Stop thinking about your social media strategy as separate from your public relations strategy. Social media has become so valuable to PR that the two are now inextricably linked. This means that if you want to succeed in PR, you have to leverage social media within your strategy
Stop thinking about your social media strategy as separate from your PR strategy CLICK TO TWEET
Since the tools you use are a major part of your social media success, check out this list of the top tools to help you in your B2B social media strategy.
5 Must-Have Social Media B2B Tools to Enhance Your PR Social Networks
The best social media for B2B businesses often includes maintaining several networks and running a variety of campaigns. As you can imagine, this can get complicated quickly! SproutSocial is a social media management tool that helps you to untangle your social media mess.
Organize all of your profiles from one place. Collaborate on and schedule your campaigns down to the minutest details. And see where you can improve your social habits with detailed analytics.
Pricing: The Premium plan starts at $99 per user per month. The Corporate plan goes for $149 per user month. And the Enterprise plan is set at $249 per user per month.
Social media isn't social without images -- and Canva gives you all the tools you need to create professional-quality graphics in a matter of minutes. This online tool gives you beautiful stock photos, countless elements and fonts, as well as professionally designed templates.
Canva also has pre-formatted sizes for virtually any social network, so your image will never look out of place. Take your social media campaign from boring and generic to eye-popping and wow in just a few clicks of your mouse.
Pricing: Free for the basic plan, and $12.95 per month for the premium plan.
Wyng is a great tool for brand awareness, audience engagement, and creating a consistent brand identity. It is specifically designed to help you create flawless and engaging social media campaigns. It also gives you up-to-date analytics and works across multiple platforms -- so you can use whatever networks give you the best social media for B2B exposure.
The Wyng platform can be used by PR agencies or individual small businesses and startups. Use its library of professionally-designed templates to create and deliver impactful campaigns including quizzes and polls that help draw your audience in to engage with your brand.
Use Wyng's Digital Campaign Index to grade each of your social media campaigns. This helps you to see where you can improve, and to celebrate when you've hit the mark.
Pricing: Available Upon Request
This snappy acronym stands for "if this then that", and represents an excellent (and free!) automation tool. Use it to write your own recipes for social media success, and choose what actions your social media account takes according to a formula created by you.
For example, create an IFTTT recipe that automatically posts your Facebook updates to Twitter or LinkedIn. Or save every Tweet you publish to a dedicated spreadsheet for you to review later. The IFTTT recipes are only limited by your imagination.
Social media is often used as an engagement tool -- but are you using it as a lead generation tool? Socedo helps you transform your social media strategy in order to gain more B2B leads.
The focus of this tool is on generating leads on LinkedIn and Twitter -- both hailed as the best social media for B2B businesses. Those leads can then be absorbed into your sales funnel, where you can make the most of them.
Tap into the full power that social media brings to your lead generation potential with this tool.
Pricing: Available upon request.
Check out our recent blog post, Our Ultimate List of the Best PR Tools for 2017, for additional PR tools that can help your company succeed in your digital marketing strategy.
But how can you specifically use your PR social networks to improve your strategy? Let’s look at 8 specific ways to use your social media for B2B PR and maximize your results.
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8 Ways to Use B2B Social Media within Your PR Strategy
1. Make Announcements
Word spreads like wildfire on social media. This is just the speed you want for your announcements, so take full advantage of it! Any exciting company news -- such as product launches, awards, or expansions -- is perfect to fuel the interest of your audience on social media.
Schedule your release of information on social media. At one time you could release a short snippet and related visual content. Then you could post a short video (perhaps a how-to video for a new product) and links to more information.
This method opens you up to a much wider audience than you could have hoped with other strategies in the past.
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2. Find Influencers
Even on social media, your audience is limited to those who specifically follow you. So how can you reach more people? Use the power of influencers. These are individuals within your industry who have a large following on social media -- a following that you can access if you play your cards right.
Use PR tools, such as Hootsuite, BuzzSumo or Traackr to find influencers in your industry. Use tools like Kred to see just how much influence they have, and what they can bring to your brand’s PR strategy.
Once you know what influencers would best fit your brand, it’s time to interact with them. Engage them on their social media channels by sharing and commenting on their posts. Dedicate some of your resources to nurture your relationship with influencers and use that relationship to reach their audience with your brand’s message.
After you've identified an influencer (and don't start with someone with a massive following who is besieged with requests but a lower rung influencer) and patiently observed them, approach them with a deal that will benefit both of you -- such as a content swap, an introduction to a new audience, or a sample of your new product.
Be personal but do not be a nuisance. Contact them through email if possible. If you can't find their email address, write a short message through their social network, with the aim of discussing it further through email.
You may choose to word your email something like...
Hello [Influencer's name],
My name is _________. I have long appreciated the engaging topics and insights you share on [social network].
