For public relations professionals, effective communication with audiences has always been a primary goal. Traditionally, news releases, pitch letters, media kits and the like have served to communicate everything from government policies to the season’s newest skincare innovations.
In our ever-changing world however social media channels are altering the public relations industry before our very eyes.
Public relations professionals now more than ever are using social media as an additional method engage customers. It has become an integral part of industry, as social media platforms are increasingly becoming a proven method for companies to reach their audiences, as well as improve reputation and business results, according to Forbes.
Today, I look at three ways you can go beyond the media pitch and create new forms of content that engage customers and create results.
Remember conversations are a two-way street. Want your customers to show more interest in your products or services? Get them talking.
Let’s say you are a utility company promoting energy conservation measures for the home which can save energy. You may find it beneficial to ask questions to your customers on social media platforms including:
- “What are other ways you have saved energy?”
- “What can we do to help you save more electricity in your home?”
These types of questions not only get people talking on your social media pages but can also position your organization as a leader in its field.
The digital conversations provide you with valuable insights and reveal what is important to your customers, thereby allowing you to continually improve messaging.
Expand media coverage – socially. You can expand reach while posting the news coverage you’ve achieved on your social media channels and writing about the experiences in a blog.
Once the particular story is posted on social media, an additional method to help you stay on Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds is to offer information on the topic that expands upon what the media presented. The new information can make customers feel that they are getting insider knowledge, just by being a fan or a follower of yours. This can translate into brand loyalty.
Let visuals tell your story. The old adage, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ is true when it comes to spreading the word about your company.
Take the example of Starbucks who tells its brand story through photos on Instagram. A photo including a steaming hot coffee on an elegant table with a caption reading, ‘breakfast in bed is overrated,’ is followed by a photo of a cold drink beside a bicycle with the caption, ‘ready to ride.’
In this case, the variety of photos may lead customers to determine that Starbucks drinks are suitable for just about any place or activity. Perhaps more interesting is that through the photos customers are steered into determining their own positive thoughts towards Starbucks.
Photos can also generate excitement about what your brand is experiencing. Is your CEO being interviewed at a national news station? Catch all the ‘behind the scenes’ action through photos which create anticipation for the main event.