The Importance of Social PR

Published on December 23, 2015

In many ways, the traditional tricks of public relations – the personalized pitches to the editor of your local newspaper, the wining and dining, the press releases packed with legalese – are a relic of the past.

In their place is a new way to conduct PR. Rather than gaining access to the hallowed halls of the old media (like broadcast networks, radio stations, or daily papers), PR today is all about sharing. Rather than just making the news, the new field of social PR is focused on spreading the news, organically and personably, through as many channels as possible.

And in an age where producing and sharing quality content is everything, having a solid social PR strategy can make all the difference for your business. Here are a few guidelines to get you started on the social PR path:

1.) Create and Share “Earned Media” Opportunities

More than just “PR stunts,” earned media refers to the opportunities that you create for yourself through your business’ actions.

When you truly know your target audience, you can get more creative with the ways you meet their needs. For an example, one British sandwich chain randomly gives away free coffee. This tiny act leads to more people tweeting about the company, which means free publicity and maybe even media attention.

And when you do get earned media coverage like this, don’t be afraid to share it! On average, less than 10% of professional service firms share media coverage in their social posts. Your firm should be different: Increase your credibility by promoting your earned media coverage and acknowledging the publication or reporter in your posts, an easy way to broaden your audience and get free shares.

2.) Know What’s Newsworthy…

Be aware of your brand stories - the key narratives that your business wants to promote. Maybe you’re Chicago’s leading interior design group on the north side. Maybe your bar is the best spot around for locally-sourced cocktails.

Whatever your story may be, it’s important that you have one and that your clients know it. When something happens in your business that helps communicate your brand story, don’t be afraid to craft it as a post and share it. If it’s good news for you, it’s worth sharing with your customers.

3.) …And Craft It Creatively

The beauty of social PR is that we’re no longer bound to the editorial or press release formats.

While they certainly still have their place, the online marketing landscape is rich with chances to get innovative. Try displaying data about your business in an eye-catching infographic or an animated video. Share your brand stories through a podcast or on Pinterest.

With the right approach to social PR, there’s no limit on what you can do to spread the word on your business.

4.) Make use of Twitter and Social Listening

Twitter is hugely popular with journalists and you can use this to your advantage.

Use the platform to connect with writers, reporters, and other influencers. Building social relationships is important for networking, and it can give your business unprecedented access (maybe even letting you tweet pitches directly).

What’s more, you can use Twitter to seek out and respond to journalists’ requests – sort through hashtags like #journorequest or #prrequest. For best results, use a free tool like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to filter through search parameters that you set, like subject matter or location.

You can also use these same “social prospecting” techniques to listen for find your potential audience. Search for mentions of your name, your area, or your service to create a stream of people eager to connect with you – even if they don’t know it yet.

Still have questions about social PR? Looking for the latest in content marketing strategies? Geek is here to help! Drop us a line today to get started on the path to social success.

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