Three Ways that PR Firms Can Use Social Media Apps to Build Brand Awareness

It’s true. Everyone is on their smartphone all the time. 

In total the number of people that own a smart and feature phone has reached 7.26 billion, making up a staggering 91% of the world’s population.

This leaves no surprise that social media apps have become game changers for brand awareness. Apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Tiktok offer marketers and PR firms innovative ways to help brands connect to consumers.

The reason for this is simple. Social media is now one of the top online activities worldwide and active users increase every year. This means potential consumers also increase every year.

The pandemic lockdowns accelerated how advertisers were able to capitalize on how much more time people were spending on their phones.  Fortunately, there is no end in sight for the bubble of benefits these marketers gained these last couple of years as online activity continues to boom on phones.

Social media users grew by 227 million over the past year, reaching 4.70 billion by the start of July 2022. This explains why a historically high amount of user-generated content exists today. 

Recent numbers published in Bytedance’s advertising resources reveal that TikTok ads now reach more than 1 billion people aged 18 and above. TikTok users now spend more than 2 days—48 hours—per month using the app.

The sharing of content on these platforms is as easy as a few clicks and is quickly helping to turn viewers into buyers. 

Top brands on TikTok include Chipotle and Target, both of which have amassed 2 million followers. Fitness apparel company Gymshark has collected nearly 4 million followers on the app.

For Chipotle, it was a genius move to utilize the hit video platform. The brand’s lighthearted social media strategy has resonated in a very positive way with its followers. Their first challenge, the #ChipotleLidFlip generated 240M video views and their second challenge #GuacDance went even further, with 430 million video views in only six days.

“Currently, we use memes in our day-to-day content as well as paid social media. We think about memes as a way to both relate to our customers and tap into specific insights, sometimes even trolling ourselves. We also use memes for social listening as a way to unlock new insights,” said Candice Beck, senior manager of social and digital at the Mexican fast-food chain.

Gymshark has a big Tik Tok following but it also sponsors many big-name fitness influencers (also known as brand ambassadors or Gymshark ‘athletes’) on Instagram. These fitness influencers help them dominate as one of the most visible fitness brands in the world.

Sony’s PlayStation has become one of the most followed brands on the social media app Twitter. According to UnMetric, PlayStation saw 376% growth in followers from 2014 to 2019. The company keeps fan engagement by continuously posting a mix of content that includes new game trailers, gaming footage, and streaming events.

And you know a brand is doing something right when people outside of its target market are tuning in. This is the story with BarkBox, who has nearly 2 million followers on Instagram and many that don’t even own a dog.

With social media, the world is quite literally at your fingertips and brands are jumping at the opportunity to gain exposure.

Public relations agencies are also utilizing the apps and recognize that millennials are one of the largest consumer markets in the world. This demographic considers social media a big part of their shopping experience and is giving PR firms more reason to hit the platforms. 

With nearly 3 billion monthly users, Facebook is inarguably the largest and most popular social media app in the world and is fast becoming one of the most powerful PR tools.

Using the Facebook app as an online PR tool allows companies to increase their reach exponentially, getting in front of interested people with engaging content when and where they are receptive to the message.

Here are three ways that PR firms and brands can use these apps to attract customers:

1. Find influencers. Influencers give brands a voice they could never use on their own. They have massive digital followings that brands can tap into to promote offerings and protect reputations. When public relations professionals create relationships between brands and influencers, they can create social trust and increases a brand’s value.

2. Identify brand threats. Social media apps can proactively find and address threats that could lead to a major brand reputation crisis. These apps are the gateway to finding out what potential customers really think.

3. Make announcements. Using social media apps for a product launch or company updates is a way to get information to move fast. Word travels very quickly on these apps. Using captivating short snippets and links, professionals can read a wide audience.

No matter if a brand is small or big, social media apps are successfully helping to elevate engagement with consumers. These apps have tremendously disrupted marketing practices, changing the landscape of communication with consumers forever.