By: Kristina Markos and Maria Baez
Video Companion of this Article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhAvcgt7yOo
It’s no secret that public relations and social media are synonymous in today’s viral landscape. Consequently, clients are expecting that a lively social media presence will play a role in public relations initiatives alongside media relations, digital strategy, and event marketing. Because of this, it is our job to make sure that our clients’ brands are known, respected, and connected to beneficial and influential conversations taking place on the web and on social media.
However, social media is a tool that we can use internally as well as for the benefit of clients— social media actually helps us to be creative, communicative and effective PR mavens. When properly executing social media campaigns for both consumer and professional services clientele, we post relevant content, interact with influencers and connect with others using hash-tags. When properly executing social media campaigns for ourselves and for our company brand, our goals remain the same.
Seasoned PR professionals who are constantly connected should know the three ways to most advantageously use social media:
- Breaking News Can Cramp Your Style, but Don’t Let It: The news is unpredictable, so it can be challenging to plan a full social media strategy when the news is changing every day. But where there is an element of surprise, there is an opportunity. For example, when major media outlets and publications were covering the government shutdown, Ebben Zall Group took to our company blog to discuss the situation. We found a way to incorporate our business objectives into what was going on nationally so that we stayed in the conversation. Bottom line: the art of maintaining relevancy is easy if content stays timely.
- Monitoring Headlines Means Monitoring Handles: Every morning, we monitor headlines from national and local news sources to stay current with trending topics and expert insights. To go the extra mile, we find reporters on Twitter and follow their respective feeds. When we communicate directly with these reporters, RT their status updates or stories, it demonstrates goodwill and usually opens the door for further communication. We have found that kind of communication can lead to relationships with journalists who are vital to a PR campaign’s success. We also make an effort to keep a close eye on hash-tags that industry gurus are using to ensure that the most popular tags are included in our original tweets.
- Active Social Listening is Smart Listening: Social listening is defined as simply monitoring popular social media outlets to see what is trending, gaining popularity, and sparking conversations on the internet. We actively listen to social conversations so that we can be smarter PR professionals. When we know what is popular, we are able to craft our content in a way that it is positioned as a conversation starter. Being an active listener also means tracking social media updates from our clients’ competitors. When we monitor competitors, we are better equipped to help our clients stand out from the crowd by starting new conversations and sparking lively interaction.
Social media is a tool that provides a transparent environment for us to monitor what brands are communicating; what reporters are talking about; and which trends are emerging. PR professionals are known for quick thinking and capitalizing on timely opportunities. This is the essence of social media: it is about engagement through audience-centric content and conversations, and it underscores the need for us to stay nimble and fluid.
Without social media, campaigns would not have the digital amplification that they do in today’s communication landscape. However, rampant conversations on social media can be perceived as loud and noisy; and good PR pros like us know that we have to filter the noise — so that you don’t have to.
Account Supervisor at Ebben Zall Group, is making her mark in all facets of public relations, creative services and content creation. She has worked for digital design agencies in Chicago and Miami, which has given her a sharpened edge in digital strategy implementation.
Prior to joining EZG she launched and led Kayvee Publicity in Chicago (a public relations firm focused on fulfilling creative needs for financial services clients). She was also a writing and communications instructor at Indiana University Northwest.
Earning an award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting, Kristina graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree in 2006. She also earned a Master of Liberal Science from the University of Toledo in 2010.
Maria Baez is a PR Account Executive at Ebben Zall Group where she works with clients to develop and execute engaging campaigns that incorporate elements from traditional and social, and new media tactics. A graduate of Marist College (Go Red Foxes!), Maria earned a degree in Communications (2010) with a concentration in Public Relations. She was a four-year member of the Division I Marist Women’s Soccer Team and credits her ability to thrive in fast paced environments, deliver quality content with pressing deadlines, and effectively multitask, to her lifelong commitment to athletics. A Long Island native, Maria now resides outside of Boston. In her spare time, Maria is committed to utilizing her skills and experience in PR to help up-and-coming young professionals – who are interested in the industry – through various mentor and leadership programs.