Attending meetings, writing press releases, setting up interviews and keeping investors happy. In the busy life of a PR pro, should social media be a priority?
The answer is, absolutely! Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, almost three billion people are active social media users. Building your following on these platforms can be a powerful way to build a public profile, spark the right conversations around your brand, and provide a unique way to connect with customers on a personal level away from help desks.
Every day of the week calls for a new and creative way to design for social media. In this article, I’ll explore seven ways that successful brands engage their audiences on social media, and show some original design ideas for rewarding PR campaigns.
1. Create inspirational quote graphics
Inspiring your audience is an incredible way to fast-track your following. Why? People are more attracted to experiences than to buying products.
Take Apple for example. Its PR campaigns for new products never focus on the technology – phones, computers or tablets. Apple focuses on connecting the world and communicating in new and interesting ways. That’s the driver to buy its products.
Another brand that does this well on social media is Nike. Its Facebook page is filled with inspirational images, catch phrases and quotes – presenting its belief that exercise empowers a better way of life. Little to no reference about buying shoes.
When designing quote graphics, be as experimental as you like with your visual assets but make sure the message of your design is relevant and authentic. For example, the design below could be a great social media post to start the week for an entrepreneurial blog.
2. Design educational infographics
As well as being a tool for engagement, social media is one of the first places journalists and competitors look when researching your company or brand. This is a great opportunity to brag a little about the great things your company does by reinforcing its core values.
Fair Trade has adopted this approach on its Twitter page by designing educational graphics that give an insight into the way it helps the world. Tools like Canva make it easy to create on-brand graphics for social media. Note how the designs are consistently branded with the same colors, fonts and a clearly visible logo. This is like putting your brand fingerprint on your graphics.
3. Spark a positive conversation
Social media can be a double-edged sword for PR pros – it can do wonders for your public image or cause havoc, if people spark negative conversations.
Avoid this worst-case scenario by designing graphics that generate positive comments. Having social media pages filled with love from your customers is a wonderful thing for your public image, and priceless in terms of engaging new customers.
Lululemon Athletica does a great job of this on its Facebook page. The first graphic above was posted on Mothers’ Day and generates compassionate comments in line with brand culture. The second graphic takes social media design to the next level, prompting its fans to design a graphic that represents their dreams.
When designing your own graphics for a PR campaign, make sure you tap into the emotions of your fans as seen in these examples. This will get the positive energy flowing and fill your social media pages with glowing recommendations.
4. Promote your blog
In addition to an active social media presence, blogs are a great tool to build a brand narrative and generate high-value engagement. Blogs are much easier to publicize online, since you can link straight through to them via platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
Give your content the credit it deserves by accompanying your blog posts with beautiful graphics. If you’re directing your marketing or design team, make sure they use imagery and fonts that mirror the company values.
Lululemon Athletica also does this well. Note how its promotional posts feature nature based images, thin delicate fonts, and a dramatic photo filter. These visual assets marry up with its public image as health advocates and hone in on the interests of its target audience.
5. Share company insights
It hasn’t always been common practice for PR pros to be open about their company’s inside practices. But with new media technologies changing the way the public and journalists access information, many companies have quickly moved to adopt a policy of transparency.
Big brands like McDonald’s foster this approach by providing information on their website about their ingredients, meat sources and recycling practices. In the example below, McDonald’s has designed a Facebook graphic to direct people to this information.
In another example, Buffer has used an infographic to share an update about a new round of funding.
Since this kind of information is likely to be text heavy, designing an appealing social media graphic to hook people into the content is an effective strategy.
6. Cross promote social pages
Maintaining a social media presence for your brand or company means being active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram and possibly more! If a particular platform performs significant better than others – leverage this traffic to increase your overall following.
You can do this by creating a design that lets your followers know you’re active on other channels.
This is a great opportunity to get creative with your designs – notice here how the Twitter icon has been used to replace call-to-action text.
7. Thank your followers
Show your supporters that you appreciate their support by acknowledging milestones. This can be a great way to get your campaigns and company growth on the media’s radar, and show your followers that they’re part of your company’s growth.
Make sure these graphics are simple and concise, and share extra information in the text of your social media post.
If the goal of PR is to gain momentum for your company or brand, then designing for social media is an express ticket to success.
Your following on social media is an incredible asset for your public image. Spark the right kind of conversations around your brand by creating interesting and engaging social media posts.
How important is design in your current PR strategy? Are you active on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below.