Social media is just a natural evolution of the tools we started doing PR with in the beginning of the computer revolution — email and databases.
Now instead of keeping your list in email and a database, your contacts are in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
This should be brain dead obvious, but I still see clients separating PR from social media, and often attaching a much higher dollar value to press coverage or PR than an effective social networking strategy.
Social media should be integrated with your PR strategy.
You should be including the press in your social communities on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn — and they should be learning your brand’s story, bit by bit, day by day, one post at a time.
These days, most of the press contact I do is directly via Facebook instant messages or Twitter direct messages — not email. I can’t even imagine separating PR from social media.
Sure you announce the “big news” with an advance press release or a big event — but you’re now telling your story in real time to an audience that includes the press and customers.
Facebook and LinkedIn are just your new Rollodex.This is how you find customers, build loyalty and keep them. This is also how you find influencers and the press, build fanatical loyalty and keep them on your side.
Social media is now the front line of your brand.
1. Your network is your net worth.
2. Business is now all about customer relationships.
3. Branding is now all about storytelling.
4. Marketing is now all about building communities. The first step to launch any business now is to first build your community. Then you tell your story to the super connected connectors who lead other communities.
PR is still important — but in the social media era you must intertwine it with your social media program for success
I think that PR and social media are not separate and are in fact, today, the same thing.
Social PR blends traditional mainstream print/TV/radio news media Press Relations with Social Media content marketing — to reach influencers.
It also means, simply, that your “friends” on your social network also happen to be reporters, freelance writers, columnists and editors and they “discover” the story ideas you share on their news feed. (This is kind of like sending out a press release only much faster.) I also pitch editors via Facebook or Twitter.
I build relationships with press and influencers. Some of them are traditional print or TV press. Others are simply well connected on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — but have influence equivalent to or greater than that of traditional media.
Over time, we create authentic, engaged communities who will be advocates of your brand. Who tell your story. Who spread the word for you. I believe in telling a story so compelling that the press call you. The best press coverage always happens this way — pull not push.
Social media and PR are all about connections.
If you have just 1000 friends, and they each have 1000 friends, you can reach 1 million people with your network.
Think about it — you can reach 1 million people with a single post now.
That is the most amazing marketing bargain in history.
You influence other influencers who reach other influencers. who spread the word. This exponentially amplifies your message.
There is no other way to do this — and all of the leading social media experts leverage their personal relationships on behalf of clients, just as publicists have for decades.
Reach early adopters
The way you get a paradigm shifting or disruptive technology launched is by first convincing the early adopters.
THE THREE PRIMARY EARLY ADOPTER COMMUNITIES:
- Technology early adopters
- LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability)
- Transformational consumers
These are the three groups of people most likely to adopt and try a new idea or trend — and then spread the word about it.
You need to reach pundits, journalists, bloggers, reviewers, investors, analysts and influencers who spread the word to early adopters. The “I am the first on my block” trendsetters, hipsters, techies who dare to try new ideas.
Via this selectively curated group of exceptionally networked people. (Malcolm Gladwell in “The Tipping Point” calls them “mavens” and “connectors”) I can reach millions in a few minutes.
Connect other connectors.
To “go viral” you need to reach other connectors who are connected with other communities outside your own.
Social networking is just like face to face networking. The whole point is to have a network that reaches other networks.
You are most effective when you network outside your network into new circles:
You can either pay for this with Facebook advertising — or do it manually by having relationships outside your network. I believe that doing a combination of both is most effective.