What digital engagement means for Public Relations in 2016

App everywhereOver the years, the Indian Public Relations landscape has become crowded and undergone drastic changes. The growing emphasis on digital is pushing the leading public relations agencies to review, address and find solutions to the rising challenges. It would be more appropriate to say that the PR domain in India has become a tough space for traditional practitioners, thanks to growing smartphone and internet usage.

The growing activism displayed by consumers, employees, investors, stakeholders and the press is making industry experts rise up to the challenges that new age media throws up. Nowadays the audiences are not shying away to bring even the mightiest of businesses down if they feel wronged, leaving brands and reputations destroyed with minuscule hope of regaining back lost glory.

Since most audiences are looking for instant gratification, when a customer spends a considerable amount of their time to get issues resolved, it can be quite demanding on a brand/business. In simple words, pleasing the audiences should be the top priority of every enterprise aiming to stand out in the crowd. One of the easiest ways to satisfy a customer is by sending out an instant response, probably within a matter of a few minutes. This is where ‘digital engagement’ comes in handy as it enjoys the ability to offer an instant solution.

Defining ‘Digital Engagement’

It leverages the use of any form of a social or online platform for the purpose of communicating with a business and offers a quick response when properly utilised. This holds true for businesses that have or are planning to use digital engagement for building a quick connect with the customers. Many brands have been leveraging digital engagement for varied purposes – whether to tap a new generation of audiences, respond to feedback, initiate conversations with clients, offer assistance and more.

Initiating client engagement is important and one of the most significant aspects of Public Relations in current times.

How PR firms are executing Digital Engagement

A giant shift towards digital engagement has taken place and this new media is expected to become stronger in the coming days as well. In simple words, digital media will bolster its presence as a powerful tool and call for its judicious use due to its ability to build brand reputations and initiate conversations between customers and stakeholders instead of focussing on one-way communication.

Even the conventional PR practitioners have been found to be quickly adapting to the changes and enhancing their area of specialisation to keep up with the rising needs of the consumers. According to the top PR agencies in India, the role of communicators is undergoing a considerable metamorphosis due to the growing use of digital engagement.

Since the media industry is an integral part of the communications domain, it has been impacted by the transformation as well. India houses an amalgamation of innumerable things – news channels, publications, print media, online medium and more.  The Indian PR landscape has now attained an enviable position with the top Public Relations agencies consistently looking for new avenues to work as custodians and charting out courses for businesses.

The leading PR agencies in India are consistently working to execute unparalleled long-term strategies and execute them with complete finesse. Creating a favourable environment for the customers is what PR firms are eyeing to attain by pro-actively addressing concerns, understanding the impact of communication and focussing on the nuances of strategic advocacy.

As customers are realising the criticality of creating bridges, starting conversations, reinforcing reputations, developing communities along with the direct effect of strategic advocacy on business, the PR domain is believed to be on the threshold of a new era where only the smartest and best of strategies get noticed.

Now, the question is: what does ‘digital’ mean? Is it time to treat the ‘digital’ medium as a separate category?  Since online engagement is increasingly becoming the norm of the day, here are a few of the notable areas where digital is expected to witness notable shifts in 2016.

  • New rules

Audiences should be well-informed about the relevance of native advertising so that there is a clear understanding of paid content. In fact, labelling of native advertising as promotional content should not occur in any situation. People browsing the Internet, using Social Media, or seeing videos should know if they are viewing editorial content or an advertisement. 2016 is witnessing the strengthened use of digital data for selecting the right sort of people and recognising the true value of influences, meaning that outreach won’t be limited to just conventional PR initiatives.

  • Podcast mattersPodcast matters

One of the biggest benefits of podcasts is that it allows people to tune in from anywhere, anytime. This is an excellent tactic since it allows easy digestion of news and stories, enhancing the scope for multi-tasking.  More brands/businesses should opt for podcasts if they are keen to tap a busy clientele base. With the growing emphasis on visual storytelling, the podcast explosion reminds us that the fundamentals of engaging audiences should stand at the core of the Public Relations domain.

Meanwhile, streaming video is not expected to make quick gains this year due to the fact that most marketers won’t be finding relevant content for regular streaming, primarily live streaming. Creating eyeball-grabbing tweets is easier as compared to the attention seeking live streams. Hence, more brands will be following the path of transparent storytelling to maximise their impact, success, and ROI.

