Social media is crucial to your PR strategy. Whether you’re an independent freelancer, a growing startup or a global corporate, maximising your social media platforms is essential for promoting your brand and growing a loyal fan base.
Here are five reasons why you should go social with your PR and some top tips to help you get started.
Boost brand credibility
Every tweet, LinkedIn post, Instagram picture or Facebook status you share has the potential to reach a huge audience all around the world, including those who have never heard of your brand or product.
In fact, a recent index found that consumers are 57.5% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media. A healthy follower count is the sign of a brand that has a solid reputation in its field.
Consequently, your social profile is often your customers’ first point of call when they’re researching your brand. It’s your digital shop window: an opportunity for your customers to find out who you are, and what you’re about.
A strong social profile builds brand credibility and helps foster good public relations.
It’s important to fine-tune your social presence to make your brand appear as an active thought leader in the field. In particular, consider the content your posting, the tone of voice used and the frequency of posting.
A balance is key. Too many or too few posts can quickly see your following diminish, as can overly promotional messages or content that doesn’t align with your users’ values and beliefs. Keep your content on-brand and user-aligned to boost your credibility in the industry.
Build trust and credibility
Even the best brands can find themselves in the midst of a PR crisis. How you deal with it can make or break a brand’s image, and social media plays a key role in combating negative PR. In fact, some particularly savvy brands have used social media to turn negative press into a positive publicity stunt.
One of the main reasons people take to Twitter is to complain about a company. However, a quick and human response can quickly diffuse the situation and build rapport. And handling a situation well on such a public forum provides you with great PR by showing you to be polite, diligent and authentic — money in the PR bank.
Online conversations don’t always need to be serious, either. Take Wendy’s — when the fast food chain promised a follower free nuggets for a year in return for a lofty 18 million retweets, the post soon became the most retweeted ever, gaining Wendy’s huge positive publicity.
Leverage your PR strategy by engaging with your following to show that your brand is trustworthy, credible and genuine. Adopt a human approach to connect with your customers on a human level and cement the bond for a loyal following.
Deliver tangible results
The success of your brand’s social media platforms is much easier to track than traditional press coverage. While you can only guess how many readers saw your comment in a printed newspaper, with a quick glance at analytics, you can build an accurate report on engagement level, comment sentiment, reach and conversions across social media.
Because social PR offers tangible results, it’s easier to show how your press coverage contributes to core business KPIs, such as website traffic.
Always keep an eye out for traffic spikes as it may be an indicator that your social PR is contributing, especially if a social post has gone viral, if there are cross-promotion campaigns with partners, or if an influencer has shared your latest blog post, for example.
This traffic spike needs investigating. Start by comparing time frames with your social PR efforts and consider the following for starters:
- What post could have caused this?
- What region the visitors have come from?
- What are the visitors’ demographics?
- What page is the traffic pointing towards?
You’ll also need to liaise with other heads of sheds in the marketing department, such as the email marketing manager.
That’s not to say that social media measurement is entirely straight forward. It can be hard to know exactly how much more business your social PR has generated, but it nonetheless gives you a valuable insight into the kind of content your target audience engages with.
Cover more ground with cross-promotion
Press releases are a crucial part of any PR campaign, delivering essential information to journalists and pundits. But journos are often pushed for time, and so a concise press release is vital.
Social media lends itself perfectly to the succinct nature of press releases. Short and snappy, they’ll often fit perfectly into a Facebook status, Instagram caption or even a tweet. And sharing press releases on social makes them highly shareable too, giving them greater visibility across platforms.
On top of that, social sharing of press releases also lets you include valuable further assets such as video interviews and media files. Make social share buttons a mandatory part of your press releases to give them rapid and wide visibility at the click of a mouse.
How to get social PR right
Hopefully the above has convinced you that now is the time to be truly optimising your social media platforms to boost your brand. Here are three rules to help you do just that.
Rule 1: Be consistent with your social PR
Imagine your brand is a person. Is it a funny, light-hearted joker, or a serious suited businessman? Chances are it’s somewhere in between. Establishing where your brand sits on the spectrum, and implementing a consistent tone of voice and character is key to your success.
Customers want to do business interact with brands they trust, and who would trust someone who is cracking jokes one day and posting dry jargon-heavy information the next? Just because your brand is dealing with something serious, say finance or property, it doesn’t mean it can’t have fun. Check out banking app Monzo’s Twitter for a taste of a brand getting it right.
Rule 2: Nail your timing
We’re in an age of endless noise, and that means that simply posting good content isn’t enough. You need to post it at the right time, on the right channel, with the right frequency. And, just to put a spanner in the works, constantly changing algorithms mean that the best time frequently changes.
While posting at 8am on a Tuesday may be great for LinkedIn, the same can’t be said for Instagram, where you’re much more likely to gain traction between the hours of 12 and 2pm. Then there’s timing in a broader context of news and media. Tweeting a promotional post about your product on Christmas Day is likely a huge no-no, but sharing a festive meme or celebratory tweet could see you gain fans.
Rule 3: Build rapport
Public relations firm Edelman found that 57% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand because of its cultural opinions. Nike’s recent campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick exemplifies this: within 10 days of the campaign’s launch, it had sold 61% more merchandise compared with the 10 days before the launch.
You don’t even have to begin the cultural conversation yourself; simply sharing and commenting on other users’ content can be enough to promote your brand’s values and garner attention. It’s particularly worth engaging with influencers in your industry, as a friendly response from them could be the ticket to significantly growing your brand’s profile.
Public relations and social media go hand-in-hand. Follow the tips above and create a PR strategy that garners you good press coverage on a social platform that you can really own.
Recommended reading: Gains and pitfalls – Social media and brand communications