Social Media and Public Relations (PR) often operate as separate functions within an organization. With different heads of departments, budgets, and objectives, it can lead to a lack of coordination and missed opportunities.
Both social media and PR are used to build and maintain trust in an organization and its products or services. It’s therefore only natural that PR teams should look to leverage social media as part of its PR strategy. Social media can offer PR a prime story-telling tool that can help build buzz and connect businesses directly with their target audience.
See our 7 tips below on how to leverage social media as part of your PR Strategy:
#1 Live-streaming to advance storytelling
PR’s role is to spark a conversation and share a story. Social media live-streaming is a great way to further enhance this story-telling ability, whilst captivating and attracting large audiences. It also gives organizations the opportunity to showcase the people behind the brand. This makes a direct emotional connection with the target audience.
With the development of live-streaming, there is an opportunity for strategic content marketing using earned media assets. Businesses can inexpensively and easily utilize these assets to broadcast live:
- Events, including press conferences, announcements, and launches
- Interactive tutorials and Q&As
- Interviews and discussions
- Behind-the-scenes to highlight company culture and the people behind the brand
#2 Influencers to increase your reach
Whilst journalists are still extremely important to PR, Influencers’ impact is something that can’t be ignored. By effectively including social media influencers as part of a PR strategy, organizations can increase customer awareness and engagement. They can also reach larger audiences and promote positive brand positioning in a cost-effective way. Influencers have the ability to capture attention by combining PR messaging with a relevant, creative and engaging storyline in a natural style.
Collaborate with influencers:
- As part of your outreach to traditional media – influencers can write features for brands to pitch to journalists as exclusive stories
- With branded blog posts – which have a longer lifespan and a much higher repost value. Posts can be re-used and updated with more relevant information to the existing post
- At offline events – includes inviting influencers to new product launches to help amplify your message and add even more creditability to your brand
- At virtual events – with influencer ‘take-overs’ of your social media
channels, bringing a new following to your content and the influencers’ influential opinion
*Here are some more examples of creative approaches for influencer marketing.
#3 Social media releases to gain control of your story
Social media is a great tool to manage communication between media and a brand, changing the conversation from a monologue to a dialogue. PR teams can react quickly to requests and gain control over their story as online press releases are easily updated.
In order to leverage social media press releases, PR teams should:
- Incorporate social sharing into press releases – allowing media outlets to distribute your message online in seconds
- Make your press releases social-friendly – optimize your images and videos and opt to write in short, simple sentences to encourage sharing, engagement and reach
#4 Monitoring and tracking via social listening
Social listening gives an understanding of the public’s opinion before it turns into a trending topic. By researching your brand, competitors, industry and conversations across major social channels, you can gain valuable insights and key buzz words. Based on these data and insights, brands are able to identify a unique PR messaging angle to capture their target audience’s attention.
PR teams can use social listening to:
- Create and leverage insightful PR messaging
- Create and leverage campaign hashtags
- Adjust the brand’s tone and manner
- Identify key stakeholder personas
#5 Immediately respond to negative media and issues
Social media is one of the first places the public looks for a brand’s reaction to a negative claim. In social media, word-of-mouth can travel fast. Therefore a brand’s social media pages can be used to craft and publish a quick response. It can also be used to direct the public to another medium for more information to aid brand reputation management. Additionally, follow-up coverage can be derived from the expressed statement.
PR teams can use their brand social media pages to:
- Make announcements and statements
- Deliver the brand’s position on social issues such as environment, human rights, gender equality, etc.
(Reference: Nike official Instagram)
#6 Boost SEO for press releases
By integrating SEO with your press releases, you can help a brand build up its SEO credibility over time. You can also get more media attention from your press releases. You can generate organic traffic to PR content from search engines by:
- Including your most critical keywords from social listening monitoring
- Sharing videos or images via social media platforms
- Using backlinking strategically: if your press release is announcing a new product line under the consumption trend, link to the social listening analysis page behind one of your keywords, rather than the home page website
#7 Bring your goals together to identify measurement
PR has traditionally struggled to measure its results and quantify its contribution to well-defined objectives. Measurement across social media and PR varies widely. Social media itself can be measured in three broad categories – audience growth, engagement and conversion. One of the principal indicators of the effectiveness of PR is the growth in the audience.
Use these dashboards to quantify your PR impact:
- Share of Voice by volume of coverage of pre-defined keywords and key messages
- Sentiment associated with those keywords – whether the mentions were positive, negative or neutral
- Segment audience associated with those keywords – to identify audience around search terms and categories to monitor brand circumstance