In Part 1, M2.0 Communications explained why public relations and social media should be integrated. We continue the article with how the integration leads to success.
Consumers are now spending more time with online media than they are with traditional forms of media. Our smartphones are always at arm's length away and have become our go-to devices for news, entertainment, and social networking.
It is clear that the consumer has changed and the marketing approach needs to change too.
Everything is becoming integrated but many companies are still stuck in the belief that social media and public relations are separate marketing strategies. As a result, they're losing out on important opportunities to build their brands, and create advocacy and customer loyalty through the power of effective PR-social integration.
Here are five ways to ensure you maximize your PR and social media campaigns through an integrated approach:
1. Make sure your PR agency has social media capabilities and vice versa
Many times, companies think that social media and public relations are two different functions. This leads them to work with agencies that do not understand the power that comes from the full integration of these two platforms.
Splitting social media from PR and approaching it as two different strategies prevents business communicators from using their stories to the fullest. Social media is a natural extension of PR, as effective PR is not about blatantly selling to consumers, but providing interesting editorial content to your audiences. Social media falls into this bucket more than anything else and thus needs to be an integrated part of the PR strategy.
2. Having sharp digital expertise will help you get the most out of your blogger and influencer partnerships
Bloggers and social influencers have become increasingly digital savvy and brands need to work with agencies that know which bloggers get the biggest reach and ROI, and effectively target the same audiences as your brand.
One of the most powerful tools we use for our clients is the integration of social media campaigns with blogger outreach. Bloggers review our clients' products on their own social media platforms, which are then amplified on our clients' social media.
Knowing how to strategically leverage bloggers and the content they create to get maximum exposure can really help grow a brand in an organic and effective manner.
3. Like a good pitch, the social story needs to be short and powerful
Your message will stay with your fans if it is short and powerful. Do not bore your audience with long, overdrawn posts. Readers access social media sites in different screens, which means their attention is split between several things all at once. Grab their attention with succinct, relevant, and interesting content that is easy and quick to grasp.
Consumers are scanning posts in the same way that they are glancing at billboard ads while driving. They will pay attention when the post grabs their attention and are not necessarily selling them something in a very on-the-nose way.
Be very careful when you choose your content and make sure not to overwhelm your fans with over-posting and over-messaging. Make your brand synonymous with high-quality content that a follower will look forward to reading. Readers are turned off by banal, uninteresting information in traditional media; the social media audience is the same. They are tough customers and deserve top-quality content.
4. Strategies should complement, not compete, with each other
When you're delivering a message to your customers and to the public, you need to have a PR campaign that is in sync with a strategic social media plan so they reinforce each other to maximize your exposure.
When developing plans for the year ahead, a brand's social and PR strategy should be developed in an integrated way in view of specific business goals. Social media has become an extension of PR and is no longer a separate platform that can be handled in isolation.
5. Be patient
PR and social media are not quick fixes but long-term strategies within your marketing mix. While it's true that technology moves fast, it can take from four to six months for a campaign to reach maturity, the same as building relationships from introduction to forming loyalty. Customer engagement happens over time – it builds, and you can't be as effective in two months as you can be in six.
It's important to work with agencies that have a great track record in building brands over time, because they understand the value of long-term campaigns that can deepen brand perception.
In general, the integration of social media and public relations can be an amazing tool to propel your brand forward. By integrating PR with social media, you're creating a path for your customers to interact with the brand and you're engaging them where they are. You gain the ability to reiterate your message across different platforms. When you start doing that, you'll be blown away by how effective it can be.
What happens when these methods combine? Read examples of PR-social media magic in Part 3.