PR can mean big business for companies trying to get their name out there. It can often be the difference between the success and failure of a marketing campaign.
Many brands are now incorporating social media into their PR efforts, but why? A 2015 report by Pew Research Center found 65% of American adults now use social networking sites, massively up from the 7% given in the 2005 report. Social media is one of the most popular ways of sharing content online. The rise of social has dramatically changed the way in which we communicate with one another.
As the power of social media increases, many people may believe good PR is easy to achieve and simply involves finding a popular hashtag to jump on. Anyone who has watched enough episodes of Absolutely Fabulous or Sex and the City may think PR is all about glitzy celebrity-filled events with free-flowing Champagne and canapés. The reality is that a successful PR campaign takes a lot of hard work, stringent planning, and determination.
Ready to squash your perceptions of how social media is used within PR and ensure your campaign is as effective as possible? Read on.
Misconception #1: You must use all social media platforms
One of the most common mistakes made by businesses is to think their content needs to be shared on every available social platform in order to gain maximum exposure. Whilst this may result in more people coming across your content, are these people relevant to your brand and end goal?
It’s vital you avoid wasting time creating content for platforms that aren’t valuable to your brand and instead invest time into engaging with your core demographic.
To identify your target audience, think about how a person would search for your product and where they would go in order to discover more information about it. When you know who are you selling to and what sort of content they respond well to, it becomes easier to decipher which social platforms to focus on.
You can also do user testing to see how well content performs before launching into a full-blown campaign. Look into which channels receive the best response and whether there are any key factors (such as time of posting, who responds, etc) that may help you map out an effective strategy.
If you can’t identify why you should be using a certain social media channel, it’s likely you don’t need it.
Misconception #2: Analytics are pointless
Social analytics tools allow you to gain a deeper insight into how well your content is performing, so it’s vital you don’t brush it off as a task too technical to understand.
Tools such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics help shed light on what does and doesn’t work and, generally, most of these tools are quite easy to use. Whilst there is the opportunity to get technical and delve deeper into results, there is still a wealth of information to be gleaned with just a basic understanding.
Without the knowledge and information provided by analytics tools, it’s hard to see how well your content is performing. You should continue to use analytics tools throughout the entire duration of your campaign, using the insights to help change direction when necessary.
Misconception #3: ‘Likes’ equal success
Whilst gaining likes and shares is highly beneficial and rewarding, it can’t and shouldn’t be the core way of determining the success of your campaign.
Just because someone has liked your page or status doesn’t necessarily mean they have bought anything from you. Instead of chasing shares and followers, instead look into conversions, click-throughs, and on-site behaviour.
By having this insight, you will understand what type of content can help generate leads and relevant traffic. It’s more important to have one passionate and relevant visit rather than hundreds of visits that ultimately equate to nothing.It’s more important to have 1 passionate visit rather than 100's of visits that equal nothing.Click To Tweet
Misconception #4: Social media is easy
Just because anyone can have a social media account doesn’t necessarily mean social media is easy. Many people get it wrong, which can have a devastating effect on their brand’s reputation. It’s about evaluating what works best and identifying why – in order to reciprocate this through the rest of your campaign.
On Twitter, it can prove valuable to jump on popular hashtags or news stories. But only when they are relevant to your brand or story. Jump on too many for the sake of exposure and your efforts will come across as amateur and be off-putting to potential customers.
It’s also important to find a middle ground and post your own content and share that of others. By sharing content from other brands that is useful and informative to your audience, people will feel you’re looking out for them. If you only share your own content, you run the risk of appearing too self-promotional.
Misconception #5: Social media is independent to the rest of the campaign
Social media can sometimes be seen as an independent strategy when in fact it should be used as part of ongoing campaigns to ensure greater success.
Social media can help to complement and support your existing marketing efforts. Used in conjunction with one another, these tools can help businesses and brands deliver effective campaigns that generate tangible results.
Any blogs, press releases, creative content or resources you produce should be shared on your social platforms, if relevant. Some businesses worry that by sharing the same content multiple times they may overwhelm their target audience. Look at how you can share it in different ways. You’ll avoid repetition and increase the chances of the right people finding the content.
Bring your PR and social media efforts together
HubSpot recently found link clicks account for 92% of all user interaction on Twitter. This shows just how powerful sharing content on social media can be in generating leads and traffic.
By undertaking research to identify who your target audience is, you will be able to determine which platforms work for best for you and how to cater to the exact needs of your audience. By using analytics tools to track how well your campaign is performing, you’ll be able to change course if need be and improve results.
When used right, social media can be really beneficial to your PR campaign. It’s just important to identify who your audience are, where they can be found and how you can speak their language. Which will ultimately mean leads and lifelong customers.
Ready to delve into social media marketing? Download our in-the-moment social media marketing guide for more tips on creating an effective campaign.