Social media sites have undeniably changed the way businesses reach their audiences. No longer are customers content with being on the receiving end of advertising and promotional messages. They expect a two-way conversation. Markets want to interact with companies. Those that establish their footprints on social media stand poised to reach their customers in ways that were impossible ten years ago – which is amazing and exciting all at once!
Your online press releases can fit seamlessly into your social media marketing strategy. Rather than just submitting them to a distribution service and letting them thrive on their own, use social media to further close the gap between you and your fans.
Basic Components Of Your Social Media Footprint
As you already know from Kim, social media encompasses any site that allows you to "socialize" with others. This can include LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube, and even forums. Since we are talking about integrating press releases into your footprint, I am going to focus exclusively on sites that are designed to make it easy — like Twitter, Facebook, and your blog.
Twitter has become a valuable tool for small businesses that need a cost-effective way to interact with their customers and prospects. In addition, a growing number of journalists and bloggers are using it to uncover timely, relevant news and compelling story angles. This means savvy companies can leverage Twitter to build their brands.
Facebook began as a way for college students to meet and connect. Today, the largest businesses in the world (e.g. Microsoft, General Motors, Apple, etc.) have created pages to interact with their customers, and inform them of company-related news.
Blogs lie outside the social media model, but can play an important role in your overall strategy. New plugins not only distribute posts as tweets and Facebook page updates, but can also pull in responses to both so they appear as blog comments.
With the basic parts of a social media footprint in place, you can maximize the value of each press release you publish! I'll start with Twitter.
Tweeting Your Online Press Releases
The simplest method for tweeting your press release is to tweet the headline. Assuming you have written it properly, it should contain your primary keyword, and enough information to compel the reader to click through. But there are other ways to stimulate conversation with your audience, including those who might influence others.
For example, you can tweet about industry news, and encourage your fans to read your press release – published on your blog – for more information. Or, you can inform your fans about things going on with your business, and ask them for their thoughts. This prompts conversation, which improves your market's perception of your company. Plus, if your fans tell others, they'll help to promote your brand.
Add Your News Announcements To Your Facebook Page
After you publish your PR, and interact with your Twitter fans, visit Facebook. Here, the goal is to threefold: you want to engage your followers and start a conversation with them; you want to inform them about the content of your press release; and you want to encourage them to "Like" your post, further spreading your company's name.
There's no need to post your entire press release on your company's Facebook page. A small blurb with a link to your published press release is enough. This will allow your followers to keep up to date on all of the exciting things happening in your business – which is important because people like to do business with strong, thriving companies. It might feel as if you are 'tooting your own horn' – and you are! But that's okay, because the people reading your announcement aren't thinking that way. They are your fans and they want to hear about your growth and success!
Blogging Your News Releases
Given the process above, your news announcement should already be published on your company blog. Your followers and fans – from Facebook and Twitter, respectively – will visit, expecting to find it. Add a few notes to personalize the post and make it slightly different from your published press release.
A blog is an ideal vehicle for engaging your audience in conversation. The social media sites can serve the same purpose, but only in a limited fashion. Blogs are better designed to support a broader, more intimate discourse.
Encourage your visitors to leave comments. Engage them individually. By interacting with them, you'll strengthen the relationship you share with them, and make them more inclined to interact with you (and your staff) down the road.
Social media is clearly a useful tool in your marketing strategy. Use it to wring as much value as possible from your online press releases.