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April 22, 2019

The Importance of Social Media in Public Relations

Guest Blog by Camille McClane

 

Public relations, like all other types of communication, needs a medium.

For many years the media was simple: Word of mouth, the newspaper, phone calls and the occasional public forum. Not only has social media upended those platforms, but they now depend heavily on social media for their distribution.

Additionally, the use of social media as a PR tool is far more complex and effective than previous systems.

The connectedness and the speed with which the Internet makes information available has given those who work in PR far more platforms and methods by which to reach their target audience and the public at large.

Now the task is to understand which mediums to target and how to effectively use them.

pr keyboard

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Understanding Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

Social media has grown to the point where there are more than just a few options available, with each platform having its own strengths and weaknesses that a smart PR representative will know how to optimize.

Twitter and Facebook are still primary, covering a broad range of people and age groups.

But if you can narrow down your target audience, you might want to consider targeting different social media platform based on the following factors:

  • The age range of your audience.
  • The shared interests of your audience.
  • Where your audience spends the bulk of their time online.

A lot of this will depend on what you know about the people you’re trying to target; so it stands to reason that the more you know and the better you understand them, the more productive and efficient you can be in terms of which social media accounts to use.

SM user ages

Image Courtesy of http://optimiseblog.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ukstats3-550×507.png

When You Should and Should Not Use Certain Platforms

For example, if you’re targeting middle aged folks in the business community, LinkedIn might be a better focus than Google+. At the same time, if you’re targeting a female audience primarily in their 20s and 30s, Pinterest might be a better choice.

You simply can’t target all of the social media platforms in existence. There are just too many of them, so you’re way better off figuring out which demographic you’re targeting and communicate with that audience on their preferred platform.

Besides, you wouldn’t want to target all social media platforms if you have a specific audience in mind, because as the graphs show us, different people tend to congregate within different platforms.

It may take time to narrow down your targeted audience, but in the long run it will make your marketing more effective.

What Platform for What Brand?

If you’re working for a particular brand, you need to be aware of not only an optimal platform choice, but also be ready and able to choose the correct tools within each platform.

For example, do you need to use Facebook ads or simply status updates on a fan page? How about StumbleUpon campaigns or conventional curating?

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/campalyst-infographic-facebook.png

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/campalyst-infographic-facebook.png

A more obvious way to answer that question is whether or not the company you’re doing PR for (yours or someone else’s) has money in the budget to spend on advertising and social media. If not, then ads quickly become a poor suggestion, but this is something that needs to be established up front so you know your options.

Determining if a particular brand can utilize a platform should consider the following:

  • Does the brand have a preexisting, established presence on certain social media accounts?
  • Does the company intend to spend money on the campaign?
  • Where does the brand’s typical audience tend to congregate?
  • The brand’s reputation (Organic business methods, personal, known for their blog, etc.).

The Importance of Strategy

PR campaigns certainly involve an element of luck, but a good campaign manager knows how to plan, strategize and set themselves up to have the best luck possible. Make sure that you don’t leave things to chance but take the time to understand the basics of your brand and target audience, in order to roll out the optimal social media PR strategy.

camilleCamille McClane is a content creator and marketer who enjoys blogging in her spare time. She particularly enjoys writing about social media, infographic design and online marketing.

 

Where PR and Technology Meet

picture-9There is no question that technology has changed the PR and marketing industry. Over the past twenty or so years, we’ve seen the emergence of email (does anyone remember snail mailing photos and slides with your press releases?), websites, social media, smart phones and mobile apps. We are dispersing and receiving information on multiple platforms like layers of an onion.

Many firms are diverting more of their budgets to content marketing, and the PR industry is perfectly poised for this method. The bread and butter of public relations is earned media. Earned media is content driven and traditional marketing activities do still work – in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, direct mail and networking – for the widest possible reach to all demographics.

Social media is not a replacement for traditional marketing tactics, however it is a critical component of an effective marketing strategy. In fact, social media works best when combined with other marketing activities. Using your traditional media to direct listeners, readers and viewers to digital marketing platforms like a blog or a Facebook page is an effective way to deliver content. You then have the challenge of engaging that audience and developing your online community.

Next up: Know your online community. Where are they? How do they want to be reached? – stay tuned!

