The Dynamic Duo: PR and Social Media
PR and social media go together like Batman and Robin, Calvin and Hobbes, mac and cheese, thunder and lightning…you get the idea. On their own they are each powerful tools for organizations, but strategically using them together can dramatically boost your marketing efforts.
Regardless of which is labeled as the sidekick, the fact is that PR ideals mirror those of social media. Like social media, good PR focuses on showing and influencing rather than selling and promoting. Many of the ideals that serve as the foundation of PR influenced and paved the way for social media long before the latter became popular. Given the common goals and the nature of PR, as well as the continued need for quality content, it was only natural that PR and social media would ultimately join forces to become the preferred one-two communication punch for many companies.
The Rising Tide of Social
Fast forward to 2017 and social media has risen through the ranks to become one of the most important tools to include in your marketing communications plans. It has become the bedrock for many, if not all, marketing initiatives. That makes sense, considering that 81 percent of the population in the United States has a social networking profile. If a business is not using social media, they’re likely missing out on a myriad of opportunities. With platforms like Facebook (1,871 million users), Twitter (317 million users) and LinkedIn (106 million users), organizations can leverage social media to reach an immense audience.
Putting PR and social media together is like having doughnuts and coffee. PR provides you with the message and the ability to get that message out via external sources; social media provides the opportunity for direct communication between you and your targeted audiences. It’s the perfect match.
Speaking of those audiences, social media has ensured that companies have had to become even more attuned to their needs and concerns. For example, if a customer experiences bad service, they will immediately go onto their chosen social media sites and let the whole world know about their dissatisfaction – just look at United’s engagement during the passenger crisis. While that example is extreme, it reflects an instance where PR pros’ experience in crisis management can inform a company’s approach to social media. That background can be used to successfully defuse these types of situations before they escalate.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when a customer has great things to say on social media it can be a great PR gift. Positive feedback can be retweeted and reposted, while listening to and engaging with customers can also help tailor communications plans and campaigns. Sometimes you can even strike gold. Take Wendy’s, for example: they gained an absurd amount of press for participating in a challenge with a customer who wanted free chicken nuggets for a year. The original inquiry ended up being the most retweeted tweet of all time.
An Integrated Strategy
An effective PR strategy for social media should include utilizing analytics and social monitoring tools such as Sprout Social, HootSuite, Mention, Sysomos and many more to gather research on a target demographic. Using these social tools can help narrow down your target audience and inform you of what their interests are. This allows you to align your communications plan accordingly and create content that your audience is more likely to engage with.
These are just a few reasons why PR and social media make the ultimate superhero duo. Together they can defeat your marketing villains.