Social media PR for Facebook, X, TikTok & Instagram: 5 Examples & How-To
Katelynn MarfousiKM
Katelynn Marfousi
Last Updated July 11, 2024
19 minutes read

Social media PR for Facebook, X, TikTok & Instagram: 5 Examples & How-To

27x more people visit Facebook than So why are you still killing yourself trying to get that mention?

You work in PR. So how much of your job is media relations? Half? All of it? 80%?

In far too many companies, labor is divided thusly: PR does the media relations, marketing runs social and creates “content”, the digital team wrangles together some SEO for the website and obligatory expert “academy”. And if you’re lucky, you’ll all occasionally run into one another at the company Christmas do and quietly judge how easy the other teams so clearly have it.

But if you want to run effective PR in 2024, those arbitrary divisions are no longer sustainable. Every part of it touches everything else, and at the end of the day, it all falls beneath the umbrella of public relations.

I say 2024, but this trend has been a long time coming, even if it’s only a handful of companies that recognize it.

Because while traditional media isn’t dead, it is losing influence at pace.

Let me show you what I mean.

Media traffic vs social media PR

[browser]Stats from SimilarWeb show that in the past 3 months alone Twitter has had 10x the visitors as NYT. And we’re not even going to talk about Facebook.
Stats from SimilarWeb show that in the past 3 months alone Twitter has had 10x the visitors as NYT. And we’re not even going to talk about Facebook.

It’s clear that reach is no longer the exclusive purview of big-name media outlets. No, now the algorithms behind Big Tech control that.

And yes, you can argue that the audiences are different, that people use these sites differently. Nobody’s posting photos of their awesome carbonara recipe on NYT (no matter how many times I submit it). But that doesn’t change the fact that this is where people are spending massive amounts of their time.

So yes, social is important for maximising PR reach in general.

But that goes one-hundred fold for consumer products.

Let’s try an example based on a recently released product.

Try opening a browser in incognito and googling your brand’s last product release or, for example, “Drybar The Roller Club”.

After the inescapable sponsored posts at the very head of the results, you get branded entries (i.e. those from followed immediately by some YouTube links, the top of which is an influencer review.

After that, there are more branded results as well as Instagram and Twitter way before you get to the other distributor results.

So not only are people who are already on Twitter and Instagram and YouTube more likely to stumble upon your new curlers, those who literally google your product name are likely to end up directed to those platforms as well.

But you’ll notice that a lot of those results point directly to the Drybar website, which is to be expected with a brand search.

What if the person doing the searching doesn’t know that you exist? What if they just have a problem (depressingly un-curly hair) and are looking for an effective solution? Well, that’s where PR SEO comes in – but that's for another article.

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Why “going viral” is a waste of time

The idea of "going viral" is a comms professional's dream. Having a campaign reach millions and millions of people organically seems like it would tick all the boxes of a PR success.

But, a viral post is not actually all it's cracked up to be, and relying on the attention span of the internet is a risky move. Here are four reasons why relying on the attention span of the internet as your primary comms strategy might not be the best idea.

Reason #1: The internet is extremely unpredictable

The internet is a fickle thing. It's really hard to know what will resonate with millions of people, and what will fall flat. In fact, a lot of the things that capture the heart and fancy of the masses tend to be fairly unplanned. Take, for example, the King of Going Viral: Left Shark.

The media maven in action

Left Shark was borne out of Katy Perry's 2015 Superbowl Half-Time Show, and is still one of the best examples of why going viral is such a weird, unpredictable, unknowable mess. Left Shark was absolutely everywhere for weeks (possibly months), sold tons of merchandise, and arguably upstaged the biggest popstar in the world on the biggest night of sports of the year. And why? Nobody knows, he's just a costumed shark who sort of lost the plot halfway through the show and danced his way into the internet's heart.

In short, planning to "go viral" is not a reliable PR strategy. With every single company wanting to distinguish itself in some meaningful way, banking on becoming a Twitter #trend or the next great meme is a lot less reliable than consistency and authenticity.

