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Arkansas State University

Social Media and Strategic Communication

Social media is a powerful tool for influencing consumers around the world. Companies invest vast sums of money and time to target audiences with persuasive messages that engage across a variety of platforms. For the fields of public relations (PR) and advertising, social media has become a necessity for connecting brands with the general public, as well as efficiently communicating information.

An online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Strategic Communication with PR and Advertising Certificate from Arkansas State University (A-State) can help students gain a strong understanding of how businesses use public outreach to influence opinions and adapt their messaging strategies. Graduates of this online program attain tangible outcomes by applying principles of communication through social and digital media.

Social media can assist advertising and public relations professionals in making announcements, strengthening brand recognition, responding to negative press, managing brand reputation and discovering influencers who can quickly market a product. To keep up with consumers’ changing preferences and demands, PR and advertising professionals need to adapt and utilize social media to achieve maximum impact.

Here are some of the latest social media trends for those in advertising and public relations:

The Rise of the Micro-Influencer

Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers on a social media platform. For either monetary payment or product, micro influencers will advertise and market a product. The advantage of using micro-influencers, even though they don’t have as many followers as a macro-influencers, is that it costs companies less money or product to target smaller, niche audiences.

Video Ads Without Sound

Disrupting video ads that play with sound are an unwelcome experience for many online users. Research has shown that 66% of viewers in the United States despise it when videos play automatically with sound. Outstream videos are a trend brands use more and more to seamlessly meld video advertisements into the content the viewer is reading. The videos will start to play without sound, and if the viewer wants to interact with the video, they can hover over the video and choose to turn on the sound. When the viewer scrolls down the page, the video pauses. This gives the user more control over the advertisement, and they don’t feel as though they’re being forced to watch and listen to the video.

Use Mobile Gaming Popularity

A study of mobile gamers showed that almost 70% of gamers would give up watching television and using social media before giving up gaming. The same research showed that they’re twice as likely to take notice of in-game ads than those on the internet. Interstitial ads appear at natural stopping points during a game, and reward ads typically offer points or other benefits for watching an entire advertisement.

Reciprocative Communication

Consumers can interact with posts on Instagram and Facebook or videos on YouTube and TikTok. Social media gives brands a chance to interact with consumers through two-way communication. Consumers can comment on, “like” and share content, as well as provide negative feedback. Transparent brands respond quickly to prevent escalation and bad press.

Next Steps

The flexible online coursework in A-State’s B.S. in Strategic Communication with a PR and Advertising online program allows students to study the structure of the advertising industry, develop a sales presentation and learn the methodical use of social and digital media. They’ll learn to create, recognize and execute consistent and cohesive messaging, gain strong communication skills and explore how and when to utilize public relations strategies to persuade, inspire and shape how consumers interact with a brand.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication with PR and Advertising Certificate.

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