Social media is changing the face of PR and even the most traditional PR agencies are adopting social media tactics to gain press coverage. Once regarded as a small player in gaining brand exposure in local and national press, social media is fast becoming the weapon of choice for forward-thinking and tech-savvy brands in Birmingham.
Social media PR: what does it mean?
Let’s be honest, it all sound like marketing jargon, but it’s about the best way we can describe it. Essentially, social media PR is using digital platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to contact journalists, publications, and share coverage achieved to amply its impact. The instant and viral nature of social media means stories that capture the imagination can generate huge reach and rapidly elevate your brand’s profile.
Social media has a number of benefits when it comes to an impressive, integrated PR strategy – let’s look at why it’s so important today.
Why social media matters for PR
1. Finding journalists and influencers
Twitter search tools allow any company to find the journalists, reporters and experts in their sector very quickly. Use a Followerwonk bio search! Not only that, by utilising Twitter lists, it is easier than ever to keep up with them and build a relationship.
Finding out what certain journalists are interested in and writing about makes it easier for you to spot a PR opportunity. Stay in touch with them, retweet anything interesting they post and favourite them occasionally – stay in their mind!
2. Instant bio and personality
Providing your social media bios are up to scratch and you’ve been posting great value-adding content, anyone who comes across your material can get a snap shot of exactly who you are and what you do. You’ll also be demonstrating your knowledge and passion for your field as well as some character and personality. You’re instantly more likeable to a journo or potential customer than a corporate email address or website!
Social media is the perfect way to portray yourself as an industry expert and get your brand’s personality across.
Focus on the ‘why’ in your Twitter bio.
3. Press releases and blogs
Social media is the perfect medium to both share and follow up your press releases. All self-respecting journalists are on Twitter and use it constantly to keep up with news an developments in their sector and geographical location. Sending a tweet is both less intrusive and more instant than having to construct follow-up email after email. Remember you can simply link the press release you have written as a PDF or webpage in the tweet itself – utilise the functionality of these platforms! This is how to speak the language of the modern-day journalist by making everything fast and convenient.
4. Immediate coverage and reaction
Got something sharable? Nothing helps spread the word like a well shared or even viral post. The perfect combination of an image and well-worded text can create shareable content that can be seen by thousands of people in an instant. There’s much less time spent putting something in a paper, magazine or webpage, all it takes is the click of the ‘share’ or ‘retweet’ button. I can guarantee you’ll have better engagement levels and reach than from traditional means. It also enables any interested parties to investigate immediately by clicking to your site and even through to your squeeze page – make sure your mobile site it up to scratch!
5. #journorequests and other hashtags
Another advantage of social media for PR are the features of social media platforms themselves. For example, hashtags are a great way to categorise your content. This makes you easy to find if you’ve got something interesting to share and helps others get in on the act. This is great for both spreading something newsworthy or publicising events locally and nationally.
Event hashtagging is crucial in social media PR. You’ve got a great event coming up and you’ve poured time and resources into it. Now’s the time to get people there and sharing their experiences. Make sure the hashtag is short and self-explanatory and that no one else uses it! This is a great way to compound all your publicity efforts and gives attendees the chance to shout about it too.
6. Cost efficiency
Traditional PR is not cheap, especially not good PR! Hundreds of the fastest growing startups of the 21st century have gained widespread exposure purely through the clever use of all of the above benefits. Many of these startups have taken the time to learn how to use social media for PR expertly and avoided shelling out four-figure monthly retainers. Social media PR should be very cost-effective given that social platforms are free to use whilst giving you instant access to the people you need.
7. Trackable ROI
But you can’t track the return on investment of social media?! Nuh uh. There are literally hundreds of tools out there to show exactly how many people are seeing your social content, clicking on your links, reading your webpages and buying your product or service. In fact, there are far more reliable way of tracking the ROI of social media PR than of traditional print PR. Just because a publication has a circulation of 100,000, how do you know if anyone actually read what your article or subsequently searched for you on the net? It’s all about engagement and interaction and social media PR trumps the lot.
PRO TIP: use ow.ly or bit.ly links to track where your web or page traffic is coming from. This way you can track exactly how much social media is contributing to your PR campaign.
8. Share your stories
Got some great coverage in the local paper or online? Is it adding some real gravitas to you company and what’s it’s doing? Social media is the perfect way to share this success and reach a wider audience. Not only this, but you’re demonstrating to the publications you’re in that you’re going to do some of the work in spreading the story and generate more publicity for them!
Ask your industry influencers what they think, maybe they’ll share it too.
9. Increased brand recognition
Remember the old rule of needing to see a brand name or logo seven times before you registered it as a brand you could trust and buy from? Well, recent studies put this figure well into the 20s and even 30s because of the sheer volume of information and marketing us humans are subjected to! Remember that a strong online presence within your sector will help the individuals most important to you associate positively to your brand and be more likely to read anything they come across with your name in it.
Social media PR Birmingham
Social media PR in Birmingham? But why is location important? Even though social media breaks down the barriers of communication and information sharing, never underestimate the power of ‘local’ and the strength of the affinity felt between people from the same city or town. This is never more true than in the local press – local print distribution/web traffic and the need to share locally relevant stories – and for events, which require a very localised area of interest.
We hope this has given you an insight into what social media PR actually is and why, for many modern-day companies, it is becoming to go-to route for generating brand awareness and affinity on local, national and international levels. Remember, we can train you up to be able to do all this a save yourself a money in the no-so-long run or look after your entire social media presence through our management packages.