3 Tips for Using Social Media as a Public Relations Tool

Coveting that dream job?  Preparation is key.  Here are four tips to crush your next job interview.

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][mk_dropcaps style=”fancy-style”]Y[/mk_dropcaps][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]ou may have been in the PR field long enough to remember pre-digital PR, when it was a more straightforward discipline. Now, social media has found its way into nearly all corporate communications, seemingly turning traditional media into a thing of the past. Although traditional media is still important, when the two are paired together, something even more powerful is created.

 

 

Getting started with social media

Having an understanding of social media, SEO and digital content creation is essential for maximizing the success of PR campaigns. However, the 2016 Digital PR and Communications report by the Public Relations and Communications Association found that 53 percent of agency staff said they required more training in digital/social media.

In contrast, their 2016 annual report found that digital and social media was one of the top five duties amongst PR professionals. Having basic digital skills is no longer simply an asset in PR, but is increasingly a requirement.

Social media is changing the future of PR whether we like it or not. This is why having the skills required to meet new challenges the medium provides has never been more important.  The following three tips will help you maximize your social media strategy and integrate the medium with your traditional PR practices

  1. Fully integrate social media with traditional PR

In an increasingly social world, social media is inextricably intertwined with nearly everything, public relations included. Amy Howell, PR expert and author of Women in High Gear, warns against thinking that PR and social media are separate entities. “Social media does not replace traditional media,” she says, “traditional media is still very important when paired with social media, it’s even more powerful.”

 

Nearly 65 percent of all PR departments are responsible for the social media presence of their companies. This means that the integration of traditional and digital media is not just a philosophical debate, it is a reality for much of the PR world.

 

Sebastian Meyer, Social Media Manager for the BYU Universe, says that keeping up to date on social media technologies and frequently measuring the effectiveness of digital and traditional tactics to communicate your message can give you the best control of your PR message. Using this method, you can leverage social media into something profitable.

 

  1. Hyper-localized PR messaging

When targeting an audience on Facebook, you can use multiple parameters to define your audience, like behavior, education, interests and connections. However, Facebook also allows you to target by zip code area, along with other traditional parameters, like gender and age. Twitter and Google offer similar targeting options as well.

 

Before the mass-adoption of social media, targeting with such precision was not possible. This level of precision allows for more sophisticated and efficient PR campaigns. You can now leverage segmentation tools on social media platforms as a tactic within a PR campaign. Facebook makes it especially easy to understand your audience through their audience profile analytics, which is available to anyone with a Facebook Ads account. The feature allows you to search a demographic, and Facebook will produce specific features of your public to help you better reach them.

drawing of people
Use a Facebook to target a custom audience.

Hyper-localized PR messaging can be especially helpful when planning an event for a client. Advertisements can be made through social media to target people directly in the area or other audiences who could have an interest in attending.

 

  1. Utilize social media analytics.

By nature, social media platforms lend themselves well to data analytics. Not only do most platforms come with their own analytical tools, such as Twitter Analytics and Facebook Analytics, but there is also a wide range of third-party tools available, such as Sproutsocial and Hootsuite. These are ideal for monitoring progress.

The analytic-friendly nature of social media will translate across to PR, which will become even more data-driven, as PR firms use data analytics to inform future campaigns and improve current ones.

By using data analytics tool, PR professionals can create more successful campaigns. During Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, a heavy focus was placed on data analytics. This helped determine how campaign messages were resonating with different audiences.

The use of social media analytics is also heavily linked to hyper-localized messaging. In the Obama campaign, data was successfully gathered through Facebook, which allowed the delivery of messages to micro-targeted audiences.

Put it into practice

While social media is changing the way we practice PR, it doesn’t have to make it more difficult. In fact, social media, when paired with traditional media, opens up new opportunities to reach audiences and disseminate messages.

So, put these tips into practice and see how strategic social media use can become the best complement to traditional PR.

Written by Madison Austin

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Social Media Madness

Can Social Media Be Used to Predict March Madness Results?

Happy March Madness 2018! For the next few weeks, some of the most talented student athletes in the country will try and decide who is the best on basketball courts all over the country.

Our student social media athletes decided to put their own spin on the madness this month by deciding which school would come out on top if the game were played on social media instead of the hardwood. The above bracket are the results.

Methodology
They say defense wins championships and offense wins games, but on social media, engagement wins all. In deference to that fact, our team analyzed all 64 teams in the main bracket (apologies to the teams who lost their play-in games) and measured the following metrics:

  • The number of followers of their team social accounts compared to the currently enrolled student body
  • The volume of content produced by those accounts
  • The amount of engagement the social content received compared to its following

These numbers were combined using our super-secret, proprietary formula (as well as an equalizer metric to convert those numbers into digestible basketball scores) and then we bracketed out the teams according to their social media engagement score.

Insights
While we won’t publish an exhaustive list of the data we collected and each team’s score (that would be dreadfully boring for all but the true data junkies out there) here are a few insights people may find interesting:

-Nevada vs Texas, a 7 vs 10 matchup in the real tournament, was decided by less than one tenth of a point on our ranking system. Nevada then becomes the victim of slim margins with a loss to Cincinnati by .05 points–the closest game in our bracketing system.

-Though we have Davidson losing in the first round to Kentucky, it’s not for a lack of engagement. Davidson finished 9th of the tournament teams with a social engagement score of 789.49. Unfortunately, they were a victim of poor scheduling, falling to Kentucky’s 5th-best 12,041.66 points.

-St. Bonaventure has the 2nd-smallest enrollment of any of the 64 tournament teams. However, they finished 10th in total engagement score.

-San Diego State, though falling to Houston in the first round of our tournament predictions, has the highest Instagram rate of engagement of all the teams. Unfortunately, lack of additional, dedicated and active social accounts for their team stalled them in round 1.

Takeaways
Duke basketball is the king of engaging its fan base online. In fact, they have a social engagement score higher than all the other Final Four teams combined! Is this the year they win both online and on the court? We’ll know in just a few crazy weeks.

Here’s to hoping the tournament is great and that you, dear reader, start engaging with your alma mater’s accounts to give them a boost to their engagement score.

We’ll leave you with just one final question: Is social engagement a good predictor of the outcome of basketball games? Follow our bracket to find out!