Good public relations is an essential part of business operational strategies. If you have good public relations, you’re far more likely to have a strong and wide-reaching customer base.
Here are seven techniques you can apply to improve public relations:
One of the most common strategies organizations implement to improve public relations is corporate philanthropy. The cynic might scoff at a large company throwing money at a cause seemingly chosen at random, but philanthropy is by no means always like that. Many organizations carefully choose what causes to put philanthropic funding toward, researching a variety of options or determining what employees are interested in supporting. For example, if you’re already increasing sustainability in your own organization, you could give to ecological preservation nonprofits. Alternatively, you could create a program where employees can sponsor an animal in a sanctuary.
2. Social media
Possibly the simplest way to improve public relations, social media is an essential aspect of brand and image. The immediacy and proximity of social media engagement mean you can actively curate your brand at any time. You can talk with customers in real-time via comments or live streams, give updates about events or promotions and get the word out right away to a large audience in the event of something negative, such as a product recall. You can also respond to criticisms or negative press in real-time, allowing you to get ahead of the issue.
3. Community engagement
A similar strategy to philanthropy is community engagement. It can help your employees feel more connected to the community, as well as showing the community that you genuinely care and want to help. Poll your employees to see what locally relevant causes they’re interested in and develop volunteer or sponsorship programs for them to participate in. Your executive suite can get involved by sponsoring or helping to plan community events.
4. Organizational tools
While it may not seem like an obvious strategy for improving public relations, investing in technology that can help keep your employees’ workflows streamlined and organized can have a big impact. These tools help employees stay on schedule with certain tasks, such as product or service releases and upgrades. They help improve the accuracy and speed of your customer support team and ensure that employees can communicate quickly and efficiently. Some examples of such software solutions are DevOps tools, Customer Relationship Management software and Enterprise Resource Planning systems.
Going green is increasingly gaining popularity. Customers want to see that companies care about preserving the planet and improving peoples’ lives and health. If you incorporate sustainability into your brand and image, customers are highly likely to view your company favorably and be interested in supporting you and giving you business.
Gaining or awarding can be a great way to improve your organization’s brand image. In some organizations, such as schools, qualifications are basically part of the fabric of running the institution. The school itself needs to be accredited and the diplomas or degrees it awards greatly benefit its students. In a different organization, qualifications might not be so obvious, but there are still opportunities to gain specialist training. Company-wide, compete for best workplace awards. For individuals, offer tuition reimbursement for relevant degrees or develop training programs.
7. Customer support
If you have a robust customer support network, you’re far more likely to have good public relations. Even large companies make mistakes, so it’s not necessarily going to surprise a customer if, for example, a car part is recalled. However, if your customer support department is backed up or the customer feels he or she wasn’t properly taken care of, that can have a negative impact on your brand. You want to cultivate a reputation for caring about your customers and providing the best service and assistance possible.
Whatever your reasons for needing to improve public relations, it’s a process that can take time. You can’t just flip a switch and improve things right away. Implementing some of these techniques can help you organically grow strong public relations.