Public relations nowadays needs to include the Internet, more specifically, social media. Consider these statistics:
- Four out of every 10 Americans read blogs, according to a study by Synovate/MarketingDaily.
- There are 500 million Facebook accounts
- An estimated 75 million users are on Twitter, with 10 – 15 million actively using it
Social media has become a very powerful frontier for PR–one that is easier, faster and cheaper to permeate than traditional media.
That said, figuring out social media, getting involved, building and sustaining relationships sure can take up a lot of our time. Too much time, in fact, especially when we get into it without a strategy.
Here are seven questions I ask my PR students and clients, to help them craft a doable and effective social media PR strategy:
What do you want to achieve?
Begin with the end goal in mind. At the end of the day, what specific results and ultimate outcomes would you like to accomplish? Once you know your destination, then you can create your map.
Who is your audience and where are they online?
Having a clear idea and understanding of your target audience is key to a successful marketing plan. Same thing with your social media PR plan. You won’t be able to reach every blog and social networking site. Knowing whom you’re trying to reach will help you set priorities and focus your efforts on those sites that will bring significant results.
Who are the influencers?
These are specific people, groups or institutions that reach your target audience and influence their attitudes. Consider them the shortcut to your target audience’s heart and head. They’re also your second target audiences.
What are they saying?
Find out what your target audiences and their influencers are saying about your industry, product or your competition’s products. There are many benefits to having this knowledge, the first of which is so you can participate in the conversation.
How will your value proposition align?
Now that you know what your target customers are saying, you can evaluate how your own value proposition or offering aligns with their needs and desires. Are you offering something unique and relevant? Or is your message getting lost in a cacophony of voices saying more of the same?
How can you deliver and contribute?
This is where you decide how you’re going to attract your target audience, engage with their influencers, and deliver your value proposition.
Will you maintain a high-quality blog with fresh posts every day? Will you make special reports available for free to your subcribers? Will you create a Facebook fan page and share awesome resources there? There are many options available and, once again, your target audience and their preferences will shape your choices.
What resources are you willing to invest?
The bottom line is, each of us only has a limited amount of time, energy and money to invest in PR. Even if social media is almost free, it can cost us many hours in a week. Do you have the time? Or can you hire a virtual assistant to do some of the work with you? How many minutes exactly can you devote each day to interact and participate in social networks?
These questions will help you to craft a social media PR strategy that suits your business, supports your goals, and is realistic, given what you are able to do.
As with traditional PR, nobody can guarantee you instant results with social media PR. As I like to say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. With sustained and consistent effort, you will see results in time.
Now go and get some publicity!