Social Media and Public Relations: The Importance
Today’s PR professionals are using social media to supplement or enhance their existing strategies. This is a sign of a shift in the role PR has played over the past few years. Public relations professionals were the first to recognize the power of social networking, and they are now leaders in this space. More PR professionals are now responsible for managing clients’ and company’s social media presences. Industry experts refer to the social media release as a gradual shift from long-form press releases. David McCulloch from Cisco Systems is the director of public relations. “The future press release will deliver its content in text and video, SMS and microblog form to any device at will. It will also be openly rated and pre-corroborated by multiple trusted sources.”
eMarketer predicts that both PR and ad agencies will see an increase in social media revenue in 2011, according to eMarketer. A joint study of the Transworld Advertising Agency Network (TRAN) and Worldcom Public Relations Group revealed:
* 28% of PR firms stated that social media accounted for between 15-33% percent of their revenue in 2010.
* This number has increased by 44% since 2011.
* This study shows that the PR industry is more successful in using social media than ad agencies.
The Road ahead…
IBIS World, a market research firm, has identified the key factors that will drive growth in PR firms over the next few years. It also predicted the rate of growth.
* The average annualized growth rate for PR firms is 5.7% to $12.8 Billion between 2010 and 2015.
* This surge will be due to increased demand from companies for PR firms to manage daily interactions with consumers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
* PR firms will be launching or specialising in podcasts, social media sites and blogs as a result of the recent shift away from traditional media to more direct media (socialmedia).
* More than four-fifths (48%) of PR firms anticipate an increase in social media and digital work in the future.
PR agencies must be ready for social media, whether they are working with in-house teams or consulting clients from an agency perspective. Position2 provides some guidelines to help you agency stand out in the digital world.
1. Making a pitch
Social media has given new meaning to the term “pitching” Although e-mailing press releases to editors, journalists, and bloggers is still a viable option, readers can easily delete the message and forget about it. Social media integration in your PR strategy will make your pitch stand out from the rest. We recommend these points to help you use social media effectively in your PR pitch planning.
o Stay Away from the Fancy Stuff
It can be distracting to read too much information, laced with catch phrases such as “cutting-edge, mission critical applications to improve business processes, etc.” Keep in simple.
o How to get your tweets right:
You only have 140 characters when you use Twitter to pitch your business. Nicole VanScoten is a Pyxl public relations specialist. She says that tweets written well will get you a higher response rate than e-mail.
o Don’t Spam Them:
No one enjoys random messages or tweets, regardless of whether they are bloggers or journalists. Before you reach out to a journalist or blogger, it is a smart idea to get to know them. To find out if they are the right contacts, you can read their personal blog or Twitter account and then pitch them.
o Establish a Relationship
The next step is simple once you have created your contacts list. It is important to get on the radar of a journalist or editor in order to build a rapport. You can follow their Facebook page, comment on posts you like, retweet and comment on blog posts. You will be able to get on their radar before you make your pitch.
Here’s a great example of a pitch from a PR professional to an editor:
Social media can be used to pitch clients. This saves time and money as well as generating higher response rates.
2. Delivering value to clients
In the last two years, PR agencies have taken on a new role within organizations. One of the most important tasks of a PR specialist is to educate clients about the benefits of using social media. This includes everything from building brand loyalty and monitoring content on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. We believe that a PR company should provide value to its clients in order to be successful. These are some simple tips:
o Content Creation:
PR firms are expected to be proficient in writing. Clients expect that your agency can turn boring announcements into engaging content. This could be a company blog or a campaign. Good content will help you generate leads and get the media coverage you need.
It is a plus to identify and develop relationships with the “influencers” in the PR field. It is wiser not to just look for journalists and bloggers who can create buzz and drive sales.
Identify the true influencers in noisy markets. You can do this by connecting with journalists, bloggers, and journalists who cover topics relevant to your client’s market.
o Remember that influencer popularity does not always depend on the size of an audience.
o Monitoring and Engaging in Conversations
Any PR agency who wants to provide value to clients must monitor and engage on social media. Brands know that they need to be present on social media, but also want to collaborate with PR agencies to find out what is being said about their brand in the marketplace. Brand Monitor is a social media monitoring tool that allows you to:
o Calculate your influencer score: Social media monitoring tools allow you to easily identify bloggers and journalists with high influencer scores.
o Manage Crisis Situations: Your agency can identify signs of trouble by monitoring blog conversations, tweet messages, and Facebook posts. You can either try to diffuse the situation or ask your client to do so.
o Assess the impact on consumers’ brands (s) or products (s).
o Determine the relationship between news coverage and press releases with social media activity.
o Evaluate the effectiveness of your communication strategies.
o Provide domain expertise to your clients based on the data.
o Measuring detailed metrics like popularity, share of voice etc.
Yum Brands lost its stock after videos of rats playing at a Taco Bell in NYC were uploaded to YouTube. Customers began questioning the hygiene standards of Taco Bell. Within hours, duplicates began multiplying and new versions were being created. Customers searching for comforting information from Yum Brands had difficulty finding it. Yum Brands PR team wasn’t completely ignorant of the situation (the CEO apologized on YouTube), but they could have monitored the situation better and engaged with customers in real time to prevent a PR crisis.
The importance of monitoring social media channels is more crucial than ever as the public relations industry evolves rapidly. Daryl Willcox is the founder of Daryl Willcox Publishing, a PR industry information company. He believes listening is an essential part of social media strategy. It’s a proactive as well as reactive process. His company found that nearly 60% of the social media monitoring departments and agencies spend less than two hours per week. These numbers show the increasing need for PR agencies to monitor social media.