Social media is an important component of any content marketing strategy. Most marketers are fairly proficient at sharing the content they create over the various networks where their audiences congregate. However, we find that many PR professionals are only taking advantage of a fraction of the special opportunities that social media offers. Let’s take a closer look at four ways that social media can amplify your message.
- Promote Earned Media.
This one is certainly the most obvious, but it is important to understand why it is so effective. Your social media followers are an audience of people who have some interest in your company, product category or industry. They are also likely to be able to influence buying decisions related to your products and services. Putting positive press mentions directly in front of them can tilt those decisions in your favor. An important responsibility of PR practitioners is to grow and nurture these communities and create channels to ensure that your earned media is seen and shared by your most important audience.
- Identify and Build Relationships with Press and Influencers.
PR professionals shouldn’t think of social media as just a medium for one-way messaging. It is also a great way to identify journalists and other influencers who may be in the position to help share your story. By paying attention to their activities, you can gain useful insight into the themes they find interesting and the type of content they create and share. You are also in the position to share their work, creating a mutually beneficial relationship, while at the same time providing your audience with useful content...see #1.
- Connect Your Messages to Current Topics.
Before the rise of social media, when a relevant news story broke, PR pros would make calls or send emails to their lists of reporters to let them know that a brand representative was available to make a comment. These days, there is no need to wait for press interest to add the brand’s voice to the conversation. Social media is a powerful listening tool that can direct you to trending topics. Posting insightful, relevant thoughts can attract the attention of reporters who may not respond to direct out-reach.
- Use Analytics to Maximize Effectiveness.
One of the most appealing aspects of social media is the ability to precisely measure its impact. With the PR measurement tools, you can see exactly how many times an earned media mention is shared on each of the networks that are important to your brand. You can determine which publications and authors are most engaged with your content and which drive the most engagement from your audience. You can quickly determine what kind of content tends to be viewed and shared by your followers and understand the messages that resonate the most. This data helps you hone in on exactly what will have the greatest impact so you can concentrate your content development and media outreach efforts.
For PR professionals, social media is far more than a platform for posting content. It can both guide and strengthen your PR strategy. When leveraged with the right analytics, it is a potent ally in finding, nurturing and listening to potential customers, influencers and the press.