Social media is a great tool for increasing awareness, fostering engagement and creating conversations with customers and prospects. It also is a fantastic tool for PR practitioners looking to turbocharge their efforts.
Here are three ways PR practitioners can use social media to gain an edge:
- Get to know audiences. A key component of any PR plan is audience identification. By understanding who the audience is and what their needs/concerns are, PR practitioners are better able to develop a messaging platform that addresses those needs and create a PR plan to capitalize on their company’s or clients’ strengths.
- Keep up with trends and issues. Social media channels, especially Twitter, provide fertile ground for conversations about issues and trends in various industries. By “listening” to conversations, PR practitioners can stay in front of issues and envision trends that can help position their company or clients as thought leaders.
- Engage with reporters. Increasingly, reporters are turning to social media channels to look for trends and to source articles. By following reporters, PR practitioners can get to know what a reporter is writing about, gain insight to the types of pitches that will be successful, respond promptly to reporter queries for sources and information, and build mutually beneficial relationships.
Some tips to listening in on and engaging in conversations:
- Set up Twitter feeds that search for industry terms. Review what’s being said and interpret the direction of the conversation to unearth trends. Use Google Analytics to determine the keywords that drive people to your website, and include those terms in your feed.
- Follow industry leaders, pundits and publications on Twitter to discover what they’re thinking and writing about.
- Participate in Twitter conversations. Post questions and ask for feedback to determine issues that are important to customers and media.
- Set up Twitter feeds to monitor reporters. Review what they are writing about and answer queries promptly. Provide help to reporters even if it doesn’t directly benefit your company or clients.
- Use Twitter to research reporters before contacting them directly. Review what they have already written and the topics they typically cover.
- Monitor your company’s Facebook presence and conversations to determine what’s on the minds of your customers and followers. You also can post questions to spur conversations and even to determine what kind of information your customers want and what publications they read.
- Set up Google Alerts to monitor the web for news about your company or client, competitors, key issues, industry happenings, etc.
- Use LinkedIn to participate in industry forums, connect with industry influencers, and share articles of interest.
Social media has impacted the way many companies do business. Short windows of opportunity have become even shorter However, understanding how to put social media to work in the PR environment can help practitioners deliver even better results. Social media gives practitioners another channel through which to gather knowledge, stay current, and create and nurture relationships with industry influencers.