New PR Technology, Tools and Techniques

How communications professional can apply technology to improve work efficiency

Heather Mah
January 24, 2021

In recent years, technology has taken an even more prominent role in our lives as we all made the transition from working together in an office to working remotely. PR professionals must navigate new and innovative ways to maintain two-way communications with their audiences. The advancement of technology has made personable communications possible to ensure that relationships with audiences remain mutually beneficial. In order to study the impact new technologies can have on our work, CPRS Edmonton invited a panel of tech savvy experts for a webinar to share their knowledge of the latest technologies on the market.

Virtual reality and augmented reality engages people’s attention 

Christy Seville, a strategist at zag, is a zealous communicator with experience helping organizations identify and reach their markets. She believes that incorporating virtual and augmented reality into communications practices opens the doors to greater opportunities to build rapport with audiences.

“Virtual reality (VR) replaces your surroundings to immerse you in an alternate reality so what you see is not what is around you,” explains Christy. “Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, adds to your surroundings. You still see everything around you, but your world is augmented.”

The appeal with using VR/AR is that customers can use their phone in augmented reality to look at a product, scan a QR code or an AR tag, and pull up a website with extra information about that product to give consumers more information before making a purchase.

By using VR/AR, brands will be able to reach a different kind of consumer. For example, with VR concerts, companies can sponsor the event and have their logo displayed in the concert venue. This works for virtual reality movie theatres as well – brands can have their advertisements shown to the audience during the previews.

VR/AR can enhance engagement and create a conversation about the brand. For example, brands can have AR-enhanced logos that allow customers to access a video by downloading an app and holding their phone up to the logo. This way, customers can engage with the brand, interact, and share the content with their friends. This may also encourage them to shop online and buy the product.

VR/AR can create a connection or change a mindset. For example, the tourism industry can conduct virtual tours and allow potential tourists to experience the attractions. Charities can also make good use of VR/AR technology to help increase donations. Donors can virtually experience life through the eyes of refugee children, which helps create an understanding in the donor about the plight of refugees. VR has an amazing way of placing people into the perspective of another person because they won’t see any other stimulus around them. On the other hand, AR is great for envisioning a space.

“If the city wants to revitalize a playground, they can create an app to show what the playground equipment will look like and allow the public to go with their phones to experience that space, and provide the city with feedback on what they think,” shares Christy. “This is great for municipalities to increase engagement and get valuable feedback from the public.”

VR/AR is immensely valuable for communicators to add extra impact and connect with audience emotions when delivering key messages to them.

Everyone is a content creator on TikTok, capable to create viral video clips

Kimberly Allison, CEO of Marketing Rx Inc., is a social media expert. She and her team create custom campaigns as well as consult, educate and manage social media marketing for companies across North America.

Kimberly has been actively using the TikTok platform to build her brand and she describes TikTok as a fun, bright light in the social media world. Launched in September 2016, it is now the sixth largest social media network with 500 million active monthly users. To date, the app has been downloaded more than two billion times, hosting a wide demographic of users, with the biggest age group being 18-24.  

“TikTok is evolving rapidly,” Kimberly shares. “They don’t have the ads nor the rules and restrictions that other platforms like Facebook and Instagram have.”

The advantages of using TikTok for marketing and PR is that the platform boasts very high engagement, especially with the hard-to-reach younger demographic who don’t use traditional media. It is said that the average user opens TikTok about eight times a day, so videos can go viral even if the account is new with zero followers.

“The local creators and micro-influencers on TikTok have over 10,000 followers, making them great business partners to help you grow your brand,” Kimberly explains. “You can create an influencing marketing campaign with them and get on their newsfeed with their followers.”

For PR professionals, TikTok is a great tool to share an inside look at a business, and to use it as an education tool to communicate what the business does. In order to maximize reach, businesses can include branded hashtags, and use video trends, hashtag trends, and song trends. Businesses can also duet with a viral video to increase higher audience traffic. 

A duet on TikTok allows you to build on alongside the original user’s video as it plays. People can reply to video content with their own videos, which can be shared publicly. This can lead to a duet chain and viral trends which means your message will reach far across the TikTok platform. Recently TikTok has opened a creator portal, a new educational resource led by creators to share their tips and tricks to get the most out of the TikTok experience. 

Chatbots is your trusty assistant for building stronger connections with audiences

Amanda Robinson, owner of The Digital Gal, is an expert in Facebook ads and messenger marketing chatbots. 

With Facebook ads alone, the ways to direct people from an ad is limited to either watch a video or visit a website. In this instance, chatbots can bring innovative and creative options to keep audience engagement and to strengthen the relationship between the brand and consumers.

Chatbots are automated messaging programs that stimulate conversations, ask questions, provide 24/7 customer service, and drive traffic to landing pages.

Amanda believes using chatbots can drive more engagement to business websites and help them acquire more clients who are interested in the services offered.

“Engagement on any platform is the real key to success here and chatbots translate to multiple platforms,” Amanda shares. “Attention span is the currency. If you are doing any paid advertising, it actually lowers your advertising cost.”

The perks to using chatbots are that they can bring in more signals of engagement and conversations with the brand. 

Some ways to make good use of chatbots are:

  • Registering people in your programs.
  • Running fun contests to encourage association with the brand.
  • Collecting feedback with a “rate this” questionnaire.
  • Storytelling and generating good leads for businesses.
  • Offering downloadable resources.
  • Segmenting users.
  • Scheduling appointments.
  • Making reservations.
  • Purchasing and tracking order status.

Using a chatbot in Facebook messenger has great potential to grow and evolve as a marketing tool. Anyone can easily learn how to use them. 

To watch the entire webinar, sign in to the Bill Rees Learning Centre

Something to add?