The key reasons PR and social media should be used side by side

PR and social media are continually growing on digital platforms but there is still a gap in some brands strategies. Both areas can complement each other yet often teams don’t align or share ideas, so they end up having two different campaign plans.

We know that PR has different KPI’s to social media and sometimes the same content does get shared across channels but are you regularly sitting down with your teams and finding ways you can work together? We don’t have separate teams here at Silverthorn, we use both areas to plan our content for clients and it really works for us, so we wanted to share how we build our strategies using both social media and PR techniques.

Research process

One of the most important things when starting a campaign is to know your audience because there is no point in creating a campaign that people aren’t going to find useful or enjoy reading about. The main way you can do this, is by looking on social media to see what your target audience is engaging with.

It doesn’t matter what kind of campaign you are creating, social media is quickly becoming the portal for all media-based stories. If people have connected with something online, they will most likely have found it on social platforms or shared it to their profile afterwards.

Not only can looking at social media give you a good idea of what your audience is interested in but by using specific tools you can find out how people react to certain topics online, what time people are engaging the most and what other topics might interest them too. This helps to build a foundation for your campaign and really target the right people.

Understand your competitors

Before starting a campaign, we will always research our client’s competitors. It gives us great insight into what the industry looks like and where the gaps in the market lie. Something that works really well for one competitor might not work for our client and we are here to find out why.

Questions that we will always ask ourselves when doing a competitor audit include:

  1. What are they doing on social that our client isn’t?
  2. Are there any PR campaigns they have done well? Why did it work?
  3. Have they used social within their campaigns?

By looking into what competitors are doing on social media and having a look at previous PR campaigns we can help to review processes that aren’t working for clients and help to strategize a way that they can fit into the market in their own unique way.

Amplify a campaign

The most important time for your social and PR teams to work together is during the seeding process of a campaign. A social media campaign can be amplified through PR and vice versa. You might be promoting something like a blog post or online asset and by reaching out to journalists you will get the online coverage you hoped for but by posting it on social media you can create a buzz.

We will regularly track how many times a campaign is shared across social media and how many people cover it online after the launch date. For example, if you have got an article featured on the Independent make sure to like people’s posts that have shared it on social media or share it yourself on the company page. The coverage takes place because of PR but the conversation is on social media, it’s important to remember that both areas can complement each other.

Of course, you can use paid advertising to amplify a PR campaign on social media as well. This helps to target even more people that you want to reach and in turn it might help increase followers and traffic to the website.

Reporting

Often, once a PR campaign is completed it gets forgotten. The way we are able to ensure that clients are seeing the most results possible is by using tools to highlight every single success during the campaign.

Things we will always report on are:

  1. Coverage/links
  2. Engagements
  3. Traffic
  4. Visibility
  5. Reaction

All of the above are important to understand exactly how and why the campaign worked. It will help improve the next campaign and with the right Social and PR tools combined you will be able to report on your campaign with detail.

Some tools that we are regularly using to help us to monitor and report on our results include:

The best part about working together on campaigns is that you have so much more information and knowledge to help you build something successful for your clients or brand.

The digital industry is forever growing so it is the right time to begin to align teams and start broadening your expertise. If you haven’t already started using social and PR tools side by side start hosting meetings together and ask for help in the areas we have spoken about in this article. The success will be reflected in your results!


David White - Content Marketing Director