Social Media

Why Does an Organization Hire a PR Firm

If you’re not familiar with South Shore PR, chances are you’ve googled why companies hire a PR firm and stumbled upon this blog post. This is a relatively common question followed by how is a PR firm is different from a marketing company, and what should I look for in hiring a PR firm. Today, we’d like to share some information to answer these common questions. We’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why an organization hires a PR firm or firm, how a PR firm is different from a marketing firm, and what you should look for before you hire a PR firm.

Why Hire a PR Firm?

  1. Brand Building: We like to think of branding as your organization’s opportunity to begin, reestablish, or enhance your identity to a new or existing audience. Whether you are opening a brand-new venture or introducing a new product or service to your ideal customer, branding begins and eventually solidifies this relationship. Branding your business is so much more than simply sharing your name and logo; when done correctly, it is what sets your organization apart from others and builds loyalty with your ideal customers.
  2. Media Relations: The function of most public relations work is building strategic relationships with media for your brand. These relationships are working partnerships where your brand is featured in a favorable light organically (non-paid placement), and if need be, these relationships can be leveraged in a moment of reputational crisis. As in any partnership relationship, a public relations professional will be a resource for the media, and in return, the media will be a resource for the PR pro person wanting to share their organization’s story.
  3. Reputation Management: Reputation management is about supporting a brand so that the positive aspects of your organization are shared far and wide to build brand loyalty with your ideal customer. Skilled reputation management can also lessen or avoid reputational damage for a client. PR is most known for crisis management, the reputational repair part of reputation management, when you ask most people what PR pros do. The goal of reputation management is to keep your brand and organization in a positive light and, if needed, repair any damage with critical stakeholders to rebuild trust and regain loyalty.

Marketing is not PR, but when the two practices are combined, magic happens:

The function of public relations is to build relationships for your organization, whether it be with customers, media, or other key stakeholders. These relationships propel your brand forward and ultimately help you achieve your communications, marketing, and branding goals. Public relations is most beneficial when an organization needs to build, maintain, or repair relationships with key stakeholder groups. Common public relations activities would include but not be limited to media relations, branding, brand building, social media management, and content creation.

Meanwhile, marketing is used to drive sales and entice people into buying your product or using your services. Marketing will not typically cover media engagement or relationship building but tactics such as advertising and promotion. Marketing is about proposing a problem and creating a solution for the intended audience. Typical marketing activities might include creating content such as fliers, brochures, or advertisements.

Marketing and public relations can be combined to create integrated marketing; this is an extremely powerful way to launch your business communications goals. An integrated marketing firm will help you sell your product, goods, or services while building and enhancing the key relationships needed to support achieving your strategic goals for your organization. The benefit of an integrated marketing firm is that all of your communications needs can fit cohesively, ensuring the story your organization is telling is seamless and reaches its intended target audience.

What you should look for in hiring a PR Firm:

Hiring a PR firm is just like hiring any other services your organization might need, like a bookkeeper or a vendor that supports the goals of your organization’s objectives. Doing your homework on any potential PR partner is essential; you are, after all, putting your organization’s “voice” in their hands. To tell if a PR firm is a good fit for your organization, be sure to look at a list of the services the firm offers. If, for example, you are launching a brand and you want to throw a party, but the PR firm doesn’t provide this service, then you may want to choose a firm that has more experience in this area. Some PR firms only specialize in one type of PR, such as branding, crisis management, or public affairs.

The second thing we would recommend is to look at the firm’s past and current work. If you see great PR work, this is a great way to find a firm. The beauty of this approach is that you see the results in real time, and you can see the firm in action. An excellent PR firm can take aspects that you like and feel will fit your organization and make it unique to your brand and voice.

Last, ask questions, lots of questions. PR practitioners are communicators by trade, and that is what we do. Asking lots of questions not only helps you assess if the firm is the right fit for the services you need but also allows the PR firm to ensure that they can perform the work you require.