I wanted to approach you personally about working together on an upcoming campaign that my brand, [name of brand], is launching. We are interested in promoting our new [blog, ebook, etc.], on [subject of the blog, ebook, etc.] during the week of ________.
If this is a topic that your audience would enjoy reading, we would love to talk more about the details. We could arrange to promote one of your pieces of content to our audience, which includes around 15K on Twitter, in addition to promoting you on our blog, and newsletter, in exchange for your effort.
Thank you for your time and consideration!
[your name and name of your brand]
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3. Address Complaints
Social media makes complaints public -- so the way you deal with these complaints is more scrutinized than ever before. No longer is it just one customer complaining on the phone to one customer service representative. It is one customer with the ear of thousands of people on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
Complaints are normal in any business -- but the fact that others can also observe this conversation makes it imperative that you respond with speed and tact. This offers a great opportunity for you as a company to strengthen ties with your audience through how you handle such complaints.
For example, a customer may tweet about an issue with your product. Be quick to respond. Apologize for any inconvenience this problem has caused, and offer your quick assistance to fix it.
If you're not completely sure exactly how to respond, you could say something like,
Hello, my name is ________. I apologize for the inconvenience this issue has caused. I am looking into your problem now, and will get back to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at [phone number or email].
This kind of quick response lets them know that you heard them, and are working to remedy the situation.
4. React Quickly to Negative Press
This goes beyond a simple customer complaint. This is when a negative story breaks in the press. In the past, we handled this with a public statement issued to the press. Now, however, instead of waiting for that statement, journalists will often look at your social media pages for your side of the story.
As soon as negative news hits, address the issue on social media. Right the claims and extinguish the fire as soon as possible. Don’t go too in-depth on your social media page, however. Instead, include links in your post or message to your website for more detailed information.
For example, if a member of your company's team has been accused of wrongdoing, get ahead of the issue. Even if you don't have all the information, release a short statement on social media. It could be something to the tune of...
We regret to hear the recent information released about _______, a member of our team. We are currently investigating the matter for ourselves, and will act accordingly. In the meantime, please be assured that such conduct is not condoned by any member of our brand. For the most up-to-date information about the situation, please check out the following page of our website.
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5. Precision Target Your Audience
In the past, public relations usually included the spray and pray method -- get your message out as much as possible in hopes of reaching a few of your target audience in the process.
Now, social media offers the precision to reach the exact members of your audience that you want. Target people with your message based on their...
- Geographic location
- Specific behaviors
- Work history
For example, you could target a message on social to appear only for people who have visited your website, work within your industry, or live in a certain city. This kind of audience segmentation allows you to maximize the efficiency of your PR campaigns.
6. Identify Threats to Your Brand
Ever wish you could figuratively keep your ear to the ground and know everything that happens in your industry? Social media gives you that power, with social listening. Social listening is quickly climbing the ranks as an influential tool for public relations.
Use free tools like Google Alerts or HowSociable to listen socially. If these free tools don’t give you the power you need, you may consider investing in paid services such as SproutSocial or Hootsuite. Note: Hootsuite also has a free version for individuals. And HowSociable has paid plans.
Set these tools to notify you whenever your brand, specific hashtags, or industry buzz words are used on social media. Monitor social mentions or spring into action, depending on what you find out in your social listening expedition.
Social listening is quickly climbing the ranks as an influential tool for public relations CLICK TO TWEET
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7. Interact with Journalists
The cutback on resources within many media outlets forces journalists to research stories and get leads on social media. PR professionals can get their brands in the limelight by paying attention to conversations and interactions of journalists on their social networks.
When a conversation that is relevant to your industry pops up on social media, take that opportunity to answer questions, provide insight, and get your brand into people’s minds. You never know what journalist might be on the other side, listening in on the conversation.
You should also follow all journalists within your industry on social media. If they ask a question or bring up a subject within your expertise, add meaningfully to the conversation.
This is a more behind-the-scenes tactic that PR professionals use on social media -- but by no means less valuable!
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8. Find and Interact with Bloggers
Blogs have quickly picked up speed, and even outpaced many traditional media outletsThis makes it imperative that you interact with bloggers as part of your PR strategy.
Many bloggers conduct their research and distribute their blog posts almost exclusively on social media. Position yourself to engage with and become a source for these bloggers. Don’t ignore the importance of these bloggers in your overall strategy.
Key Points to Remember…
- Use social media to announce your company’s news, such as product launches, expansions, and awards
- Find and engage with influencers who can increase the reach your brand
- Use social listening to stay abreast of conversations surrounding your brand and industry
- Interact with journalists and bloggers by offering your help and insight when they ask questions on social media
The power that social media holds for B2B companies is incredible -- and growing quickly! Take advantage of the potential benefits that social media can have for your own public relations strategy.
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