January 6, 2020
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.
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 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.
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 – 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.
Interested in our social media pr services? Reach out to our PR team today & let’s chat.