PR & Social Media: Where to start?
In today’s digital world with dozens of platforms spewing 24-hour news, and comments sections and outlets to opine on, PR professionals are accepting new responsibilities as a result of the evolution of social media. Aside from traditional duties, we now have to undertake the tasks of social media monitoring, contributing and stalking, from time-to-time. There is no doubt digital communication, and furthermore social media, are here to stay and their rapid development is only going to continue to stun all of us non-tech visionaries of the world. But in an age when the news never stops, how do PR professionals manage all the social platforms while staying privy to the latest buzz and balancing the role of traditional media relations.
1) Evaluate your appetite for social media
Staying apprised to all the platforms can be anxiety inducing. Take some time to research popular social tools and assess which ones are best for your company and or clients’ objectives. Some platforms are more appropriate than others, depending on your business and client; however, an over saturation of the same content on several platforms can be redundant and deemed as unoriginal.
Facebook and LinkedIn are great foundational platforms to publish content, post announcements and exhibit a dose of company culture for potential employees and prospective clients. Companies, large and small, almost always begin their social presence with a Facebook and LinkedIn page.
LinkedIn has developed into a thought-leader soapbox of sorts with notable CEOs and political figures posting op-eds and riveting articles. The platform has become the new op-ed section of the professional network world and serves as a respected platform for self-publishing.
2) Tweets may be relevant for 16 seconds, but Twitter can be the best media relations tool
Everyone has varying opinions regarding Twitter. Regardless, Twitter is a great platform for bolstering opinions, sharing articles, following trending news and fostering relationships with commentators and reporters. When used correctly, Twitter can be one of the best relationship management resources, aside from picking-up the phone, in building rapport with reporters.
Closely monitoring specific reporter’s tweets and their published work can present a great opportunity to pitch a relevant story idea and if anything, show praise for a well-written article.
3) As for Instagram and Snapchat…
Words are loud but images are louder. We can all agree these platforms are amusing and when used properly and creatively can be effective. Brands are utilizing image driven social media platforms and connecting with customers in non-traditional, yet powerful, ways. ‘Instagramming’ or ‘snapping’ photos of consumer products with attractive filters and clever captions in desirable locations influences consumers more than traditional advertising.
These two platforms are marketing tools at heart but managing the messaging around images is the bread and butter of PR.
Integrating social media platforms into your PR strategy is a must in the digital age. Social media is not a one size fits all scenario though. Learning which platforms are appropriate for your company and clients will take a lot of brainstorming, a thorough strategic plan including platform integration and continuous long-term content creation. But once your company launches their respective social platforms, they will evolve to become the most influential and helpful resources.