Reason #2: The internet has a finely tuned BS-o-meter

Marketing campaigns that seem to have a lot of viral potential often fall absolutely flat in the age of the internet. In fact, there's an entire Reddit community dedicated to this phenomenon called Fellow Kids, where painfully misguided attempts by comms professionals to connect with "the youths" are roasted to hell.

PR professional blending in with their clients' audience

There has been a push by consumers for brands to be seen as more relatable, real, "authentic". We don't want our companies to just sell us things, we want to be sold by a company that really gets us. And this often manifests itself in very cringe-inducing ways. It's caused corporate PR teams to try and use phrases like "it's lit, fam" and "on fleek" without knowing what those things mean, nor how to use them coherently, in order to connect with the young internet people (all of whom stopped using these phrases years ago).

It's a very delicate balance between being a brand, marketing yourself authentically, but not appearing to be inauthentically authentic, and having your campaign mocked online. It's very difficult to define, and even more difficult to do right.

Take a look at this example from Doritos and Cheetos, who tried to take a page from the Very Cool Brands Who Get Social Media and be flip and edgy and capitalize on the sass Twitter trend:

Now, this Twitter thread had all the makings of a good viral post. It's playful and sharp and sassy and, ultimately, terribly mocked online for being tone-deaf and reaching.

Why is that, when they're just doing the cool Wendy's thing of being funny online? Well, for one, they made the mistake of assuming consumers wouldn't quickly pick up on the faux feud right away. And not every consumer needs to know that they're both Frito-Lay's brands, there just has to be one person to point it out. Commence laughing stock and failed strategy. Because the internet hates disingenuous corporate inauthenticity, and that's all this tweet is.

Reason #3: Companies that go viral often back it up with substance

There are some brands that have figured out the whole social media thing, and how to do it right fairly consistently. That doesn't mean they don't miss the mark, but their social media team has figured out their tone and knows how to use the internet to its advantage. However, those companies who frequently do "go viral" often back up their trending campaigns with more substance and heart than most might realize, which allows them to keep returning to the formula that works for them.

Example: Wendy's

Wendy's is the prime (beef) example of a company that just can't stop going viral. They pretty much pioneered and perfected the sassy corporate persona that has been emulated by many but rarely reproduced. Their social media strategy is actually great for sales as well and has revitalized a brand that has been around for decades.

However, it's clear after looking through their social media strategy, they aren't just there for the shock value. Their brand is consistent, charming, silly, and responsive. They don't only respond to celebrities either, in fact, they spend a lot of their time responding to normal, everyday customers. This has set them apart from other brands, who seem to use social media exclusively for pelting their consumers with ads or blithely responding to complaints.

Yes, Wendy's sass might make their tweets circulate, but their dedication to consistency, engagement, and heart have kept them an internet favorite for years since their first viral moment.

Example: Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's often goes viral for its strong, often intense stance on social issues. They unflinchingly use their brand and global reach to champion causes. ​ But a brand saying they support something falls flat when they don't back it up with, you know, actual action. Putting their money where their mouth is, Ben & Jerry's engages in more than just virtue signaling and pandering, which keeps them an internet favorite time and time again.

What's virtue signaling? Think of pride month. PR and marketing professionals around the world gear up for their month of rainbow imagery and LGBTQ+-themed products. But the internet has caught on to this, and now mocks it relentlessly for the pandering it so often is.

Is it wrong for brands to support social causes? Not at all. But the internet knows the difference between companies that practice corporate social responsibility in a meaningful way and those that use it to garner goodwill without actually using their platform and profits to make any sort of real-world difference in the form of virtue signaling and rainbow-washing.

(Bad) example: Airbnb

Airbnb is one big-name brand that has come under heavy criticism for its attempts at viral corporate social responsibility, and its efforts have backfired. Recently they offered to host 20,000 Afghanistan refugees in their listings, which is objectively very cool. How could that be a bad thing?

Many users on Reddit, Twitter, and other social media platforms quickly commented on how this seemingly virtuous move appears more like a stunt than actual humanitarianism. The funding source was called into question (coming from donors, not Airbnb), as well as the fact that the actual responsibility for hosting duties would fall to Airbnb hosts, not the company.

