How to Combine PR and Social Media
Updated: Jul 20
There are ways in which you, as an entrepreneur, can easily extend your reach. One is by combining your PR work with social media. First things first, what’s the difference between PR and social media? 🤷♀️🤷♀️
As the beginning of an article on Forbes suggests: Hardly anyone knows what people in PR actually do. . .
PR work usually involves building a reputation for yourself, or your clients, through working with the media. While classic PR involves working with journalists and publishers, digitalisation has seen a rise in the use of social media engagement over the past years.
This is where you can seize your opportunities. Where classic PR often takes a more formal tone, engagement with your audience on social media can be bright, bubbly, and more personal. Paul Bates, in an article for Georgetown University, notes that this has allowed for companies to come across more warm and friendly. 🌞
This sounds wonderful, right? But watch out, because engaging with audiences on such a basis is not always a walk in the park. Here are some key ways to combine your PR work with social media and what to watch out for:
| Know your target audience
This one seems obvious, but I cannot emphasise it enough. A classic PR campaign is designed for a specific audience, as it is on social media. Social media, however, allows for more feedback – which is positive –, but also for criticism, negative comments, or even a whole backlash. 💥💥💥
On a more positive note, this tool of giving feedback allows for “social listening” – ways, by which you can react to the demands and complaints of your customers online, and thus optimise your products and services. For an example of such monitoring tools to listen to your customers, check out this post.
But do watch out, brands cannot exist on social media alone; read more here. In a short feature for BBC, Jeremy Hillman points out that “'traditional media' [is] still too important to ignore”. The key is thus to amplify your traditional PR work by incorporating social media, not by replacing one with the other. This way you can use the benefits of both for combined success.
| Know your platform
In the same way you analyse potential publications for your clients or brand in classic PR work, you need to analyse the different social channels to find just the right one for your campaign. Of course, you can share similar content, but the packaging differs from platform to platform. Choosing the right tone for each platform on social media is basically the same work as in regular PR. If you’re new to the whole social media thing, don’t worry, the folks at Social Pilot have you covered with this ultimate guide: click here.
On another note, many of the publications you would contact for your regular PR work will have channels on social media. There, features will be shared and often reach a new audience. This way, you can combine your classic PR work with social media to broaden your network and reach. On the Bufferchat Recap here you can read up on some of the ways in which social media has changed traditional PR.
While it’s important to have a broad audience by reaching out on media, it’s more important for your business to have your client’s trust. Here are ways by which to achieve this.
It is visible how social media engagement and traditional PR have not only influenced one another, but how one can actively build and rely on the other to increase your network, reach, and amplify your brand. I know, all of this sounds overwhelming, but you’ll get the hang of it. Internalise the basics (knowing your audience and knowing your platform), and the rest is experience. Combine your traditional PR work with social media to harvest your results. 👩🌾👨🌾
If you feel like combining PR and social media is still very overwhelming, go back to the basics for each; for instance, how do you build your brand on social media?
Most importantly, get going!
About the Author
Sarah is a PR assistant at GuidedPR. She holds a BA hons in English and Comparative Literature and is currently in the wake of moving to London to start her MA in Modern Literature and Culture at King's College London. She's usually busy writing and consuming caffeine. ☕☕☕