Now, more than ever, the distinctions between PR and Marketing are becoming more blurred. Whereas, at one point PR would mainly deal with media relations, the introduction of social media and digital platforms have created a cross-over between the communications sectors and their responsibilities.
While social media marketing is usually considered a supporting channel for sales or promotion, regular social media content is often driven by PR, or the desire to maintain a positive reputation online.
In order to get the most out of social media and expand the reach and impact of your business, it is essential to combine the promotion of your products and services through social media marketing with regular conversations with your stakeholders to generate ongoing, positive conversations.
Social Media Never Sleeps
In a 24/7 society, social media is an outlet that we’re never able to turn off. It’s not necessary to post content 24 hours a day, but if you’re only using Facebook or Twitter when you’ve got something to promote, you’re going to be missing out a lot of conversations that might interest you.
Interacting with your customers or stakeholders regularly not only builds brand confidence, but can be useful to your market research. You should check your accounts regularly to ensure that you’re not missing out on conversations that you need to be a part of.
It’s a Two Way Street
Not only is social media great for reaching out to your customers, it’s a good way for them to give you feedback. If you’ve got a great product or service that you’re proud of it’s reassuring to see that other people like it too. But be wary, comments you get might not always be positive.
It’s important to remember that your customers have a right to their own opinions, even if it’s not something you want to hear. Social media is fantastic in that it lets you address people who may have a negative view of your company on an equalizing platform, you might even win some of them over.
Any good PR or Marketing campaign should have clear objectives and a well-defined strategy, social media marketing is no different.
Before pushing out your content it’s important to consider the type of people you would like to reach and the type of content they usually share, if your posts interest them then they’ll be more likely to share or comment. With this in mind it’s also beneficial to share other people’s content that you think might interest your customers or stakeholders. If you play it right then you can establish yourself as the go-to source for sharable content.
Stay True to Your Brand
Everything you do must stay true to who you are as a company. If you’ve spent time and money building up a brand then your social media accounts must reflect that. Some brands can get away with being a bit tongue in cheek or quirky, but you wouldn’t expect that from a large pharmaceutical firm.
Know your audience, and make sure that your content reflects the ideals that you want to promote, as well as being interesting to your customers.
The Power of Paid
PR doesn’t usually go for paid content, that’s more into the realms of Marketing and Advertising. However, paid ads on social media, or boosted posts can be really beneficial to your business.
Instead of a one size fits all advertising campaign, you can enhance your social media activity in a way that directly targets your customers. Most platforms have built in advertising options that are fairly easy to work, but don’t underestimate the power of using bloggers and micro-bloggers to promote your products. Engaging influencers can help to boost your profile and endorse your brand.
Don’t forget, paid posts and ads on social media are great, but they should be used in conjunction with a killer social media strategy and not as a stand-alone measure.
It’s Quality, Not Quantity
If you use your social media right it can take up a lot of time, which is why a scatter gun approach isn’t always the best approach. If your target customers are all on Facebook, then why are you posting on LinkedIn? While you want to make sure your content is seen, do some research to find out where your customers are. It’ll save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Overall, the power of social media is undeniable and to make the most of your business you should be engaging with your stakeholders regularly. This means posting relevant and engaging content to start conversations with your customers as part of a wider PR strategy to support your shorter term marketing goals.
Once you’ve built up a positive relationship with your followers online by using some or all of the above suggestions, they’ll be more willing to accept and share your promotional content further down the line.
About the Author:
Lauren Old is a professional blogger, writer, and works as a communications consultant for 2B Communications. She won a national award for her student blog against hundreds of skilled bloggers, achieving the accolade of The Douglas Smith Student Award 2015.
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