Many also pointed out the fact that this announcement came conveniently close to the Bloomberg exposé that shed light on the more than $50 million Airbnb pays each year to settle legal issues and silence criticisms. Their "viral CSR moment" was upstaged by anger around the company's poor customer service and questionable business practices.

Reason #4: Going viral does not mean your brand's reach will improve

I think we all have that distinct moment of seeing something become a huge, worldwide fad, trying the thing, and then walking away disappointed in the thing. Knowing about something does not mean you will become a lifelong fan, and this is exceptionally true of going viral.

If you aren't backing up your newfound burst of fame with consistent, quality content, then your flash-in-the-pan bump in viewership will disappear as quickly as it came, leaving you the one-hit wonder of the comms world. At the very least, having a strategy for how to capture those clicks and leverage them into fans will provide value for your brand long after the internet has lost interest.


There's nothing at all wrong with wanting your marketing campaign to have reach. In fact, that's literally the point, right? But, earning that distribution through quality content and engagement, through providing value, and through standing behind your product in a meaningful way is a far better way to succeed than "going viral".

Focusing on what your brand does well, highlighting those things succinctly, and letting the work speak for itself will endure longer than a trending hashtag ever will. And that's lit, fam.

How to get your news out on social media

Now more than ever, brands are relying on social media PR to get the word out about product updates, company changes, and other important corporate news. This is great because social media has the potential to increase readership and engagement, and to get the information directly to the public.

However, unlike the average press release where you get 300 – 800 words to get your story out, with social, you'll be lucky to get a few characters, an image, and maybe a moment of your audience's time.

Here are five ways to get the word out using social media PR.

Reddit for public relations 101: How to get the most out of the platform
Reddit for public relations 101: How to get the most out of the platform

The dos and don'ts of working with Reddit in PR and marketing

The 140 (or 280) Character Release for X/Twitter

Chances are, you’ve seen quite a lot of press releases come across your news stream. Media outlets are big on these, starting them out with breaking, like this press release tweet example.

Others use the #pressrelease hashtag, as in this press release tweet example.

If you really want to get attention for your social media PR, you’ll have to get creative beyond just using text and links. For example, you can incorporate images in your press release tweet.

And you can use video.

Media will help your announcement stand out on your profile as well as within the Twitter newsfeed itself. You can also use a mix of tweet types (text-based + link, image + link, and video + link) to tweet about your press release multiple times, but in different ways so that even someone who has seen all three tweets will see something new in each.

For an additional boost, you can use Promoted Tweets to reach an even larger audience with your social media PR. You can sign in to Twitter Ads using your usual Twitter credentials and then target your press release tweet to reach specific audiences. For example, you could target your ad towards specific news networks and the people that follow them, or Twitter users with specific interests.


This will help you spread your press release even further, generating more buzz, shares, and traffic back to your press release or website.

The 90 Character + Image Release for Facebook

Using Facebook for your press releases is a bit tricky, thanks to Facebook’s continued lowering of business pages' organic reach. And for the little organic reach your page has left, you certainly don’t want to use it on text-based updates as those receive less exposure than updates with links, photos, and videos.

Hence, you need to make your Facebook press more than just text. A combination of an uploaded photo, 90 characters worth of text, and a link to your website or press release is (currently) the best option to go with.

The reason you want to only use 90 characters before the link is so that the link shows up above the photo. Otherwise, people would have to click on a read more link or on the photo itself to get to the link.

See this in actions in this Facebook press release example.


Speaking of links, you can also paste in the link to your press release as your update, and add an additional description for great visibility.


One thing to note – with this approach, you’ll need a good photo on the press release page or a great photo to upload as the thumbnail for the link.

Another thing to keep in mind is engagement. The more engagement you can get with your press release post, the more reach it will have. So instead of just posting, “We’re announcing the new ____…” consider asking your fans what they think about it, how excited about it they are, and other prompts to get more engagement.


