Some people say that social media may bring the demise of public and media relations. Bill Corbett Jr. of Corbett Public Relations Inc. (www.corbettpr.com) disagrees.
“With social media, public-relations professionals have been given a great set of tools to help clients get their messages out to the audiences that count most—their clients, prospects, followers, fans and connections,” Corbett says.
He offers several strategies for using Facebook to push out media coverage to key audiences. His ideas can also apply to other social media-channels, such as Twitter, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, Tumblr and YouTube, which should be used collectively along with Facebook to provide the best buzz about client products and ideas.
Post on a Facebook page. This is a simple task, but Corbett says it should be done repeatedly, at different times of the day and even on weekends. If the PR representative doesn’t want repeat posts, others at the PR firm and the client’s company can also post. The key is to use the first post to inform and send branding messages to current clients or prospects and the second post to attract new clients or prospects, Corbett says. Try to get the message out in as many streams as possible, he says.
Always include the link and create a customized shortened link in order to monitor the number of hits.
Include video or photos. A Facebook post that has a photo or video is twice as likely to be viewed and shared.
Post to groups. Post the message with the link in all groups the PR firm or the client belongs to. LinkedIn groups are ideal for this, Corbett says. Don’t forget them when pushing the story. He says this effort has helped him to get additional media hits on stories.
Direct-message members of the media connected with the Facebook account who might be interested in the story or industry.
Use all social media, not just Facebook. This includes options such as Twitter, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, Tumblr and YouTube.
Encourage comments. Urge encourage everyone who is part of the marketing and PR team to comment and share on stories and posts. Comments are important.
Be creative with titles and use company names or keywords that will attract attention or that are key search terms on the topic or industry.
Comment at the bottom of the story. When promoting the placement, a media-relations representative should insert his or her comment, include contact information and mention a connection to the business. When other members of the media find it, the comment can help generate additional coverage. Provide additional links to the client Web site, photos or videos.
Why Photos and Video Enhance Social-Media Effectiveness
“Marketing and media-relations professionals are in the business of getting clients noticed and attracting attention,” Corbett says. “What type of post would you rather share—one with a few lines of text or one with a video or a photo?”
According to Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook’s founder, who is head of marketing for the company, a post that contains an image or video is twice as likely to be shared. SaysCorbett: “This alone is a reason to use photos whenever possible when posting. We know the old saying that a photo is worth a thousand words. In this case, it could be worth millions of hits or thousands of shares.”
Corbett offers these additional reasons to use photo and video when posting:
- Images covey different messages than the written word. Sarcasm, humor and even sadness or joy can be misinterpreted when read in text, especially in short messages.
- Emotions and humor can easily be displayed with images or videos.
- Photos and videos simply catch the eye and attention.
- Videos allow individuals to speak in their own voice and project their personal brands and messages.
- Posting videos connected to news releases will help to get them picked up by the media and more hits/views.
- People like to watch videos and search specifically for them.
- Using photos helps to build relationships and familiarity.
- Photos and videos are interesting, most people would rather hear the story of how an entrepreneur overcame challenges and took risks to grow a company than to read a company “about us” statement.
- Creating photo and video galleries keep people on the page, focused on the company’s message, and allows the company to convey different messages and help to build relationships.
If a small business has videos that lack high production values, they’re better than none at all. (A large company with a well-known brand would need to be pickier.)
Videos can catch attention, but most people watch only the first 30 seconds, so get the primary message out early, Corbett advises.