When you think about the “toolkit” of public relations you often think of press releases, working with the media, crafting a speech, and more. What too many people overlook is an essential tool for PR is social media. Many small businesses question whether social media is actually worth their time and money.
Let me explain why it is. In 2012, 34 percent of medium-sized companies and 27 percent of small businesses were using social media. This is up 10 percent from 2011, and it is going to only rise every year. Why are so many companies turning to social media? Because they are seeing a growth in their return on investment. At Ogden Peak Communications, we trust social media as a fundamental part of PR for a variety of reasons:
1. To increase awareness and loyalty of the brand. You want to figure out ways to turn customers into fans. One example would be to use Twitter for giveaways and promotions and monitoring Twitter conversations to target bag-buying customers.
2. Social media gives you the opportunity to share stories beyond just what goes into a press release while giving your customers the chance to market your product for you.
3. Social media drives authenticity. Many companies and political figures have embraced social media to create their own personality and voice for their audience. People seem to respond best to an authentic voice over Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.
4. To engage with customers and clients. The most successful PR pros focus on creating active relationships and truly engaging with their customers (or constituents) to have a real conversation. It isn’t about just putting a PR pitch on Twitter or Facebook; it’s about using the platforms in ways that help clients to connect.
Now, you might be wondering how to measure the effectiveness of different social media approaches as they relate to PR. Here are a few of our favorite tools for tracking social media results in our work as PR specialists:
By: Mandie Barnes