How to Leverage Social Media for PR Success
By Karina Meza
Millennials and laundry machines aren’t often mentioned in the same sentence. I mean, who really looks forward to washing their clothes? But LG Electronics successfully brought the two together, with a very clean cut promo, made for the social media age. The connection was made at Bonnaroo, a popular arts and music festival in Tennessee. Where better to entice sweaty concertgoers with free laundry service?
The way it worked: LG set up what it called the LaundROO Lounge and Vintage Clothing Swap. There, attendees could drop off their “danced-in, partied-in clothes and let LG wash them for free.” They were also invited to “trade in (their) look for a new one at the LG Vintage Clothing Swap.” How did they get the message out? Easy. By inundating social media using the hashtags #getdirty and #lifesgood (LG’s slogan). The promo was an overwhelming success, covered by news outlets around the country.
Social media is changing the way companies promote and publicize their services and products. Here are five tips for using social media to help your public relations efforts:
1. #Hashtags #Hashtags #Hashtags
How many hashtags should I use? What hashtags will work for my company? Let’s face it, hashtagging can be confusing. Adding hashtags to your posts can help bring in unique customers and readers but, if used too frequently, can overload your posts and overwhelm your audience. When using hashtags, make sure they are appropriate, easily recognized, and contribute to the brand message. As for how many, be reasonable. If it looks like too many, it is. Using hashtags effectively in your posts can help you keep track of what customers are saying about your product or promo, show you how well a specific campaign is performing, let you engage in online conversations, and ensure your brand content is easily searchable.
2. Develop Relationships
If you want to use social media to reach out to journalists, use Twitter. Through a journalist’s Twitter feed, you’ll be able to see what kind of topics they write about, their tone of voice and you might even find their email. Although it’s becoming more common to pitch through social media, you should still make sure your message is concise, relevant and easy to understand.
For influencers, we recommend reaching out via Instagram. Influencers are a popular way to attract like-minded customers to a brand. It is surprisingly simple to find an influencer who will work for your brand, usually for a fee. Make sure to “like” posts that resonate with you and follow the accounts that would work best for your brand. Instagram will track your preferences and suggest content that may work best for your needs.
3. Social Media + Press Release = PR Success
If your news release is social media friendly, it can be the easiest, most efficient way to get out your message successfully. Make sure that your release can be easily condensed into social media posts so that it will be distributed on several platforms and sites. In addition, include social sharing buttons at the bottom of your news release for easy sharing.
4. Stay Active
While using social media sites (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn), make sure your account stays active. Try not to act as a ghost or a bystander on social media. If you’re not actively posting or engaging with your followers, customers and journalists will not be able to get to know you and your brand. Consider having your social media accounts professionally managed to ensure consistent engagement and to maintain your brand’s voice.
5. Avoid Being a Promotional Robot
Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great tools for getting a PR message across, but it can be tricky to navigate these sites without sounding like a commercial. Sprout Social reported that consumers are 57.5% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media. However, the same study explained that 46% of consumers unfollowed a brand due to too many promotional messages. Find the right balance that works for your brand and stick with it.
Bottom line: Integrate social media into your public relations strategy to increase buzz for your company.