Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.
The main concept of the chapter was the importance of an alpha audience, “an elite and engaged tribe at the top of the social sharing food chain” (97). I found this interesting because so many brands are so focused on quantity over quality. Many even go to the lengths of purchasing followers to better their image. Their goal is to gain and reach a large audience, rather than build a strong core group that will share their content relentlessly. Members of this alpha audience are loyal and likely to share your content with their own audiences. They are the influencers in their circles, “the fervent supporters you can rely on day-in and day-out for support, ignition and action” (102). However this audience is hard to build.
I really thought Schaeffer’s section about building the alpha audience through involvement was very interesting and applicable to the field of public relations. I like how he suggested making your audience a part of the content creation process as one of the most powerful ways to create this alpha audience. Involving the audience in the creation process makes them feel more like an equal in a conversation, rather than someone on the receiving end of a message. The examples that Schaeffer used in this section showed that this concept could definitely be applied by Public Relations Professionals trying to build their own alpha audience. The GoPro example that he provided, describing how their YouTube videos use footage shot by consumers, using their product, was a great strategy. Apple used a very similar approach in some of their recent iPhone commercials, featuring beautiful videos shot on iPhones by regular iPhone users.
People are much more likely to share content that they had a part in creating, especially if it is from their favorite brand. It is all about reaching the right people, rather than trying to reach the largest amount of people possible. Building a loyal, trusting, elite core group, known as the alpha audience is key to meaningful and consistent engagement and communication. That two-way conversation is a key component of public relations.
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