Expanding your reach through PR and social media

Tami Jo Russell

The press release was once the most powerful tool a business had in its arsenal. If you as a business owner had something to say, the press release was your voice and your medium to speak to the masses. Whether it was a new product you were releasing, new management that was taking over, or a simple update about your business, you had the capability to write a notification about your company and distribute it over large networks. Social media has changed the way businesses communicate, bringing instant information to the consumer hands.

 The best way to understand the basic elements needed to get the word out about your business with a social media-based press release is to have a basic understanding of the history of the press release and its intended purpose and how the press release has evolved to adapt to today’s social media business environment. You’d probably be surprised at how many businesses fail use this great, free vehicle to develop a relationship with potential clientele. And with the communication abilities found in today’s online media world, it’s an even bigger missed opportunity.

            According to Amanda Miller Littlejohn, founder of Mopwater Social PR today’s press release must take the social media aspect of business into consideration. “While I don’t believe the press release is dead, it has been transformed, to become this living, breathing thing. If a release doesn’t have a social element — that is, a way for viewers to comment or share to their social networks — it doesn’t have legs.”

              Social media has exploded the boundaries of connectivity to businesses and individuals.  We live in a world connected through the Internet, but only recently have we discovered ways to connect on a personal level.  Email was the closest medium we had that elicited a direct response.  Even the group email was a possibility to hear the voices of several different contributors.  However, just like direct mail, the email response was dwindled to less than 2-6% readability. The email platform, due to low readability, low response rate and spam issues helped drive the social media revolution. Marketers and business owners now have the capability to discover who their client base is and how speak to them on a personal level.  They can join discussions, post events, drive connectivity to their website, utilize text message broadcasting and QR codes as connectors, plus release public service announcements in quick and efficient ways. By strategy driven content and communications through social media, business owners can effectively build their image, brand and talk to their customer base.

Creating Your Image and Marketing your Brand

            Some say, “Image is everything”, and I would say it’s pretty darn close.  Everywhere you look images flood our eyes at rapid rates due to traditional adverting and digital platforms.  If FaceBook wasn’t enough for us to look at, Pinterest has filled that gap.  Images flood the pages of Pinterest and people are flocking by the droves.  If business owners are interested in creating an image to sell their brand and are not considering social media for public relations, they are potentially setting themselves up to fail.

            Consumers are conditioned to digital and mobile platforms for getting information about what to spend their money on and where. They want to know about your business, what you offer, who you are and they’re looking at social media to find those answers.

            After you have developed an image, established your vision and mission, it’s time to communicate your brand, services and products. Develop a well thought out strategy that encompasses social media and traditional advertising platforms. As we marketers have discovered,  word-of-mouth no longer includes a “mouth” these days; it includes dialogue driven digital platforms and an internet connection.  People are influenced by each other’s and because of the marketing tools that have exploded over the past few years, business owners can communicate and extend their message reach quickly and to the right demographic. 

            The best advice I have to offer a new or existing company that uses social media to keep connections with its consumers is consistency.  Show your future and current customers that, although your products and services may change in the future, your commitment to customer service will not.  Use social media as a platform to stay connected to your customers and your customers will stay connected to you and they will become enthusiasts about you and your business. Get started today.