Three New Tech Tactics to Use For Your Small Business
⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten ⌛
Technology is ever-changing, and with it, comes a new learning curve for PR practitioners and other communicators. While some strategies and tactics seem like true no-brainers, others could leave us scratching our heads. Yet, we want to reach our publics, so we vow to communicate where no company or brand has gone before.
Keeping up with industry trends and new technology is vital for communicators as Generation Z comes of age and begins to leverage its own purchasing power and communications preferences. Billions of dollars are devoted to online forms of communications, whether it’s Paid, Earned, Share or Owned (PESO). A holographic press release, à la Princess Leia in “A New Hope” and other holocron communiqué in “Star Wars” universe, has been created. This is where science fiction meets reality.
While the below tactics aren’t necessarily “new” to the world or communications industry, we are highlighting them to showcase their importance to an ahead-of-the-curve approach to integrated communications now and in the future.
Below are a few tactics in which small businesses and organizations can implement the “communication of the future” in small but impactful ways.
Chances are, you have interacted with some type of chatbot or prewritten response in your personal and professional dealings with brands. You use AI in some capacity every day. (Ahem, Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa.) You may have chatted with a bot about new car insurance plans or have received a “thank you for your message -- we’ll get back with you shortly” themed message in response to your outreach efforts. If you’re interested in adding this component to your existing communications efforts, it’s actually easier than you think! Using a free (and/or paid if you have the budget) service like collect.chat or MailChimp can launch your website or other owned properties into the 21st Century. You can also use a software service to help you collect insights, automate processes and more. You can benefit from AI by learning more about your customer base’s demographics, psychographics and other pertinent information. It also saves you time and energy, which in turn, could be used for other business ventures.
For example, we use AI to automate our social media messages, blog posts (like this!), newsletters, emails, website chatbots and much more.
Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
While your small company or one-person band may not have the funds to back augmented and virtual reality expenditures, you may want to consider getting comfortable with AR and VR. Purchasing a $15 Google Cardboard opens up the possibilities of developing your own VR applications using your smartphone. Whether your goal is to publish an app or use VR to help beta test a product, telling your company’s story in a small way using AR or VR could make a lasting impact. Plus, you can partner with companies like MaxBoxVR to create your own branded cardboard viewer to hand out to stakeholders. For PR practitioners, it could really make a difference during the Research stage of the RPIE (Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation) process. For example, it could save on product prototype costs and could allow people to beta test a product or service wherever they are using a VR headset.
While we do not advocate the invasion of privacy during the data-collection process, data collected in ethical ways does help us more efficiently communicate with our audiences. The Evaluation stage of the RPIE process is also often not as developed as it should be -- mostly because data collection is time-consuming and expensive for small businesses. Instead of devoting entire days to collecting press clippings and website mentions for a campaign, invest in a service like CoverageBook. Let its algorithms do the heavy lifting for you. You can show Return on Investment (ROI), Return on Expectations (ROE) and other KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in a detailed and aesthetically pleasing format.
Kaylin R. Staten, APR, is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer based in Huntington, WV with nearly 16 years of professional communications experience. As CEO and founder of Hourglass Media, she uses her compassionate spirit and expertise to delve into the heart of clients’ stories. She is a recovering perfectionist, mental health advocate, wife, cat mom and Leia Organa aficionado. Connect with Kaylin on LinkedIn.