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#PR: Pinterest and Snapchat Matter to PR Pros
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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PR News recently ran an article on its prnewsonline.com website regarding a recent trend in social media. When Pinterest and Snapchat started, most companies and flacks thought they were “cute” and were unsure about whether both sites could really become PR engines.

Apparently, thoughts are changing in that regard. The article, PR Pros Need to Reevaluate Pinterest and Snapchat, mentioned: “When Coldwell Banker started using Pinterest as a PR and marketing vehicle last year, it was a fairly modest effort. The real estate company would pin select pictures of properties on its Pinterest page and call it a day. Recently, however, the 109-year-old brand significantly changed its tune about the photo-sharing service. 'We put the focus on how [Pinterest] can help elevate larger campaigns,' said David Marine, VP of brand engagement at Coldwell Banker.”

The opinion piece further noted that “Coldwell Banker’s Pinterest effort coincided with a Wall Street Journal report last month saying that Pinterest is discussing a $500 million round of funding, which would value the company at roughly $11 billion. Around the same time, Bloomberg reported that another social media channel, Snapchat, is looking to raise as much as $500 million, which would value the ephemeral-messaging service at up to $19 billion.”

As both social media sites continue to pursue funding, this can only mean their value to PR will grow. Women seem to be the major users of both media sites, which can be a major demographic for companies and targeted marketing communications efforts.

The article further noted:
“For us, Snapchat has proved to be a useful vehicle for amplifying our brand awareness and content marketing efforts,” said KC Geen, senior manager of social media at online food delivery service GrubHub, which started using Snapchat in 2013.

GrubHub’s snaps feature user-generated content, contests, giveaways and promotional codes. The company makes sure to interact with nearly every incoming snap (seven days a week) via personalized gifs, videos and doodles.

Geen said the disappearing feature offers a unique opportunity for brands. “Since you can’t search back through your history like some other platforms, it encourages our followers to come back each day, looking to engage with us through new content. It also forces brands to be really creative and push out quality content every single time in hopes of keeping their followers engaged.”

Measuring success on Snapchat can be tricky since there are few metrics to determine ROI.

“The best gauge of success for a program or piece of content is the number of story views and view completion rate, which is the percentage of people who started and finished your story,” Geen said.

​She added: “And for the success of your overall Snapchat channel, I’d recommend monitoring your brand’s follower count and score, which can be seen as a basic reflection of your account’s engagement with your followers.”
New media usage brings its own challenges, and it appears brands using Snapchat and Pinterest are already beginning to figure out how to use both as major components of their branding efforts.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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