  • Intensified Social Media war

In the last one decade, Social Media has undergone tremendous changes as a number of players intensified their presence. The second half of 2016 is expected to witness notable activity in the Social Media domain as most of them are stressing on incorporating more services directly into their applications, meaning the customers could meet all their requirements by leveraging a single app platform.

  • Increasing professional use of social networking platforms

LinkedIn has revolutionised the professional Social Networking domain while continuing to play the role of a tool for recruitment and promotion of work-related content. Facebook has already started working in this domain and in fact, an increasing number of PR firms across the globe have initiated work in this direction.

Usually, people are familiar with using such networking platforms on a personal basis, hence using it in a work capacity won’t be a problem. The marketing gurus are of the opinion that Facebook enjoys a robust universal familiarity, thus positioning it as a convenient professional and work-focussed Social Media platform. Moreover, it has the potential to lower email traffic, develop work and an employee-centric environment apart from ensuring quick feedback.

  • Apps, apps everywhere

More audiences have displayed keenness to exchange personalised data for getting relevant information from the apps. In recent years, for example, the market has been flooded with health-related apps such as calorie counting apps, fertility apps, body temperature measuring apps and more.

It would be appropriate to state that mobile apps are emerging as the preferred primary source for successfully managing and preventing health conditions. This shows that there are innumerable opportunities available to create engaging and entertaining content that delivers results.

Conclusion

Public Relations can’t exist in a vacuum and must encompass essential elements like Digital Communications and Social Media. It is an absolute must that leading PR agencies leverage these options so that offering an all-round digital strategy that fits neatly within the current marketing and communication strategies is a breeze.

The time for ‘Digital Engagement’ is now and the bolstered use of digital channels will ensure that clients have more control over the businesses they interact with.

Also Read: Key PR metrics every business should use

Digital Media Gaining Prominence in India

Growth of digital media in IndiaInternet is responsible for changing the way information is being shared along with augmenting the digital media presence. With the growing inroads to modern tactics, digital media in India is helping businesses to bring creativity in the marketing of their services. Analysts are of the opinion that realizing the potential of digital media, India Inc initiated its adoption in their day to day business practices to push faster growth.

Why is digital media relevant for us?

As a concept, digital media is excellent as it offers a brand all the possible opportunities to start an engagement with the audiences. But, when digital media is viewed in regard to India, then the decision lies solely in the hands of the target audience.

Hence, it won’t be incorrect to say that the growth of digital media in India is justified by its usage.

In the past few years, a lot of stress has been placed on the technological advancements for pushing developments across domains. Finally, the Internet has started to deliver revenues with majority of Indians preferring to use their smartphones, laptops, tablets to listen to music, watch movies, TV shows or even cricket match.

Statistics suggest that India is among the top five countries across the globe with highest number of Internet users. In simple words, the growing population is one of the driving factors for pushing the growth of digital media in India.

Most of the broadcasters are augmenting their focus on the digital media and many of them are creating exclusive content for it. Now, there could not be better news for the digital media.

Is it beneficial in the long run?

Digital media has no real boundaries. It serves both internal and external audiences. It is considered as a cost efficient method for its reach and accurate measurement tools.

Only digital marketing is equipped to judge where the leads are coming from. Efficient use of analytical tools such as Analytics from Google will prove helpful in taking decision regarding expenditure. This is also one of the reasons why many companies, irrespective of their size, are fast adopting different digital marketing methods to tap audiences by meeting requirements and generating good quality content.

This is a great way to save money and narrow down the interested audience base.

Some of its key benefits in an organization are –

  • Better information disbursement.
  • Improved employee productivity.
  • Higher number of satisfied clients.
  •  Brand positioning.
  • Augmented sales.
  • Lowered costs.

Why social media is a crucial part of the digital media landscape in India?

One of the other important factors to consider when judging the outreach of digital media in India is how the web is being used. Internet is consistently being used for accessing the social networking platforms in rural and urban areas. Popular websites such as Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn are witnessing high adoption rates.

Conclusion
Many businesses are aiming to cash in digital media boom to register growth. Whether you are a corporate or a startup, online media has the potential to help any business attain growth. In fact, many corporates are using digital public relations to deliver clever marketing campaigns and maximize productivity.