Before social media, there was public relations…
With the ever-increasing acceleration in the use of social media for real-time engagement between brands and consumers, public relations is frequently relegated to the metaphorical dustbin of, “…we’ll just write a press release…”
But, don’t be so quick to dismiss the value of PR: while platforms have changed, the basic tenants of good PR – and how it supports a brand’s objectives – still apply.
What essential strategies of effective PR should you apply to your social media campaigns to increase your brand’s credibility?
1. PR should never be a one-off effort
An effective PR campaign is a never-ending effort to continuously place your brand in front of its audience in a way that is both responsible and of value to that audience. At its core, it’s so much more than media relations: it’s an integrated tactical campaign that embraces public speaking, newsletters, awards submissions, contests and promotions, special events, annual reports and so much more. In other words, meeting your consumer everywhere they want to be met, in the way they want to be met.
2. PR provides information consumers can use
The whole point of the exercise is to position your brand as a resource for information your audience cares about, regardless of the medium.
3. PR solicits and obtains the holy grail of credibility
The third party editorial endorsement: Or, in today’s terms, “earned media.” At its core, effective PR means identifying a story of interest that unbiased journalists or other content providers believe will be of value to their consumers. Unlike advertising, (or “paid” media,) that third-party endorsement is not available for purchase: the messaging has to stand on its own merits.
4. PR facilitates peer-to-peer referrals
The old maxim goes, “have a good experience, and you’ll tell one or two people; have a bad one, and you’ll tell 20.” Yelp, Twitter and Facebook, just to name a few, have absolutely upended that maxim: social media platforms give anyone a megaphone on which to trumpet their opinion – good or bad. Conversely, that means you can also promote your client’s testimonials both on your “owned media,” i.e. newsletters, blogs and website – as well as on those same social media platforms.
5. PR enables reputation management
Long called “crisis communications,” effective reputation management requires an immediate, honest and sincere response from a respected spokesperson. “Social listening” enables a real-time response so your brand can stay ahead of the curve.
6. PR is consistent in its messaging
Tell your audience what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Repeat as necessary across channels and platforms.
7. In PR, you never get a second chance to make a first impression
Treat each interaction with your brand’s audience as if it were the first: if you are doing it right, it will be as your audience continues to grow.