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A B2B social media strategy is no longer a nice to have, but a must have. Social media has grown from its infancy as a simple network for friends and family to a powerful moving force, especially in public relations.
Social media is what takes the Clark Kents of the PR industry, and turns them into Supermen. OK, that might be a stretch, but you get the ideat. You can use social media for B2B as a tool to empower PR professionals to do their jobs better and more efficiently.
How Social Media Has Impacted PR
Social media puts your audience at your fingertips – literally just a few keystrokes away! While in the past it could take days to prepare and send out company announcements, now you get the word out in minutes, and quickly see the response.
We’ve known for a few years now that social media has a positive impact on a business’s bottom line. Just how much though? According to a study conducted by SproutSocial, 57.5% reported that they were more likely to purchase from a brand that they follow on social media. How can you use this to your advantage?
Social media puts your audience at your fingertips literally just a few keystrokes away.
The following are 7 key ways that you can use your social media account to bolster your brand and engage with your audience.
How to Use Your B2B Social Media Strategy to Rock Your PR
1. Find Key Influencers
Would you like to reach more people with your message? Influencer marketing can help you do so. After all, influencers already have the willing ear of a wide audience on their social networks. You can use influencers to:
- Promote a product or service
- Heighten brand awareness
- Protect a brand’s reputation
- Create trust in a brand
Social media gives you direct access to many influencers – and it is an effective platform to create and nurture influencer relationships. Because social media is at the center of an influencer’s work, it is a good bet to reach and connect with them.
Start by following influencers to see what they post and how they engage with their audience. This can tell you a lot about the impact they will bring to your brand.
Use PR tools like Buzzsumo, Klout or Traackr to help you to find influencers in your industry. These tools show you who’s influential – with up-to-date information on likes, shares, and engagements Create and prioritize influencer lists to determine who is the best fit for your business, and then plan out your next move.
Social media gives you direct access to many influencers
2. Do Some Social Listening
Ever wish you could know what’s going on the mind of prospect? Stop guessing and start listening – socially! It is easier than ever to keep up with what people are saying about your brand and industry with social listening.
With social media you can keep abreast of trends within your industry. You can also use social media to discover any online threats to your brand’s reputation, and stop them in their tracks. Often brands have prevented a major crisis by addressing it in its infant stages on social media.
A great tool to help you listen more is Hootsuite. It provides special insight not only into what people are saying, but your brand’s overall sentiment – all in real time. Set it up to notifiy you immediately if negative conversations start to trend within any segment of your audience.
Other great social listening tools include
- Mention – Use this tool to monitor social media and the web for any mentions of you, your brand, or certain keywords. This tool is free for up to 500 mentions, with moderately priced plans if you need more than that.
- BuzzLogix – Use this tool to monitor any mention of you, your brand, and your products on social media – as well as an overall sentiment analysis. Plans are free for up to 3,000 mentions and 5 social media profiles, with moderately priced plans that follow.
3. Use Social Media in Your Press Release Strategy
If you want your press release to have a fighting chance, make it social-media-friendly. Some companies exclusively publish their press releases on social media because of the immense reach that such networks offer. To capitalize on this, create a blog post with links to your press release, and use short, tweetable sentences.
Make all of your images social-media-ready, sized and themed appropriately for your social network. If you use survey data within your press release, include a sharable graphic that highlights that data.
4. Connect with Journalists
Journalists frequently take to social media to get a quote or to research a story. Modern PR professionals need to engage with journalists on social media to profit from these opportunities.
Become part of your industry’s online conversations. If a topic is trending or a big story breaks, comment with your industry expertise or a fresh take on the subject. You never know what journalist might be on the other end.
You can build an even stronger rapport with journalists by liking, sharing, and commenting on their articles. Don’t make your comments stiff or obviously canned – be conversational. Write something personal that shows you read the piece and truly appreciated it.
These steps can pave the way for a working relationship between your company and the journalist. This way, if you pitch them a story in the future, you’ll have that rapport as a foundation to build on.
Follow key journalists within your industry, and establish a relationship with them. A simple way to do this is by retweeting their work. This a great way to help them by extending their reach, and puts you on their radar for future interaction.
5. Get in Front of Negative Press
Negative news spreads like wildfire. You want to douse those flames as quickly as possible – and social media gives you some powerful water power to keep flames at bay.
As soon as negative news hits, many will look for a brand’s reaction on social media. Use your company’s social media profiles to write an immediate, official response to the negative press. Then, if it’s appropriate, you can direct the public to another site for more detailed information.
Create a plan for how to handle negative press before it happens. Outline specific steps on how to address the issue on social media (even with specific wording), and how to proceed in order to quench the problem. Doing this before problems arise takes that initial panic out of the equation and helps things run smoothly.
6. Make Announcements
Do you have some good news to share? Social media is the perfect platform to make that announcement. This might include:
- Product launches
- New hires
- Company updates or milestones
Whatever your news, social media can help you spread it quickly and thoroughly. Encourage fans to retweet and share your news and link back to your site for more information. Don’t be afraid to ask people to do so.
7. Publish Unique and Helpful Content
Social media is driven by content – and the more unique the better. LinkedIn, for example, has its own publishing platform, where you can post content that interests your industry. Publishing such content on social media shapes your brand image, and has the power to set you apart as a thought leader.
Consider having your company’s CEO publish this content. This puts him or her front and center on social media, and shows readers the driving influence for your company. When people can see the individual behind the brand, it creates a feeling of trust that is invaluable in business relationships.
Avoid publishing content that’s too self-promotional, and keep it relevant to your industry. In a recent survey conducted by SproutSocial, the top things that made people unfollow a particular brand included too many self promotional messages (46%) and information that was not relevant (41.1%).
It is your job to stay on top of what your audience appreciates and dislikes in the content they read.
Social media is driven by content – and the more unique the better
Key Points to Remember
- Use social media to find and engage with influencers in your industry
- Keep your ear to the ground of your industry by paying attention to conversations on social media – and perhaps avert disaster.
- Make your press releases social media friendly so people can easily read and share your news.
- Get in front of negative press by addressing it immediately on social media, and directing people where they can find accurate information.
Social media is a wonderful tool that has a powerful impact on the PR industry. Use it to its full potential, and you too can reap the benefits
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