Back in the dark ages of 2003, humans, as a species, were tethered to the wall. Literally. Our computers were hooked up to a modem that ran off of a phone line. Many of us have memories of dragging a phone cord from the central jack to various computers around the house.
Our infrastructure had not yet adapted to our rapidly changing lifestyle. By today’s standards, this would not be tolerated.
Thankfully, we had Myspace as an outlet to voice our frustrations. Tom understood.
Social media was growing along with our (eventual) total abandonment of cords, and the world would never be the same.
In the early days of social media, the focus was on connections. Mainly college students posting pictures of themselves and their friends. It seemed to work just fine — that is, until a public relations (PR) professional got ahold of it.
PR in the early days of social media was more or less throwing different ideas at the wall and observing which ones would stick. Today, you can’t get by without utilizing social media when promoting businesses.
Maximizing Your PR Efforts On Social Media
Back when we were posting grainy shots of our adventures on early social media, we had no idea that promoting oneself would become an actual job for a select few. It was in these prehistoric times that the value of social media from a PR perspective became clear.
In my opinion, nothing has impacted the public relations realm more profoundly than social media. It can be a double-edged sword for those wanting to leverage the power it can wield. The sheer number of major brands that have screwed up on social media could fill up a handbook about what not to do.
Whether you are a nonprofit, an e-commerce company or a brick-and-mortar store, you are going to want to utilize social media as a part of your public relations strategy. Here are a few tips and tactics that we rely on at Marketing 360 for effective organic visibility on social.
1. Humanize Your Brand
In order for potential (or current) clients to identify with you and your mission, it’s important that you share the human side of your business. People often connect deeply with human stories. Sharing employee photos, quotes, community projects and activities gives clients an insider’s view of your business. If your audience really loves what they see and likes your culture, there is a better chance they will want to align themselves with your brand.
2. Engage With Posts
Now, this should be an obvious “tip,” but you would be surprised by the number of businesses that are posting constantly but rarely engaging with their followers. It has become almost expected of a large brand to engage very little with those who take the time to leave a comment on a post. Set your brand apart from the common perception that businesses generally do not actively engage with their social media followers.
Of course, there is a line that should not be crossed if you want to utilize social media effectively. Do not engage in bickering. There are people out there who do not like your business. Generally, the reasons don’t matter and there are individuals who just like to stir the pot. Do not take adverse comments to heart or “take the bait” when a negative or rude comment is left on your post.
3. Establish A Community
As a general rule, people love to be part of a community, especially if others in it are like-minded. Many modern day communities occur online among like-minded individuals. They share information, interests and advice.
As a brand, you have the opportunity to create a community around your organization. Sure, your employees are a big part of the equation, but it’s also important to think of yourself as a part of the larger local business environment. Share ideas, hold special events and genuinely make your brand something your social media followers want to be a part of, even if they do not work directly with you.
When engaging with social media from a PR perspective, always think about the human aspect of your posts. PR is not about selling (although, that may be a pleasant side effect). It is about bringing awareness to your business. Proper use of social media, directly aligned with your PR strategy, can create a sense of trust in your business. And in today’s competitive environment, trust is the key. After all, we trusted Tom, didn’t we?