Making Social Work for Your Website

Guest Blog by David Cavalieri

text bubbles from computerAn online presence is a permanent, expected fixture of a reputable brand and the power of a robust website must not be overlooked. The virtual side of the organization defines the direction, atmosphere, and foundation and enables it to flourish. With the integration of well-developed content, appropriate social networks, and the cross-pollination of ideas by captivated users your virtual presence will magnify and differentiate your brand.

The Website:

It’s a requirement in today’s business world and acts as the quintessential indicator of an accomplished and well-polished organization. However, aesthetics are only skin deep and the message and content portrayed must match the company’s model, style, and culture. Pretending to be someone you are not will only create angst amongst your clients while return business and referrals will suffer. Describe who you are – are you corporate; powerful, yet friendly; inviting; or just downright spunky? Let the world know! People today have increasingly shorter attention spans than in years past and never-ending streams of text might as well be showing them the door – well, at least a revolving door. Be concise with your ideas and get ready for an entirely social world.

social funnel

Getting Social:

Social media, though extremely important to many, isn’t appropriate for all companies and marketing techniques. Determining its role in your company is a vital step in planning your digital presence (the nitty gritty of which will be coming in a future blog, so stay tuned!). So whichever platforms you choose for your business, at the end of the day you need to find a way to tie all of this back in to the website you just gave your sweat and tears to.

The Blending of Ideas:

The goal of marketing is not only to garner the most fans and popularity, but also to keep customers involved and repeatedly coming through the door. Many social platforms have widgets and pieces of code (check in with your web developer if you need to!) to embed into your website and add ways to “Like” your profile or individual pages of your website directly, share the most recent Tweet in a live feed, or present your latest board’s pins as a photo gallery. Comments flow from one platform to the next, content is shared from the most dedicated of fans, and that revolving door will simply become an open door.

Blend the line between website and social media, be creative whenever possible, find a way for users to seamlessly use your website and interact with your social platforms. Comments, ideas, and creativity will flourish and the customers themselves will boost the greatest marketing tactic of them all – the word of mouth.

 

 

Reaching a Multi-generational Demographic:

This is the final installment of the three-part series, “Integrating Social and Traditional Media for an Effective PR Campaign.”

The tools: We are often asked why we need to integrate our Marketing with traditional as well as “New Media” – online advertising, Social Media, blogs and websites. We have to take into consideration a variety of audiences. While some people routinely gather information through television news casts, radio and the daily newspaper, many others rely on their lap tops and smart phones to get their news “fix”.

The message: It is also important to consider your target audience’s age when developing your message. You have The Silent Generation, age 65 and older, The Baby Boomers, age 45-64, Generation X, age 30-44, and Generation Y or The Millennial Generation, age 20-29. Every generation has had a different life experience and communicates differently, so you need to create messages that resonate with your target generation/s. You can’t take a “one size fits all” approach.


Our Changing Media Industry – The Demise of the Newspaper:

This is the second installment of a the three-part series, “Integrating Social and Traditional Media for an Effective PR Campaign.”

Newspapers seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs. Small, hyper-local community publications are struggling to attract advertisers and many were shuttered during the recent economic downturn. In the greater Washington DC area we witnessed the demise of the Baltimore Examiner, the No. VA Observer Newspapers, and the absorption of the Loudoun Independent in the past year. Those that survived were consolidated – The Times Community Newspapers became the Fairfax Times – or are shrinking in size. The larger publications, like The Washing Post and the Baltimore Sun, are hanging in there, but have retired the majority of their senior editorial staff and eliminated entire news departments.

Even under these conditions, print advertising is still expensive and not responding to the lack of demand. And, as the editorial “real estate” shrinks with the size of the papers, there is less room to get your message in print. The one advantage to this is that with fewer journalists having to cover a broader range of news, we often see our press release copy duplicated in print verbatim.


The Changing Media Scene in an Internet Generation

This is the first installment of a new three-part series, “Integrating Social and Traditional Media for an Effective PR Campaign.”

For those of us who launched our Marketing careers before the advent of Websites and interactive Social Media tools, traditional media – radio, television and print – were the bread and butter of the trade. Today, with the economic realities of traditional media and the need to reach multi-generational audiences, an integrated campaign is essential.

In upcoming posts, I’d like to talk about our changing media industry, how reach a multi-generational demographic, what alternative or New Media means, why you should use social media, and the basics of building online ad campaigns.