B2C Public Relations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2013

B2C marketing and PR is real-time and more demanding than ever. Traditional B2C tactics have evolved heavily into social media marketing strategies, targeted email lists, online ads, guerilla marketing, and content marketing. Analytics available at every turn make calculating ROI on social media and content marketing more straightforward and measurable than ever before. Resources like #SMMStandards facilitate and standardize measurement of metrics like engagement and conversation as well as prioritize standards.

While B2B PR strategies are largely reliant on business relationships and networking, B2C strategies should focus on the relationship between individual consumers and the brand, and the emotions consumers link to that brand. Given the shorter sales cycle, a large potential market, and targeted profile segments, the best B2C PR strategies are ever-evolving and rely on constant brand-consumer engagement. While B2C marketing has a target person in mind more so than those in the B2B arena, B2C marketers are trying to pierce a far more congested market, requiring them to up their game in content creation and audience engagement. The environment of constant engagement makes it even tougher to capture attention.

Strategy

Though most B2C marketing and PR strategies should focus on building and evolving a brand, your B2C PR strategy must rely on measurable goals, so it's necessary to drill down into the data that determine what builds a brand. Many B2C organizations seek to increase consumer engagement, increase site pageviews, and strengthen brand loyalty, with the ultimate goal of conversion, measured through increasing sales and growing the brand.

Implementation

Focus on content. While 32 percent of B2B marketers find white paper and research content creation a valuable tactic, only 8 percent of their B2C counterparts agree. Instead, 86 percent of B2C marketers say they employ content marketing tactics, most notably article creation, so it seems content marketing is here to stay. Content should focus on more than just products. To create a more diverse pool of content, think of subjects that relate to brand values, brand voice, or brand-led initiatives, and make those values the focus. Use your content to connect with and engage your community, which will ultimately aid in cultivating brand loyalty and business growth.

Prioritize social media. Improving customer engagement is one of the top B2C marketing strategies, and social media channels are the best outlets to do so. While engaging with fans and customers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other sites is an excellent way to inject personality and personability into your brand, be aware that to be engaged, you must be committed. But being engaged is only step one; the end goal is fostering a committed relationship - a marriage - between brand and consumer.

This commitment shouldn't be taken lightly; a recent study shows Twitter users expect a response from a brand within an hour, especially if the user has lodged a complaint. Ensure your social media accounts are being tracked at all times, issue prompt replies, and don't avoid responding to complaints. The same study shows that if users don't receive a response, they're likely to escalate their concerns, spread their experience throughout their network, and consider taking their business elsewhere.

Enact a loyalty program. A loyalty or rewards program is an excellent way to create and retain customers. Make the method and ease of earning rewards a true incentive, creating a process enabling consumers to use the rewards they earn. But ensure your program has mutual benefit by creating a simple way to track and better understand your loyal customers. This not only allows you to incent those loyalists repeatedly, but it also allows you to target other, less-frequent patrons who have a similar profile. Be sure to define the program's strategy to determine the role of customer touch points, and build in a feedback mechanism. The added organization benefit of loyalty programs is that they provide a ready pool of potential candidates to become brand ambassadors.

Foster brand ambassadors. Loyal consumers make some of the most effective spokespeople. Hold a contest or reach out to find brand advocates, aiming for those who are true believers. To do that, you'll need to create an environment in which those believers can thrive. Thank them for retweets, favorite tweets in which they mention your brand in a positive light, and keep communication ongoing. Establish a movement in which they can spread brand awareness through word-of-mouth. Brand ambassadors or fans are valuable in that they are rooted in passion, don't solely rely on traditional mediums, reach users on different channels, and help stimulate more conversation.

Create a strong emotional connection. A significant portion of customer loyalty comes down to emotion; bringing a moment of happiness to your consumers is an excellent way to create or secure positive associations with your brand. Start out with a thank you or acknowledgement that they took the time to say something. Later, you can take things a step further by providing coupons or small extras.

Hold in-person activities, events, or outings. Get your consumers and target demographic out from behind their social media personas and host an in-person event to connect and engage with them in reality. Include plenty of brand tie-ins, and make the activity relatable to your brand. For example, if you sell energy drinks, host a sports event with energy drinks featured. But don't forget to publicize it on social media as well, with a designated event hashtag and online interactions with attendees.

Engage with the media. Don't get tunnel vision with your social media efforts; it's still necessary to establish, nurture, and work your traditional media contacts. Think about how your product ties in with greater trends, holidays, or issues in the public eye when pitching journalists and producers. Since journalists are now spread thinner than ever, the more content and information you provide, the more likely it makes them to accept your pitch and continue to work with you down the line. And don't be fooled into thinking that traditional media has lost its clout; a recent study shows that old media gets 72 percent of social media share of voice.

Analysis

While most pros focus on the results, it's also important to measure the progress of your campaigns with analytics tailored to your specific goals. But how do you measure consumer engagement with your brand ? According to #SMMStandards, online engagement is measured by total number of interactions within and across channels; the percentage of your audience engaged by day/week/month; and the percentage of engagement for each item of content. This includes likes, +1's, links, retweets, votes, comments, and content views.

Two more imperative measures are impressions and reach . Impression is the total number of opportunities one item has to be seen based on the audience to whom it's being displayed. Reach refers to the total number of unique individuals who had the opportunity to see the item. The reach metric is based on impressions and distilled to disregard duplication, and most social media monitoring tools and platforms measure for reach. However, each system has its own way of calculating reach, so be sure to understand just how each of your tools calculates reach.

Brands should also include behavioral engagement, which focuses on the changes in behavior consumers exhibit, as part of their analysis panel. This includes a consumer's every encounter with the brand, before, during, or after the sale. There's no one formula to measure behavioral engagement, but marketing and PR pros must evaluate each stage of engagement and purchasing. This includes web metrics like site visits, amount of time spent on pages, how many pages consumers view, comments and interactions on social media platforms, as well as consumer sentiment, product satisfaction, and if a consumer shares in their network. These metrics can be measured through customer service calls and surveys, as well as third-party tracking of media content tone and prominence.

To assess overall efficacy, you also have to investigate the impacts to top and bottom lines. Did sales spike during or immediately after a certain marketing campaign? Did a change in brand recognition or loyalty impact sales or customer satisfaction? Did members of your loyalty program buy more of a certain product, change their buying behaviors, or become brand advocates?

B2C PR and marketing pros should always think about how to continue evolving a brand, and adaptability and a quick reaction time is imperative to staying ahead of the curve and keeping your brand relevant. Ultimately, tying the efforts and goals to larger business objectives ensures a cohesive message, brand progression, and cultivates a positive impact internally and externally.

About BurrellesLuce

BurrellesLuce is the U.S. leader in media monitoring. Professionals in a wide range of industries rely on our comprehensive curated content from local and national print, online, broadcast, and social media sources. BurrellesLuce has a turnkey copyright compliance program that allows us to provide copyright-compliant, behind-the-paywall content not available to other services. BurrellesLuce combines grade-A content with easy-to-use software, allowing users to evaluate and analyze their media coverage and PR efforts. It's all integrated into our user-friendly interface, BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™.

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