Social media is a powerful tool for industry and businesses to connect directly with their customers, partners and other stakeholders. While it can be seen initially as a tool for marketing, sales or advertising, companies can quickly discover its use as a two-way communication tool.
If used effectively, social media can be used in real-time to enhance brand reputation, manage crises and build relationships with key stakeholders.
Below are some tips on some of the steps you should take ahead of using the important social media tool as part of a comprehensive Public Relations (PR) strategy.
Identify Your Objectives
Before starting to use social media for PR, first identify the objectives of this tool. What do you want to achieve? Are you looking to enhance your brand reputation, increase your visibility, or manage a crisis? Once you’ve identified your objectives, you can develop a social media strategy that aligns with them.
Choose Your Platforms
There are many social media platforms out there, but not all of them are suitable for PR. You need to choose the platforms that are most relevant to your audience that also align with your objectives. For example, LinkedIn is great for B2B PR, while Instagram is more suitable for B2C PR. Think about the people you are trying to reach and where you will most likely find them. Each platform caters to different types of people, who also respond to different types of content.
Create Engaging Content
To leverage social media for PR, you must create engaging content that resonates with your audience. The type of content you create will depend heavily on your objectives. Content includes posts, stories, reels, infographics, videos, images, and events – live, interactive and/or recorded. Make sure your content is simultaneously relevant, informative, and entertaining.
Listen and Engage with Your Audience
Social media is a two-way conversation. Period. Brands cannot create content as a one-way communication channel – that is the quickest way to lose your audience. Your audience wants to know that you acknowledge and value their feedback, and that they are more than a customer simply there to purchase your product or service. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages promptly. Participate in online conversations as your company or brand. Listen to what they want, what they say and how they say it. Be human, but still on brand. These types of activities can help you build relationships with key stakeholders and enhance your brand reputation.
Monitor Your Reputation
Social media can be a double-edged sword and shifts in public opinion can happen very quickly. While social media can help enhance your brand reputation, it can also damage it if not managed properly. As such, monitoring your reputation on social media and responding to any negative comments or reviews promptly is extremely important. There are social media monitoring tools, and Google alerts, that can help with this portion of your activities. By getting ahead of any issues and being ready to respond can help mitigate any damage to your brand.
Measure Your Success
To determine whether your social media PR efforts are working, you need to understand your individual measures of success. Once again, look at your objectives and determine if you have met those. Measuring success will likely include tracking your social media engagement, both qualitative and quantitative, where your website traffic is coming from, and any media mentions. If you have not met with your objectives, it is important to understand why and what you can do to change outcomes. Determine what has performed well and understand why that was – you may be surprised at what type of content resonates with your audience. Analytic tools can help measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts and will also give you an understanding of how to adjust your strategy as needed.
In conclusion, social media can be a powerful tool for PR. By identifying your objectives, choosing the right platforms, creating engaging content, engaging with your audience, monitoring your reputation, and measuring your success, you can benefit from social media to enhance your brand reputation, manage crises, and build relationships with key stakeholders.