As social media becomes a larger aspect of our culture, its influence in the world of public relations and communications continues to expand. Recent trends in the public relations community involving apps like Snapchat highlight this expansion. These trends demonstrate to students how the social media tools they use every day can be utilized in the professional world as well.
One of the biggest examples of social media’s takeover within the communications world is Snapchat’s influence at New York Fashion Week this past September. Snapchat allows companies to display photos and videos, or “stories”, to all users for a certain period of time. Many brands at New York Fashion Week made use of these stories as a way to promote their images. This resulted in the daily documentation of events at New York Fashion Week by public relations professionals, designers and attendees.
While certain designers displayed their content and advertised their fashion collections on these stories, New York Fashion Week as an entity had its own story dedicated to the event. On this feature, anyone with a Snapchat account at New York Fashion Week could send in pictures or videos of their experiences and possibly have them visible on the official story. This enabled Snapchat users from all over the world to see pictures and videos from the runway and backstage as the events of the week continued.
Snapchat’s impact at New York Fashion Week shows how invested the fashion industry is in this new style of promotion involving social media apps. Not only were designers marketing to audiences on social media, but they were also discussing the realities of this phenomenon with their contemporaries. Talking points such as, “Are You On Snapchat?” were highlighted throughout the week to introduce more traditional members in the industry to the world of Snapchat in public relations. Many believe that social media can be a substantial aspect of the future world of communications.
While Snapchat proved itself to be an effective means of communication between designers and buyers at New York Fashion Week, it was also beneficial financially because designers did not have to spend as much money displaying messages on the app as they would normally spend on traditional advertisements. Since the number of people that can be reached on social media apps continues to grow, companies have begun to realize that posting on Snapchat and other apps like it maximizes the exposure of a message while minimizing advertisement costs.
For public relations professionals, this means that in order to keep up with the trends in marketing, serious efforts must be made in order to integrate social media into campaigns. The younger the demographic, the more social media fluency is essential. Professionals at New York Fashion Week realized this, and the result was largely a success. Recognizing the impact of social media apps like Snapchat can also help aspiring public relations professionals improve their skills and attract future employers. For public relations students, this means that gaining a more thorough understanding of the social media apps many already use can positively influence success in the future field.
-by Emily Hillhouse, PRSSA General Member
Emily Hillhouse is a public relations major and an Italian minor at The University of Alabama. She is currently a member of UA PRSSA and a writer for The Crimson White. Connect with her on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.