Compared with public relations, social media is the new, cool kid on the block, and since the early 2000s has become a significant means of communication between brands and their audience.
These days, PR departments, regardless of the brand or organization, go to social media first to spread the latest information about services and products and gain the broadest coverage.
By aligning social media and PR, brands can boost engagement and keep customers aware of the latest developments.
In this article, you’ll see six tactics to help improve your social media public relations. We’ll also see examples of brands that have used some of these tactics.
How has Social Media Changed Public Relations?
Social media has completely changed the PR landscape. Press release has ceded the throne to the much younger, much more persuasive heir: social media.
Brands can now use different channels to communicate with consumers through social media. Whether through engaging posts on Facebook, Reels on Instagram, or Tweets on Twitter, brands can develop a personality that resonates with consumers and form a personal connection with their audience.
Unlike traditional PR methods, for example, press releases, social media allows consumers to interact with their favorite brands. This two-way communication street can be a massive advantage for brands that know how to use it.
Social media has allowed ordinary people to become influencers who can help brands promote products and services to specific audiences.
Brands can now work with bloggers, vloggers, experts, and more to create impactful PR campaigns.
Instead of creating the content by itself, a brand can leverage the creative powers of these influencers. Influencers with a large following are highly sought-after for obvious reasons. However, it’s vital to look past the follower count to see whether the influencer is suitable for the brand.
The internet never sleeps, which allows PR professionals to deliver news at any time, safe in the assurance that the message will reach consumers.
However, while the ability to reach consumers at any time is excellent, it also has its drawbacks in that PR messages have a shorter lifespan in the consumer's memory.
Consumers are in an endless mill of information, which challenges PR professionals to keep up. Bad reviews and news travel very quickly, so PR agents have to be proactive and nip such problems in the bud before it escalates.
How to Use Social Media for PR
How much does the typical PR campaign cost? $10000? $100000? $1000? You can get a PR campaign for these prices and even less — it only really matters how effective the campaign is.
So, how can you use social media for PR regardless of how much you’re spending? Here are some valuable tips to help you.
1. Add social share buttons to your message.
A super-easy way to use social media for PR is to add social sharing buttons to your message. For example, if you have a press release, you can add social sharing buttons to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
Adding these buttons allows consumers to share your press releases and do some of the legwork for you.
Additionally, you can embed social media links within the press release. It drives traffic and increases engagement.
2. Work with influencers.
One of the best ways to create PR for your brand is to partner with an influencer.
When choosing an influencer to become a brand ambassador, look for more than follower counts. You should want authentic coverage that hits on a personal note with actual people.
An influencer or ambassador must share, or even create, relatable, emotional, and personal content. The right influencer for your brand is just as concerned about delivering the content right for their audience as they are about doing good work for you (and getting the check).
Furthermore, when you cultivate an audience of people who genuinely love what you’re doing, you’re building a pool of loyal, engaged brand ambassadors who’ll stick with you not just because you’re paying them but because they truly feel connected to your product and are honored to be ambassadors with the brand.
3. Be consistent.
To get the best from using social media for PR, you need to be consistent. This consistency includes showing up with regular posts and interacting with consumers as soon as possible.
It also involves being consistent with your brand voice and tone. By being relatable, helpful, and valuable, you can build a social media presence that boosts your reputation.
4. Be proactive.
Adulation from social media is fickle, and those that praise you today can quickly turn on you and ‘cancel’ your brand.
Therefore, you must have a proactive crisis management system to handle the flames when they come. PR teams should take advantage of the ability to reply instantly and tackle crises as soon as they arise.
4. Create good relationships with the media.
PR professionals have always realized how meaningful a good relationship with media outlets and journalists can be. So, cultivate a good relationship with these essential parts of the industry. Having a good relationship with them will increase the chances of getting positive press with the right outlets.
You can kick off the relationship by sharing necessary, practical, and valuable information to extend conversations.
A note of warning: Spamming media houses, journalists, and even influencers with pitches and press releases can come off as annoying and disrespectful. Be professional and have some self-respect.
5. Take advantage of hashtags.
Hashtags are used on almost all social media channels, and you can use this tool to boost your PR campaign.
Hashtags offer the following advantages:
- Let you monitor the consumer conversation
- Engage your audience
- Direct the audience to the right content
Social Media Public Relations Campaign Examples
Hashtags can transform your PR campaign on social media, and LEGO is an excellent example of a brand that has used and still uses it.
The #RebuildTheWorld hashtag has been used for many years now to relate enjoyable, uplifting, and exciting stories about the brand.
2. Axis Bank
Social media is a powerful means brands and companies use to release the latest information. Incorporating social media into press releases is an excellent way to run a PR campaign.
Axis Bank used this method to good effect recently.
Today, many brands use social media to spread the word about their products and services. The brand feels more human and personal by getting C-level employees and other lower-level employees to talk about a brands’ products and services.
Foundation is a popular marketing agency with C-level employees who tweet and often write about its services.
Bridge The Gap Between Your Social Media and Public Relations
Gone are the days when dropping a press release and sending emails were all the PR department had to do to inform customers. Now, customers expect more from organizations and brands.
Using social media and your PR campaigns can improve customer engagement and build the positive press.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.