Social media aims at maintaining an excellent brand reputation. According to Statista, the social media industry is expected to grow to 4.41 billion users in 2025.
Statistics by Datareportal reveal that an average social media user spends about 2.5 hours of his day on social media networks. Imagine the amount of content being consumed and the level of exposure brands receive on social media!
Therefore, leveraging this rapidly-growing and popular platform to strengthen your brand image is essential.
Social media and PR go hand in hand. PR has evolved to be bigger than traditional press releases, newspapers, television and radio, magazines, etc. Let us understand how social media plays an important role in PR.
Why Is social media a powerful PR tool?
In today’s digital world, the success of any business is determined by its ability to adopt and adapt to new technologies. In other words, a firm’s digital transformation strategy largely determines its future.
Without a doubt, social media marketing is a huge aspect of digital transformation. According to a study by Business Wire, 84% of B2B buying decisions are largely impacted by social media. No wonder, the advent of social media has opened up new horizons for PR.
All the major business stakeholders, namely customers, industry experts, business owners, shareholders, and investors active on social media. Here’s how social media makes a powerful PR tool.
- Social media allows businesses to reach out to a larger audience.
- Businesses can share their message across social media in a conversational tone. This provides a personal touch to your content and builds an amicable relationship with your audience.
- Social media allows real-time messaging and content sharing. This helps businesses spread their message faster across geographies. It also provides a medium to engage with the audience.
- Businesses can measure the performance of their activities on social media via real-time analytics.
Let us have a look at the top five ways you can leverage social media for your PR strategy.
#1. Identify your audience and develop a unique brand voice
Knowing your audience plays a major role in determining the success of your efforts. It would be futile to create content and promote it to an audience that does not resonate with your brand. Therefore, market research is mandatory.
Research your target demographics. Learn more about the topics that your target audience would be interested in. Understand their likes and dislikes to generate content that would be useful to them.
Focus on creating an emotional connection with the audience. According to research at Fractl, strong emotional hooks played a definitive role in their content marketing campaigns.
Always remember the right content acts as a catalyst to brand success. It helps establish a unique brand voice. You can publish educational, conversational, inspirational, and promotional content to foster connections with your audiences.
5W, the winner of the PR News Agency Elite Award, manages PR for L’Oreal Professional, a well-known beauty brand. They focus on building powerful media strategies to raise awareness of the clients’ brands via content creation, design, and marketing.
5W understands the requirements of beauty consumers and develops fresh content strategies for social media, influencer marketing as well as other campaigns.
The OSCARS campaign is something that we cannot miss. 5W partnered with a leading celebrity makeup artist to promote a beauty brand named Arbonne. They implemented various strategies for broadcast coverage, celebrity buzz, social media content, and media interviews to create news about Arbonne.
#2. Have your leaders publish content on LinkedIn and Twitter
LinkedIn is one of the best professional networks with a user base of about 810M members globally. Due to its reputation as a business-focused platform, most PR teams do not prioritize leveraging LinkedIn for PR. They fail to understand the potential of LinkedIn for branding and PR.
To succeed at using LinkedIn for PR, make sure you are active on LinkedIn and share content to engage your audience. A consistent online presence on this channel is key. Secondly, connect with industry leaders and influencers and strike up meaningful conversations with them.
Listen to what your audience has to say and respond to their questions and concerns. Join top LinkedIn groups in your niche to connect with like-minded individuals and share industry insights, research studies, posts, and articles on recent trends and topics. This will help you foster better relationships, grow your network, and build a community.
Share informative posts such as engaging blogs, new feature/product announcements, case studies, or other business updates on your LinkedIn page. Ensure you make your posts visually appealing with images, videos, or presentations. Acknowledge and respond to every comment you receive on your posts.
Prasad Ramakrishnan, CIO at Freshworks, makes it a point to share the news about virtual summits that are organized by Freshworks.
Similarly, Twitter is also another platform that can be leveraged for PR.
AddThis, a content sharing tool, leverages Twitter to educate its users as well as promote its product. Most of their tweets are supported by an image and hashtags which certainly draws your attention to their tweets.
#3. Partner with relevant influencers
Recommendations are one of the best word-of-mouth strategies you can follow to build your brand. It is an effective method of promoting your products and services.
Connect with the industry influencers for endorsements and recommendations. You could give away some freebies like discount coupons or free subscriptions in exchange for a review. You could also opt-in for paid promotions if you have the relevant budget for the same.
Here are the advantages of pairing with influencers.
- Increases awareness about your brand and helps you reach out to a larger audience
- Helps you build credibility and trust
- Provides your audience with valuable content
- Drives sales and helps your buyers make thoughtful decisions
- Opens you up to a wider market and supports effective lead generation
Netgalley is a book organization that helps authors build a buzz about their books via review programs. It is a perfect example of influencer marketing. The book bloggers read and recommend books via Netgalley while the author gets the desired promotional coverage for his books.
#4. Engage with journalists and other media professionals
Journalists have the knack for identifying real news amidst a sea of articles. Their drive to explore can help you spread a word about your products and services to a large audience. They know exactly what it takes to make a certain piece of content shine and garner all the attention.
Building professional relationships with journalists will certainly help you pitch your work to them for expanded coverage. Before you pitch your content –
- Research about the journalists and check if they cover stories like yours
- Keep your pitch concise.
- Attach your research, data insights, press kits, image assets, and other supporting materials to your email.
- Follow up with them at regular intervals
Guest blogging is another method to reach a wider audience and gain exposure for your brand. Look for top industry websites and forums to contribute your content. The credibility of the blog will benefit your brand in more ways than one. In addition to keeping your audiences informed, it will also boost your brand mentions.
#5. Create a crisis management plan
A crisis can happen at any time. If you are not prepared to handle a crisis, a lot of bad things could happen. Your brand image can suffer. You could lose customers and your sales could go down. It is always a good idea to keep a crisis management plan ready.
Leverage social media to monitor online information and understand what your customers are talking about your brand. Try to learn what they think about your brand and make efforts to help them with their questions. Always remember to share the desired message with your audience in the case of any crisis.
You can make use of tools like Hootsuite, Mention, or Talkwalker to implement a social listening strategy.
You should always have an emergency response team trained to handle crises. You can have department heads, senior managers, PR representatives, and marketing executives be a part of this team.
- Create a crisis management checklist for the team. Ensure all the documentation, contact details, etc. are made available to the team to respond to a crisis
- Monitor and assess the impact of the crisis and communicate the same to all stakeholders
- Plan and arrange medical, financial as well as emotional support services
- Review and revise your crisis management plan according to your learnings and update the team about the same.
Social media can go a long way in creating a buzz for your brand. Follow the above-mentioned tactics and leverage social media to work out the best for your PR.