PR Under The Influence

How many posts have you read in the past week featuring the latest product which your favourite blogger just ‘cannot live without’? Or the number Instagram posts with someone promoting their newfound favourite brand of sunglasses that are a ‘must’ yet which you hadn’t even heard of until now?

The advertising industry is in the middle of a major shift.

Social media is radically reinventing the aging business of PR and nowadays, we only have to scroll before coming across an advertisement on social media and whether you realize it or not, you are being influenced.

With a focus on putting the public back in Public Relations, the advertising industry is championing the new, growing business of ‘influencer marketing’. Capitalizing on social media’s reach, influencer marketing focuses on the strategy of paying an ‘internet celebrity’ to promote products in their accounts to their followers.

So, you’re maybe asking what exactly is an influencer? To put it simply: an influencer is someone who has accumulated a substantial number of followers on social media. Therefore, an influencer’s established and reputable personal brand is the perfect platform for brands to promote their message in exchange for financial reward or exposure.

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Think of it like this, how often have you ever visited a restaurant, booked a holiday or bought that latest lippy because somewhere on your feed someone has filtered a picture nicely and added a discount link beneath? Well, if that’s the case then you have indeed been influenced.

With 49% of consumers seeking purchase guidance from social media influencers and a further 40% media users making a purchase as a direct result of a promotional post, digital PR presents a conspicuous opportunity for brands to utilise the power of word-of-mouth at scale through personalities that consumers already follow and admire. Why is this? Because as followers we trust recommendations from and identify with who we choose to follow.

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Adrien Koskas, general manager for the U.K. for L’Oréal Paris, stated influencers are a hugely important part of their creative process. Using a team to track them and annual contracts, L’Oréal Paris has 23 influencers for its’ True Match product.

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There are four key reasons this shift in PR is shaking up the industry – it is cost effective with marketers who implemented an influencer marketing campaign earning an average of six times what they spent on paid media; high ROI – 81% of marketers’ state that influencer marketing is extremely effective; gaining customers trust – 92% of consumers trust recommendations from personal connections; has mass popularity – 74% of all marketers’ plan to use digital PR this year.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising”.

– Mark Zuckerberg –

 

Amy Greer is a second year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram: @amyagreer & LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/amygreerrr

5 Places You Need To Know About

DISCLAIMER: if you don’t like coffee or people who take pictures of their food then you’re probably going to want to click off this.


In this new ‘café culture’ there are a select class of caffeinators and connoisseurs who have the beans to categorize themselves as a coffee/food snob, and let me tell you that there is no snob more outrageously self-righteous than these.

Personally, I am convinced that coffee doesn’t taste any better if you brew it in a ‘GCSE science-looking’ contraption. This is something coffee-snobs may want to disagree with but for me, it’s not autumn until you’ve walked through the vividly coloured, leaf-scattered Botanic Avenue on an October afternoon with a pumpkin spice latte in your hand. #basicwhitegirl

If you follow me on social media, you will know how much of a pain I am when it comes to food and coffee pictures. In my opinion Mondays are for coffee and two coffees a day does indeed keep the grumpy away – but within reason, because if it’s after 4pm I won’t sleep.

Let me ask you a question – are you even really a student if the majority of your loan isn’t spent on needless brunch stops (or McDonalds) as well as those three coffees you really didn’t need between getting to and during that 9am lecture? If your answer to that is no then you’ve probably ignored my disclaimer and kept reading, which was at your own discretion.

So, whether you are a student looking for somewhere to kill a few hours between classes, a full-time bruncher or coffee enthusiast here’s my top 5 places all you caffeinators and foodies need to know about if you’re wanting inspiration for somewhere new to try:

(NOTE: most of the pictures featured are of coffee, mainly because I’m too impatient to take pictures of food before I start eating it, sorry not sorry).

 

5A Lockview Road

@5Acafe

Situated on the doorstep of Stranmillis University, 5A takes a wholehearted approach to brunching despite their tiny yet charming premises. With exceptional attention to detail, particularly allergies, and quality food for a reasonable price – 5A is a must if you haven’t yet been. Not only is their coffee consistently delicious but paired with a warm ‘Californian’ sandwich, peanut butter ball to follow, or 2, (seriously, if you haven’t tried one of these yet you haven’t lived) and cozy atmosphere: your Sunday afternoons are well and truly sorted.

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Established Coffee

@establishedcoffee

Situated in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, and therefore being just around the corner from the UUB Campus (my poor little bank card is thankful I’m not here for classes yet), Established Coffee is a bright and spacious coffee shop, with productive space for work or relaxing and an incredibly chilled atmosphere. This ‘city centre trendsetter’ offers an exceptional variety of coffee brews, including Farami from Costa Rica and Bulega from Ethiopia. Check this out -they also serve iced lattes and Americanos without looking at you like you’ve totally lost it! With poached eggs, avo toast (again, #basicwhitegirl) and a weekly Sunday pie to die for, this is the perfect spot for catch-ups, people-watching (we all do it) and coffee’s to-go if you’re out and about in the centre of Belfast.

 

General Merchants 361

@generalmerchants361

 Co-owned with 5A, the Australia-inspired General Merchants 361 boasts similar qualities only on a larger scale and with a secondary reputation as a luncher, General Merchants really know how to do it. One Monday morning over summer, as a devoted ‘I’ll start eating clean next week’ kind-of-girl, I opted to switch my typical ‘Melbourne Breakfast’ for a ‘Bircher muesli bowl’ and I haven’t gone back since – hands down the tastiest muesli bowl I have ever had. Their food menu, coffee and vibrant ambience all go hand-in-hand to create an authentic experience with a unique vibe and though I’ve never been to Australia, it makes you feel as though Belfast is right on the edge of the Tasman Sea.

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Kaffe O

@kaffeo

Inspired by Nordic coffee, Kaffe O was a new find for me and has quickly become a favourite. Their unique beans, from Ethiopia, Guatemala and Costa Rica, are roasted and shipped from the Danish capital to our very own little Belfast – delicately combined to create the perfect flat white. If you’re looking for a minimalistic place to get work done or simply to just hide from the rain, here is perfect.

NOTE: their brownies are fab-u-lous, but if you live nearby this may prove dangerous.

 

Guilt Trip Coffee and Donuts

@guilttripcoffee

After seeing the most aesthetically-pleasing pictures of Guilt Trip Coffee and Donuts on a daily basis all over my Instagram feed, I decided to give it a try because despite not being a huge fan of donuts, at least it would make a good picture. After hemming and hawing over what flavour to try, I eventually decided to have a blueberry and peanut butter donut (because that counts as one of your five a day, right?) and boy was I thankful I had ordered a whole one for myself. With their aim being to ‘sell the best donuts in town’ they certainly have my vote. These were the first donuts I’ve ever eaten that weren’t sickeningly sweet and actually tasted how they claimed – peanut butter heaven, perfectly combined with a flat white. If you are planning on visiting I highly recommend going early to get the best selection of donuts!

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NOTE: After seeing these pictures you’re maybe thinking “I bet she doesn’t drink cortados” but as an avid flat white sipper I thought a cortado was a type of instrument until a few months ago (although, if you are a cortados drinker then check out 5A – apparently the best in town).

 

Amy Greer is a second year BSc CAM student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram: @amyagreer & LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/amygreerrr