Web 2.0 : How to Overcome the PR Challenges of Social Media

Feeling down because no one opened that mass-emailed press release? Don’t, the content isn’t the issue -- it’s the delivery system. Today, people are getting their news from a company’s website directly, through a specially designated tab with links to all things social media-related. This honest, engaging, and transparent delivery system is easy to accomplish by following four steps.

 

Image Source: ShutterStock.com

First, let’s discuss why those tenets of honesty, engagement, and transparency are vital components to making this new system work.

Honesty

Being as upfront as possible gives readers a sense of truth. The hard sell isn’t going to work here, as it feels fake. Instead, use interpersonal skills to talk openly about the company and give an honest opinion. Keep an upbeat attitude, and stay realistic when talking about a product or service offered. When covering a new product release, compare prices to competitors, even if they are lower. Quality usually wins over price if the company is honest about what they sell.

Engagement

See what’s trending on social sites about the company. Notice a great review written by a customer? Add a comment of encouragement and ask them if they would be interested in reviewing another product. Look up hashtags regarding the company and follow each fan. Respond to negative feedback by giving excellent customer service.

Transparency

If something goes wrong, do not lie about it, or pass the blame. A company is made up of humans, so mistakes will happen. By admitting them, it shows customers that this company has a heart. Maybe a press release came off as offensive. Apologize, admit to the blame, and stay humble. This openness makes people feel better faster.

Image Source: ShutterStock.com

Next, the four steps to successfully transition into digital PR. 

Step One: Polished Website

Think of this as a store front. It should show what the company is all about through quality photos, useful content, and clearly labeled tabs. Make sure the visuals are on point, as that’s what everyone sees first. Hire an expert photographer that concentrates on promotional photos for businesses. Then, design a layout that visually inspires while also informs visitors about what the company is about from the very first page.

Step Two: Create a Social Tab

This is the part of a company’s website that will have all the press releases, company history, and bio of employees under one tab. Start a blog too, and have a regular content writer who knows the target audience well write a few posts a week. Companies with blogs get up to 55% more visitors. Link blog posts to social media communities to spread the word more efficiently, letting people know the instant there is new quality content available. Get creative with bios for company employees that will make people laugh while also informing them. Look at this tab from the audience’s point of view to help add the most useful content.

Step Three: Hire a Social Media Manager

Hire someone to follow all these social media accounts and record analytics. This is a full-time job, and should go to an expert in this field. Think of this person as the digital “face” of the company, and hire accordingly. Or hire a company that specializes in social media PR (and has a great track record) to do the managing.

Step Four: Monitor Integrity

Have a monthly meeting to draft up an editorial calendar of topics to be posted on the blog, press releases to be written, and social media statuses to be promoted. This will help maintain the essential principles of the company and monitor the integrity of all content. Don’t post shock value content, especially when it exploits a person or competing company. It will most likely generate a storm of negative feedback.

The hardest part is getting setup. After that, managing this new digital PR system will be painless. Remember, it’s how the content is presented that will attract the younger audience, but the message is the same. The press release is still alive, just a Web 2.0 version of it.

 

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Comment by Mickie Kennedy on November 21, 2014 at 6:23pm

Great article, Megan.

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