We hope that this post has shed some light on some of the most common reasons why companies hire a PR firm, some of the functions of a PR firm, and what you should look for when hiring a PR firm. There are lots of different types of firms out there, each with its own personality, portfolio, and way of doing business. We suggest that you take your time, if possible, and choose the firm that is the right fit for your brand.

South Shore PR in Partnership with The Duneland Chamber Offers Members Incredible Opportunity for PR Bootcamp Class Series in March.

Public relations are not nice to have item for your organizations, it’s a necessary and strategic asset that can propel your organization to reach new customers and achieve your business goals. As businesses strive to make their mark in a crowded marketplace, the importance of a well-crafted Public Relations (PR) strategy cannot be overstated. When combined with a marketing plan, the combination will propel your business to new heights. Without a PR strategy, your organization is leaving money on the table and is not making the most of resources.

 That’s where South Shore PR Bootcamp Series in partnership with The Duneland Chamber comes in. Join us in a transformative journey designed to equip organizations of all sizes with the essential knowledge and skills to master the art of PR. Taught by South Shore PR President, Jacqueline Thomas, each Monday morning in March at the Duneland Chamber, you will walk away with the knowledge and know-how to bring excellent PR to your organization.

Unleashing the Power of PR

Why PR? Public Relations is not just about managing crises or getting media coverage; it’s about shaping perceptions, building meaningful connections, and driving business success. Our PR Bootcamp Series is meticulously crafted to demystify the world of PR, making it accessible and actionable for organizations looking to elevate their communication game.

What Makes Our PR Bootcamp Series Unique?

Tailored for All Sizes: Whether you’re a startup, a small business, a non-profit organization or a well-established enterprise, the PR Bootcamp Series is designed to cater to your specific needs. Jacqueline will bring her professional knowledge gain over a career across industries and share valuable insights for each business in attendance. We understand that the challenges and opportunities in PR can vary, and our series addresses them all, providing practical insights that are applicable across industries and organizational scales.

Real-World Insights: This isn’t just theory; it is our goal to give you the tools you need to put what you’re learning into action. Each module is enriched with real-world examples, case studies, and success stories, illustrating how businesses – just like yours – have harnessed the power of PR to achieve remarkable results. The series goes beyond the theoretical framework, offering actionable strategies that you can implement immediately. You will be able to learn in a relaxed and cooperative atmosphere.

Comprehensive Approach: From building a strong brand foundation to navigating media relations, crisis management, social media integration, and more, our PR Bootcamp Series covers every aspect of PR. It’s not just a crash course; it’s a comprehensive guide that empowers you to implement a strategic PR plan, propelling your organization to meet its goals.

Why Your Organization Can’t Afford to Miss This:

Maximize Marketing Dollars: Investing in marketing without a robust PR strategy is like having a powerful engine without wheels. Our series makes the case for why PR is not a luxury but a necessity, showing you how integrating PR into your marketing efforts can amplify your impact and ensure that every dollar spent delivers maximum returns.

Strategic Partner for Growth: Beyond the knowledge gained, our PR Bootcamp Series serves as an introduction to what South Shore PR can offer. We understand the intricacies of PR, and our experienced team is ready to take your organization’s communication strategy to the next level. Consider this series as your gateway to a strategic partnership for sustainable growth and increased visibility for your organization.

Join the PR Revolution!

In a world where effective communication is the linchpin of success, the South Shore PR Bootcamp Series, in partnership with The Duneland Chamber is your key to unlocking the full potential of Public Relations. Elevate your business, connect with your audience, and position your brand for success.

How to sign Up:

Are you ready to embark on this transformative journey? This four-week course will take place each Monday morning in March from 8am- 9am at The Duneland Chamber. This course is open to all Duneland Chamber Members. There is a $50 fee that covers the entire course and supplies. Course space is limited, so sign up today.

Please Note: This course is only open to Duneland Chamber Members who are in good standing with the Duneland Chamber of Commerce.

