PR is not always as straightforward as it may seem, but it is undeniable that social media can play a critical role in your PR strategy. Hence, here’s everything you need to know about how you can use social media in public relations.
1. Prepare a crisis management plan
First and foremost, you need to have a concrete crisis management plan ready that you can then apply in real-time when needed. It’s true that social media can be extremely useful for PR. However, it can also cause a lot of harm to your public image in certain situations. This is exactly why you need to have a crisis management plan ready.
For instance, a negative experience a customer had with your business could quickly get spread online. This will create a negative image for your company. If you don’t address the matter, the situation can escalate quickly. In fact, you could even end up making the news depending on the severity of the accusations towards you. Instead of ignoring the matter, have a crisis management plan you can follow once the problem arises.
2. Be as consistent as possible
Consistency is essential to successful PR and social media marketing — and it comes in different forms. On one hand, you need to frequent your social media accounts regularly and publish new content consistently. On the other hand, you should also maintain consistency in your statements, claims, and opinions.
What this means is that you should project a consistent image of your brand and your message to your audience. Tell me what brand values do you have? Is there a kind of brand voice that you use? Keep these things in mind when posting something on social media as it will directly affect your image.
3. Become a part of the community
Social media is a world of its own, and to become a part of that world, you need to focus on community and be friendly and conversational. It’s not enough to post content regularly and hope that someone leaves a comment under it or shares it. You need to be the one to start the conversation and to keep it going.
Mary Callaghan, an expert from the top writer’s list, says “To build a sense of community around your brand, you need to start conversations with your audience. In your posts, ask questions to get your followers’ opinions. Likewise, visit other profiles and leave comments to engage with other users and brands. Instead of waiting for the audience to come to you, go to that audience instead.”
4. Allow social sharing for press releases
When it comes to integrating social media into your strategy without actually being on social media, it’s all about social sharing. Social sharing buttons on your website and blog can be the perfect way to stimulate audience engagement. You get more press coverage, increase brand awareness, and so much more.
Every time you publish a press release, there will be different people reading it. Some of them may want to share it with their own audience which is when social sharing buttons will be useful. You are probably already using them to some extent on your website, but if you aren’t, it’s the perfect time for you to enable them. If you can, use plugins that will make your press release look a certain (good) way when it is shared so that you don’t have to worry about your indirect audience getting the wrong impression about you.
5. Leverage hashtags extensively
Unarguably, hashtags are essential for social media marketing which is precisely why you need to leverage them extensively during your PR campaigns. Hashtags are perfect for spreading the word about your new product release. Or, a giveaway you are hosting, or an event you are sponsoring with your partners.
One of the best things about hashtags is that there are so many ways in which you can customize them. From industry-specific to branded to general hashtags, all these types used smartly and regularly will help you reach different segments of your audience in ways they will find most comfortable. In other words, by using different hashtags, you will be making your content visible specifically to the people interested in the said hashtags and topics.
6. Consider becoming a guest contributor
In some situations, it’s not enough to be actively seeking press coverage. Instead, you need to take your own steps to get people to write about you — or rather, write about yourself by yourself. Consider becoming a guest contributor and start writing pieces for publications in your niche (and perhaps even niches adjacent to it).
Griffin Hicks, an expert from the best writing service on the market, puts it this way, “Sometimes you need to come to media outlets before they start coming to you and asking for interviews. Start writing for reputable blogs and websites to let people know about your brand and about yourself as to its leader. Being a guest contributor can also help you establish yourself as an authority. It also shows your expertise in your respective field.”
7. Start live streaming regularly
Live content is gaining more and more traction every day. So, why not use the trend to promote your brand with its help? Here are just some platforms where you can live stream:
· YouTube: A YouTube channel can be useful for your overall video marketing strategy, but you can also choose to focus specifically on live video instead of just uploading pre-recorded videos.
· Twitch: By far the biggest platform for live streaming right now, Twitch has all the functionality you could wish for. That being said, keep in mind that some types of live streams do better there than others.
E.g. gaming is quite popular.
· Instagram: Hosting live streams on Instagram is ideal because it allows you to interact with your current audience while increasing engagement and possibly attracting new followers.
· Your Website: If you want to host a live webinar or a hybrid event, live streaming on your website might be the best option as it will allow you to generate more traffic while live streaming.
· Other Platforms: Of course, this is not an extensive list and there are other platforms where you can live stream, so definitely explore other options before you decide where you want to live stream.
8. Curate user-generated content
User-generated content or UGC is the content created by your audience. In most cases, you want such content to at least mention your brand before you decide to share it on your own page.
Also, curating UGC will help you achieve a variety of goals if you do it right. So, it’s definitely a powerful technique for your PR campaigns.
Through UGC, you can spread your brand message. Moreover, you can connect with your audience on a more personal level. And, show your appreciation for them, engage with them by starting meaningful discussions, and so on.
9. Encourage your team to post
Above all else, you need to encourage your team to post on their own social media to promote your brand. Instead of only sharing stories from your official brand account, let your team speak on your brand’s behalf and get more people to discover your business.
Seamus Martins, an expert from the custom writing reviews site Trust My Paper, points out, “If you have a passionate team working behind the scenes, sharing this passion with your audience will show just how much you care about what you do. Let your team members share their experience with your brand both working for you and using your products.”
10. Develop long-term relationships
Last but not least, always aim to develop long-term relationships instead of fleeting ones. Whether these are relationships with your partners or your customers, you want them to last and strengthen over time.
This is particularly important in the context of social media where everything is changing so quickly. If you decide to work with a particular influencer, work with them continuously. If you start a conversation with another brand, make sure to have regular interactions publicly. This is to show that it’s not just a show and there’s more that doesn’t meet the eye at once.
To sum up, your PR strategy can definitely be strengthened by integrating social media into your activities. Use the techniques in this article. It’ll help you make the most of your social media for your public relations campaigns.