Social media has become the new arena for PR. And the characteristics of social media, which continue to evolve as users shape it, are changing the way we are doing PR. Expect the PR landscape to shift and change quickly. If you don’t keep up, you’ll get lost.
Social media is changing the way we connect with journalists, as well as our prospects and customers. It’s placing new demands on companies and PR professionals — demands that require new skills and expertise. In some ways, PR is getting easier because of social media. But in other ways, it’s also becoming unfamiliar, strange, and even scary.
In this post, I’d like to point you towards several key ways our PR work will change this year, as we harness social media for PR.
5 PR Shifts To Make In 2012
1. Learn how to pitch on Twitter and other social networks
Traditionally, we used and relied on the media pitch to capture a journalist’s attention. Our pitches came in the form of an email, fax or phone call script.
The media pitch as we know it may be approaching its demise. In its place, you need to learn how to pitch to journalists and editor on Twitter and other social networks. Can you pitch a story in under 140 characters?
You can bet this changes the way we approach journalists, develop and nurture relationships with them, and pitch to them. Social media make it easy to connect with media, but it also makes it easy to turn them off. We’ll have more on tips about this in future posts.
2. Leverage Google+
When Google launched it social networking platform, many business owners and marketers whined, “No, not ANOTHER social network!”
But we can not ignore Google+. It now has 62 million users and is predicted to have over 400 million users by end of 2012!
Aside from the huge audience you can reach on Google+, it’s important to remember that Google is still the largest search engine, and it’s definitely flexing this muscle to make Google+ THE place to be. with “Search plus Your World,” Google search results can now generate personalized results for you, if you’re a Google+ member. These personalized results are sourced from Google+ content (posts, photos, etc) shared with you, to the exclusion of content from Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.
Late last year, Google+ allowed companies to create their business profiles. If you haven’t created one yet for your business, it’s probably time you did.
3. Use the right metrics to show PR’s effect on prospect generation, conversion, and revenue
Social media can help us measure the impact of our PR efforts, so we now have no reason to get stuck with measuring outputs. The better we can tie our PR efforts to our company’s bottom line, the better buy-in we can get from the C-suite. Read this recent post on PR metrics for some useful tips.
4. Become a publisher
Social media allows us to bypass traditional media outlets and reach out to our target market directly. Your company’s blog and everything else you post on your social network accounts are all content you control. Think less about putting out content that pitches your products and services, and more about what kind of content your target market is actively searching for, will use, and will share.
5. Be willing to lose control of PR and branding
You can no longer control what gets said about your company, products, and employees. In fact, think of everyone, from your rank employees to your CEO, as a spokesperson. Your prospects want to know the people behind the product, so let your people be themselves online. Some tech companies let their engineers blog, with great results in terms of increased web traffic, engagement with prospects, lead generation, and thought leadership.
And don’t forget your customers. They will tweet or post a Facebook photo about your product, and there’s nothing you can do about it — except listen and be responsive (not defensive).
This means you must get comfortable about relinquishing some control to others, while still keeping your pulse on what’s being said about you. Having a social media policy in place will help ease the transition into more democratic content creation.
Are You Ready for Social Media PR in 2012?
The immediacy, interactivity, and viral features of social media are now spilling over into PR. How are you preparing yourself and your company to ride this change and even make the most of it?
What aspects of social media PR are you anxious about? What aspects excite you?
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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