Deploying Social Media In Public Relations

Are you sending out press releases and waiting for the media to write about you? Are you wondering how you can integrate social media with public relations? As professional PR experts, these among other things are involved in our daily tasks.
Instead of waiting for the media to write their story, as organizations media eyes and mouth piece, share those stories via social media platforms. More especially, those platforms activities are coordinated by you. Try these few thoughts of mine.

1.    Include social sharing
If you need to write a press release, find a way to support and extend the message via social sharing.
In Nigeria and worldwide today, keep in mind that journalists rely heavily on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and other platforms to source and research stories. When you share your story socially, you are meeting them where they are instead of interrupting them in their inbox.
For example, a story about a charitable contribution would translate very well to video (building up your YouTube channel). Short video messages appeal more to audiences.
Or you can share data via an infographic that fans can pin, tweet and share from your blog or Facebook.

2.    Create social campaigns around customer case studies
Most PR teams create customer case studies to highlight successes and build credibility. This is a powerful tool in conventional PR.
While some customers’ stories make good write-ups, most people aren’t willing to invest the time to read long-form articles. Instead of sharing the full case study on social media, pick out the key facts from the client’s success story and highlight those across the board.
Many stories are actually more powerful when told through the right social channel. For example, if a service company uses video to share a story about how their service is making a difference in people’s lives.
The next time you’re gathering customer testimonials and writing case studies, interview your customers on-camera. You can share the video on YouTube and choose the best quotes to share on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Infographics have become a popular way to share data—people are drawn more to images than text. Take some key metrics from your customer interview and rework them as an infographic others can share on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
3.    Publish on LinkedIn
When CEOs or other executives actively engage with professional colleagues and customers, they are playing an important role in building trust with key stakeholders. Yet only a handful of CEOs are active on social platforms. This needs to change though.
LinkedIn is a good place to start because it’s the leading social platform for professional networking. Since it now offers a publishing platform, you or your executives can share content quickly and know you are reaching the right audience.

4.    Offer expert opinions in real time
As industry-related stories break, social media offers the prime way for you to offer expert commentary and make an immediate impact on your audience. If you wait for a press release to make the rounds, you’ll likely miss your opportunity.
For example, when a government database is hacked or a major story about stolen credit card numbers breaks, security companies react swiftly on all social fronts. By helping others understand the situation and offering advice, they’re positioning themselves as experts, as well as drawing attention to their product or service. This does not only reaffirm their credibility, it also positions such organization as industry thought leader.
Before you connect yourself with specific events in your industry, assess each opportunity as it arises and have a plan in place for when and how you will respond to certain situations.
In the case of breaking news, proceed with caution to ensure that you are adding value to the conversation and not being completely self-serving or trying to capitalize on a tragedy.