If you’re holding a smartphone right now, you’re holding the greatest public relations tool this side of the press release.
The media have more vehichles for breaking news today than at any time in history, and as a news channel, social media is taking on a larger news role everyday.
In fact, 30 percent of American adults get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center.
You know how your heartstrings (and attention) have been tugged by all those feel good people and pet stories in your news feeds. If you dig deep enough, you’ll discover similar stories within your client’s company. It’s just a matter of being open to listening and discovering the human-interest and news pieces that attract today’s busy editors, reporters, and producers.
After you write your story and take some high-quality images and possibly some video, you’re ready to post and share your news on social. Now you need to connect to the reporters, bloggers and producers who can pick up your story.
Here are three social media tricks to grab the attention of the media who can amplify your brand story:
1. Tweet to meet and engage media sources.
In addition to emailing a release, engage in dialog on social media to build your media network. According to ING’s 2014 Social Media Impact survey, 57 percent of journalists consider social media to be ideal for contacting PR professionals and vice versa. Use social media to build relationships with journalists and bloggers to gain a better understanding of what they write about, when they need resources, and how they prefer to work with you.
According to a 2014 report from the Indiana University School of Journalism, 40 percent of journalists said social media networks are very important to their work. Over a third said they spent between 30 and 60 minutes each day on social networking sites. Twitter was the most popular type of social media used by journalists, and over half of those surveyed said they regularly use the platform for gathering information and reporting stories.
Use your website blog as a home for your story, images and video to live and use a tool like Hashtags.org to incorporate trending hashtags into your tweets for greater visibility.
2. Be in the know about Facebook’s new tools for media publishers.
Facebook recently introduced new and exciting ways for news accounts to target posts, remove posts that are no longer relevant and identify popular links that they haven’t shared. One widely anticipated and requested change is Facebook’s Smart Publishing tool, which identifies and publishes stories that are popular with people on Facebook. Once the setting is enabled, frequently shared links will appear more in the News Feed for people who like a publisher’s Page. Make sure to like news sites covering your industry and region to get a sense of the news stories being shared on their sites and thus popping up more in your News Feed.
Once you understand and follow how the media will be using the new tools, you can deliver producers and editors the type of content that’s being shared on social media. Facebook will regularly share announcements and tips on its News Feed FYI.
3. Proofread your social media story teasers.
Make sure to proofread your tweets and posts for accuracy and working links. Check the spelling of key names (brands, people, etc.) as well as contact information. Editors may use your release or blog post for the facts and as a potential resource for larger features. If you spell a name two ways or a phone number is wrong by one digit, this will frustrate the contact who has to get ahold of you to double check.
Here’s an example of a tweet with a typo from Grub Street, a blog about the New York City restaurant scene from New York magazine. Their fans were pretty accepting of the typo and appreciated the afternoon chuckle. I’m sure the editors, however, were pretty crabby about the error ;).
Social media is a great way to shine a light on the people and events that make your brand stand out, but getting the attention of reporters, bloggers and producers is getting harder. Just like you, they’re bombarded with information.