Social media can be like a “secret sauce” for public relations programs. Even if it’s not the main ingredient, it adds flavor and power to a traditional program. The key is integration. Here are some simple steps for extending a PR campaign through social media.
Define your goals. At times companies feel pressed to make a deeper commitment to social media, yet they haven’t identified their objectives. Do you want to drive and monetize traffic to a website? Enhance reputation? Get the attention of influentials? Each will inform a different set of metrics, as detailed by measurement expert K.D. Paine.
Start by listening. Sure, you’re already using tools to monitor the conversation if your brand is being discussed. What if it’s off the social radar? There are relevant industry issues, trends or competitive activity that can help inform a strategy. Sometimes what you learn can even translate into quick visibility. A Google Alerts for your industry’s hot topics can help identify the right bloggers and media, and it might also let you jump on breaking news with your own commentary or content.
Join the conversation. Even if you have a robust content marketing program, one of the easiest ways to attract more views is to become a member of relevant online communities. All it takes is time and continuity.
Optimize your PR content. Don’t forget to enhance press releases. Use more video and images; it serves two needs by being more searchable and more compelling to journalists and bloggers.
Build new relationships with social platforms. Twitter, with its liberal follow model, is unbeatable as a social tool for reaching influential media and analysts. Check out Muck Rack, which organizes all journalists on Twitter into “beats,” build your own lists, or join relevant Twibes to engage users. You can also use relevant LinkedIn discussion groups, or start your own.
Create more content. Of course, creating content is where many programs stall. If a corporate opinion blog is too much to take on, consider aggregating industry trends or issues once a week, linking and giving credit to other sources. Or, set a goal of commenting weekly on industry blogs. If that’s too much, arrange to guest blog for a trade publication or content site on a regular basis.
Reuse, recycle, repurpose. Remember that an industry speech can be easily converted to a bylined article for a trade or business publication, which can then be republished as a blog post. In some cases, all you need do is shorten or reformat, and add a topical lead.
Anticipate feedback. The “command and control” messaging days are gone. Socialized news announcements and content will attract public feedback. Have a plan for responding to engaged users, and be ready with a fully “socialized” issues and crisis plan if your brand is vulnerable.
An earlier version of this post appeared on the Marketing Executives Networking Group’s MENGBlend blog.