Social Media and PR: How to Get the Most Out of Your Strategy

Posted by Wendy Marx

Social Media and PR: How to Get the Most Out of Your Strategy 

Social media and PR have become the team to beat in B2B strategy-- so much so that the vast majority of journalists use social media channels in their own reporting.

Social networks have become an extension of our lives. Even our politics -- witness President Donald Trump -- play out on social media. Are you using social media to its fullest potential? Have you tapped into the social media trends for B2B companies?

To ensure that you're covered, we’ve got the scoop on everything social media and B2B PR. We've combed through studies, such as Cision’s 2018 State of Media report, to give you the latest insights into how social media and B2B combine to further your strategy. The studies provide rich insights into journalists' behavior -- their social media customs and preferences -- so you can benefit from the social media trends affecting the media landscape. 

Do you want to interact with journalists on social media? Or would you rather use social platforms to support your own brand's media interests? Either way, there is a lot we can learn from recent reports like Cision's State of Media that have the potential to impact our use of these networks.

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Read on to discover the most important B2B social media best practices that will expand and grow your results. Get ready to bring your A game to social media and PR,

8 Trends That Will Help You Get the Most Out of Social Media and PR

1. Pay Attention to Social Media Algorithms

When asked what new technology will change the way journalists work, 34% said that it would be social media algorithms. Many mentioned Facebook's latest news feed and algorithm changes specifically.

Why would these changes affect journalists? Many rely on social networks like Facebook to reach their audience with their articles. But many of the new algorithm updates tend to hinder the content posted by businesses and journalists. This doesn't impact big-brand news sites that have a well-established audience, but it does affect individual journalists and smaller news organizations.

Recognize that this is a challenge for many journalists. Engage with content that is posted by industry journalists to give their content a leg up in the news feed. Share their content whenever possible. Many journalists appreciate and remember such gestures.

2. Keep Twitter in the Mix

Twitter is a social network to keep your eye on -- especially since it is rated as one of the top networks for B2B businesses. Whatever happens, Twitter will likely continue to be a key player on the social scene so make sure that you're a part of it.

A great way to set up Twitter for easy media interaction is to create a private Twitter list for all of your media contacts -- including journalists, bloggers, influencers, and other individuals in the industry. Establish a system to monitor their activity and share their content when it fits your audience. 

3. Include Video -- And Go Live Often

In one study of those using live video, 80% said that they would rather watch a video from a brand than read a blog post. Another 82% said that they would rather watch a live video on social media than read a regular post. 

Social Media and PR TrendsBut as of 2018, only 35% of marketers were tapping into live video for their brand. This shows that there is definitely room for improvement in the live streaming arena. 

Now is the time to tap into live streaming  to get more love for your brand. A study from Cisco predicted that by the year 2021, 82% of all internet traffic will be video. This gives extra incentive to businesses to embrace video in all its forms as soon as possible.

Social media is making it easier than ever to include video in your PR strategy. Nearly every important social network has live options -- from Facebook Live to Twitter Live, to Instagram's IGTV --  letting you use it where you already have an established social media strategy.

Think of ways that you can use live video to engage your audience -- at an industry event, during an interview, or to highlight the fun side of your company.

4. Leverage Chatbots to Promote Your PR

Chatbots are perhaps the latest feature to hit the social media scene -- and companies are going wild for it. What are they? Chatbots are an AI-enabled computer program that's designed to simulate conversation with a human user.

Social Media and PR Trends (1)A great example of this is within Facebook Messenger, where companies can create automatic messages based on trigger words. For example if a person asks, "Who is your media contact?" you can use the trigger phrase "media contact" to provide them with the necessary information or send them a link to your online newsroom.

You can set your chatbot for numerous situations, for both customers and journalists, to ensure they get the information they need. Better yet, these programs are constantly improving to sound more "natural" and responsive.

5. Verify All Facts Before Sharing and Posting

Fake news is a big deal that seems to grow in importance every year. People's trust of content is dwindling. Around the globe, 56% of respondents noted that fake news is making people more skeptical than ever about what they read and see.

63 (1)More specific to journalism, 71% of Cision respondents said they believe that the public has lost trust in journalists. Even though this number is down from 91% last year, it's far from ideal for journalists who wish to engage with their audience.

These sentiments have increased the stress that journalists face making accuracy even more paramount.

This means you need to be weary of sharing industry news stories without verifying the facts. This could negatively impact your credibility as a company if a story were to turn out false.

Awareness of this mounting distrust can help you to take a fresh approach to your audience and understand them better.

6. Tap Into Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content is another key feature that has penetrated social media in recent years. It is content that is only available for a limited period of time, such as 24 hours, and then poof -- it's gone. If you want to reach a younger audience (such as millennial business owners), then this feature might be the trick you need.

For instance, studies show that there are 300 million daily users who interact with Instagram Stories. If you're already on this platform, then this is a feature you will want to tap into.

Part of the reason ephemeral content is so effective is that it taps into the human fear of missing out (often referred to as FOMO) that drives people to take an action. 

Are you promoting some recent news about your brand? Then use the Stories feature to share an exclusive behind the scenes photo or video related to that news. Is there an article published about your brand that you would like to get more PR love? Then promote it on Stories, perhaps an interview with additional information and a link to the original article.

7. Realize The Restraints on Journalists

When asked about the biggest issues they faced, 28% of journalists said that staffing and resources was the most challenging. 

With the threat of layoffs and staff cuts looming over their heads, many journalists feel more pressure than ever to create top-quality content and receive a high level of engagement from their audience.

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Where do you come in? If you want journalists to use your story, you need to make it a slam dunk. A lot of journalists aren’t going to take a story that requires a large time investment to get it published — even if the story will interest their audience. 

Instead, you need to provide all of the necessary information for them to take the story and run with it. This means quotes, multimedia, and all the background information to go from press release to news story.

Which brings us to our next point within the study...

8. Develop a Strong Press Release Strategy

Press releases are a tried and true PR resource that has withstood some bad times recently -- with some going as far as to say that this resource is dead and PR professionals need to move on to other, more modern resources. 

63The recent report from Cision delved into just how journalists view resources from PR pros. When asked what resource they wanted to see from their PR contacts, 63% of journalists said press releases. And another 44% said that press releases were the most trustworthy brand content they receive.

It is clear that social media and other online platforms haven't completely replaced press releases. More importantly, press releases can be used in tandem with other online tools to increase the results and reach of your press release strategy.

How can you make your press release more appealing to journalists? The journalists within the report cast their vote for a few suggestions, including:

  • Clearly state your news hook (45%)
  • Tell a story conversationally and avoid jargon (27%)
  • Add quality quotes that add depth to the story (17%)
  • Include more multimedia elements (11%)

In review...

 8 Social Media and PR Trends That You Should Know (1)

The point is clear: social media and PR forge a strong alliance. While there are still some kinks to work out, this should not keep you from leveraging social media in your PR strategy.

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Apr 23, 2017

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx