Social media has had a profound effect on public relations. The most successful PR professionals are not afraid to explore and embrace new technologies and trends. Along with the introduction of social media, brands and professionals now face many new opportunities and challenges.
Social media has not only changed how people communicate but when, where and with whom they communicate. Outlined below are several ways in which the public relations industry has been reshaped by the social media boom.
Although the lifespan of a news story is much shorter than it used to be, social media has the power to broadcast a story further than ever before. With social media, it is possible to reach the previously unreachable. Thanks to social sharing, an article from a small local publication may go viral, spreading globally and becoming the next big story. Every aspect of your social media profile can be altered for better visibility and optimization. Some of the most basic tactics to improve visibility include:
- An easy to remember username
- A recognizable photo or brand logo
- Natural, keyword-rich descriptions
- A trackable link to your page and/or website
Most importantly, you must focus on posting high-quality, relevant content; work smarter, not harder. Instead of focusing on your own goals, post and share content that meets and satisfies the needs of your audience and provides value. Not only does this increase your brand awareness, but consumers and other professionals will want to do business with you.
Social media influencers are individuals who have a large audience reach across social platforms. Influencers are considered one of the best ways to attract new customers to a brand. Whether they are considered ‘macro’ with fewer than 100,000 followers or ‘micro’ with less than 10,000 followers, every influencer has an immense impact. Due to the fact that influencers have built a lot of trust in their industry, many consumers trust them more than the company or brand they are promoting.
Since 2017, over 13 million brand-sponsored influencer posts have appeared on social and digital platforms, according to Statista. Furthermore, influencer marketing delivers 11x higher return on investment than other forms of digital marketing. Influencer content is created in a way that portrays influencers as the potential buyers of the product. Most importantly, companies and brands have the liberty to choose the influencer and social media platform that would be relevant for their product. Influencer marketing is about building a mutually beneficial relationship that ensures the creation of value for the consumers, company and influencer.
Encouraged Customer Focus
Due to the fact that social media interactions happen in real-time, users expect an immediate response. Customers engage with brands and their content by leaving comments, sharing and “liking”. For example, consumers can log onto Twitter or Facebook to discuss customer experiences. Whether consumers have a compliment, concern or question, PR professionals must be ready to respond. In order to avoid a PR crisis, companies must resolve issues quickly. By tracking customer engagement and sentiment, brands are able to know how effective content is and whether or not it is reaching the intended masses.
Consider the value of adding a separate page dedicated to service and support. As a test, try offering live support for specific blocks of time each day. This provides your consumers with an open forum to discuss any positive or negative feedback they may have. Not only will your followers feel appreciated, but customer sentiment will increase as they begin to recognize that their feedback is being taken to heart.
Access to Journalists
Finally, with the help of social media, PR professionals are provided with unlimited access to journalists and reporters. By following a journalist on social media, professionals can learn about a reporter’s tone of voice, opinions on relevant topics and recently published work. Through the use of tools like Cision, you are able to find journalists that meet your criteria all while simultaneously connecting with their recent web content and profiles. For example, you can discover which outlet a reporter works for, or whether they simply link their own stories rather than personally engaging with professionals and the public.
Once you find a journalist’s contact information, social media provides you with an easy platform to communicate. You can view comments on posts and articles that reporters have shared on social media. Furthermore, use the comment section on the reporter’s page as a way to connect and offer your opinions and expertise. By finding out what interests reporters, discovering what they are writing about, and then liking and sharing their work, they become familiar with you and your name. In order to earn media coverage, it is important to have relationships with reporters and journalists.
Since its introduction, social media has had an immense impact on public relations and will continue to influence the ever-changing field. In order to remain successful in this day and age, you must adapt to and master the world of social media. How will you tell you utilize social media to tell your company’s story?