DISCOVER HOW COMBINING THESE EFFORTS CAN HELP YOU BETTER REACH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.
By Laurel Cavalluzzo, Senior Social Media Strategist
At the dawn of emerging new media, public relations (PR) and social media operated in silos. A typical PR strategy consisted of a press release, pitch to media outlets, and perhaps even a press conference – all in the hopes of earning media coverage that stirred their target audience. During these early days, marketers also attempted a separate but simultaneous effort using social media marketing for the same purpose: to reach target audiences with the desired message. With these and other marketing arms having the same goal, it gradually became clear that there must be a way to tie them all together for a stronger and more unified effort.
Fast forward over the years to today. Traditional and digital marketing tactics have become more strategic and integrated, and the silos that previously separated public relations from social media have collapsed. In this article, we’ll share the insights we’ve learned and provide compelling reasons to link your public relations and social media marketing strategies together to reach your target audience more effectively.
Let’s first start with the basics of these two marketing tools and illustrate how they go hand-in-hand:
A public relations strategy includes proactive actions like press releases, phone calls to media outlets, press conferences, or live speaking events that work to entice the public and other audiences to understand – and develop goodwill – towards a person, company, organization, etc.
Social Media Marketing
A social media strategy includes forms of electronic communication via online channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and blogging platforms that enable profile holders to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.
If your company wants to use e-communication to share positive information and content, intertwining your public relations strategy with social media marketing can help:
- Amplify your message
- Broaden your reach
- Shape the narrative
- Establish relationships with influencers
- Monitor and protect your online reputation
- Identify competitor threats and opportunities
Keep reading to learn more about these reasons to connect PR with social media.
AMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE
Social media helps strengthen a PR message. While you can still disseminate PR assets via traditional channels like news outlets, social media can help amplify your communication by exposing it to more influencers. As seasoned marketers know, it can sometimes take several attempts for a message to be genuinely “heard.” In today’s cluttered digital world, many touches – using both traditional and social media channels – are often needed to amp up the volume of your story.
BROADEN YOUR REACH
Social media marketing helps a PR message reach more of your target audience. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and YouTube, there is a world of opportunity for fresh exposure. And while you must have a presence on all the channels that make strategic sense, it helps to be discerning when choosing the right social media platforms for your business. Once you have an all-star channel lineup, you can find new PR influencers outside of traditional networks. Reporters no longer spend their days waiting for an email or fax press release – they comb social media channels to get story ideas because it’s where they find authentic voices and breaking news first.
SHAPE THE NARRATIVE
Once reporters and media professionals have a story idea, they will research to find out what is happening behind the scenes – and social media often provides that insight. The content posted on your social channels lays the foundation for an influencer who’s looking for background information and the real voice of your company. They’ll also use these channels to understand what others are saying about you. For this reason, it’s critical to have a public relations strategy with a well-rounded social effort that helps ensure reporters glean the snapshot of your company that you want them to have.
ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIPS WITH INFLUENCERS
Without strong relationships with trusted partners and allies, your public relations strategy becomes weak. Social media marketing can establish and strengthen connections with key PR reporters, influencers, and bloggers who have the power to make you shine – so show them some love. Be sure to comment on and share social media content from those you would like to stay in touch with, and they’ll be much more likely to help spread your word down the road. Participating in online social conversations on behalf of your company is yet another way to keep your brand front and center as well.
MONITOR AND PROTECT YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
Remarks that show up on your blogs, videos, and even online review platforms can play a pivotal role in swaying public opinion about your brand – and paint a picture for reporters and bloggers. To enhance your reputation, encourage clients and stakeholders to leave reviews and testimonials on your social media channels, and be sure to monitor what others are saying about you. If you come across negative comments, be sure to follow up, find out why, and fix the situation. Learn more about how to strengthen customer service using social media here.
IDENTIFY COMPETITOR THREATS AND OPPORTUNITIES
As part of your public relations strategy, take advantage of the transparency of social media marketing and keep an eye on the competition. See what they are doing, what they are saying, and what others are saying about them – but don’t make one of the most common digital marketing mistakes of copying them. Instead, use the information you find to craft PR messages and strategies that differentiate you from the competition.
As you can see, a public relations strategy that connects to social media marketing efforts can help integrate your marketing campaigns and lend measurable results. To learn more about developing an integrated digital marketing strategy or our social media marketing services, contact our Madison-area digital marketing professionals today.