The most effective channel for driving business growth
Show of hands
Recently, we conducted a quick Twitter poll among our followers. We wanted to know what you guys thought was the most effective comms channel for driving business growth.
Well, the results are in. And they’re not quite as we expected.
— Luminous (@LuminousPR) July 20, 2016
As you can see, social media came out on top. And PR came trailing in at the end. What’s that all about?! Let’s take a look…
Social media: comms champ?
Gone are the days where we’re surprised to see our favourite brands popping up on social media. Now, we almost expect it.
Because it’s instantaneous and ‘in the moment’, social media is a great way for brands to be reactive and releavant. They can quickly share updates on business news, as well as capitalise on popular news stories.
It’s also an invaluable platform when it comes to dealing with customer feedback. Social media allows brands to respond to customer service requests almost immediately. Time is definitely of the essence when it comes to dealing with unhappy customers.
Of course, the public nature of social media does add a degree of difficulty. It just takes one poorly constructed tweet for your brand to go viral for the wrong reasons.
Time for the million dollar question: can you grow your business using social media? Yes – but with some important caveats. You can’t just tweet at random and expect new business to fall in your lap. Your social media activity must be well structured, as part of a wider marketing strategy. As Copyblogger rightly points out, you also need to have relevant content to share.
So in fact, social media can only help drive growth when supported with a calculated content marketing strategy. Interesting…
Who killed PR?
Judging from our survey results, you might think public relations is no longer beneficial for driving growth. Clearly, we disagree – otherwise we’d be out of a job. So what’s going on with that little 15%?
In our opinion, there are a lot of misconceptions around PR. Perhaps some of these are causing businesses to disregard it as a strategy for growth.
A common misconception is that PR isn’t valuable because you can’t measure the results. It’s true that public relations is not as quantifiable as SEO, for example. But, a good PR professional knows how to measure the reach and impact of a campaign. Whether this converts into sales depends on the sales and marketing teams integrating the PR into their messaging.
There’s also a lack of understanding about what modern PR entails. Many people believe it to be a traditional approach, focussed coverage in print newspapers. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern PR relies on social media, as well as digital influencers like bloggers and vloggers. Also, some people just don’t understand the scope of PR, confusing it with marketing and advertising. While there’s a lot of overlap, it’s not entirely the same.
PR’s not dead – it’s just misunderstood. As news consumption becomes ever more digital, we believe businesses will continue to realise the benefits of modern PR.
So what is the most effective channel for driving business growth?
Well… it’s a trick question.
Although social media trumped PR by a long way, the reality is that neither is more or less important than the other. Just as you wouldn’t expect your marketing function to work in isolation from your sales objectives, you can’t rely on either of those individual comms channels on their own to deliver you maximum growth. Businesses should be using all these channels together, as part of a fully integrated business comms strategy if they want to be smart about delivering impact on the ‘bottom line’.
When it comes to building a brand that customers respect and trust, consistency is key. You need to push your messaging from all angles to ensure prospective customers form the right opinions about your business. And then, you need to be using tools like SEO to ensure that consistent messaging gets seen by as many people as possible.
You just can’t focus on a single method of growing your business. If you do, you’re missing a trick.