In the digital world we live in, it’s impossible to miss the power that social media now has over our collective consciousness. Never before have we had more platforms for engaging audiences and sharing our stories. Approached in the right way, social media outreach can be incredibly effective for taking your PR programme to the next level.
Here are 3 ways that social media can be leveraged to help build brand awareness:
- Strengthen relationships with key media and industry influencers: It’s really important to actively follow target media, industry analysts and influencers. It keeps you up to date on what they are covering and the kinds of articles and news items they write on a regular basis. You may find opportunities to comment on posts and establish yourself as a source of relevant information on topics they cover. And when a reporter sees that you are one of their followers, it may help forge a faster connection the next time you speak with them or meet them at an industry event.
- Craft more cohesive and effective PR campaigns: Social media complements all other types of outreach you would traditionally do when making a news announcement. Giving the campaign a specific hashtag helps to focus your efforts and gives employees – beyond your marketing and in-house PR team – a way to promote company news or new products and services. The use of a hashtag can also engage customers and a good example is the #widgetforthat hashtag that one of our clients used to put their own spin on their promotional campaign ‘There’s an app for that’. Alongside our client using the hashtag, their customers, partners and even some media professionals used it throughout the PR campaign to tweet and re-tweet with great effect.
- Manage company reputation and amplify stories that can’t be told on other mediums: With so many eyes watching every move you make and ears listening to every word you utter, you want to make sure you’re posting thoughtful, brand relevant information and showing you’re a good corporate citizen. Social media is also a great channel for sharing stories you couldn’t write about in a press release or likely wouldn’t be covered by the media – like when your employees team up with one of your customers to volunteer for a day at a favourite charity and the story behind that. But that story is one you can most definitely share via your social media channels, along with photos from the day, and your followers will enjoy learning more about the people that work with your business.
Our take on the key social media channels for PR:
- LinkedIn: Provides an excellent medium for enhancing your thought leadership positioning within your specific market. Creating a company LinkedIn page is highly recommended as it can often be the first impression people have of your organisation before they take the time to visit your website. Regularly posting on LinkedIn and encouraging people in your organisation to share posts with their professional networks increases your reach and builds awareness for your company.
- Twitter: Love it or hate it if you’re not part of the twitterverse you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with your target audiences and even improve employee relations. Tweeting on a regular basis about interesting articles or events in your industry can also go a long way toward establishing your company as a thought leader.
- Instagram: Works best if your brand has good visual content to share – like photos from that charity day your employees volunteered for. Companies in the business to consumer space are likely to have more success engaging with target audiences as compared to a company that is in the business to business arena. Regardless of whether you’re B2C or B2B though, Instagram is useful for showcasing company culture, which can help you connect better with customers and prospects.
- Facebook: On a case by case basis, Facebook can be a good channel for specific news items or company events. We tend to think of Facebook as being more fun than the other social media channels so, in addition to news and company events, we share team lunch and Christmas party photos on ours. If you’re not sure whether Facebook is right for your business, ask your PR team for advice on how extensive your Facebook presence needs to be.
With all of these social platforms, it’s important to keep in mind the level of effort needed to keep them up to date and relevant. Designating a digital media champion in your organisation can help. This person can work closely with your PR team to ensure social media outreach is working best for your company. It’s also essential that your company has a social media policy in place to ensure all employees know what is acceptable for posting and sharing, and the importance of representing your brand and company vision with integrity.
At TechComms, we’ve worked successfully with clients to create social media strategies that complement their marketing and PR goals. We’d welcome the opportunity to work together so contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you create one for your business.