4 Tips to better Social PR: from Monologue to Dialogue
Social media is a key component to any successful PR campaign.
There, I said it, and I doubt anyone reading this blog will disagree. I recently wrote an article exploring how we differentiate between ownership of initiatives. These days asking, “Who owns it?” isn’t the right question. What we need to ask ourselves is how social and PR can work together, and how a traditional PR program can make the shift towards becoming a Social PR program.
Social PR is not new: if you’ve been pitched by a PR agency in the past 3 or 4 years you’ll have noticed that most proposed campaigns include a strong social component. Social has become so ingrained into today’s marketing teams and campaigns that the lines have blurred to the point that it’s almost impossible to imagine a program that doesn’t include social media in some (likely major) way. Unfortunately, not every program includes social properly or efficiently.
Here’s the truth: becoming a Social PR expert will open new opportunities, and lead to stronger results.
4 Social PR Tips: from Monologue to Dialogue
- Social PR Tip #1: Master Social Technology: Get to know (and keep up to date with) social technologies. If you don’t know how to efficiently use blog software, Twitter or Facebook, it’s time to learn. Traditional PR relies on earned media: we go out, pitch stories, and our stories are 100% at the mercy of editors, producers, etc. Social Media is owned media: since you own the media channel, you have the control over what is published on your own pages (well, until it’s shared, but that’s another blog topic). This is a fantastic opportunity, but assumes you understand and can efficiently use the technology.
- Social PR Tip #2: Listen to the Conversation: Start with social listening, see what people are saying and incorporate what you learn into your strategy and messaging. And when you’re ready, engage! Traditionally, PR is a monologue medium: we write a press release or pitch a reporter, a story is written, and we count it as a success. Social media changes this dynamic and allows PR to engage in dialogue marketing.
- Social PR Tip #3: Join the Community: Take an active role in joining in conversations and becoming familiar with the social communities relevant to your industry/company. Traditional PR focuses on media readers and viewers, so the reach is somewhat limited. Social PR uses social media channels and tools to join and communicate with a target community. Rather than just hitting a random pool of people who happen to tune in or pick up a magazine, you have the opportunity to pinpoint conversations in social media and communicate with its author. By building that relationship, you have the potential to influence that author’s social network. This is where the earned media comes in, and in social that media is exponential in reach.
- Social PR Tip #4: Catalyze the Channel: Take advantage of the social networks and their viral potential by using social media to help control the speed of PR distribution across social channels. Traditional PR takes the power of distribution out of your hands: when your story makes it to print of on the air, you’re at the mercy of that channel’s direct distribution to their viewers. Social media allows PR more control of distribution through a network of your own owned media, and allows you to target influencers who might afford you earned media to a community with similar interests.
Social media is not meant to replace traditional PR methods. Traditional methods work – that’s why they become a tradition in the first place. Think of social as an enhancement to a long and glorious PR tradition: social media is a way to incorporate new methods and to get creative.
After all, we are public relations: that’s supposed to be social, right?