There’s no doubt that social media plays a large role in individuals’ lives – as we scroll through our favorite social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, there is bound to be a new update, caption or headline that catches our eye. These platforms are a form of expression that allows us to showcase who we are through what we post and like. Whether we like it or not, social media is a permanent fixture, and we often don’t take the time to think about what its advent means for organizations and PR pros alike. Among a plethora of other influences, here are three ways social media is finding its place in the PR industry.
The News Never Ends
Scanning the news – it’s usually the first thing PR professionals do when they wake up and the last thing they do before they go to bed. There is a 24/7 news cycle, and it’s our job to keep up with the latest trending stories. Of course, the Internet made this possible, but the presence of the many social channels has added a completely new level. Twitter is especially popular, as it is easy to follow outlets on the platform and react with a simple like or retweet. However, not everything we see is credible. In an era of information overload from citizen journalists, PR pros can work to secure coverage in reputable publications or through paid media strategies to cut through the clutter and position clients in a positive light.
It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd with news notifications constantly hitting phone screens, but social media can actually be a good thing in this case. A 24-hour news cycle presents an exciting challenge to devise creative and out-of-the-box ways of leveraging the latest headlines to freshen a pitch to reporters. It also allows for a great opportunity to activate rapid response, offering a client’s thought leadership on impactful topics. These tactics are sure to increase engagement among reporters and PR people, and in turn between stories and news consumers.
Engagement Increases Tenfold
News consumers are just one type of stakeholder to an organization or brand, but they prove to be extremely influential. It seems like every day we come across someone complaining to a company’s Twitter account about a missed flight or an incorrectly packaged item. Though this can be damaging to a company’s reputation, it can also put them on notice and allow them to fix existing issues to keep customers happy – therefore avoiding future PR fires and lend itself to a solid reputation management strategy.
PR pros can also launch social media campaigns that encourage engaging content between brands and their target audience that will hopefully garner positive reactions and a snowball effect in increasing brand awareness, in which the campaign is shared with friends, and friends of friends. One example of this would be hashtag campaigns, such as hashtag activism. Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? 6.2K uses of #IceBucketChallenge not only helped raise awareness for those suffering with ALS, but also allowed the ALS Association to raise $115M. This just goes to show that the smallest of actions can create huge ripples.
Relationships Are Built
Relationships – these aren’t just the things that people look for on dating apps. Relationships serve as the very foundation of public relations. What is a PR pro without strong connections with journalists, clients and fellow colleagues? With social media, building relationships is easier than ever. A quick Tweet or direct message to a reporter (respecting their communication preferences, of course) could make the difference between an opened and unopened pitch and even strengthen your media relations amongst others. Social media also gives PR pros the chance to like, retweet and comment on reporters’ news that they find particularly relevant or interesting.
As we know, it’s not just all about pitching via social media – it is equally as important to communicate via email, phone and in person. However, a strong social media presence can be a helpful avenue for making inroads and establishing a relationship at a more casual level while remaining professional.
Social media has undoubtedly changed the face of public relations, and it is certainly not limited to the above examples. So, the next time you use social media, use it for good – there are countless ways to use it to your advantage and up your digital PR game.
Interested in our social media pr services? Reach out to our PR team today & let’s chat.
Social media has been good to PR. That said, you’ve got to understand each platform’s specific role in the industry if you’re going to land the pitch.
Social media is an integral part of our clients’ marketing strategies. We take into consideration influencers they should be mingling with, where their audience is hanging out online, and what kinds of digital hits we want to get. Not to mention, social media is how we strategize internally when it comes to building our own relationships, appealing to journalists and diving deep into industry research.
But strategy looked wildly different when I got my start in PR. Back when I started in the industry, social media was nowhere to be found. I went to school for journalism before Facebook was widespread. We learned how to write on typewriters when I was in high school. So trust me when I say social media has changed everything about this industry.
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