Guest Post by Corina Manea
A lot has been said about PR, and almost always it’s about media relations. If you ask around, you still hear people saying PR is about press coverage. But here is the not-so-new news:
PR is more than media relations and always has been.
Public relations came to life many, many years ago when Edward Bernays, known as “the father of public relations” defined it. Over the years the industry has evolved and adapted, to meet brands’ and markets’ needs. But we live in interesting and challenging times and, with the advent of social media, PR pros and businesses now have the opportunity to not only reach masses, but to create a dialogue and to start a conversation for brands in a more meaningful way than through media relations.
Social PR is more than releasing information about your company or advertising your products. It’s about two-way communication. It’s the chance to really connect with your consumers, to really listen to them and find innovative ways to help them while raising your brand awareness.
“The four have to work together for an organization to not only create its message, but to distribute it and get third-party endorsement of it.” ~ Gini Dietrich
So, you see, this is your chance as a PR pro or even a small business owner to put PR to work for you in a more meaningful way. It’s your chance to connect with the people you’re targeting, and create a relationship with them beyond the sales pitch. Here are a few tips to make social PR work for you:
1. PR is… connections.
Social media gives you the gift to connect with your consumers and hear directly from them what they want. Not what you want and not what your marketing department wants or thinks your consumers want. Don’t take it for granted. Listen to them and start building relationships.
2. PR is… being helpful.
Treat your consumers as you would like to be treated. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand them and hear them, really hear them. Yes, you have a lot of things on your mind and have to divide your attention in many places, but if you want to succeed at having a relationship with your audience, you have to start listening to them.
You might not like what you hear, you might feel they are wrong (and sometimes they are), but truly listening to them gives you the opportunity to evaluate your brand’s message, your workflow and the way you interact with consumers.
This is a great learning opportunity that can take your business to another level if handled well.
3. PR is… a great team.
Your business is growing and you don’t have the time to be on social, to connect with people, or to answer simple questions… so does that mean you’re going to fall off the social media merry-go-round?
In order to avoid that, you need to surround yourself with people that understand your brand’s mission and voice. Together, build a communication strategy and a social media policy. In fact, as your business grows, a social media policy is a must. It gives everyone a framework needed to work successfully, and helps to ward off issues that might arise because of ineptitude or a lack of understanding on the part of those now tasked with the job.
4. PR is… using your common sense.
There will be times when a small issue becomes a big one. Always, always, always use your common sense. Communicate with people. Don’t shut your door hoping the storm will pass (it won’t). Be proactive and solve the issue before it’s too late. Too many business owners believe that if they don’t provide an answer to a problem a customer raised, it will pass. This may be true, but your reputation will suffer in the long run.
Warren Buffet famously said:
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
We live in challenging, awesome times. This is your opportunity to make your brand shine beyond sales. It’s your opportunity to prove there are humans behind that logo, to prove you care about your audience and you are there for them, giving 100%.
I strongly believe that to be different in this hyper-active, competitive world we live in, you need to listen to your audience and be of help. There are brands out there that do a great job, but there are many more that need to understand this new way of thinking and doing business. Make your brand stand out and be one of the former.
Corina Manea is an independent PR professional and social media strategist, currently living in Madrid, Spain. Founder of NutsPR and with more than a decade in PR and customer service, she is passionate about helping businesses and individuals connect with their audiences on social media, while building irresistible brands. You can connect with her on Twitter.