Over the past few years, a lot has changed in the way a company gains brand recognition. Public relations used to be about connecting with news sources, gaining access to reporters, and getting your story in print or the airwaves.
Traditional public relations professionals primarily engaged with the public to release truly newsworthy events. Think big. Think life-changing. They were looking for stories that impacted in a big way.
The internet has given us a 24/7 news cycle, one that is looking for content all the time.
There are still traditional news sources, media outlets that have big presences in the online world. They are the behemoths in the news industry. And they share information in all kinds of ways. Of course, their websites are important. But they also offer newsletters, text alerts, podcasts, and profiles to increase engagement. They also are highly likely to include social media as a part of their outreach, with nearly all of them having accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
But with digital technology, the channels are endless. And that means a lot more opportunity.
Now people can search for anything, click on whatever they desire, and conduct thorough research to satisfy their every whim. They want information, and they know how to get it.
But they also want to find companies they can trust. And just like the way PR worked in the “old” days, public relations today works to increase brand recognition and build trust. It’s just that you have a lot more channels to work with.
How Social Media and PR Work Together
PR professionals will use social media to:
Make announcements – no matter how big or small your news is, your social media accounts are there to track it all. You can tell a story on your blog, link to an article written about you in a trade journal, or simply have a happy customer provide you with a review. Anything going on that impacts your business is a newsworthy event in the online world.
Find influencers – there are still a lot of reporters and bloggers out there looking for things to talk about. Why not let them talk about you? Only today you can have one-on-one contact with major influencers just by being active online. Everyone has a Twitter profile – just connect and start building a rapport. Or stay active on LinkedIn, and maybe ask for a connection through a friend. Of course, this isn’t an instant process. Just because you can see their accounts online doesn’t mean you have instant connection. That’s where working with a professional can help.
Research – do you know who your perfect customer is? Do you know where they are online, what they like, what their interests are? If you build a reputation before changes in trends and news cycles, you can be there to offer comments and advice when big changes come along. This gives reporters and other influencers a place to turn to when they are looking for quick advice.
Ways To Use Your Content As PR
We say it a lot around here: Content is king. With content in place, you can use it to share your ideas with the world.
And that makes gives you a perfect way for increasing your publicity as well.
Write content for blogs – a lot of online marketing is about developing a regular practice. If you create content especially for your blog, it’s a way to share your ideas regularly with the world.
Companies create blog posts for a variety of reasons – to educate, to entertain, to inform. Blog posts can also be about outreach and utilize those same reasons. Why leave your best content only on your website?
Think about other well-known blogs or media outlets who need information and could benefit from content provided by you. By guest posting on these sources, you can share your expertise with their audience, and hopefully receive a link back to your site to build your traffic. That’s a win/win for both of you.
Create appropriate information per channel – every social media channel has its own unique approach to how it shares content.
For Instagram, it’s all about the image. Pinterest uses images too. But if you take a look at the two separate platforms, you’ll quickly discover that the content isn’t the same. Yes, they’re sized differently. But they also attract attention in different ways.
Now let’s move to Twitter. Or Facebook. Or LinkedIn. Or YouTube.
Each channel engages the audience in a different way. Not every channel will work with every target audience. Some platforms are more relevant to what you have to say.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to open up an account on every platform and operate them the same way. If they create a piece of content, it’s copy/paste to every channel in the same way. Yep, that’s failure right from the beginning.
To gain recognition, you need to speak the language. Start by defining your niche audience. And then give them exactly what they want.
Listen to what they say – there’s an adage: you have two ears and one mouth, use them appropriately. The same can be said with your online social media strategy.
Use your social media platforms as your voice. Say what you have to say.
Once you release your content, stand back and listen to what they say. If you’re not tracking what’s being reported about you, what reviews are being left on review sites, or what comments your customers leave, you’re missing a crucial part of your PR strategy. Because they have a lot to say, and it’s up to you to respond.
That’s how you connect with future customers. That’s how you link with influencers.
That’s how you build your online reputation, one that will help you grow exponentially from this day forward.
Be Prepared – Build Your Social Media Strategy Today
What would happen if you have a crisis on your hand? What if the worst-case scenario happens and your company receives poor press? We all hope it never happens to us. But smart companies build their strategy long before it happens. And then if a crisis does occur, they can turn it into a less stressful situation. If you have a strong social media strategy in place, you have a place to share. It’s a place you can be transparent, and provide the details. One way or another, the details will get out there. It’s only how you handle it that matters most. And with a loyal following, you can keep them happy by sharing. So what’s your strategy? Are your social media channels everything you want them to be? Are you using them to gain publicity, and build a strong PR strategy? Or is today the day you do something about it?