How to Use TikTok For Business in 2024

Next in our public relations on social media series we will explore, TikTok. The platform has emerged as a powerful social media network that transcends entertainment and has become a potential game-changer for businesses. From captivating short-form videos to viral challenges, TikTok offers a unique opportunity for companies to connect with their audience in a creative and engaging way. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and businesses must navigate the benefits and pitfalls of TikTok strategically. Today, we’ll delve into the advantages, potential risks, and crucial considerations for businesses looking to harness the potential of TikTok in 2024.

The Benefits of TikTok for Business in 2024:

1. Audience Engagement:

   TikTok’s algorithm is supposedly designed to showcase content that resonates with users, providing an opportunity for businesses to capture the attention of their target audience. The platform’s emphasis on creativity allows brands to showcase their personality and connect with users on a more personal level. Customers and clients appreciate authenticity and TikTok provides a great way for an organization to show off that personality.

2. How to go Viral on TikTok in 2024:

   TikTok has a reputation for turning ordinary content into viral sensations overnight. A well-crafted video or challenge can exponentially increase brand visibility and reach, attracting a massive audience and potential customers. Be authentic, and showcase your brand’s personality, and the algorithm might favor you, and allow your video to go viral.

3. Using TikTok to Reach Demographic Diversity:

   TikTok’s user base spans across various age groups, and across genders, and socio-economic groups offering businesses the chance to connect with a more diverse audience. Whether your target demographic is Gen Z or an older demographic, TikTok’s broad appeal can be a valuable asset for any business.

4. Cost-Effective Marketing on TikTok in 2024:

   Compared to some traditional advertising methods, TikTok provides a cost-effective way for businesses to promote their products or services. The platform’s advertising options, such as sponsored challenges and branded content, enable businesses to reach a vast audience without breaking the bank. Be inventive and creative, it shows authenticity.

The Dangers of TikTok for Business in 2024:

1. Public Relations Risks for Businesses Using TikTok:

   TikTok, like any social media platform, carries the risk of negative publicity. When a PR issue happens on social media, it happens in rapid time, often ballooning into a full-blown crisis for organizations, before they even fully comprehend what has happened. Businesses must be extremely cautious about potential backlash, especially in a landscape where public opinion can shift rapidly. Poorly received content or misguided attempts at viral marketing can harm a brand’s reputation or even ruin a business.

2. Algorithmic Uncertainty:

   TikTok’s algorithm, like other social media platforms can be unpredictable, making it challenging for businesses to guarantee consistent visibility. While some content may go viral effortlessly, others may struggle to gain traction. This uncertainty necessitates a flexible and adaptive approach to content creation. Do not expect to go viral right away, if ever, even if you have the best content.

4. Competitive Landscape:

   With the platform’s popularity, competition is fierce, ever-changing and global. Standing out amidst the vast array of content requires creativity and a deep understanding of your target audience aka ideal clients. Businesses must continuously innovate to maintain relevance and outshine competitors.

Considerations Before Launching Your Business on TikTok:

1. Define Your Brand Voice:

   Establish a clear and authentic brand voice that aligns with your target audience (ideal clients). It is important to know your brand voice before you start on social media. A shift in your brand voice can be damaging to your business and will cause regular engagers of your content to flee. TikTok users appreciate genuine content that feels relatable, so maintaining authenticity is key to building trust.

2. Understand TikTok Culture:

   Familiarize yourself with TikTok trends, challenges, and user behavior. Do your research on and off of the platform. Find competitors that you think are using the platform well and ask, what are they doing well and how can your brand learn from what they’re doing, innovate and create something unique to your brand. Do your homework, do not skip on research!

3. Plan for Contingencies:

   Anticipate potential PR crises and have a crisis management plan in place. Proactively address any negative feedback or misunderstandings to mitigate potential damage to your brand’s reputation. This means you must monitor your social media channels at all times to stay ahead of any potential disasters. Remember never act out of anger, impulse or fear on social media. Online content lives forever, so if you do incur a social media crisis, follow your plan or consult a crisis management agency, such as South Shore PR.

4. Consistent Monitoring and Analytics:

Regularly monitor the performance of your content and adjust your strategy based on analytics (data). Understand what works and what doesn’t to refine your approach and maintain a positive public image. This is so important, to tell if your efforts are gaining the return you seek.

