At first glance, social media and PR seem entirely at odds. PR has traditionally tried to control the messages and conversations about brands, and social media gives that control back to consumers. But don’t let it give you heartburn. Social media can be a powerful way to amplify and support your PR efforts, as long as you avoid these three common pitfalls:
- Social media is not real-time PR. Lots of brands treat social media as another PR channel, a real-time medium to broadcast your message, increase your reach, gain a following, sell stuff, rinse, repeat. This approach will only alienate your followers and stifle your ability to generate meaningful conversations about your brand, which is the true power of social media.
- You don’t have control. Yes, it’s hard and sometimes it’s unfair, but you can’t control what people say about you online. That’s not your job and if you try, you will fail spectacularly and publicly. Your job is to seed and guide the conversation with interesting ideas that are meaningful and valuable to your followers. It is a privilege when they use their valuable time to engage with you. Treat it like one.
- Give more than you take. Pure self-interest has never been a good business strategy, and social media isn’t any different. If you want to be heard above the noise, you must listen first. If you want people to engage with you, must make it worth their while. If you want them to give you their business, you must offer them something of lasting, tangible value.
Above all, remember when using social media that it isn’t about you. It’s about how you can meaningfully improve the lives of your customers and followers.