Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.” We’ve all heard this at some point in our life. Whether it was from our parents, church, teachers, bosses, we’ve all heard the statement, and (hopefully) attempted to put it into practice. We are taught to practice this in our daily lives in hopes of making the world we live in “easier,” but in Chapter nine of Mark Schaeffer’s Content Code, he extends this Golden Rule to the virtual world, and discusses how using this rule in marketing (social media) is a key factor in creating a Heroic Brand.
Within the chapter, Tom Webster, a marketing executive, states “Much influence on the social web is built on a promise of returned favors” (146). But what does that mean exactly? Well, if we look at Instagram for example, there are trending hashtags like, #likeforlike, #l4l, #likeforlikeback, etc… The same can be said for Twitter as well. Using this hashtag for your posts, makes your content visible to any others who are searching this hashtag. This creates a system of reciprocity, or the golden rule, where a user can post something, use these hashtags, and gain likes that are not necessarily contingent on you liking their picture back, but naturally we believe if someone likes your picture, you will like their picture back.
In a Forbes article titled, “50 Free Ways To Increase Your Instagram Followers,” Jayson DeMers lists “Search for and follow people who are using popular hashtags like #followme and #likeforlike. Many will follow you back!” as number 8. In my own experience, I can say that this does, in fact work, and has gotten me many followers and a 100% like increase on my content. Now how can we apply this to marketing and business? Well that’s easy, because PR is built on trust and image. If a company publicly likes, follows, and shares content from others, they are more likely to have a positive image in the eyes of the public. A lot of successful brands are ones that like and share content from other individuals and companies. How would you feel if your favorite video game publisher or restaurant re-tweeted you, or liked your Instagram post? What if your favorite band or artist started following you on Instagram? I know that when my brother, who’s a professional football player, started following me on Twitter, not only was I overjoyed, but I gained more followers just from liking and sharing his content. The point is, reciprocating content, or emulating the Golden Rule online, and in person, will prove very beneficial for any company OR individual.