Do You Have A Public Relations Strategy On Social Media?
If it’s only in your head, you don’t. A real strategy is documented somewhere so that other people can follow it as well. That document should be malleable and capable of changing. But, it should be firm enough to give you a solid direction on a day to day basis. If your public relations strategy on social media is undefined, you need to make it clear. Once your strategy can be referenced in a tangible format you can begin to see if you’re successful in executing it.
For the purpose of this article we will focus directly on public relations on social media. For the sake of understanding, you can still apply many of these principles to traditional forms of PR.
A Public Relations Strategy On Social Media Should Include
- Defined Goals
- Clear Actions
- Time Line
- New Followers/Retained Followers
- “Engagements” (likes, comments, retweets/shares)
- DM’s (people who contact you directly as a result of your PR)
- Sales (as a direct result of the PR you received)
There are probably other goals you could define, but these should be in your list for sure. If the intention of public relations in one sense is to generate awareness, view count of content is important. It has become a trope of social media that view counts and followers are an unreliable metric for success.
However, they are still important. The thing to remember is that you want to ensure your views and followers are coming from people in the public that are important to you. Those who are involved in your industry, for example. People that share about your type of business a lot. Likely customers. If your followers are outside of your geographic region of service, they’re unlikely to be helpful. That is unless those followers also influence others within your target. Likewise, being viewed 1,000,000 times by bots doesn’t do anybody any good.
This might seem obvious. If you take no actions, you’ll get no results. Though some people are lucky and generate PR opportunities naturally – this is not the case for most. Most of us have to put effort into it. If you’re one of the lucky ones that have press flocking to you for no reason – good for you. For the rest of us we need to make sure that on a daily or weekly basis we are taking actions to generate good PR.
That starts with a plan. Once you have your clear goals, it’s time to determine where you want those results to come from. Which publications should be sharing about you? What social media platform do your core audience members participate in? What kind of content works the best? Which resources do you have vs. what will you have to contract to produce?
The interesting thing about social media is that it allows you to reach almost anybody. Therefore you have to make sure that the actions you’re taking are either directly impacting those people or indirectly impacting those people. Producing content in a vacuum doesn’t generate views. So if you haven’t amassed a large following yet, you need to get good at interacting with those that do. Making friends with big brand managers and engaging with them on Twitter is a place to start. Writing content that you share with publishers can help. Study your competition or others that do well with public relations to see what you can learn.
One of the easiest ways to put yourself out there is to comment on content others put out. Begin conversations with a genuine interest in meeting others. Think of social media platforms as different networking groups. The only difference is that these networking groups have hundreds of millions of members in them. Use that to your advantage.
“Slide into my DM’s.” You may have heard this in your favorite rap song, or one of your kids. Or both! It is applicable to your public relations strategy on social media as well. Eventually you’ll have to pitch yourself and a story to a reporter or somebody to talk about you. This can happen naturally, though you’ll have to be ‘in the right place at the right time’ occasionally. That involves creating your own luck.
One amazing feature of most social media platforms is the ability to direct message people. Often times you can direct message people that don’t follow you. Even on a platform like LinkedIn you can write a message in your request to connect with somebody. That can be an amazing way to cut through the nonsense and make an impact on them. Remember the comparison between social networks and networking groups? Think about the last trade show event you were at where there was a speaker.
In those instances, there are often hundreds of attendees. Watch what happens during the Q&A portion. You’ll see a small minority of people asking questions. Then take note after the presentation. A flock of people will swarm to the front of the stage to get some face time with the speakers. Take notice even closer and you’ll see that a lot of the people who go towards the stage actually bail before making it there. Of the people that actually talk with the speaker, how many of those do you think follow up?
This won’t always be easy to track. However, even if you can determine anecdotally that sales increased in a certain segment as a result of PR, try to do that. But don’t stop attempting to get PR if it doesn’t immediately bring in business. There are benefits in the long term. Somebody may stumble upon an article about you. They may be cruising LinkedIn and see a conversation you started last week. In the social media world we often forget that the immediate gratification isn’t always immediately rewarded.
Keep your head up and look for other ways to generate attention and awareness. Go back to your plan and see if you missed a connection somewhere between what you were doing and what you were after.
A Word About Accountability
Public relations can be scary for some people that like to hide from the spotlight. It is also possible that for some brands, particularly OEM companies, being public may be a liability. In those scenarios there are more tight knit circles you may want to get exposure from. We consider that kind of strategy “private relations.” You can read more about that here.
Take some actions. Get messy. See what happens. Even though it’s scary to have the world talk about you it’s worth it once you learn how to funnel that into your sales channel Public relations is one of the oldest, and least expensive ways to generate awareness for your business. Don’t neglect it.