Social media and PR seem like natural allies. Both are primarily focused on brand awareness, credibility building and image enhancement. Both are critical tools for dealing with bad news or crisis situations. Both require relationships with influential people in one’s industry to be effective. And both rely on the ability to tell an interesting story.
So why do corporate PR and social media efforts so often appear disconnected and out of sync? To be sure, some agencies and companies get it, and do an effective job integrating social media and PR efforts. But many organizations in both groups still treat the functions as separate silos—or worse, mix them awkwardly, damaging both efforts.
But integrated properly, social media can help amplify PR efforts, and effective PR can help generate social media coverage. It’s a virtuous circle that looks something like this.
In this example, a press release is distributed online, posted to the company’s Facebook and Twitter updates, and used to create a social media release (using a tool such as PitchEngine). Any significant online news site pickups of the release are posted to Twitter (it’s okay to repeat news a few times on Twitter as not all of your followers will see all of your tweets, just don’t overdo this) and to social bookmarking sites.
For SEO and traffic purposes, the press release and social media release link back to the company’s website/blog. The social media release also links back to the company’s LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
The social media release is used for blogger outreach. Since many (most?) bloggers are overwhelmed with pitches and unlikely to write about the company’s press release, the company uses the press release as a hook and offers to write a (informational, non-promotional) guest post on the topic. When a blogger publishes a guest post from the company, that post gets linked in the company’s LinkedIn groups, Facebook page, Twitter and social bookmarking sites. These links send more traffic to the blog (which the blogger likes) and spread the company’s fame.
Likewise, any other blog or media coverage, or bylined articles by the company, are shared via social media sites. Bylined articles will—and other blog/media coverage may—include backlinks to the company’s website/blog as well. And the website/blog includes social sharing buttons, making it easier for site visitors to share the company’s content with their connections across popular social networks.
PR and social media can also be used together to promote events, speaking opportunities, corporate presentations, video and other content.
Social media and PR can both be used to influence journalists and other influencers online. Smart companies and agencies are putting this together.