As with Twitter, you can also depend on Facebook Ads to promote your press release to a larger audience. With better targeting options, you can promote it to the audience you want to reach based on demographics and interest, or to the media outlets and journalists you would love to cover it.


This can definitely help you increase the odds of getting more coverage for your press releases.

The Image Release for Pinterest & Instagram

If you want to promote a press release on an image-based network like Pinterest or Instagram, you need to have an image that really grabs people’s attention and gets your message across – without the need for someone to click through to your press release.

While photos like this are cute, they are the type that will get shared, but not get your press release clicks.

On the other hand, if your image represents the content of your press release with a call to action, you’ll get shares and clicks.

One thing to keep in mind about Instagram shares – all you have is image and text. The links you share with your images are not live links. So your only two options are to get the entire message across with the image and the description or to include an easily memorable link to your official press release. So consider posting announcements like this…

Patagonia demonstrates this in this Instagram press release example.

Or, for press releases, take a screenshot of the release itself with directions on how to find the link.


Both will help your Instagram followers figure out what your announcement is about, and will help them quickly find the link to more details.

The 7 – 15 Second Video Release for Instagram

Videos can help your audience get excited about an announcement even better than images. This is why you should add an Instagram video into your press release promotion. Essentially, these can be teaser videos that will make your audience want to learn more about your announcement (try TikTok too if you're bold enough).


You can also share your Instagram videos on Twitter and Facebook to make sure that you reach more of your audience and get a live link out to them all. Not only that, but your audience is more likely to share them, especially if they are clever.

The best part is these videos don’t have to be professionally made. People aren't upset about Instagram videos being made quickly on a smartphone, that's what they do. So all you need is something that represents your announcement or press release and is film-able, such as a behind the scenes of an interview, or a quick product tour, and you’re all set!

How do you incorporate social media into your press release campaign?

Think Before You Post: 5 Tips for Smart Social PR

We live in a world in flux, and nowhere is that more evident than on the social web. But that doesn’t mean you should make up your social PR strategy as you go along. Here are five tips to help you think before you actually distribute your next release:

1. Build an editorial calendar

It might be tempting to simply respond to news as it comes up, but it also pays to plan ahead. An editorial calendar will help you stay true to your brand and your message, and it will ensure that you always have something relevant to say.

Plan your calendar around industry events, upcoming company releases, and seasonal trends that you can predict with relative confidence (everyone loves year-end forecasts), but also leave room for breaking news and unexpected announcements. Which leads us to our second point…

2. Ride the wave of breaking news

Also called newsjacking. Whether an event that you’ve known about for months or a sudden announcement by one of your competitors, breaking news can give your social PR an unparalleled boost… if you know how to ride the wave. It’s easier to join a conversation than to start one, and breaking news gives you an opportunity to:

  1. Capitalize on the conversation
  2. Position yourself as a knowledgable and reliable source of information

Just make sure to think carefully before you post. It’s easy to get caught up in the wave and say the wrong thing, which could lead to lasting damage. As much as you can, try to not only report accurately on the news, but to offer insightful and unexpected perspectives, as well.

3. Get comfortable with lack of control

Social media is inherently community-based so you need to get comfortable with the idea that you cannot control what people say. That is the beauty and essence of social networks.

  • Get ready to roll with the punches and take things in stride when people react negatively
  • Interact in a truly human way with people, the way you would on a personal account
  • Be nimble enough to find opportunities and be engaged with your followers

4. Get creative, and get visual

Give the people something they can share, or at least talk about. Good visuals engage people and are more likely to be shared. Not only that the images and the information they are attached to are 65% more likely to be remembered than those without.

The creative aspect of this is important too, because to stand out on a wall of bland and really drive home value, you have to be different.

5. Give more than you take

Don’t treat social PR like just another megaphone. Overt self-promotion might earn you a quick buck, but over time, it will erode your credibility and compromise your brand. Instead, follow this general rule: for every 1 self-promotional thing you say about your brand, say 5 things that are relevant and valuable to your audience.

Need some ideas? Highlight customer successes, offer your perspective on industry news, recap a recent event, share great content from industry thought leaders, and develop some thought-leading content of your own.

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