Long gone are the days of the “traditional media,” when newspapers, radio stations and TV networks ruled the landscape. In fact, there has been a formative shift in where people get their news and how people interact with and react to it. I’m talking about social media.
With the word media in the name, one might make an immediate mental connection to news, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Many look at social media as a space for purely social interaction between individuals, but it has also become a place for business outreach as well as a hotspot for current events.
In the wake of our current administration, the general population has pointed fingers at social media for being a spreader of false information, now known as “fake news.” While there are many fishy things floating around the internet, there is also a lot of valuable information on what is happening in the world.
Here’s why social media should be one of your business’ main media relations tactics:
It has HUGE reach. Facebook has become a “news powerhouse” with about 64% of all U.S. adults on the site, according to a Pew Research study – half of which get their news there. About half of U.S. adults use YouTube, and 10% of those users say they get their news there. Similarly, about 8% of Twitter users get their news on the popular site. That’s a lot of people right at your fingertips.
It’s highly interactive. The same study found that about half of social media users have shared news stories, images and videos or discussed news issues or events. About 14% of them have also shared their own videos or footage of major news events, and often they will get the attention of their local news publications.
When users share news stories, they can generate a high click rate for linked publications and tagged topics. Also, social media fully integrates with news sites, allowing readers to post stories on various platforms with one click. Leverage this potential interactivity to increase traffic on your own channels and website.
It provides instant exposure and credibility. The study also found that users linked via Facebook to a news site spend less time than someone who directly sought it out, yet those social media links still expose new people to the site or serve as a reminder to past visitors. Not to mention, most people are more inclined to read an article that was shared by a friend or a trusted public voice.
All of these advantages add up to a powerful source of outreach for any business to get readers’, and more importantly, journalists’ attention.
So how can you integrate social media into your media relations strategy?
Share relevant content from verified outlets. Make sure you know the difference between fact and fiction, so you can share accurate information. With the onslaught of rumors rather than news in everyone’s feeds, the more intelligent voices sharing legitimate content the better. Tag certain publications and journalists as you share their work so you can start building relationships.
Create content. Try your hand at some thought leadership, which means sharing expert thoughts on topics relevant to a specific industry or topic. Post it on your blog or have a PR professional pitch it out to get it placed in target publications. Then, share that article on social media. As you create content and build relationships online, people will start to look to you as a resource, including journalists.
Comment on breaking news. In PR, when anything big happens that is relevant to the company or brand you represent, people should know about it. Social media provides an easy way to give your two cents on a huge story that could impact your audience. By being upto date on large issues, you may catch the attention of reporters who are trying to write the same story.
Make sure you know the difference between fact and fiction, so you can share accurate information.
Use it as a research tool. Part of media relations is doing the research and finding journalists who are writing about topics relevant to your company. Now if only there was a place where journalists constantly visit and post what they’re writing about…oh wait. In fact, journalists view social media as one of their top methods of receiving news – behind only email alerts and newswire press releases, according to a Business Wire media survey.
You may also find influencers who can offer their huge following as a resource when you’re trying to promote a specific brand. They may link you to others talking about that topic or help you to get your content out there for more people – and journalists – to see.
Build relationships with it. A recent study from Cision found that 94 percent of journalists are using social media on a regular basis – more than two-fifths of which say they respond to comments on social media. By posting or messaging thoughtful notes on a journalist’s page, you may find that you are able to start a conversation with them, and once that relationship is created, you may be able to work in your pitch somewhere too.
With so much information constantly inundating the internet, you need to know where to look to find what you need, and social media is quickly becoming a catchall for that information. There is no denying that social media has become a legitimate and encompassing resource for media relations.