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Using Social Media to Boost a Company's PR
Public relations is an old guest at a roaring new media party.
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 by Laura Burkey

Social MediaPositive PR is the ultimate
goal for public relations firms and their clients alike. Why? Because good vibes lead to more purchases.

There are plenty of tried and true ways to improve a company’s reputation, but social media has been the main game-changer during the last few years. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the more streamlined networks to grow a company’s presence and to manage its reputation.

There are plenty of ways to use social media to promote a brand, but clients need to see what their return on investment is. The first step is to determine what exactly the ROI should be based upon. Examples include the number of comments, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, website clicks, etc.

Get (and stay) in the conversation

Whether a PR professional is trying to create or improve a brand image, it all begins with joining the social media realm’s conversations. The only way to know what competitors in the company’s industry are saying and doing is to be smack-dab in the middle. On Twitter, follow the competition and participate in their conversations. You also can track keywords in Twitter, which can help quiet the noise sometimes.

Speak to the company’s fans, ask questions, and develop a relationship, which is the foundation of social media success. PR professionals can use social media to share and re-tweet interesting and relevant articles in the client’s sphere of business, engage in conversations, introduce new products, and much more. All interactions lead directly to more traffic to the company’s website, blog, and products or services.

Build brand loyalty

It’s one level of success to attract customers, but it’s a whole other level of success to create raving ones. Social media is the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing tool. Positive feedback travels fast, and negative comments spread even faster. (But we’ll get to that later.)

One way to attract rave reviews is to launch contests and giveaways, which create positive buzz about the client. These promotions usually cost little capital and hold the attention of a captive audience for a certain period of time. The real work begins after the promotion is finished. There have to be solid posts and tweets to keep the audience engaged.

Boost your Google rank

Remember those negative comments? This can affect a company’s rank online, as well. Managing a company’s reputation must be tracked whether through setting up Google Alerts or using a monitoring service.

Respond to complaints (and compliments, for that matter) swiftly and publicly. Never remove negative comments because it gives the impression the company doesn’t care, isn’t listening, or is hiding something.

If the conversation heads in a southward direction, take the conversation into a private message, email, or phone call.

Ultimately, social media strategies need to align with the client’s communication strategy and goals. The regularly scheduled posts need to be done well and not thrown together as an afterthought. The public can see the difference and responds accordingly.

These types of networks create a conversation that would not have occurred otherwise. It offers a way for small and large companies to interact on a personal level, meet negativity head on, and fix problems publicly and quickly.

Laura Burkey writes for numerous websites such as
on various topics, including cyber safety, parenting and green living.

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