How to Integrate Social Media PR with Your Overall Digital Marketing Strategy
High-quality content is fundamental in establishing your brand’s reputation as an expert in your field, yet social media can serve as a valuable PR tool for building relationships with your target market, especially in an increasingly mobile-first world.
If recent stats are to be believed, the 'average joe' spends almost two and a half hours a day on social media and messaging apps. That’s a huge window for brand exposure, and therefore it makes sense that social PR should be an intrinsic part of strategic planning for future digital marketing campaigns.
Here’s how to utilise social PR within your digital strategy to supercharge your online marketing efforts:
1. Engaging your audience
Link building can often be a long and time-consuming task, however, acceptance rates are often higher when you have established a rapport with an editor or website owner before you begin your outreach. Think about it, you’re more likely to respond to someone you know and trust.
Social media can be a useful way of engaging key contacts with relatively little effort. For example, say you’ve got a handful of industry-specific publications and blogs that you’d like to target with some content. Before you hit them with your pitch, research who the best contacts are at each publication and start engaging with them on social media. It could be as simple as liking or commenting regularly on their posts with questions or feedback to show your interest in their work. Once they’re familiar with your name and brand they’ll be more inclined to consider your content.
2. Reshare your content for increased visibility
Most marketers recognise that initial content creation, distribution, and promotion is an essential part of every successful online marketing campaign. However, a lot of marketers fall into the trap of thinking that their content only has one chance to shine. It might seem lazy to reshare old content, but if it’s valuable, evergreen content, it will always perform well to new audiences.
A great piece of content takes a lot of work and refinement, so you want to make sure you are getting the best possible return on it. Continuously driving visibility to existing content over time will help increase traffic to your website whilst raising brand awareness.
Use a social media management tool such as HootSuite, eClincher, or Buffer, to schedule future tweets containing links back to existing blog posts on your site. Diarise a couple of hours at the end of each month to sit down and schedule in daily posts for the coming month. This doesn’t mean you can’t also publish ad hoc posts throughout the month as things crop up, but it does mean you’re guaranteed to have regular social activity already lined up, even during a quiet month of content creation.
Updating old content
If you’ve updated older posts to make them more relevant, not only will you have the opportunity to get in front of new audiences you missed the first time around, but you can also recapture the attention of previous viewers with some enticing messages highlighting the updates you’ve made to the original post:
“We’ve added 3 new tips you won’t want to miss!”
“Your best guide to [insert skill/topic] just got better”
“Our top ten tips and tricks just became 12...”
A great example of this is Moz’s algorithm update history page. The page is constantly evolving and acts as a constant source of new content, meaning it is always relevant, even though it’s been around for years.
Repurposing used content
While duplicating content is bad, repurposing content can be good, very good, in fact. If you’ve spent time and resources curating a piece of research or an informative article for your blog, why not repurpose snippets of your work into subsequent, smaller bites of content that are suitable for social media or other channels.
For example, a whitepaper or research piece can be repurposed in several ways:
- A series of image-based posts containing hard-hitting factoids from your research...
- An infographic illustrating the main findings and stats from your study...
- A video post talking through the main takeaways from an in-depth written guide...
Whilst all of these are useful pieces of content in their own right, you can also include a link back to the original blog post on your website, generating traffic at the same time.
3. Listen Up
Creating keyword-focused content is essential, however, it’s important that you are optimising your content to what your audience actually wants to see, not what you think they want to see.
By monitoring the conversations taking place across social media around core keyword themes and hashtags, marketers can make more informed decisions about the content they produce. For example, you might discover that your target audience is particularly environmentally-conscious, and therefore introducing green incentives to your products or services could help attract more of the right customers.
Algorithms differ between social media channels, so staying on top of updates is essential. However, one rule that appears to remain true across all platforms is that the more an audience engages with your posts, the more frequently you will appear in their newsfeeds. And the more an audience is exposed to you, the more likely they are to remember you and develop a rapport with your brand, giving you a greater opportunity to turn those engagements into conversions.
Of course, there are various paid advertising options for getting your brand in front of a targeted audience too, but you can also increase your visibility considerably simply by getting a bit creative with your posts:
Use visuals. According to Buzzsumo, posts containing images receive 2.3 times more engagement than those without. Users are also more likely to share visual posts with their friends and followers, widening your potential reach.
Time it right. Schedule your posts during time slots when your target customers are likely to be online. You’ll be able to get this data from your chosen analytics source.
Make them laugh. When it comes to emotive content, humour is always a winner, but ensure it is well-judged and not likely to offend, as social media critics can be very unforgiving.
Get nostalgic. Appealing to people’s personal experiences, particularly memories is also an effective way of encouraging an emotional connection with your brand.
Newsjacking. Where possible, tie your posts into current events or news stories and make use of trending hashtags to gain traction. Of course, this is only successful when the story or event in question is actually relevant to your brand or service or there is a tangible link between the two, otherwise you run the risk of a) seeming insincere and/or b) offending the community you are trying to befriend.
Give things away. Everyone loves a freebie, so post discount codes, coupons, or vouchers to encourage shares. If you have the resources, post links to a landing page on your website where users can download free information products such as whitepapers or guides. This is also a canny way of getting traffic to your site, and people may well take a look around while they’re there.
Avoid clickbait. Hoodwinking users into clicking through to irrelevant content will get you more visits but it’ll also send your bounce rate through the roof as it’s not actually what the audience wants to see. You’ll also get a reputation for being clickbait-heavy which will make people less likely to engage with you the second time around for fear of being duped again.
Use a micro influencer. Influencer marketing may feel like a concept that is restricted to those with considerable budgets, but recent research shows that micro influencers can be an affordable and highly effective way to grow brand awareness amongst a target market. This is because micro influencers have usually grown their following organically, and therefore have a deeper level of trust and influence over their audience.
Whether you manage your company’s digital marketing strategy internally, or you employ an external agency, it’s often the case that social media management and SEO are two separate roles performed by two or more separate individuals.
Whilst this may be the best solution practically due to varying skill sets and expertise, as marketers, it's important to have a good understanding of how all the individual aspects of your overall digital strategy.
Creating synergy between your social PR and SEO strategy will not only raise your brand awareness, but it will also help improve customer experience and boost results.