When we think of public relations (PR), we typically think of media relations. This person reaches out to the media when their client has company news, receives requests from media about story ideas, and analyzes any potential communications risks.
PR is truthfully much broader than that.
It’s the idea of building and maintaining solid relationships with all sorts of stakeholders for your company – that includes internally, externally, with customers, non-customers, investors, and anyone who comes in contact with your brand.
PR has morphed into something so much more than traditional media relations. PR practitioners are the ones who look at an advertisement and consider possible backlash. PR practitioners are the ones who coach CEOs and executives on how to speak to the media. When a crisis arises, PR practitioners put together the communication model to handle the crisis. They even have extensive journalism training, whether through college courses (many PR pros were journalism majors) or through professional reporting experience.
What about social media?
People often debate about which department should be responsible for social media. Social media encompasses so many disciplines that it’s easy to miss the bigger picture. It functions as an advertising platform, a content platform, customer service tool, community engagement platform and a reputation management tool. In a larger company, it’s likely that each of those areas has its own team to manage work.
So which team should be responsible for social media management?
We recommend social media management be a function of your PR and content marketing team. This is because the same skill set needed to make an excellent PR practitioner is the same skill set needed to create great organic content on social media. In fact, many agencies and companies are now combining PR and social media management into one team.
Of course, whoever is responsible for the brand’s social media presence will need to work closely with the advertising/marketing/customer service teams, but the big picture is that everything you do on social media can ultimately impact your audience the same way television, radio or online news does.
Social media content uses the principles of news reporting.
In college, PR students learn the basics of news reporting. This teaches them to consider newsworthiness and how best to tell a story. The acronym TIP CUP helps determine if a topic is newsworthy.
- Timeliness: Is it happening now or soon?
- Impact: Will this “wow” readers or viewers? How can it help improve their lives?
- Proximity: Is it happening in your city or nearby? Will it affect your community? If it’s a national story, how can you make it local?
- Conflict: Are there two sides to this story? Is there an individual struggle or interesting story in the midst of a major event or tragic situation?
- Unusual: Journalists love weird and unusual stories. Are you announcing a new innovative product? Or a fresh approach to something old and traditional?
- Prominence: If your story involves a well-known person, the news value increases.
Developing social media content uses the TIP CUP technique. Make sure the content you post will interest your audience and make them want to share it. People don’t go to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to buy your product. They go there to see what’s new and feel part of experiences and conversations. Your brand content should feel like a natural fit within their news feed.
Are you interested in learning more about how PR and social media can benefit your business? Please contact us.