing. Also, avoid publishing stories with big hyperboles – everywhere has the best burger in town, we’ve all heard it, focus on what really makes yours different.

4. Never engage with internet trolls. As long as there is online content, there are going to be trolls. Trolls escalate situations and can distort information, usually completely anonymously. As frustrating as this may get, never become a keyboard warrior and react to them. Reacting can appear to be giving their information credibility, much like the concept of only getting defensive when you’re guilty. If there are criticisms your client would like to reply to, it should be in a general statement and never in response to one specific comment or message. Leave the clap backs to Wendy’s Twitter account. 

5. Monitor. It is our job to be aware of everything that is published about our clients. Though we always try our best, false information can be leaked through legitimate and illegitimate news sources. Putting out the fire once this occurs needs to be done quickly. Every firm should have a crisis communication plan in place. Know who to contact to get information pulled or corrected and have content ready that counteracts false claims. 

New Year, New PR Trends

  1. PR stunts in 2019 will involve GIVING BACK in big ways. Think a year ahead for next holiday season and partner with a local charity to have a mixer or event to raise funds (any reason is a good reason) or think of ways to donate your employees’ time to that charity – you’ll feel good about doing it, shed a positive light on your company and have feel-good content for your social media channels!
  2. Taking a stance. As politics see more partisanship than ever, personified brand identities will continue to face empowered consumers. Think gun control, LGBTQ rights, climate change. Often the stance of a company is reflected as the voice of the CEO, instead, take into account your entire workforce and craft a position that represents the brand as a whole. 

Social Media Trends for 2019:

  1. The team at Neon PR all agree that focusing on bringing in influencers that match your business’ demographic to build more awareness via social media followers outside of your sphere of influence will continue to prevail in 2019. This is a trend that really amp’d up in 2018, and there is no end in sight with even more content creators working as demonstrative human advertisements with real peer to peer interaction via social platforms. These influencers often times engage a new or complimentary audience for your business AND give you content for existing followers on your platforms.
  2. AUTHENTICITY. People now know and understand that social media is 90% staged, and it’s the other 10% that will help define your brand and allow followers to feel “in” on brand jokes or get to know the people behind the posts!
  3. Brand engagement is going to play an even larger role in 2019. Now that you have consumers attention, you’ll need to interact with them. Customer service in the form of communication are key factors in maintaining brand loyalty. This includes not only sharing user generated content, but commenting on photos of fans, liking photos even messaging followers for being customers. It’s these tiny interactions that are going to convert your customer base into lifelong consumers.