Social media has transformed the PR industry.
For PR pros, managing social media for our clients means using several different platforms and tweaking our messaging to what works best on each.
Here are tips on how to best navigate social media for your brand in 2016:
1. Create (and follow) a social media strategy.
At The Agency (where I work), every social media project begins with a solid strategy.
Depending on your clients’ business needs, developing a foolproof strategy can take a significant amount of time. Manage you time effectively by planning ahead. That includes working on messaging, establishing target audiences, selecting relevant topics or hashtags and identifying influential users with whom to engage.
Flag opportunities for engagement such as live events, networking conferences and Twitter chats.
2. Pick the right tools.
Nowadays, there’s an abundance of social media platforms to use. It can be tempting to join all of them at once and just start posting.
Part of using social media strategically, though, is knowing where your audiences are and which platforms they use. For some of our clients, we use Twitter and LinkedIn. For others, it’s a mix of Instagram and Pinterest. Talk with your client about establishing a presence across channels.
Keep an eye on emerging networks. Admittedly, I never created an account on Peach and it didn’t seem to matter.
3. Be ready for anything.
Social media is nonstop. PR opportunities can arise at any time—including dealing with a crisis.
Having proper messaging in place prepares you for anything.
Take down scheduled social media posts in the event of breaking news and be mindful of appropriate timing.
4. Restraint and respect go a long way.
The slogan “see something, say something” doesn’t always apply to social media.
Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have to use it. In that context, ‘it’ can mean a social media tool or a hashtag/trending topic.
It seems that almost every week we see #SocialMediaFail posts because a brand manager failed to successfully newsjack a trending hashtag.
It’s easy to get carried away, but it is important to tread lightly around cultural issues.
Be respectful and avoid making every post about your brand. Unless it’s absolutely relevant, don’t talk about yourself.
Heidi Gammuac is the content and editorial manager at The Agency, a tech PR firm. She specializes in editorial writing, story conception, development and strategic messaging. Follow her on Twitter @TheAgencyHeidi.