What Social Media Has to Offer PR

Heather Baker discusses what social media has to offer PRHeather Baker, managing director of TopLine Communications, offers her thoughts on why PR needs social media

As a business owner, your reason behind appointing a public relations agency is to manage your reputation and position your company as the leading voice in your area of expertise. With this in mind, it is essential to make sure that any agency you employ is also knowledgeable in and can advise you on social media, search engine optimisation, and video. If you don’t then it’s a waste of your money. It’s as simple as that and here’s why:

Yes, a great PR team will get you that coveted national coverage and position you in your tier one media, but don’t be fooled into thinking that is all your PR agency should be doing. Achieving some great coverage is just the beginning in terms of what can be done. As an entrepreneur, business owner or a corporate executive, this is not your job to realise. But it is the very reason your PR agency even exists.

So how exactly does social media add value to that all important piece of national coverage?

While you probably buy your favourite newspaper every day, your customers and target market might not. Let’s take the Financial Times as an example, of which there is a daily readership of 2.2 million worldwide. But should your content be relevant to a UK or European only audience, then this number decreases dramatically. The online version however (FT.com) has on average, 4.5 million readers a day. People live their lives increasingly on the move. They have little time to actually sit down and read a newspaper, especially when they can easily access the same information on their mobile device. Once more, when a newspaper has been read it invariably gets thrown away. Yet an online story hangs around indefinitely.

The value of online media doesn’t stop here however. The rise in social networks means that a single piece of coverage has the ability to spread like wildfire. The journalist that wrote the piece will likely share it on their own social networks. When you consider there are close to 900 million Facebook users worldwide, as well as 150 million LinkedIn members and 140 million people on twitter, this is a pretty big potential audience you’ve got yourself.

More important than this though is the level of engagement that effective use of social media can achieve. First off, you can re-connect easily with the journalist that wrote about you via Twitter, and therefore you are more likely to stick in their minds when they come to write about a topic on which you and your business are well suited to offer comment. Following this, the online article will get shared by its readers. They’ll retweet it, ‘like’ it and share it among relevant LinkedIn groups, meaning it could be shared hundreds of times. People will comment and engage with your content, thereby increasing your potential reach even more.

That’s why your PR agency must understand the value of social media!

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