social media & pr: a meeting of the mediums

Chances are, if your target market is living and human, then your target market is texting, Facebooking, and Googling. Digital and social don’t just apply to advertising. In recent years public relations has gotten with the program too. Customers DVR shows to fast forward through commercials, get their news from information streams instead of aired reports, and have turned their eyes from bus wraps and billboards, downward toward their smartphones’ glowing screens. To be effective, your story can’t stop at the newsstand. As a modern day PR professional, you must push it into the world of the interactive and engage customers to get them thinking and commenting, and eventually, talking and acting.

relating in real time

Real time relevancy gives PR pros the capability to influence the outcome of their story, event, or initiative at the drop of a hat. Traditionally, media pitches need to hit the wire way before an event or a big kick off. Reporters need to know what’s coming up, and to earn coverage, their story needs to fit the pitched publication’s premade agenda.

Social media gives PR professionals the opportunity to make their own agenda and get audiences in on the conversation. With social media, you become your own gatekeeper. Once you realize this, you can begin harnessing the power of social media strategy to communicate your client or organization’s bottom line objectives and get audiences acting now and into the future.

strategy saves the day

Just because everyone can do social media, doesn’t mean everyone CAN DO social media. There’s a strategy to using social media effectively and you need to use this tool just as you would any other: creatively, cost-efficiently, and pragmatically.

Just like good PR, good social media doesn’t come for free. It takes time, training, and research. Prepare to integrate social media to your future PR efforts by first analyzing:

  • Your Audience
  • Your Brand Persona
  • Your Corporate Objectives
  • Your Ideal Short-Term Impact
  • Your Ideal Long-Term Impact
  • Your Competition
  • Your Potential Brand Advocates/Partners
  • Successful Social Media Campaigns
  • Unsuccessful Social Media Campaigns
  • Social Media Management Tools & Platforms and how to use them

Social media is an investment, and as with all other PR, you must look before you leap. The items you will review are the same items you would review prior to launching a new PR initiative, just on a different landscape. They help reveal the content you need to produce, how you need to pitch it, to whom you should aim your messages, and when. And just as with a traditional campaign, without creating a well-thought out strategy based around those objectives, you may as well not bother acting at all.

Don’t let social media intimidate you. Look at it as a new ally instead of a new obstacle. There are plenty of PR workshops and independent shops that focus especially on social media and how to optimize traditional promotions for digital. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Accept and embrace the new way your target audience consumes media, before you allow your clients to get left behind.

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