In conclusion, TikTok presents a unique opportunity for businesses to connect with a vast and diverse audience. However, success on this platform requires careful consideration, strategic planning, a deep understanding of both TikTok’s culture, and your brand’s identity. Also keep in mind, that just because this platform is popular, it may not be the right fit for your organization. By navigating the benefits and risks with a public relations mindset, businesses can harness the power of TikTok to elevate their brand and engage with their audience in innovative ways.

Unlocking Success: Understanding the Power of Public Relations (PR)

In today’s business world, the term “Public Relations” (PR) has become increasingly necessary to the success of organizations across various industries. Whether you’re a budding startup, a nonprofit organization, a mom-and-pop business, or an established enterprise, grasping the fundamentals of PR is crucial for enhancing your brand image, fostering positive relationships, and navigating through the ever-evolving and complex media landscape. Today, we will delve into the world of PR, exploring its functions, significance, and the outcomes that can be achieved when executed effectively.

What is Public Relations?

The most basic definition can be boiled down to this: Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds and maintains positive relationships between an organization and its target audience. It often encompasses various activities designed to create a favorable public image, enhance brand reputation, and establish strong stakeholder connections.

Functions of Public Relations:

  1. Media Relations: PR professionals either work on your behalf or guide organizations to engage with various media outlets to secure positive media coverage for the organization. This involves crafting compelling press releases and building relationships with journalists to ensure accurate and favorable reporting.
  2. Crisis Communication: PR is critical in managing crises and mitigating potential damage to an organization’s reputation. Effective crisis communication involves swift responses, transparency, and a well-defined strategy.
  3. Marketing Integration: PR and marketing, like peanut butter and jelly, go hand in hand. Combining efforts in marketing and PR creates a cohesive strategy that amplifies brand messaging, reaching a broader audience through diverse channels. When PR tactics are added to marketing campaigns, it’s like adding gasoline to a fire; it burns twice as bright and more intensely.
  4. Social Media Management: Social media is the new version of the town square, and if you aren’t engaging in it, you will miss out on your ideal customers finding you, and you won’t have a voice in the conversation. Social media is a powerful platform for communication that should be utilized. PR professionals leverage social media to engage with the public, address concerns, promote positive narratives, and quell adverse outcomes.
  5. Community Relations: Building strong ties with the community is essential for any organization. PR helps create and maintain a positive relationship between your organization and the community it serves.

Outcomes of Well-Executed PR:

When PR is done well, organizations can experience the benefits of many long-lasting positive outcomes:

  1. Enhanced Credibility: A well-crafted PR strategy establishes credibility and trust among the target audience, fostering positive perceptions of your organization. Credibility is more important now than ever, and if you aren’t taking steps to enhance your credibility, then you are damaging it.
  2. Positive Public Image: Successful PR efforts contribute to building a positive public image, which can attract customers, investors, and partners.
  3. Effective Crisis Management: Skilled PR professionals with crisis management experience will guide organizations through crises, ensuring they emerge stronger and more resilient and rehabilitate the organization’s image.
  4. Increased Brand Visibility: PR enhances brand visibility through carefully curated media coverage and strategic communication, ensuring that organizations remain top-of-mind for their audience.
  5. Stronger Stakeholder Relationships: PR’s primary function is to build and maintain relationships with stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and the community, creating a network of support for your organization to thrive.

Why Your Organization Needs PR ASAP:

In today’s media-rich environment, PR is not a luxury but a necessity, serving as a catalyst for success, enabling organizations to effectively communicate their messages, manage crises, and foster positive relationships. Integrating PR into your overall business strategy is crucial for staying relevant and resilient as the digital landscape evolves. Instead of leaving your organization’s reputation to chance or only using marketing to share your mission, partner with a skilled PR agency to communicate the messages that mean the most and reach the customers you truly want.

In conclusion, Public Relations is a dynamic and indispensable component of modern, healthy business strategy. Whether through media relations, crisis communication, or community engagement, the impact of well-executed PR extends far beyond traditional communication’s confines. Embrace the power of PR and unlock the full potential of your organization in the eyes of the public.

