Since the emergence of social media, it has brought significant change to traditional Public Relations practices and became an essential tool for creating a two-way communication between organizations and their audiences. It is no longer enough to simply send out a press release and wait for coverage from journalists. Content needs to be monitored in real-time and created on a regular basis to garner new relationships and preserve brand reputation. In today's world of media relations, using social media to enhance and support your PR work is essential, and it is crucial for any organization seeking growth.
How does social media marketing overlap with PR?
According to the 2018 Global Communications Report, 90% of PR agency professionals and 82% of in-house PR practitioners predict PR will become more integrated with marketing over the next five years. It is safe to say that we are seeing this happening today! Different areas of marketing have already merged and intertwined with PR and social media is without doubt one of them. Since both roles are used to build and maintain trust in an organization or company and its products, it goes without saying the two achieve a synergy that translates into campaigns, content, and much more.
For example, during a PR outreach involving a product launch, an event, or a new service offering, social media plays an important role promoting and publishing real time content to be picked up by bloggers, influencers, and journalists. This maximizes your news coverage to reach a larger target audience to amplify awareness and generate new leads. Eventually, this feeds into the marketing department where they begin to build brand loyalty and convert leads into customers with content material such as email campaigns, social networks, newsletters, personalized Calls To Action, and automated workflows.
How to leverage social media to aid your PR efforts?
Build meaningful relationships with journalists and stakeholders. Gone with the days of cold calling and emails. Start by creating a list of press contacts to follow on social media within your industry that might be interested in your company. Then start engaging with their social posts and @-mentioning them in yours. Over time, you’ll add value by answering the questions that they tweet or post and provide them with resources. This is the beginning of a relationship formed authentically through a meaningful exchange.
Incorporate social sharing. An easy and effective way to enhance your PR efforts is by adding social sharing capabilities to your content and press releases. This encourages your readers to share your message and earn more reach. Also, including embedded social media links throughout your content encourages more social sharing and reader engagement.
Tease your launch. Reconsider press releases by using social media to tease and support your announcements in creative ways. Why not use more visual mediums such as videos, GIFs, infographics, and original images to every social media post? Create some buzz before the official press announcement, such as live broadcasts to show sneak peeks, pre-sales, and exclusive access to your launch. It gets the conversation whirling and people will take notice.
Utilize data analytics. Social media analytics are useful in PR because data can be used to inform future campaigns and improve upon current ones. Most platforms come with their own analytics, like Facebook Analytics and Twitter Analytics, to monitor your progress and measure multiple performance variables. You can conduct a social media sentiment analysis to track online mentions in real time to identify potential PR crises. This allows you to take immediate action and resolve matters before it flares up further.
Broadcast the hype. What are people saying about your company/organization, products or services? Share positive mentions and highlights with your followers. These are free testimonials of how much people are enjoying your product and services, which could create solid press coverage!
Ensure your social posts have a balance between promotional material and valuable material such as educational posts, case studies, and infographics, all of which are helpful for journalists to package you content. Make sure your promotional posts stand out as it should make up only a quarter of your content distribution on social media, amongst your posts engaging with journalists, customers, and fans of your organization.