Public relations practice in the 21st century has adapted to using social media applications for research, writing and delivering messages to communicate with stakeholders and target the public online. Almost every aspect of this profession relies heavily upon the use of the internet to achieve their outcomes. Articles, products, services and marketing materials can all be accessed and shared via the net; feedback from customers can be accessed in real time; links to sales funnels are published to divert traffic to a website; and blogging, photo sharing, newsletters and press releases can all be posted through websites and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The digital era of using these communication tactics has become so mainstream and effective that they have been used successfully in political campaigning to win elections. Activists, corporations, government departments and not-for-profit organisations have used applications such as Facebook and Twitter to organise rallies, sign-up thousands of members to support a cause, raise thousands of dollars for advertising campaigns and to express their opinions and views to influence audiences.
So, how can you adapt and use PR tactics to grow your audience, generate leads and convert more sales? Here are three simple tips to implement into your marketing and funnel lead generation strategy –
1. Understand Your Audience
This one gets thrown around a lot: ‘know who your audience is’. But do people understand how to do this effectively? It requires digging a little deeper than, ‘business owner who wants more leads and sales’. If you look up your country’s national statistics or the public records of the national parliament or congress library and search for data that reveals the number of internet subscribers in the last 5 years, how many household and businesses have internet access?
Are they using the internet for ‘personal, private, business or educational’ purposes?
What age groups use the net and social media and for what purpose? All of this data is important for planning a public relations campaign that uses social media. The demographic details will help determine which social media and internet applications are suitable for different audiences. Because no matter how often you are posting on social media, not everyone is your potential target publics and the way they use Twitter is different to the way they use Facebook. Understanding your audience in more detail lets you know why you are using social media accounts.
Is it to generate dialogue? Is it to alert people about a new product and direct them to your main site? Is it to sell something? When you answer these questions after researching your audience, you will have a deeper understanding of why these applications are necessary, who is using them and why.
2. Cross Promotion
Social media changed the dynamics of how people find and receive information through the evolving features they provide to communicate messages. If you have a product offer that you want to promote on your website, you can use multiple channels across social media and the web to cross promote to different publics and target markets.
The key to successfully cross promoting a product is to ensure each social media application is being used appropriately to inform, influence and educate people according to its specific features. Each message, post, video, image you use to promote the same product has to be altered in some way to maximise its effectiveness. Simply copying and pasting the same message across all platforms would be a waste of time and resources because you are not implementing a different message delivery strategy within the context and suitability of each application.
Image source – Pixabay
3. Treat Social Media as a Professional Practise
Remember to use your social media posts as a professional media outlet by posting quality content on a consistent basis with a strategy of achieving goals and objectives in your business. It needs to be used as a more serious undertaking than just using it to share with your family and friends. If you have product or service you are selling, you can post about the results and success stories your clients are getting; create brand awareness about you and your programs and network with potential partners and influencers. Utilize social media as a tactic within the context of a public relations practice to deliver on an ‘interpersonal’ communication strategy which will enhance your results. For example, having a website is a tactic that is then linked to an objective and a message strategy. Use social media in the same way.
Michelle Ciantar is a PR Communication Consultant who works with companies and businesses on effective communication strategies in digital marketing, brand reputation management, social media marketing, crisis communication and professional communication practice. Follow me on Instagram @michelleciantarofficial & Twitter - Michelle Ciantar @shellmc3