Sanina Kaur

How to use social media to enhance your PR

by Sanina Kaur on March 17, 2013

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Think about PR and many people mainly automatically associate the profession with the world of media relations.

However, in today’s rapidly-evolving ‘digital age’ it is increasingly evident that PR comprises much more than simply writing media releases, dealing with journalists’ enquiries and setting up media briefings.

Here are some simple ways in which Twitter can be used to cut through other brands’ noise and identify worthwhile media opportunities:

1. Uncover media coverage opportunities

Twitter is increasingly being recognised as a valuable research tool that can help PR professionals gauge:

  • An understanding of the articles that have already been published
  • Details of what publications are planning to post and print

Searching for key terms relating to a particular business, target publications - which PRs should be following as a matter of course - and specific hashtags, can also uncover wider opportunities for proactively obtaining media coverage.

2. Follow your media

Many reporters often post details of the articles they are working on, which you can easily use to your advantage by simply ensuring that you're following your key journalists on Twitter. Grouping the media you are following into a list will also enable you to see their latest messages easily.

In addition, Twitter generates emails with suggestions that are similar to your search history that can be invaluable in helping find new target publications you wouldn't have otherwise considered or come across.

3. Approaching the media

By taking the time to research and follow your main journalists on Twitter, it's perfectly acceptable to respond to their information requests using Twitter. If the reporter is following you back, you can send them a direct message to ensure you do not share your story or comment with all and sundry, but for the media it's intended for.

Another way of alerting reporters to your news is to send them an @message containing a link to a industry comment, media release or a blog. In the instance where you may have repeatedly tried to follow up your initial contact with a journalist, but with little joy, you may wish to send them a tweet as a way of gauging their level of interest, ascertaining if they have any queries or require any further information. Many reporters tend to respond much more swiftly via social media than email as a result of having large volumes of messages in their inbox to trawl through, let alone, respond to, within their deadlines.

Asking for a journalist to simply Retweet (RT) your message, especially if it’s about an event that is of relevance to their target audience or in their news patch, is a tactic that is being increasingly adopted by PRs.

This approach can also be extended to other key ‘influencers’, such as industry leaders and leading associations, however, it is something that needs to be used in moderation as journalists are motivated to secure new news angles that have not been shared with other writers.

4. Enter the world of virtual networking

Just as you may go along to a networking event, you can also use Twitter to network, but on a virtual scale. This can easily be achieved by setting up a dedicated hashtag that ultimately creates a networking group of people who engage with the messages it carries. It is vital new content is regularly shared in order to ensure the group remains engaged and posts remain relevant and up-to-date.

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This post was written by Sanina Kaur

Cognition content writer with 10 years of industry experience.