Social media is an extremely powerful platform for connecting journalists and brands. Pitching journalists on social media can be effective, inexpensive and quick. However there are some rules of the road when it comes to using social media for this purpose. A breach of the unwritten etiquette can sour relationships. Here are some tips to help make sure your pitches are well received.
Follow and Share
Be sure that you are following the journalists in your space and those who you may want to pitch. Many journalists use the networks to promote their own stories and social media is a two way street, so it is wise to begin by sharing their content and commenting on their work well before you make a pitch.
Will a journalist be interested in your brand’s message? You can usually make a good guess by looking at the other stories they have written and shared. Social networks provide an unprecedented window into the minds of your media contacts, so use it to ensure that you are targeting the right pitch to the right person.
Pick the Right Platform
When you make your pitch, you want to do it on the platform that the journalist prefers. This is almost never Facebook. Facebook is considered a platform for more personal relationships, so unless you know the reporter very well, stick to more business oriented networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Know Your Network
You need to understand how each network functions in order to be successful. Twitter can be particularly tricky. (Here are some tips from Mashable.) For example if you ask someone to send you a direct message (DM), be sure that you are following them, otherwise they won’t be able to DM you.
Don’t Spam Twitter
Keep in mind that your tweets are public, so one journalist can see exactly what you tweeted to the next. If you are just throwing your pitches against the wall to see what sticks, so to speak, the journalist will know and you are not likely to get much attention.
Remember that if it is easy and effective for you to pitch on social media, it’s easy for everyone else to pitch on social media as well. Journalists receive tons of story ideas, so you have to make sure that yours stands out from the crowd. To do so, you must be specific. A tweet that says, “DM me, I’ve got a story you’ll love.” Is not likely to earn a reply.
Don’t be a Stalker
It is ok to use social media to follow up once after a pitch, but beyond that, let it go and try again when you have something different to offer. Also, it is not polite to send a tweet to ask if someone got your email or to post anything that implies the journalist is not responsive. Social posts are public so only make comments that the journalists followers will see as positive or neutral.
Social media is a terrific tool for pitching, but it can backfire if not executed carefully. The golden rule works well here. Use social media with journalists in the way you’d like other business contacts to use it with you.