NEW YORK, December 12, 2011 – From the BP oil spill to the Netflix brand fiasco, 2011 wasn’t without its share of PR blunders. Social media had growing pains of its own this year, however instances like Weinergate proved not to be without purpose. Companies have smartened up to the dangers of uncontrolled online activity and begun to take more active, strategic approaches to social media engagement.
The evolution of social media will affect all aspects of branding, and traditional PR tactics will be replaced with new, innovative strategies for engaging audiences. Affect, a public relations and social media firm specializing in technology, has created its list of top predictions for where PR and social media is headed in 2012.
- Death of the Email Pitch, Rise of the Twit Pitch: In 2012 our reliance on email pitching will dwindle in favor of social media connections with journalists. The pervasiveness of social media has officially permeated traditional media relations. The short form aspect of social media makes it a favored place for journalists to receive pitches—no more diatribes about the benefits of your company’s exciting new product. Just 140 characters to love.
- Google+ Business = Success: In 2012 businesses will leverage Google+ as a strategic platform for communicating with customers and prospects. Its more than 50 million users make Google+ a goldmine for extending a business’ reach, offering a valuable forum for customer relations and business development.
- Social Media Gets Strategic: In 2011 businesses were frenzied to hop on the latest social media trend. This year expect more brands to take a strategic approach to social media marketing. They will begin to concentrate their efforts on the platforms that will offer them the greatest ROI, rather than trying to hop on every social media train.
- Measurement Is a Must: Despite signs of improvement in the economy, executives are still clenching their budgets tight. In order for the PR departments to squeeze the necessary dollars out of the C-suite, measurement will be even more critical in 2012. This year PR metrics will go beyond counting clips to new ways of holding PR accountable for prospect conversion and revenue generation.
- Crises Will Continue: Weinergate dominated the news media for weeks this Spring, proving social media can be a dangerous game for those who don’t know how to use it properly. In 2012 these social media crises continue to come fast and furious. Luckily, they tend to die out as quickly as they flare up, so don’t expect them to have particularly long shelf lives.
- Brands Become Publishers: 2012 will mark a surge in businesses not only being the publishers of their own content, but disseminators as well. Whether it’s a company blog or a corporate eNewsletter, businesses will focus on creating the content and developing their own publishing vehicles to get their messages to market. They will bypass traditional media outlets and go directly to their target audiences by creating branded niche media properties. (And we caution: they should be fully transparent about it when they do).
- CEOs Become Journalists: With publications like Forbes allowing CEOs to create their own pages, profiles and regularly contribute content, CEOs will begin to work in step with traditional news media to position themselves as thought leaders. This new track is a win-win for media outlets and brands.
- Small is The New Big: We’ve all been there, your client wants every piece of coverage to be the front page of The New York Times . In 2012 we will see more brands putting a premium on niche media that speaks directly to their target audiences, rather than demanding its new semiconductor be featured on the TODAY Show .
- Paying to Get Social: In 2012 social media will go the way of advertising and will no longer be the voice of the people. Its traditionally organic content will give way to more pay-for-play opportunities. Unfortunately, someone’s got to spoil the fun—and the social platforms need some revenue to keep up with service demands.
- Scandals, Sex and Celebs Still Sell: The truth is some things will never change. In the era of “clicks for cash” media will still rely on sex, scandal or a famous face to sell their stories. Journalists will try to find the most salacious angle for every story, so tread cautiously and be sure your spokesperson is media trained.
“Brands will continue to forge new ground in 2012. It’s a thrilling time to be involved in our industry; there is unprecedented opportunity to connect directly with consumers across the globe,” said Sandra Fathi, president and founder of Affect. “While we don’t have a crystal ball, our team actively keeps its fingers of the pulse of the industry. We have already begun planning for the changes we expect to come in the next year and prepare our clients to get ahead of trends and maximize their returns.”
Affect is a public relations and social media firm located in New York. Established in 2002, the company combines strategy, creative and intelligent program development, impeccable execution and exemplary customer service to help its clients achieve their specific business goals. Specializing in technology communications, Affect has also applied its marketing prowess to consumer goods and professional services. As year-round public relations counsel, or a single project resource, Affect leverages its business acumen and service excellence to achieve the precise results that its clients seek. For more information, web: www.affect.com; blog: www.techaffect.com; Twitter: @teamaffect.