Written by Smoak PR

How Can PR Help Your Brand?

Understanding the difference between Public Relations and Marketing can be very helpful when it comes to strategizing effective ways to build brand awareness, increase revenue, drive web traffic or simply create a buzz. As PR professionals, we also appreciate how both marketing initiatives and traditional public relations efforts can work in tandem with one another to drive results. The “marketing umbrella” contains powerful promotional tools, one of which is PR. At times, PR is difficult to define because it can be a challenge to associate a specific “return on investment”, whereas with a paid advertising campaign, dollars spent can be tracked back to direct sales or return. That said there is absolutely no denying that effective and strategic public relations initiatives can launch a brand to great success or continue building momentum. Here are three free things that fall within the world of PR that you can start executing today to enhance your brand, and aid you achieving your goals and objectives. 

Media Relations – Building relationships with local, regional, and national media personnel or ‘on-air talent’ can sometimes be a daunting task. That said, looking up the ‘contact us’ page on the local news outlet’s website to introduce yourself and your business to the folks most likely to cover your industry is the perfect place to start. Simply saying hello, providing feedback on a relatable article they have published, or weaving your way into a recent story they covered are all effective ways to begin building long-term, and hopefully beneficial relationships with those in your market ultimately responsible for spreading news and sharing your story.

Social Media Engagement and Influencer Relations –PR today is less about writing and sending press releases, and more about valuable engagement, especially on social media! Commenting, sharing, liking, and loving social media content on a personal level is a surefire way to contribute to the conversation in a very valuable way. By being persistent and consistent with your engagement on social media platforms, you are more likely to grow your organic reach and build brand awareness in an impactful way. Engaging with local social influencers via direct messages, comments or shares may seem like a time consuming task that will fall on deaf ears…or blind eyes; however, rest assured that patience is a virtue and valuable interaction digitally can – and will pay off! 

Content Creation – Building content that you own is critical! Imagine a world where Instagram or Facebook no longer exists and the digital audience you have built is no longer present to engage with, or see your brand daily. Generating content that is your own to share among your audience will help you continue to build your brand – even if the outlets for distributing that content change or evolve over time. Specifically speaking, you should focus on your website, building a strong email database and most importantly – cultivating your relationships! We encourage clients to spend their valuable time writing informational white pages, building a mobile and user friendly website, and to always go the extra mile when publishing content that is theirs – ultimately positioning them as the expert within a given landscape. 

There is no denying that PR can incorporate a lot of different things these days; however, focusing on effective media relations, spending time on personal engagement, and building valuable content will never go out of style!  

Written by Smoak PR

How to Make Instagram Work For You and Not Against You

Social media is everchanging and it is critical to stay up to speed with new features, algorithms and more. Most recently, Instagram has proven to take over the social media market from both a personal and business standpoint. How can you ensure that your brand is working with the flow of the feed, and not against it? Due to the fast-paced nature of social media and its effectiveness of sharing information, it is imperative to have a few strategies up your sleeve to attract and engage with quality followers that help elevate your brand.

1. Captivating Imagery

You have probably heard this many times, but imagery is everything with social media, especially Instagram. It is key to post unique photographs that attract people to your account and establish an online presence to keep followers, both new and old, loyal to you. The average user spends about three seconds viewing your post, therefore, post graphics that make them stop and engage!  If you don’t have easy access to a professional photographer or high-quality photographs, try using a consistent filter on all of your photos to establish visual continuity throughout your page. Some very simple ways to maximize your visual assets are as easy as the following:

  • Turn a video into gifs or stills
  • Make a series of photos into a slideshow video or carousel
  • Use multiple images from the same photoshoot for different purposes
  • A #ThrowbackThursday never hurt anyone
  • Redesign images and feature them as Stories

2. Creative Stories & Reels

Recent studies have shown that people are more likely to watch Instagram stories than they are to take the time to scroll through their Instagram feed. Creating an Instagram story takes very little time and is a fun way to give followers a peek inside your typical workday. Not only are Instagram stories an easy way to engage, but they also increase your brand transparency and show who you really are behind the camera. Whether you make a video with the team, share sneak peeks on what you’re planning to do next, or simply take a photo during your break, consistent stories are guaranteed to pay off in the long run.

Similar to TikTok, Instagram Reels offer you the ability to create fun and engaging video clips through the Instagram platform. With a 30-second time limit, these videos have been proven to increase engagement and followers for various reasons. Different from a typical Instagram post, the main benefit of a reel is their prime location on Instagram’s Explore page. The Explore page allows Instagram users who may not be following you to see your content and then visit your account directly—this is a major way to get in front of a new audience!

3. Calculated Hashtags

Many of our clients ask, “What do hashtags even do for my account, it seems like an added task with no benefit?” Our easiest answer to this question is that hashtags make your posts and account discoverable on a broader scale. When you use hashtags that are relevant and trending, your account will then have a higher chance of appearing when users search content by hashtags. Getting in front of people within the same industry as you, that may not be existing followers, is an easy way to increase engagement and potential following. There are two different types of hashtags that we recommend implementing into your Instagram, industry specific hashtags and branded hashtags.  Using a combination of these is guaranteed to elevate your account and get you in front of the right audience

4. Consistent Engagement

Engage, engage, engage. Whether it is a simple thumbs up emoji or a “like,” engagement will transform your Instagram account. Actively liking and commenting on your followers’ posts, shows loyalty and garners engagement back to your page. Other ways to ensure you are engaging effectively is to exchange DMs, bookmark posts you love, tag other accounts in your posts, and reshare relatable content from accounts. This is an easy to task to forget, so we recommend setting a reminder every day on your phone to actively engage on social platforms. You will be surprised at how much a few minutes of engagement can pay off in the long run!