Social Media Won’t Save Your PR
Social media is a vital component of a thriving PR program, but it won’t save that program. It isn’t a strategy. It’s a tool, a tactic, an activity.
At its core, social media can’t scale quickly enough. If you want to get your message to more of the right people at the right time, you can’t rely solely on Twitter or Facebook.
Some social media software can help with scalability and distribution, but, to be truly successful, you’ll need a tool more along the lines of marketing automation. With it, you can keep track of media contacts and audiences, schedule social updates, and measure your success.
Social media is great for engagement. You can interact with reporters, journalists, bloggers and influencers. You can talk with customers.
If you have a large team, you might be able to engage via the actual networks, but that can produce a new problem: silos. How do you keep track of what different team members are doing if they’re all off answering customer complaints on Facebook or delivering timely content to reporters on Twitter?
If you’re a small team or an individual, engaging on all the channels where your audiences are is impossible. You have to decide where you’ll engage, which is good. You don’t need to be everywhere to make the most impact. You just need to be where the majority of your target audience is.
Regardless of your team’s size, you’ll eventually encounter problems of scale, not to mention efficiency and productivity. You can’t get all your work done if you’re constantly monitoring social media and engaging in conversation. You have to automate some of your social media if you’re to create and share content that matters.
PR is increasingly becoming a numbers game. It has to if it’s to compete with marketing and Ad Tech. That means social media mentions and upticks in interest aren’t going to satisfy your CEO indefinitely. He or she is going to want to see a report that shows measurable results in addition to gains in awareness and engagement.
Social media can be difficult to track, and you’ll need to turn to tools like Google Universal Analytics and Google Trends to show real impact. Those tools can show how visits to your site increase during certain events, where people spend the majority of their time after landing on your site, and what actions they take.
Social media and Google’s tools can still leave you with a slightly fuzzy picture. To sharpen it, you’ll have to consider automation and distribution software. It can fill in some of the gaps and allow you to track your efforts on large and small scales. For instance, you can observe how your social media activities fare with a specific segment of influencers or with your key target audience.
What are your thoughts on social media and PR?
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