Digital technology and the ever-growing number of social networks have changed the world and how we communicate. Connecting with people has never been this accessible, and public relations professionals know this all too well as they use social media on a daily basis on behalf of their clients.
Social media has become part of the PR toolkit, and to help you navigate this useful tool, here is the PR manager’s guide to using social media effectively:
Listen to your audience through social media
Social media is based on conversations and connections. A good place to start when trying to use it to work for you is to listen. You need to be able to engage your audience, and to do that, you have to listen.
Whether you are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social network, you can only engage your audience effectively if you listen to them. This gives you more insight into who they are, what they want, and how they feel. When your audience notices that you listen to them, they are more likely to start trusting you and interacting with you, and this interaction will be more valuable to you than just gaining followers and likes.
Make the right connections
The use of social media can help you achieve the right connections with audiences, journalists, bloggers, and other influencers. Using social media to network is a great way to learn about how engagement works. You can also learn what content is likely to be picked up by which influencers and how it is shared – which can help you to generate story ideas.
Using social media is an ideal way to find and connect with the right audience for your campaigns, too. The audiences the influencers feed to can become your audiences as well.
Grasp the relevance of social media
While you may follow all the hot topics, and stay on top of the trending hashtags, it is also important to understand what social media relevance really means. Think of it this way: the social media platforms are the vehicles that transport your messages to your audience.
The content you provide on these platforms needs to be content that your audience values, and that triggers their interest. If you do this, you will have engagement from your audience, you will be able to learn more about them, and you will be able to use social media to continue providing content that is relevant and engaging to them.
Connecting personally via social media means that you are fusing the technological connection with the emotional connection.
Master the tools
Successful PR gurus know that living and working in the digital age means that mastering the tools is a crucial part of the job. The online environment is a mighty force, and in order to make the most of its power, you need to ensure that your virtual toolbox is packed with all the right tools – from tools that help you launch your social media campaigns, to those that help you measure the engagement and success of those campaigns.
A secondary part to this is knowing which social media networks work best for what. Vertical Response lists three examples of how you can use different social platforms for different outcomes:
“Builds brand loyalty and reputation. Establishes your business as an authority through interesting content and informational posts.” [Source]
“Shares breaking news and quick updates, promotes new products, content, or brand contests, collects instant feedback from your audience.” [Source]
“Acts as an online scrapbook, showcases products, and displays brand essence through inspiration boards.” [Source]
The growth and popularity of social media forms part of everyday life for individuals and businesses. It is important to understand what you want from these platforms and to find the best way to use them to reach your audience. It all starts with listening to what the audience wants, networking with the right people, knowing how to use the tools, and figuring out which tools to use for what. With this formula, you can let your inner PR guru shine!
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