Public relations is a game where the goal is to make the right impression. It’s all about creating and maintaining a favorable public image.
Successful public relations requires a strategic approach that extends to all communication channels. Only then it is possible to keep your brand image consistent, prove and maintain its credibility, and appear authentic to your customers and partners.
Social media is a great channel where public relations can help you build and maintain your brand image. But how can you take advantage of social media and use it to power up your PR efforts?
Here are some great ways to leverage social media for public relations purposes.
Use Social Media to Post Your Press Releases
Let’s start with some basics.
The first thing that should come to your mind if you’re thinking about untapping the potential of online PR is posting your press releases on your website and in various social media outlets.
It’s only natural nowadays to combine these two worlds.
Normally, press releases are distributed directly to relevant media outlets. Then, depending on your relationship with individual journalists or editors, some of your stories might end up getting published.
When this happens, the final message is out of your immediate control.
You’re never sure how a specific journalist will interfere with it or put your point into his or her words. And don’t just rely on the way journalists prefer to express your message.
Extend the lifespan of your press releases by publishing them on your website and sharing them via social media.
Social media allows you to reach your target audience with the right message and share your news in the exact way you want to.
This is your own space, after all. You’re in charge of every word.
Here’s how to make your on-site press releases social media-friendly:
- Include social media sharing buttons (like floating social share bars).
- Create short (140 characters), simple and tweetable sentences.
- Optimize your images for your preferred social media networks.
- Include unique visuals that embrace essential information.
- When sharing your message in social media, you might want to use the tag #pressrelease.
Use Social Media for Crisis Management
Times of crises is a delicate matter for any company and certainly a challenge for any PR manager.
That’s why you should be managing your reputation gently. When a crisis hits your organization, no matter how bad the press gets, you can always use official press releases to make statements and issue relevant announcements.
You should also use social media channels to strengthen your message and steer attention towards what you have to say about the issue. Social media is your opportunity to clarify the problem, deny allegations, and reveal the real background or course of events in no time.
And as we have learned from many crises, any delay in your reaction will work against you.
In this case, it’s best to have a crisis management plan ready to make sure your team, including social media managers and customer service team members, understands the nature of the problem.
Such a plan is meant to put everyone involved on the same page and prepare them to refute the potential accusations.
Even a seasoned company can make PR blunders, so take it seriously. Let’s use the example of Adidas’s Boston marathon email from the 17th of April 2017, and how they managed that crisis efficiently with the use of social media.
— Korkz (@tweetKory) April 18, 2017
Adidas made a terrible mistake by sending out an email to the Boston Marathon participants congratulating people on living through the athletic event.
This was just four years after two bombs placed near the Marathon’s finish line killed three people and wounded hundreds.
The backlash was quick, and Maria Culp, Senior Communication Manager at Adidas, immediately published a public apology:
“We are incredibly sorry. There was no thought given to the insensitive email subject line we sent Tuesday. We deeply apologize for our mistake.”
— adidas (@adidasUS) April 18, 2017
The sportswear company’s quick, heartfelt apology on Twitter was the right move and it protected them from bad press, turning into a negative five-day-long story.
This example proves that the best approach is a genuine apology from the company.
Use Social Media to Interact with Journalists
Your social media channels make it easy to care about media relations and influencers. You don’t need to bug journalists over email anymore or be that pain in the neck who’s always asking for a response.
Since handling social media isn’t as time-consuming as writing emails, it’s an excellent way to interact with your strategic platforms and favorite journalists. Twitter and Instagram are particularly great for this.
Likes, retweets, and comments are the perfect way to tighten up and sweeten the bond between you and media reps. Over time, you might even create a give-and-take relationship that will put you in a special position in terms of your social reach and engagement.
Use common sense when playing this game, though, and stick to your primary strategy. Bear in mind that journalists are people too ;).
They will see your business intentions if you overdo it, and then you’ll start annoying them. It’ll generate the opposite effect of what you intended in the first place.
That’s why you have to make this interaction friendly, natural, and sincere. Don’t make it too intense; fawning adoration isn’t going to help you either.
Instead of cold-pitching a journalist, get to know their interests, their work, and where they write. Act just like you would with a customer—build a relationship of trust before you launch a new product.
Social media channels are fun and easy to use, so don’t hold yourself back from employing them in your public relations strategy. Once you try them out, you’ll quickly understand the awesomeness and simplicity these channels bring to the world of online communication.
BTW: Try Sotrender and see how it can help you stay on top of your social media game.
How did you like this article? Are there any other ways to use social media for PR that have not been mentioned in this article?
Feel free to share them with me in the comments section below.
Happy marketing! :)