Social media and public relations might seem like an odd pair upon first inspection. One is a new strategy, just over a decade old, while the other spans decades, even centuries. Can public relations and social media really work together to bolster your business? Most definitely!
In this post, we’ll discuss…
- How social media can help with public relations.
- How to prepare your social media profile to use for public relations.
- How to combine public relations and social media into one seamless strategy.
How Social Media Can Help with Public Relations
When you really get down to it, these two strategies have a lot in common. Social media is a wonderful tool to spread information about your brand, which leads to brand awareness and builds toward a solid reputation. This aligns almost perfectly with the textbook definition of PR.
In some ways, social media is tailor-made for public relations. Traditionally, PR has spread information through media outlets such as newspapers, trade publications, and television. But in some ways this gave an unfair advantage to larger companies. If you were a new or small business, this process could be long and drawn out.
Traditional media outlets still have a valuable place in public relations. But social media makes it possible for any business to publish their news, and gives them the ability to reach a larger audience.
Social media puts you in the driver’s seat of your public relations strategy. Gone are the days of waiting and hoping that you would featured in the media. With social media, you can share everything from product launches, to company news, to the release of ebooks and case studies, all from your social media account. You can even pay to promote your campaigns to reach new audiences, with precision capabilities.
Before we get into what public relations tactics work well with social media, let’s look at a few ways you can make your social media presence itself more appealing to your audience
How to Make Your Social Media Profile Into a Public Relations Magnet
Fill Out Your Profile
Whether you’re on LinkedIn or Facebook, a profile is essential to your social media strategy. Create a professional bio that puts your best foot forward and tells your audience they’ve found the right place.
From your profile picture to cover images, social media is all about the visuals. Make sure you have crisp, clear images that represent your business and personal brand well.
In other words, be consistent. This is an essential part of social media. When your audience follows you, they want to see regular, engaging content from you. A consistent presence will keep you and your brand top of mind.
Now that you’ve established a good foundation with your social media profile, let’s look at a few ways social media can take public relations strategies to a new level.
10 Social Media and Public Relations Tactics That Actually Work
1. Vary Your Strategy for Each Channel
Choose what social media channels best fit your brand — remember, not every social media channel is going to be effective. For example, many B2B companies find that LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are the most effective ways to reach their audience.
While all of your channels should be consistent, using the same profile pictures and same basic content, you will want to vary it based on the merits of each network — Facebook is great for live videos, Instagram for visuals, LinkedIn for groups and thought leadership. Play on the strengths of each network to get the most out of each.
2. Cross Promote Your Social Media Channels
Your social media channels should not be mutually exclusive. Consider using one of your channels to promote another.
For example, if you are planning a Facebook Live video (perhaps promoting a product or interviewing an industry expert), promote it on Linkedin or Twitter with a friendly message, “We’re excited to announce we’ll be live over on our Facebook page this Friday at 5:00 pm, interviewing noted expert, [XYZ]. Feel free to come on over!”
3. Create Customer-Centric Messages
Social media audiences have little to no patience for salesy, self-promotional content. But this raises a good question: how can you engage your audience while still lifting brand awareness?
Most of what you do on social media should be centered around customer needs. Share content that answers customer questions or helps them to improve their business. Promote contests, giveaways, and discount codes that will benefit your audience. Then when you occasionally share self-promotional content, such as company news and product launches, followers will be more likely to pay attention.
4. Build Relationships with Journalists
Journalists often take an active role on social media, so this can be a great way to reach out and build relationships with them.
Get the attention of journalists within your industry by following, commenting, and sharing their content. They will often take note of such engagement.
After a while, once you’ve established a rapport, you might reach out, perhaps with a news item that falls within their beat. You can also use social media to research the kinds of stories they write and post on social media, which you can use to make your pitch more personal.
5. Promote Your Press Releases
While social media does not replace your press release strategy, it can be a nice way to augment it.
There are a number of ways to use social media to promote your press release. For example, include click to tweet links within your release or share a preview of your release across your social media channels. Share video or images from your release to social media to engage people.
6. Share Press Mentions
Once you get a press mention, extend its reach by sharing the mention across your social media channels. When you do, include a mention of the journalist who wrote the article, the name of the publication that it was printed in, and a link to the article itself. For example, say something like, “Excited to be featured in @XYZpublication. @journalistname did an amazing job on it. Check it out here: xyzarticle.com!”
Sharing press mentions like this is a great way to boost brand awareness and prove your expertise. Plus, mentioning the journalist and publication promotes a positive future relationship with both.
7. Find Trending and Relevant Topics
Public relations often hinges on finding the right topic. Whether you’re creating appealing content for your audience or would like to tie your PR campaign to a trending topic, social media can help. Look at what topics get the most likes and shares on social media. Search common industry hashtags and follow other industry leaders to see what is popular.
8. Become a Thought Leader
A thought leader is an expert in a field, someone looked to for industry advice and trends. Social media is a natural platform for thought leadership.
There are several ways you can use social media to advance your thought leadership. Comment on other posts or within groups (such as on LinkedIn) with expert advice and tips. Showcase your knowledge by sharing content you’ve created, especially content that features industry trends and pro advice.
9. Amplify Content
Social media’s great benefit is its reach — just imagine, social media networks like Facebook have over 2 billion active monthly users! And targeting tools on social networks give you the ability to reach people that fit your audience personas.
Don’t forget about paid promotion.
When you have a piece of content or exciting company news that you think would generate interest, consider paying to promote it.
10. Generate Traffic to Your Website
Any press mention or content that you share with your audience should also include a link back to your website. Whether it’s a link to a product page or to your blog, this promotes your website as the central hub of your public relations strategy.
When you combine social media and PR tactics, you open up your brand to new, exciting opportunities.
Let us know in the comments below what social media public relations tactics you have used to promote your brand.
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