As I talked about in my recent blog Social Media for PR, each social media platform can be used separately or together to improve the impact of PR activity. That blog post was already hitting a five-minute read, so I saved the best bit for another post! Here are the top social media platforms and some examples of how they can be used as part of your PR strategy, especially if you're a solopreneur or small business masterminding this in-house.
LinkedIn – The most professional of all the social platforms, LinkedIn is great for connecting with people, especially influencers, journalists and freelance writers. When you use LinkedIn regularly it will reward you with a clear development of industry insight and give you a good insight into wider topics of information that are relevant to your business. It's a great tool for blogging and if you switch between company page and personal posts you stand to have your content read by a wide, and growing, audience.
Facebook – This is the place to hang out if your company or brand is conversational. You can use Facebook private groups to connect to fans and build tribes of enthusiasts that love the space your business operates in. And you can use call to action buttons for donations and pledging and targeted audiences for sponsored posts that may assist your PR activities.
Twitter – This is a fast-moving platform that has been dominated by political and celebrity chat in recent years. But Twitter remains the best way to send a quick message about a new launch, activity, and promotion or to provide any kind of update - and to engage with the press.
Instagram – If you want to engage with your audience, evaluate how quickly - and how - people respond to your visual content, this platform is one that your business needs to get to grips with. Visuals are excellent for showcasing worthy causes and Stories are the perfect place to test content (they disappear after 24 hours) and tell the stories about the people behind the business and to show customers what happens behind the scenes.
Social media and CSR
Social media marketing and PR can be used together or separately as part of a social impact strategy. Those using the tools for corporate social responsibility or social impact programs will find they help with PR in many different and impactful ways. And the always-on and free-to-access ethos of social media means that audiences can be found and replicated globally, not just locally or nationally. The positive impact to the bottom line of using PR and social media together is particularly relevant to this third sector work.
Hashtag campaigns on Facebook and Twitter can use social media and PR for social impact. They can be used to raise awareness about a cause, garner contributions or measure visibility among different audiences.
The way that we use social media as businesses or comms professionals is changing, just as the way that different audiences are adapting their behaviour within and across the various social channels is changing, too. Not only is social media here to stay, it will only evolve further. But PR, too, must also evolve if we are to continue to see the biggest rewards for their effort and investment. We need to think more clearly about the messages that appear in all our comms and if we want to maintain the trust we have worked so hard to build with our audience and our customers, we need to remember that they will see us wherever we happen to be - so consistency of tone of voice and message has never been more important.
Read my first post about Social Media for PR here.