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DO BRANDS REALLY NEED TO PAY FOR A SOCIAL FOLLOWING #Social Media

I read an article last week that discussed the positive results of paid Marketing over PR and how brands can grow their following much faster and effectively. You can view the article I am referring to here.

As I have worked in both a digital agency and in-house as a PR and Marketing executive I have tried and tested several techniques and have a strong opinion over how this works and why PR can be more effective.

If you are looking for quick wins and are simply bothered about ‘how strong your Facebook page appears to others’ then in fact, paid advertising and other methods will get you there first. However if you are looking for a more natural and genuinely interested following, PR is the way forward.

If I refer to retail clients, legitimate customers will more than likely be interested in your brand and what you sell, thus leading to conversion and those most wanted sales. You can then sustain their loyalty through hard work and tactful PR methods.

I noticed this point was made in the article and I would have to disagree based on personal experience.

 “The process is slow, each channel generally starting with a low following that develops at a painstaking rate, until finally, the 100 ‘Likes’ milestone is reached.”

Obviously this again, depends on what brand you are working with and how ‘socially popular’ it is but thinking in terms of what you can set up via PR with avoiding advertising costs, this can be achieved quickly.

For example people love discounts and promotions so setting up incentives and running competitions can entice people to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. It is also worth teaming up with an influencer, like a magazine editor or blogger with a large following. They can then run a competition to their following and nudge them over to you. If it is someone related to the same industry field you work in, it is likely that these people will also become your fans.

I agree that paid methods will probably boost a bands presence in a shorter time frame but the question is, do these people care about the brand and will they come back? Social media ads also appear intrusive and can put people off wanting to be part of your network.

During a conversation I entered on Google + about this subject;  Claire Thompson from Global Integration made a fair comment:

“perhaps the more important skill for PR people is client management – pointing out having three people who want to buy from you as connections is more valuable than having 1000 for the glamour of it, and setting measurement metrics accordingly?”

 

This is my opinion but what are your thoughts? Have you tried out any paid methods?


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