If you thought social media was just for looking at cat videos, sending regretful messages at 3 am, or procrastinating once it hits 4 pm – you’re so wrong.
Speaking from a marketing and PR perspective, social media can be an invaluable weapon for your startup’s prosperity and growth. Furthermore, unlike other forms of marketing and PR, social media allows you to interact far more directly with your audience.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this guide to help you combine social media and PR. It includes:
Social media provides a seamless ability to share photos, opinions, events, etc., all in real-time. This has revolutionized the way we interact in our personal and professional lives.
Not convinced of social media’s impact?
Well, consider this mind-boggling statistic. 77% of North Americans own at least one social media profile.
Furthermore, the widespread usage of social media is only going to increase. The ‘customers of tomorrow’ (or millennials) use social media the most. In fact, 90% of teenagers access social media at least once a day.
If the increased exposure to a previously untapped audience isn’t enough of an incentive for you to use social media, then also consider these benefits:
Considering these factors, it would be a PR own goal if your startup didn’t incorporate social media into your PR and marketing goals.
Social media PR can be a weird concept for most people to get their heads around…
There aren’t the traditional earned media wins there are with most PR. That’s true. However, there are likes, retweets, comments, and – most importantly – shared content.
Social media public relations is not about creating news.
It’s about planting the seed and then trying to help it grow through natural, organic, and personal referrals.
Social media has had a huge impact on PR. Social media is a very informal method of communication and has become the ‘voice’ of the brand.
Furthermore, it’s blurred the lines of marketing, PR, and customer service. Social media channels have become a one-stop-shop for all of these.
Well, Facebook business pages are now used for:
Although being able to address users’ complaints or negative comments quickly is good for PR, social media PR is definitely a brave and challenging new reality.
The public and open forum provided through social media has made information more readily available and broken down communication barriers. Therefore, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that there’s now less of a need for PR.
Well, sorry to be blunt, but you’re wrong.
Social media has made it easier than ever before for people to voice their opinions and alter someone else’s perception – often in less than 140 characters. As a result, suspicion and distrust towards businesses has increased. 72% of people believe CEOs are less trustworthy than their employees. PR is designed to fight this distrust.
Secondly, competition for tech startups is at an all-time high. Whether you’re in fintech, SaaS, or blockchain, tech markets are now oversaturated with fresh-faced startups with new innovations and the desire to make big bucks. As a result, 90% of startups end in failure.
Ignore social media and PR at your peril!
OK, now you need a game plan.
Fear not, here are some social media PR tactics you can start using straight away:
Consumer trust is at an all-time low. Considering the current climate, it’s surprising that consumer trust in social media influencers is on the up. With as many as 49% of consumers depending on influencer recommendations.
First off, let me define what an influencer is.
An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions because of his/her knowledge, authority position or relationship with their audience. These tastemakers are not just your run of the mill celebrity. They could also be:
Now let’s quickly clear up a common misconception. Influencer marketing more often than not falls under the umbrella of paid media. This is different to earned media, which is the end goal of PR.
What’s paid media?
Paid media is any form of advertising which is paid for directly. Therefore, when a company pays an influencer to plug their product, this is advertising via social media, rather than social media and public relations.
So while the bulk of influencer endorsements isn’t strictly social media public relations, interacting with social media influencers still serves a PR purpose. For example, you could gain retweets and shares of your content or even a guest posting spot on an influencer’s websites at no cost.
Social media can be invaluable when you’re looking to build relationships with different journalists. If you’re going to pitch to journalists before establishing any kind of relationship with them, you’ll often be knocked back.
However, using social media you can follow journalists from relevant industries and share and praise their work. This is something that’s only been made possible due to social media.
If you’re going down this route, remember to be polite and keep it personal. However, don’t start randomly liking their photos. That’s just straight-up creepy.
PR has long been a useful tool for companies needing to manage media backlash. In PR circles, this is referred to as ‘crisis management’. This is where PR professionals use their expertise and contacts within the press to quash negative coverage.
Yes, if you’re a fresh-faced new startup, it’s unlikely you’ve received much press – let alone experienced the media sharpening and aiming their pitchforks at you.
However, if this does happen, pr and social media gives you the opportunity to put out the fire yourself.
Previously, you would have had to send out a press release or write leaders to newspaper editors responding to the accusations. Now, social media allows you to share an official statement, blog post or press release across your channels.
Social media’s instant communication allows you to respond to your target audience in real-time.
This is great for a few things:
This two-way communication between you and your customers was previously limited. Therefore, this is rather revolutionary from a PR perspective.
Furthermore, it’s more evidence of the lines between PR, marketing and customer service becoming increasingly blurred due to social media.
PRO TIP: The speed of your response rate is very important. On Facebook, 85% of North American consumers expect a reply within six hours. This can be difficult if you don’t have a dedicated social media manager. We’d recommend you look into automated replies or a chatbot. This will buy you some time before replying personally.
Social media allows you to share your company announcements and news to your followers. Furthermore, if this is shared multiple times, your reach is even larger than that.
This is partially why some people believe that press releases are becoming obsolete.
While we don’t share that sentiment, we definitely believe that social media can be used alongside press releases in order to broadcast your news or events to more people.
Social media also allows you to invite people to events or conferences you are hosting or attending, too.
OK, so now you’ve seen some of the ways you can integrate social media into your PR efforts, we’re taking a deeper look at the 5 different social media channels:
Each social media platform can be used in its own unique way to assist in PR.
Here are some examples of how each of these channels can be used to add value to your PR plan:
After reading this, you’ll probably have a clearer vision of the social media channel best-suited to your PR strategy.
However, whichever one you think is the most aligned with your target audience, you should still aim to incorporate all of them as part of your marketing and PR strategy.
Social media is no longer an option for your PR efforts, it’s imperative.
With this in mind, we’d recommend that you consider some of the tips we’ve included in this social media PR guide and choose the channels that are best aligned with your target audience. And ensure you have a social media strategy that correlates with your PR goals, too.