Leverage Social Media with PR

One big discussion today in marketing and communication circles continues to be on how to effectively embrace social media (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) and merge it with your company’s PR campaigns, projects or initiatives? The positive view is that companies are even having the discussion in the first place. The downside is that many of them see it as an “either/or” answer to their marketing communications strategy.

The biggest mistake companies make is by using social media as the only component in a PR campaign. This won’t work for a simple reason – this isn’t what the format’s all about. Social media, at least for now, can’t completely replace many other traditional forms of communication. Take social media press releases, for example. While there’s no doubting that this type of press release can go out via online distribution newswires, it’s at its most effective as a visually stimulating and interactive information hub instead.

Rather than the somewhat stale static text of a “traditional” press release, one that’s enhanced for social media can include everything from video, audio and embedded links to RSS feeds, multimedia and even sections for comment and feedback. The main point is to use your social media PR strategy as another highly effective communication tool in your marketing toolbox. If you wish to get instant feedback on your news or product, open up the release to allow comments on it; have links to your About Us page on your website; make it particularly easy for people to contact you through a variety of methods (email, social media, business network sites, etc).

The whole point of social media is about the conversation. By realizing this, businesses will connect with far more potential customers than they might have previously. And if they (and their PR teams) use a social media press release as part of a strategy as opposed to being the strategy, these results will only be solidified.