When you think of social media, you think of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. But do you think of public relations? Most will reply no, but in fact public relations and a social media strategy go hand-in-hand. More than ever before, social is becoming a broader distribution strategy for controlled content and consumer-produced content.
The goal of an effective public relations strategy is to leverage a controlled message to advance awareness, shift perception and motivate behaviors. Gone are the days of only pushing out a statement earned and paid platforms, including on air, in print or paid advertising. Now, companies and organizations have the opportunity to better control their message by releasing news themselves as a part of a social media distribution strategy. By doing so, you can choose what you say, how you distribute the message and who sees it. You can also build your expanded network with influencers to amass a broader influencer distribution network.
If a social media strategy hasn’t been integrated into your PR work yet, it’s something you should take more seriously to achieve greater outcomes.
Why is Social Important in PR?
In the PR world, the media’s representation of a story can significantly impact the public opinion of a specific organization, product or person.
Using social platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, you are circumventing the potential of misinterpreted information by a third-party and making your message in your own voice directly accessible by audiences. This becomes a more direct route with communication to a specific target audience. If you sponsor or boost a post by putting an advertising spend behind it, you can choose exactly what that audience looks like by defining geographic regions, ages and more. It has never been easier to reach defined audiences. If you’re worried you might not reach enough people, check out these tips.
Roughly, two-thirds of American adults gain their news through social media outlets. Social media can no longer be ignored, and media outlets know it. Even if you do work with a media outlet, that outlet will likely share your story on a social media platform that you can then share from your company page and react to comments and engagements to manage your reputation.
Social Media Platforms
Even though there are more than a hundred of different social platforms, the ones we most often encourage clients to consider are blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Depending on your organization or company’s goals and audiences, you may also consider LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.
87% of communications are visual.
It’s true a picture is worth a thousand words. When you add compelling visuals and videos to your post, you’re likely to get more audience engagement and an increased reach. Audiences also respond well to captivating short stories and links.
Here is an example of how to leverage live feeds to self-distribute a press event. For Rock Commercial Real Estate, we created a Facebook Live feed to distribute news about various updates on their own pages, and invited community influencers so we can broadcast across their networks as well to broaden the announcement’s reach.
Social media platforms make it easy to update the public on:
- Business news
- Job opportunities
- New projects
- Client products
Keep in mind: Social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter, can also play a key role in updating your audience when a crisis or emergency occurs. Again, you can control the message, and communicate with your audience in real time, affirming your brand’s position as the go-to for the facts.
Think carefully about your goals, audiences, messages and creative direction. Then choose the platforms that makes the most sense for you. Sometimes one message may not be suited for all platforms. At Gavin, we often conduct A/B testing to determine the visuals and messages that will get the best response from each platform.
React Swiftly to Negative Press
Communications used to be a one-way street. Companies would release content to media outlets with little opportunities for the public to respond to the content in real time. Now, social media is one of the first places people look for to react to a brand.
Having social platforms as a part of your public relations strategy will make it easier to respond to negative press or comments in real time. This forces your company to resolve issues speedily and, hopefully, avoid a PR crisis. Additionally, these interactions allow you to again, control your message in your responses, to improve your reputation.
Interlinking is Key
When combining your public relations and social media strategy, it is key to generate buzz across platforms.
Let’s say you created a blog. Promote your posts by sharing them on your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. This will drive your audience back to your website with the possibility that they may check out additional services or products you have to offer on your site.
Social media is here to stay and will keep evolving. As PR professionals, it is important we learn how to use the platforms in our advantage.
Are you ready to have social media be a part of your public relations strategy? We can lend a hand in creating a strategy to generate buzz for your company or organization.