Why PR needs social media

Social media buttons, social media in b2b

If you appoint a PR agency to manage your reputation and they cannot advise you on social media, SEO and video, then you are probably wasting your money.  A bit harsh you think?

Well, think of it this way – your PR agency hits the jackpot with an article in the FT. You’re delighted, and pat yourself on the back for your excellent investment. But what you don’t realise is that this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be achieved from an FT mention. You don’t need to know that, you’re not a communications professional. You’re an entrepreneur, or a corporate executive. But your PR agency should. It’s their job.

So what does social media have to do with the article in the FT that you have cut out, framed and hung in your reception?

You might think that a piece of print coverage is the jackpot. That might be because you buy the FT every day, and you think that all your customers and prospects do the same. But you’re probably wrong – and you should never assume that everyone consumes media in the same way. In fact, the FT print version has a daily readership of 2.2 million (although this includes global editions – if your content is only relevant to a UK or European audience, it will only make the local edition, which has a much smaller reach). FT.com on the other hand, enjoys 4.5 million readers. Furthermore, pretty much everyone chucks their paper in the bin when they’re done, while your online story can be found on the FT website into perpetuity.

What happens with this online article? Well, usually the journalist who wrote it and the editor of the section in which it is published, will share it on their social networks. To give you an idea, most of these have interested, highly targeted follower bases, of at least 10,000 people, so you’re maximising your coverage there. But more importantly, you have an opportunity to re-engage with the journalist involved, and get them talking to you directly on Twitter – this is an excellent way to keep their attention, thank them and get them to follow you. Then some intern at the FT will share it on their Facebook page – which has another half a million followers and gives you further opportunity to leverage that coverage.

The next thing that happens to the online article is that readers share it with each other. They’ll retweet, like it and post in on relevant LinkedIn groups. If today’s headlines are anything to go by, they’ll be shared hundreds of times at least. People will comment, they’ll discuss and they’ll engage. All of this means that the potential reach of your audience is massive – make sure your PR agency is maximising it!

Further reading: Why SEO needs PR needs social media needs video