There’s no hiding from it; PR has evolved and mastering digital and social media is integral to the industry. From the launch of Snapchat Discover — which has been utilised by the likes of CNN, Vice, ESPN and Daily Mail — to campaigns including Visit Britain’s new Tumblr account, Starbucks teaming up with Spotify and the online buzz that was created around the guerilla tactics employed by the team behind the miniature Ant Man billboards that popped up in Australian cities, there’s no denying the parameters of PR are fast-expanding and, to stay ahead of the curve, we have to remain savvy when it comes to digital and social PR.
Digital PR has the potential to reach further, faster and to a more targeted audience than traditional PR. A well-positioned Facebook post that is shared numerous times could easily be the driving force of your whole campaign. Follow our quick tips to make the most of your business and make social media work for you.
1. Don’t delegate the job
Despite the undeniable cultural impact of social and digital platforms — including Facebook, blogs, Instagram, SnapChat and Twitter — many PR firms are yet to harness their potential. In fact, according to CIPR’s (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) State of the Profession 2015, only 20 percent of all PR professionals identify digital/ technical skills as their key competencies despite this being the third most in-demand skill when they’re recruiting for junior roles.
The research indicates PR seniors are often set in their traditional ways and unwilling to continue to develop their skill set and keep up-to-date and cutting-edge in this fast-paced environment. The truth is, a simple press release fired out to your email database doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s your responsibility to learn the new language of PR or get left behind.
2. Embrace a wider audience
While there’s a time and a place for the press release, the delivery of information needs more thought than it previously did and, with a little mastery, you can reach a much larger, more relevant audience – in a fraction of the time — than you can with traditional PR methods. According to We Are Social, Thailand has around 23.9 million internet users, which equates to around 37 percent of the population and, those users have 32 million active social media accounts between them. To put that in perspective, Bangkok Post has a circulation of 75,000 so, the potential of digital PR becomes clear.
3. Combine traditional PR with social media techniques
To have the most effect, modern PR methods must draw on content marketing, social media and search engine optimisation alongside traditional PR for a truly integrated approach. According to a new survey of over 115 reporters, editors and producers, carried out by Ogilvy PR, 44 percent believe the most effective campaigns require traditional, social and paid media.
While published media can be considered more trustworthy, online content has the potential to reach more people, a more targeted group and, crucially, is far more searchable for a much longer period of time – perhaps even forever. The importance of investing in digital marketing can’t be overstated. Much of digital PR cuts out the need for media, and relies on more interactive methods which means content must be really engaging; digital PR thrives on content being shared.
4. Don’t fire blanks
While content is king, positioning is vital, too. It’s all too easy for great content to get lost in amongst the social media noise, so a little technical savvy is vital. Key strategies are to identify the right social media platforms to target your customers and to repurpose press releases for different platforms (can you make it shareable on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter?) Pay close attention to your analytics and tweak a few variables (posting time, content type, style, hashtagging etc) to find out what works for you.
5. Be sociable
As well as utilising social media to spread the word of your product or business, to be successful in the digital world, you’ll need to cultivate relationships with a network of online influencers – in the digital age, it’s not only editors and celebrities who are the cultural tastemakers – bloggers, vloggers and Instagram stars are influencing decision makers, too. According to Business2Community, 44 percent of social media savvy women said their trusted/ favourite blogger influences their purchase decisions so, it’s well worth forming your own community of influencers by being active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – all these things strengthen your position as a thought leader.
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