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Social Media PR Hacking: Your Questions Answered

Ian Greenleigh - Social Media PR HackingIan Greenleigh showed attendees of his Vocus webinar how to use social media side doors to “hack” publicity, including a way to target influencers using Facebook ads.

A bevy of questions about social media PR hacking came in during the presentation – too many to answer – so Ian kindly followed up on three of the best.

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Laura asks: How is it possible for a journalist to sift through the thousands of tweets they receive and find my valuable info or pitch?

Ian: The typical journalist doesn’t receive thousands of tweets on a daily basis. Anderson Cooper, certainly one of the most visible journalists in the U.S., has been mentioned 271 times in the 24 hours prior to my writing this (excluding retweets). Most journalists are dealing with far less inbound activity.

Some of it boils down to heuristics, the mental shortcuts all humans use to classify things and make choices. Does your Twitter profile project credibility? Is your photo professional? Are you following him or her so they can privately DM you?

The text of the tweet needs to stand out. Try to peg it to something he or she has tweeted or recently said on air. Use personable, direct language. This is especially important because many competing @mentions are passive, such as observations about the journalist’s work that aren’t meant to trigger replies (e.g., “@andersoncooper has an interesting show tonight”).

Heidi asks: Why not an email followed up by a phone call?

Ian: If that’s working for you, there’s no reason to stop. But it’s easier to stand out where you have the least competition, and where reporters aren’t as used to getting pitched.

Credibility and name recognition are transferable. I think phone calls and emails are great for long-form and later-stage communication, but every time you bring value to a journalist through social channels, the chances increase that he or she will open that email or take that follow up call.

That’s what being three-dimensional is all about. Starting out, this person is completely unaware of you—a blank canvas where his or her mental image of you should be. Then you engage via one medium, and this person forms a kind of mental outline of who you are, but it’s still easy to ignore. Every additional engagement, especially those that happen on new channels, fills in detail to that sketch.

Social Media PR Hacking - Becoming a Resource

This interaction may lead to future PR opportunities for Ian.

Keep it up, and this person will have a 3-D model of you in his or her head. You’re not just that person that tweeted at them once; you’re that person that gave them the interesting angle on the story over Twitter, then sent additional information over email, and invited you to connect on LinkedIn a week later. Every additional dimension makes you harder to ignore.

Vicki asks: What if you are new to your industry, and don’t have a lot of press, video etc. to establish an Embassy of  You?

Ian: Start with what you have, and focus on the social proof that you have most of. Think of it as an iterative project.

If you don’t have any video clips, for example, add them whenever you do, in version 2 or 3. But you have to start with something.

Also, look for analogous proof. What I mean by that is content that would demonstrate similar skills and credibility as content you lack at present. So, continuing the video analogy, maybe you don’t have a clip of yourself on TV (I sure don’t), but you have clips of speaking engagements you’ve done. Or, better yet, record yourself talking about the topic for which you’re trying to establish credibility and post that video in your Embassy to show that you’re comfortable in front of a camera.

Ready to engage journalists on social? The Vocus Marketing Suite has you covered!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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