Co-author: Josh Tiongson
Social media has changed the way we consume news. Studies show that a majority of U.S. adults receive their news via social media (Pew Research), and a 2016 internet trends report by analyst Mary Meeker found that adults spend roughly 2.8 hours of their day on mobile internet, versus 2.4 hours on their desktops (SlideShare). This trend towards on-the-go media consumption is compelling public relations professionals to rethink their approach. It is time to put the focus on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram to help generate and amplify traditional media coverage. Traditional media such as print, TV and radio are still relevant, but incorporating social media into your PR approach is essential to telling your story.
3 tips on using social media for PR
Listen to what your audience is saying
Telling a newsworthy story starts by understanding your audience. Popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook provide valuable insight into what key stakeholders are thinking.
- Tactical: monitoring your audience’s comments and preferences can give you clues into what’s trending, and which hashtags and keywords are being used.
- Strategic: social listening helps you to assess the sentiment towards your brand, and can help you to shape key messages.
Gaining insight into these questions is one of the most valuable aspects of using social media for PR.
Go beyond the news story
Today, being onsite at client events to provide logistical support is only part of the PR equation. PR professionals can increase their value by providing live event coverage via social media.
For example, our client was opening a flagship retail store in San Francisco. Our team was busy at all of the local events taking photos and video, and tweeting live to followers. This social media activity amplified the reach of the event, and helped further spread positive coverage from traditional media outlets.
Blogging is an often overlooked component to a successful PR campaign. You can leverage your Medium, Tumblr, or WordPress blogs to adapt your PR materials for broader audiences, both consumer and B2B.
Diffuse negative situations with a top-notch customer experience
Customer complaints on social media can quickly turn into negative TV news stories, if the issue is not quickly addressed. When product or service issues arise, angry customers will not hesitate to reach out via social media to their local TV news station. In San Francisco and Silicon Valley, we have more of these investigative consumer reports than any other region of the country. But even the national television networks have gotten into the game, encouraging consumers to come forward with stories of how they’ve been wronged.
What’s the key to a successful resolution? With the knowledge we’ve gained in handling hundreds of media inquiries for various clients, we’ve seen that it comes down to one key thing. It is important that customers know they have been heard, and you’ve taken steps to make a negative situation “right”.
Social media has changed what’s expected from the PR team. By incorporating a well-thought out social media strategy into your PR efforts, you can gain new insights into customer preferences and reactions, enhance your value by expanding coverage beyond traditional news formats, and play a vital role in addressing consumer concerns.