How to use Social Media for Public Relations
Social media has become a tool for nearly everything a business does. It can serve as a platform for advertising, marketing, sales, customer service, and more. But did you know social media arguably stands tallest when used for public relations? Here are five ways social media can be used to supercharge your PR efforts.
Follow and Be Friendly with Reporters
Positive public relations are built on personal relationships. Luckily, social media provides the perfect place to follow and interact with journalists. It’s a great idea for anyone with PR responsibilities to be active and available on social media. Follow local and industry reporters, like their content, and engage with their posts when they are discussing subjects relevant to your brand. Maintaining relationships with reporters is key to earning media attention for your business, so always be friendly and courteous.
Engage in Social Listening to Identify Issues
Your brand is talked about on social media. Just assume someone, somewhere is saying something about your business or products. Use social listening tools to identify conversations about your brand and engage when it makes sense. Bad reviews here and there don’t usually need responses, but egregious issues or complaints should be addressed. Social listening can also be used to insert your brand into conversations that aren’t necessarily about you. For instance, a brand that wants to be seen as green and environmentally-friendly may want to engage with a trending hashtag regarding the environment or recycling.
Manage Crisis Situations
Social media also provides a powerful method for responding to crisis situations. Of course, every business and PR team should have a crisis plan ready well before it is needed. Part of that plan should include social media. Through social media, brands can respond in ways that reach their target audiences directly, without being filtered through industry or local media. Be responsive and provide updates as quickly as you can. However, don’t move so quickly that you skip steps and make errors. Take your time and follow your plan. Credibility can be lost quickly with rushed typo-laden efforts or poorly worded statements. Strategic and honest efforts will help to reshape the conversation to be more favorable towards your brand.
Reinforce Brand Messaging
Marketing and advertising campaigns are pervasive on social media. They cannot be avoided, regardless of the platform. These campaigns work to sell products and services that have been targeted for us based on our social media use.
But, PR campaigns can be effective on social media too. Instead of selling products and services, PR campaigns promote a brand’s image; green friendly, made in the USA, or as a hospital with the best technology in the state. Use social media to spread the word about the brand’s image, not just its products. Target decision-makers and those in the industry to ensure that when your brand comes up in conversation, they will not only have heard of it, but they’ll have a positive and relevant reaction to it.
Social Media Supplements Public Relations
Social media cannot replace traditional PR efforts. But, it can be a powerful supplement to communications efforts. Use social media for PR in a smart and strategic way to engage reporters, target audiences, identify conversation about your brand or industry, manage crisis situations, and reinforce a brand’s image.
If you would like to learn more about how to use social media to enhance your PR efforts, send me an email anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.