Are you using the Internet and social media to the fullest? In an article entitled “How Savvy Marketers Are Using Social PR in Their Online Strategies” by Laura Hampton, she says that savvy marketers are investing in social media for PR (or social PR) as an essential part of their efforts to build brand identity and credibility online.
The same techniques also contribute to improving the perceived authority of their website, resulting in more website traffic and higher rankings in the search results pages. Even smaller businesses that might not have capacity for full-time PR employees can benefit from social PR.
Here are 6 tips to help you craft and implement a successful social media strategy for PR:
1) Recognize the stories that are newsworthy within your business
I like to use the term brand stories with my clients. By this, I mean the key narratives that the business wants to promote. PR is all about promoting stories within the business. So, you need to be able to spot those opportunities. Be alert to things happening within your business that communicate your brand stories. Consider what constitutes news in your business and how this communicates your brand stories. Work with a PR agency that can assist you with this process, one that truly understands your business and how to differentiate it in the marketplace.
2) Craft news stories that appeal to your target audience
The next step is to craft those stories into a format, which appeals to your target audience. This might be a press release, written in the traditional style whereby important information is included early and further detail is added as the release goes on.
In social PR, though, you needn’t feel restricted to this one traditional method of story promotion. Because we’re sharing content online, we have far more opportunities to display that content in new and more interesting ways. You might, for example, choose to display statistical information in the form of an infographic—this is a great technique for bringing potentially bland information to life.
Or why not create a video? Whether you do something professional or even animated, or simply film something on a tablet or mobile phone, video content can be a great supplement to a standard press release or email.
3) Use Twitter to seek out new promotional opportunities—and work with an expert to filter through the noise
Twitter is really popular with journalists. Consider how busy they are and how limited their time to find news stories, and you’ll understand why. The constant stream of bite-sized news stories can be a hotbed of content and inspiration for them.
And you can capitalize on this. Savvy marketers are using Twitter to identify new PR opportunities in two main ways: 1. When you find journalists on Twitter, you can start to build relationships with them by following what they have to say and tweeting to them directly to pitch your news stories. 2. You can also respond to journalist requests, which they post using hashtags such as #journorequest and #prrequest.
Of course, it can be challenging to sort through all of the content on Twitter. The news feed is constantly updating and, especially if you have limited time, it can be difficult to find the tweets that matter and therefore make the most of the opportunities therein.
That’s where working with a firm that truly understands how to effectively use social listening comes into play. With a few key tactics, they can help you sort through the noise on Twitter and efficiently identify those PR opportunities that are right for your business.
4) Have your PR firm set up custom search streams
You can start filtering Twitter’s content for PR opportunities with a custom search stream, where you state what you want to stream to search for and therefore the tweets you want it to deliver, like this:
“#journorequest” OR “#prrequest”
The search above will deliver all tweets, which include the common journalist hashtags I mentioned earlier, thus delivering a stream of journalist requests to which you can respond.
Further to this, you can refine the search above to make it more relevant to you and your business. For example: “#journorequest” OR “#prrequest” AND “mortgage” AND “lending” You could also do it by location, e.g: “#journorequest” OR “#prrequest” AND “California”
So this would deliver tweets where journalists are seeking information and mentioning California within their request—great for business’s that are California based.
There are also opportunities beyond the common journalist hashtags. Try searching for mentions of your product in your local area and create a stream to deliver you just those tweets, e.g: “LOS” AND “POS”
This can result in earned media placements…
5) Look for earned media opportunities
Earned media refers to those opportunities, which you make for yourself through your activities. This can include press mentions, interview opportunities, and article placements in industry leading publications. The key is to work with a firm that already has those media connections to maximize your media exposure.
In addition, your company can leverage social media to gain exposure. You can use twitter to extend the shelf life a of a recent article of yours that was just published, hashtag a popular MBA session that you are attending, you can use LinkedIn to schedule meetings at the MBA Annual or announce that one of your executives is speaking on an industry panel. Include photos in your posts to humanize your company, post video discussions from the event to YouTube, these are just a few ways that you can maximize your exposure.
The key is working with the right firm that can cost effectively help you maximize these opportunities.
Of course, success in earned media comes from a detailed understanding of the target audience. In your business, think about how you can appeal to the specific needs and desires of your target audience, and then get creative in the way you meet those needs online.
6) Promote your own content through self-publication
Promotion of your content doesn’t need to solely come from external sources. In fact, it’s arguably just as important to make sure your brand stories are communicated on your own channels—including your website and social media.
Businesses shouldn’t be afraid to promote their own content, and many are incorporating media centers or content hubs into their own websites as a home for that content. Publish your own press releases and make them available to those people who might come across them, and over time, you may find your media center becomes a regular content source for journalists relevant to your business.
It’s also important to be able to, strategically, promote your own content through your social channels. This means avoiding becoming a broadcaster—those businesses that only push their own content—and instead using your content to contribute to a wider conversation. On Twitter, Hootsuite can be useful in this by setting up search streams for your product or service, or looking out for retweets of your content. Across other channels like LinkedIn and Facebook, it means just being aware and present in order to recognize what your target audience is interested in.
Social PR can be an extremely involved process, and there are professionals and agencies that dedicate all of their time to making the most of the extensive opportunities therein. But no matter the size of your business, there are opportunities for you too.
About The Author
Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.