Are you using social media as a public relations platform? If you are, congratulations. Social media are fast emerging as community and communications platforms in B2B. As such, using social media for achieving your public relations goals only makes sense.
Fortunately, using social media as a public relations platform doesn’t require a makeover of your PR efforts. It only requires that you expand your thinking to incorporate these new communication platforms to further your public relations goals.
Personal branding and thought leadership are especially well-suited for social media as a public relations platform. John Hall predicted earlier this month “Personal branding and thought leadership will go beyond executives” as a PR trend on the horizon. It was one of six predictions in “6 PR Trends to Check Out in 2018,” Hall is CEO of Influence & Co., and author of Top of Mind.
Among the six PR trends Hall identified, this one seems to have the most obvious implication for public relations and the use of social media as a platform.This trend says use #Social Media as a public relations platform. #PR #Branding Click To Tweet
Social Media for Personal Branding and Thought Leadership
Here’s what Hall says:
“Personal branding and thought leadership will go beyond executives. Companies are now realizing that it’s important to invest in leaders outside the executive suite and that the best way to lead your industry is by looking across the company, not just at the top.”
The same building blocks used to create a thought leadership program for executives are now being modified and applied to those just behind them—the up-and-coming stars and the go-to subject matter experts. It’s these non-executives who are more likely to be in front of customers, media, and industry analysts.
Social media is a natural fit for thought leadership and personal branding. They bring visibility to the other PR tactics. They also reach new people and connect with established audiences in new ways. Where better to build personal relationships and establish reputations than on the social media platforms your target audiences already use?
Case Study: Social Media as a Public Relations Platform
My background is public relations, so it’s one of the first areas we examine for expansion. It’s often overlooked. Today, you need social media as a public relations platform.
Recently, we successfully created a social media personal branding and thought leadership program for subject matter experts within a tech company. It didn’t cost a lot. It didn’t take significant new resources. We leveraged tactics the PR team was already using. We limited the program to three social media platforms to keep it manageable.
The PR program called for promoting our subject matter experts through traditional PR tactics—speaking engagements and media interviews. We amplified the reach and impact of those tactics by adding social media tactics. Then, we helped them execute on those tactics and did a full knowledge transfer so the thought leaders and PR practitioners can continue the program without our assistance.
The entire social media communications portion of the program has four components.
- Personal LinkedIn pages. The experts post about their speaking engagements, interviews, articles, and other accomplishments.
- Bylined blog posts. These appear on a blog built around common themes used by multiple thought leaders.
- Personal Twitter accounts promote all of the above. Thought leaders also take part in other aspects of the corporate social media program via their Twitter accounts.
The fourth component powered the first three and delivered social ROI.
- Integration with the rest of the corporate social media program to deliver greater reach for their individual posts appearing on their personal accounts and on the shared blog.
- Amplifying personal branding and thought leadership across the company through the employee engagement program.
- Cross-promoting individual posts on corporate social media accounts.
- Placing blog posts as guest blogs with business partners and customers.
Why Using Social Media as a Public Relations Platform is a Smart Tactic
Social media are emerging as community and communications platforms for everything that is important to individual users. So, you need to expand social media beyond marketing and use it for public relations as well. This is particularly true in supporting the personal branding and thought leadership program.
As you plan for 2018, remember to incorporate social media as a public relations platform for your program.
I’ve spent 15 years building business-to-business social media programs. I’d like to help you build yours.