7 steps to successfully use social media in a PR campaign
During the last 10-15 years, social media has grown to become an important element of media and marketing – but it is still often overlooked as a channel for PR activities.
Even in journalism social media as a distribution channel has become a bigger consideration and more than three quarters, (76%), of journalists say they feel pressure to think about a story’s social sharing potential.
Creating PR content which has value on social media should, therefore, be a main consideration of any campaign.
Taking advantage of social media also enables you to reach out directly to an audience and can help boost the impact of appearing in newspapers and trade magazines.
By sharing content and promoting coverage on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, you can also help shape the public’s opinion about your brand, get new followers and increase the size of your audience.
The key is to have an “Inbound” strategy in the mind and creating and sharing content on social media that you want to be known for and which is of interest to your target audience or press.
All of this should be done with the aim of driving people to your website.
So, what does it take to create an effective social media PR strategy? Here are our seven top tips to get you started:
1. Create a campaign plan
First, you should build a campaign plan.
Mapping out activity for a three month period makes it easier to plan ahead and prepare content around diary events like exhibitions or announcements. This plan should remain flexible though to react to breaking news or industry changes.
Once you have mapped everything out, think about the content you would like to share on which channels and in what frequency – for example, scheduling daily tweets or two LinkedIn posts per week.
2. Choose the right channels
To meet your target audience, it’s important to think about the right channels first.
What online platforms does your audience use? What social media channels do they post on? Where do they get their news and information?
It’s also important to consider the type of content you want to promote on which channel.
For example, Twitter is a good platform to share industry news – whereas Instagram is great for images of your company events or exhibitions.
3. Identify influencers
One of the main reasons people unfollow company social media accounts is because they post too much promotional content.
Share external content as well like as industry news or articles other influencers have written.
There are many tools out there to set up social media monitoring streams, such as HubSpot or Hootsuite, which can help you keep track of what is being posting around a certain topic and share notifications.
It’s also a good idea to regularly check who is following you on Twitter and follow them back – or interact with journalists and media outlets by sharing their stories, following them and including their social handles also.
4. Position your spokespeople as thought leaders
There are several ways to use social media to establish your company’s spokespeople as thought leaders. Using your Owned media content and reworking it into LinkedIn Pulse posts, joining LinkedIn group discussions and sharing relevant articles are all ways to build the profile of your spokespeople.
5. Create campaign hashtags
Creating hashtags for your social media PR campaign to make your content shareable and to track engagement can also be useful. It has also been proven to be an effective way of raising awareness about many important topics.
Get creative with your hashtags (B2B doesn't have to be boring) and encourage your audience to share their own stories too.
6. Crisis management
Social media is the biggest challenge to crisis management and it is easy for a situation to escalate quickly in this vacuum. But social media can be a great channel to quickly react to negative press.
By implementing social media into your company's crisis response plan you can quickly get on top of an issue and get your message out before false or damaging information can spread too far.
7. Analyse the results and continue to optimise
The last step is to analyse your campaign results and check if you have achieved the goals that were initially set. How was the level of engagement from your audience? Did you generate any new leads? Did you use the right social media channels? It’s important to evaluate the results at least on a quarterly basis so you can identity necessary changes and continue to optimise your social media PR campaign.
How to get your blogging off the ground - a guide to blogging and three free templates!