How can you use social media to execute traditional marketing like your public relations efforts?
When you consider that currently 18% of marketers will not even consider using traditional marketing, you can begin to see that the future of traditional marketing efforts like PR is contingent upon adapting to online channels like blogging, podcasting, and social networks, among many others, to get the word out. Furthermore, even blogging, podcasting, and social media marketing will eventually be just called Public Relations.
Therefore, to survive and succeed, your public relations efforts needs to get on board as well. After all, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are built on the newsworthy and direct interaction with listeners. If you are then considering getting a jumpstart on integrating your PR and social media efforts, here are a few vital things to keep in mind:
1. Approach your efforts with genuineness
Why? Many big companies are faceless yet the followers you are targeting want a real human being on the other end especially on online channels where the fear that digital bits and bytes are running things is overwhelming enough.
Subsequently, the messages you put out over Facebook and Twitter needs to be from a friend updating them rather than the standard Who, What, Where, and How of standard press releases. People who use social media are used to dealing with other human beings, namely, family and friends. A faceless corporate logo stuck in marketing and sales speak will be quickly tuned out.
2. More than a broadcast tool
You need to commit to PR with a new mindset. You are now directly speaking to your audience, engaging them, leaving no room for the closed loop information delivery to newspapers, magazines, and other press of yesteryear. Social media, unlike the aforementioned, is more than a broadcast tool.
Social media, by its very nature, is a network of myriad contacts, scales. Hence, what could be one message to person could be related to the whole planet.
Fortunately, a small brand stacked up against big brands, can actually win this time. Runaway growth thanks to social media has been credited for such success stories as Zappos and Whole Foods. Both are active social underdogs (once) whose voice got stronger over the social media channels.
Social media, most of all, can benefit PRs brand-building efforts thanks to the long-term medium of storytelling it provides.
3. Eliminating middle men
Permission to be broadcast to mediums like newspapers, TV shows, etc. has often been the goal PR. However, with social media, we are now bypassing these middle men and getting permission direct from the end user. Moreover, the messages we share with them can be a long-term relationship and even a strong daily signal in the form of Page Fans on Facebook and Tweet Followers on Twitter.
Over the span of the relationship, a person or brand can become the expert or authority on a topic by building trust and even influence.
4. Helps other PR efforts
Last but not least, social media links and augments other PR efforts like Search Engine Optimization. Keywords and content can be spread over multiple channels including the traditional public relations, feeding searches for and quality inbound links to your content. Hopefully, at the other end, your SEO efforts have cornered these keywords and materials so you can gladly serve them up to a hungry audience.
Social Media Marketing is a part of Public Relations today and tomorrow. However, it does not require a makeover of PR efforts. It only requires that PR tools like press releases and PR skills like relationship building be carefully adapted and integrated into the new parameters of social media.