Navigating Facebook 101: How to Get Your Organization Started

Facebook might seem like it’s no longer relevant when it comes to social media for business and while it is true not all social media platforms are right for every business, Facebook can be a powerful tool in any organization’s social media tool kit. Today we want to give an overview of Facebook for business. This is by no means a comprehensive lesson and there are lots of nuisances when it comes to using social media for your organization so, please read carefully and make sure that any advice taken from this post “fits” your organization’s goals for social media and communications efforts.

So let’s break it down, who uses Facebook these days, what sort of content (posts) should you be putting up on Facebook, why a Facebook page is not a subustitue for a website, and some cautionary tales.

If you are reading the South Shore PR’s Guide to social media in 2024 blog series, our first blog post talked all about strategy before you get started or push forward in your social media efforts. You can read the post here. The key takeaway from that post is know your ideal client. If you don’t take the time to learn who your ideal client is and you’re jumping head first into social media, you will waste a lot of money and time with little return.

Who Uses Facebook:

With over 2.9 billion monthly active users as December 2022, Facebook remains a giant in the social media landscape. Understanding the demographics of Facebook can help you reach your ideal client where they are online.

  • Age: While Facebook’s user base spans various age groups, it has a substantial presence among adults, with the majority falling between the ages of 18 and 49. However, older demographics, particularly individuals aged 50 and above, are increasingly active on the platform.
  • Lead demographic users of FB in 2023 were people aged 35-44, while younger generations have little interest in Facebook
  • FB accounted for a quarter of all time U.S. adults spent on social media in 2022.
  • Multiple Platform Users: 72% of Facebook users also use multiple social media platforms

(Facts pulled from Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Media Report)

Content Strategies for Facebook:

Creating engaging and relevant content is key to success on Facebook. Here are some content strategies to consider:

  • Visual Appeal: Visual content tends to perform exceptionally well on Facebook. Incorporate eye-catching images, infographics, and videos to capture the audience’s attention as they scroll through their feeds.
  • Interactive Content: Encourage engagement (your ideal client’s interaction) by incorporating polls, quizzes, and contests. Facebook’s algorithm favors content that sparks meaningful interactions among users.
  • Behind-the-Scenes and Personalization: Humanize your brand by sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business, introducing team members, and showcasing the personalities behind your products or services. Authenticity is key here.

Facebook Page vs. Website:

While a Facebook page is an essential component of a robust online presence, it is not a substitute for a dedicated website. Here’s why:

  • Facebook owns Your Organization’s Page: When you create or purchase a website your organization owns it. Remember Facebook is a business, and their goal is to turn a profit meaning they can limit your reach, content or even turn your page off if they wish. When you own your website, you are in control of this online presence.
  • Professionalism and Credibility: While a Facebook page is extremely valuable for social proof and interaction, a dedicated website gives the impression of credibility and professionalism to a business.

Drawbacks of Using Facebook for Business:

While Facebook offers numerous benefits, businesses should be aware of potential drawbacks, because they are significant:

  • Pay for Play: Organic reach (non-paid posts) on Facebook has declined over the years, prompting businesses to invest in paid advertising to ensure their content reaches a broader audience.
  • Negative Reviews and Comments: Positive reviews of your business, organization, goods and services can be one of the best parts of Facebook. However, negative reviews and comments are part of the online landscape. Handling them promptly and professionally is crucial to maintaining a positive brand image.
  • Algorithm Changes: Facebook frequently updates its algorithm, impacting the visibility of organic content. Businesses need to stay agile and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Facebook remains a relevant platform for organizations to connect with their audience, build brand awareness, and drive engagement. By understanding your ideal client, user demographics, creating compelling content, recognizing the distinction between a Facebook page and a website, as well as being aware of potential drawbacks, your organization can navigate the Facebook landscape strategically and harness its power for sustained success in the digital era. While this is a very broad overview of Facebook, South Shore PR can help you develop and execute your organization’s social media strategy.