Today’s PR professionals can no longer avoid the impact social media has on the industry. With 76% of journalists saying they think about their story’s social media sharing ability, effectively using social media as part of a greater PR strategy is imperative.

Take advantage of these five ways to use social media, and advance your public relations campaign.

1. Develop Relationships with the Media and Influencers

Public relations professionals understand the role of media relationships in the industry. By interacting with journalists, media outlets, and influencers on social media, you extend the professional relationship beyond the press release pitch. This increases the chances of gaining media coverage with the right outlets.

When developing these pertinent relationships, use social media to share relevant information, provide value, and extend the conversation. Do not bombard media contacts with pitches, requests, or press releases via social media. This is seen as spammy and disrespectful of their time. Ensure the nature of your relationship is professional and courteous at all times.

2. Facilitate the Brand Message through Content Distribution

Distributing original and branded content to a targeted audience is a tried and true social media tactic. In addition, it allows public relations teams to strategically facilitate the brand message online. By having control of the type of content shared, and the copywriting within the post, PR pros ensure the proper brand message is sent each time.

If curating content to distribute on brand social media accounts, make sure the content is aligned with brand values and the public relations campaign objectives. Otherwise, you will share irrelevant content with your audience.

3. Incorporate Social Sharing into Press Releases

A simple, yet effective way to integrate social media into a public relations campaign is by adding social sharing capabilities to press releases. This allows readers and media outlets to distribute your intended message online in seconds.

Embedding relevant social media links and posts into your press releases also promotes social sharing and engagement among readers.

4. Create and Leverage Campaign Hashtags

Hashtags, while initially used to follow conversations online, can be a strategic tool for public relations objectives. By creating and leveraging specific campaign hashtags on social media platforms, PR teams can accomplish the following:

  • Monitor customer conversations centered around the particular campaign
  • Understand how the campaign is performing among intended audiences
  • Engage in user/customer conversations online
  • Ensure campaign and brand content is easily searchable

When using hashtags, make sure they are appropriate, easily recognized, and contribute to the brand message.

5. Real-Time Crisis Management

Public relations professionals are responsible for extinguishing all online crises that may lead to a negative brand reputation. Social media platforms allow brands, and PR teams alike, to respond in real-time to situations and/or customer conversations. With the growing ability for customers to interact directly with brands online, PR teams must take advantage of the “instant” nature of social media to tackle crises and maintain a positive online reputation for the brand.

Pair Social Media and Public Relations for Ongoing Success

Social media is no longer a secondary thought in the public relations industry—it is an integral part of the field.