Getting a story in the hands of reporters and encouraging third parties to validate a product or service remain two major public relations challenges. Fortunately, the advent of social media has helped organizations create, foster and manage relationships.
- Encourage openness: Social media allows consumers to share their opinions freely. Customers voice their loyalty without prompting. But with the opportunity for third-party support also comes the threat of attack from dissatisfied, upset customers.
- Identify influencers: Find out who is talking about your brand and who you want to start talking about you.
- Connect with influencers: Discovering what stories reporters are working on and what they are interested in through social media will help you provide reporters with the information they need.
- Listen: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it really make a noise? Of course it did! And the same principle applies to social media. People are talking about your brand online. Even if you aren’t listening, your organization’s reputation is being affected. The potential for public relations opportunities and crises in the social media space is too large to ignore.
- Plan your response: Make a communications map and follow it. Prepare for potential crises, but know that you can’t predict every situation.
- Be proactive: Your organization’s job is to listen to what different groups are saying and then respond. Social media allows you to identify problems and fix them as well as, reward and appreciate interest and loyalty.
As with any relationship, successfully managing social media and public relations takes work. Proactive planning and a commitment to openness are the first steps to a long, healthy relationship with your organization’s varied audiences.
Food for Thought
- How can you listen to and engage with customers online?
- How can you better manage the flood of tweets and posts about your brand?
- Are you sending relevant story ideas to reporters through social media?
Contact L&S to learn how to integrate social media and public relations in your organization.