Since the dawning of social media, such as Facebook and the like thereof, companies have been employing the use of each one in order to stay where the masses are. Going from print and tv to a brand new digital age of advertising and public relations.

When deciding which social medium platform, or ratio of social media, to use, it is important to note the usefulness of each platform. Below is a figure with numbers taken from Buffer, an online social media organizational tool. These statistics cover more popular platforms and just how many users are online/active each month. 

Whether or not a social media platform has a large audience, one large question is this: do you want to pay for advertising or do you want to grow a social following? Because both of these strategies can be similar but still different when it comes to knowing how the platform works in trying to reach a target audience.  

For example, is the ad you are posting sending customers to a page of the same platform? (ie, a Facebook ad to a Facebook page, or a promoted post). Or is the ad sending customers to an external page, like a website? 

If redirecting users to a page on the same platform was your answer, then gaining and growing a social following is probably your strategy’s goal. Which can be one of the best forms of free advertising available today because people/users/consumers willingly follow brands they enjoy seeing.

This consumers-wanting-ads (or, brands in their online stream) phenomenon is very strange to me until I compare it to magazines. I enjoy looking at Vogue because it is beautiful, and yet it is still to its core a magazine that is 90% advertising for fashion brands. People enjoy seeing things they enjoy, plain and simple. So the key to a modern PR team now is to be as entertaining as possible, the advertising side of things

To gain a following online, most often it is advantageous to adhere to however users behave on each platform. The perfect model for this would be Pepsi India’s TikTok account and recent #swagstep challenge that went viral. Following the footsteps laid by the youngest generation, Pepsi India created a unique dance move challenge that people would mimic for fun.

By doing this, Pepsi India is reaching a much younger audience – doing as the young peoples do in order to reach them. And they thoroughly succeeded in doing so by minding the formula of other trending dance challenges: difficult-looking, a little sexy, and all around entertaining.

The purpose of using social media (as Pepsi India did above) would not directly be for advertising but more for an underrated form of public relations: publicity. And general publicity is good for businesses for many reasons.

  • Not just another company trying to sell something
  • Company moves higher on the mental latter of domain authority
    • Reminds customers of its existence
    • Keeps the brand alive and relevent
  • Businesses who give to charity are seen in a better, higher light
    • Which can sometimes give them preferability

This type of advertising / PR reminds me of an online version of sticker-attacking a city. Or, a new form of guerilla marketing where brands are seen everywhere by all walks of life … while still spending little to no money on sponsored ads. Overall, social media is a brilliant place for companies to run their PR campaigns because, like it or not, that is where the people are.


Check out my other helpful how to’s for business and marketing!

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Student in Philosophy and AD/PR