To Combat ‘Facebook Fatigue,’ Give the Audience a Content Jolt

Christine de la Huerta

“Facebook fatigue” is real. To combat it PR pros must make social content less marketing-speak and more engaging, according to Christine de la Huerta, VP at rbb Public Relations and team leader of Digital Park, the agency’s digital and social media division. “Learn what your audience wants and deliver it in a way that they want it,” she says.

De la Huerta will expand on this topic as a presenter at PR News’ One-Day Boot Camp for Emerging PR Stars on March 18 in Miami, Fla. PR News recently caught up with de la Huerta to discuss social engagement and the best social platforms for PR execs.

PR News: There was a recent study that said "Facebook fatigue" was growing among social media users. Do you think this is a problem and what can communicators do to combat it?

Christine de la Huerta: I think it is a problem. Facebook is becoming more versatile and intelligent for marketers but more burdensome for users. As communicators, it's our job to make our content less sales-oriented and more about adding actual value for audiences so they don't gloss over our content. Learn what your audience wants and deliver it in a way that they want it—whether that's entertainment, access, exclusive offers or even a dialog that is giving more importance to what the customer says about your brand than what your brand says about itself. Simply stated: Put customers first.

PR News: What's one social platform. besides Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, that PR pros should take a look at, and why?

De la Huerta: One? I have to pick two—one for consumer brands and one for B2B. Instagram is exploding, especially with the younger demographic. Brands cannot underestimate the importance of visuals in content marketing, as research consistently shows greater levels of engagement through visual content. In January, Instagram announced it had 90 million monthly active users. The company also reported that their site is seeing 575 likes per second and 81 comments per second. With such frequent and engaged use, communicators must take notice.

LinkedIn is another [social paltform] not to overlook. LinkedIn is the most powerful social site for driving B2B sales, and it’s worth noting that LinkedIn profiles and company pages rank high on search engines. A quarter of Fortune 500 CEOs are on LinkedIn, and less than 8% are on Facebook. The network offers many paid solutions for communicators that remain largely untapped. For rbb, it’s becoming a staple in our B2B programs.

PR News: What's one social media metric that you have used for a client that's a bit different from more traditional metrics?

De la Huerta: I choose quality over quantity. At rbb, we measure impressions but also reactions. The fact that someone "saw" my message is not as important to me as what he or she did with it. So we look at all reactions across platforms: likes, comments, shares, tweets, retweets, re-pins. These tell us more about how engaged our audience is, in addition to how many eyeballs we reached. A combined study by BuzzFeed and StumbleUpon found that stories go viral when lots of people engage with their normal-sized circles to share content. Thus, reactions are important because, as we measure, we can see what kind of content elicits a response and what content doesn’t, and adjust accordingly for the greatest impact.

PR News: What's the one piece of advice you'll be giving our audience of young PR pros attending the Bootcamp?

De la Huerta: That social media is a key ingredient of PR today. It's not optional. Social media has amplified the customer's voice, in conversations about brands that have the potential to reach further and faster than ever before. As communications professionals, it behooves us to listen and be part of those conversations, or miss valuable opportunities for message delivery and engagement.

(Christine de la Huerta will be taking part in the "Social Media: How to Build Brands, Find Followers and Attract Fans" session at the PR News’ One-Day Boot Camp for Emerging PR Stars on March 18 in Miami, Fla.)

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01