When social media is your PR

Here’s a good question: How does earned media and PR fit into your strategy when you don’t have a big team or a big budget?

As Tiffaney Fox Quintana said in TrendKite’s Rebuild Consumers’ Trust: The Rise of Digital PR webinar:

“Everything social is PR these days.”

Sometimes social media is all the PR you have the resources for.

With that in mind, we talk through how you can best approach using social this way for your brand.

Got questions or something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Social as your owned media

While you can never control the full conversation about your brand that’s happening across social channels, you can control the messaging you’re pushing out about your brand.

With that in mind, you want to be sure you have a clearly established style guide for your social presence, including a cohesive visual content marketing strategy. That doesn’t have to be an intricate or expensive undertaking either; just decide on certain fonts or colors you’ll use and take advantage of free tools like Canva.

Know how your brand voice operates on different social channels, if there are any subtle differences between how you post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Have that written down and accessible for the rest of your team, or future team.

Remember, if this is the part of your brand messaging you can control, make sure it’s recognizable and reflects that brand that you’ve worked hard to establish or are in the process of cementing or rebuilding.

Social as your earned media

There is a conversation happening about your brand on social. Be sure you’ve set up comprehensive social listening so you can stay on top of that conversation and decide when it’s appropriate to participate in it. (And let us know if we can help with that!)

Your brand can help correct any misinformation around products, for example, or join in on a conversation around a hot topic in your industry.

A quick response can often also help a brand avoid a social media crisis situation with an unhappy customer. Have a crisis communication plan ready to go, just in case, and be sure everyone on your team knows who is responsible for enacting which parts of it.

Social as your paid media

There are different approaches brands can take to paid social, from establishing a paid social strategy separate from their organic, or working to boost their best performing organic posts. If you have very limited resources, the latter is a better bet for your team as it takes less work and often costs less.

Don’t be intimated by paid social either; you can set limits on your ads so you don’t go over budget. Do be sure you’re targeting the right audiences so you don’t waste your budget, no matter how small.

For a more advanced look at a paid social strategy, see our post Leveraging owned media in your paid advertising strategy.

Social as your shared media

This is what most people think of when they think of social media: Brand-related messaging getting passed around across social media channels.

This can be owned media messages, or earned media messages. Occasionally it’s paid messages.

Be sure you’re tapping into your fans, followers, brand advocates, customers and employee advocates to get the most out of this for your PR strategy. And match how you incentivize getting those messages out around your goals; raising brand awareness will look a little different from some other goals, for example.

It’s all part of Digital PR

The increasing intersection of everything in a communication professional’s life has resulted in the era of Digital PR, and we’ve written about how social fits into that landscape. Here’s where social can really shine, because smaller teams can lean on social for their owned, earned and paid media, not just the shared media everyone immediately thinks of. Your brand is the conversation that’s happening about it and a lot of that conversation is happening on social. 

What’s even more exciting is that at the intersection of all of these different types of media- paid, earned, shared and owned- you find the most authority. And social can act as all of them, meaning if you’re carefully curating your own brand voice, monitoring the ongoing conversation that’s happening around your brand, and using the budget you do have to boost your campaigns wisely, you should come away with more trust around your brand.

Consumers want to interact with and buy from brands that they trust.

Anything else?

Still got questions or want more? Join us for a webinar on how you can Unlock the Power of Social Media for PR on September 15th at 12pm CT.


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