Using Social Media As A PR Tool

by David White Edit Agency Ltd.

The opportunity presented to brands by the growth of Social Media as a PR tool is hugely exciting as a marketer.

Social Media is no longer just about sharing what you’ve had for breakfast. Brands need to be aware of how they can take advantage of this increase in customer touch points to best promote their product.

Conversation Prism details this in their 2013 report, offering a breakdown of the different Social Media networks used across a number of sectors.

The report outlines all of the current social networking tools into key categories segmented by; Brand, Community and Persona – and is a great place to start when looking at where you should be spending your time as a marketer.

This huge variety in social networks, and the rapid expansion of this as a market, shows that consumers are shifting their behaviour and the ways that they interact with the media.

To add insult to injury, journalists are now changing the way they create news articles because of Social Media.

Recent Facebook updates mean that publishers are no longer gaining the same amount of traffic from their social efforts, so are beginning to look for replacement social channels.

What Does Social Media Growth Mean For Brands?

As marketers this opens up a variety of new opportunities for us to leverage Social Media to our advantage:

Follow The Conversation And Base Your PR Campaigns On Real Conversations

Social listening is one of the best ways to find out what the location and interests of your customers are.

As an agency we use a number of tools including Linkfluence and Buzzsumo which allow us to monitor the conversations of our client’s key target audiences. The data is then used to build PR campaigns around the interests that the target audience frequently post about on Social Media.

See Who’s Talking

Social listening also allows you to find the journalists who are most regularly talking about your industry, or chosen topic. Information like this is hugely beneficial.

Once you have the idea for your campaign, you know exactly who you should be sending this information to. BuzzStream is a great tool for helping you to find this information.

Audit The Results

The best possible resources for monitoring potential customer engagement are your own social networks.

Look at what content does well, and what does not.

Then, work on creating content that actually engages with the interests of your audience, rather than just offering them freebies and competitions.

Give Customers What They’re Looking For!

We use a number of tools which canvas Social Media. These tools establish exactly what questions customers are asking around a specific topic or area.

For example, if someone is looking to buy a house there’s a huge amount of uncertainty out there, and social media reflects this.

This kind of content is incredibly useful. You can use your campaign as an opportunity to capitalise on this lack of knowledge. And to create an asset that answers these questions.

In doing so, you know you’re being useful and answering the needs of your consumers. As well as having the confidence that what you’re putting out there will actually resonate with your target demographic.

Tools such as SEMrush and Ask the Public can be used to do this.

Focus On The Results

Make sure ahead of this that you’re focusing on the real KPIs. Brand objectives in these kinds of campaigns have to be focussed around the metrics that deliver real ROI (leads, sales and website traffic).

The rapid growth of social media has considerably affected consumer behaviour, particularly the way we interact with brands and media.

However, there are huge gains to be made for brands. As marketers we have unprecedented access to what the consumer is really thinking. This data is invaluable for informing PR strategies that will resonate and ultimately deliver that all important ROI.

Edit will be discussing how social media can support your PR Campaigns at our Digital Marketing Summit on Thursday 25 October. For more information view the full agenda here.