Public relations and social media both fall underneath the umbrella of marketing. Other things that classify as marketing might be things like advertising, other forms of digital marketing (e.g. SEO and PPC), direct mail and promotions.
A public relations agency or consultant will spend most of their time looking to achieve ‘earned media’, when the coverage is earned through things like news, reviews, features and word-of-mouth.
Social media (whether it’s paid or organic) is ‘owned media’, where the business essentially ‘owns’ the platform, like its own website or blogs.
Social media can help public relations – and here are some ways that it can:
- To make company announcements and statements: quite often, when a story about a business or brand is flooding headlines, people will head to its social profiles to see if anything has been said directly from the horse’s mouth. Similarly, big news stories often break on social media first. By using ‘owned media’ a company can control the message entirely, when often with ‘earned media’, you cannot.
- To amplify PR activity and results: social media can be used to amplify a PR campaign to its social audience or reach new audiences through specific targeting. Social platforms are great for sharing PR results as well – by posting positive media coverage on an owned channel can enhance your credibility.
- To support influencer marketing: marketing your product/service through influencers is another way to reach your audience. Social media can be used to research and engage influencers (as well as all of the tools out there like TRIBE and Heepsy), as well as amplify any endorsement of your brand made by an influencer.
- To engage and research journalists: those who work in PR will probably at some point in their careers will engage with or research a journalist online. In public relations, it’s often about building important relationships with journalists – learning more about them, their interests and what they are writing about. A good media relationship that’s relevant to your business (or in a PR person’s case, your client) will lead to good opportunities!
- To understand what’s being said about a brand: understanding what’s being said about a business or brand is good insight for when developing public relations activities. Perhaps a product/service has been popular or there’s a negative view about something related to the business. A good understanding of social sentiment can help a public relations agency engineer communications campaigns to reinforce or challenge viewpoints.
Want to know how we could support you with public relations? We’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch!