Building Media Relations in the DIY World of Social Media

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Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.

~ Seth Godin

An expertise in media relations and a reputation as a trusted media resource are even more critical in this new age of DIY social media. Yes, some personalities, brands and influencers can attract the attention of the media with every tweet, update or photo they share: think Kardashians or LeBron James.

But the truth is for most businesses and nonprofits, their social media posts can be easily lost in the overwhelming 24/7/365 speed of social media chatter. This infographic from Skyrocket Group tells the story:

social media generated every minute
social media generated every minute

Developing a relationship with local media can help your business stand out from the crowd. Social media is a public relations tool to spread the word about your business and attract the attention of the media: if its used strategically.

Here are 5 PR rules for using social media to build a relationship with the media:

1. Be authentic

Being authentic means being real: sincere and true to who you are. Don't try and "talk sports" if you're not a fan: instead, say, "am I the only one who doesn't understand rugby?" Your audience can spot a fake: so your tone should be real and authentic, not someone else's voice.

2. Talk in real time

Scheduling social media posts is efficient and time-saving. But if your small business is tweeting out pre-scheduled posts about your newest product in the middle of a local disaster, at best the public will think you're cold and uncaring, at worst they'll think you're just clueless. Using tools to schedule social media is good: but remember when to turn the tools off. Talk to your audience in real time: social is savvy.

3. Be honest

If you say it on social media, there are potentially literally millions of people who could be watching, ready to proclaim to the world that you aren't telling the truth. Don't take the chance: be honest in what you say on social, and remember your audience is listening!

4. KISS

The old rule still holds for social media: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Just because you can post 140 characters on Twitter doesn't mean you should. In fact, statistics prove the most read Twitter posts have 100 characters, according to Buddy Media.

Even better: don't say it, when possible show it with images.

5. Have something to say

All of your social media posts do not have to be important, vital business issues. But social media posts you target toward the media should have an important message: an event, idea or action that is different from your day-to-day business operations.

Your social media strategy is critical to building a strong relationship with the media. Just like everyone else, the media will check you out who your are on social: your voice, your content and your authenticity. The key to using social media to develop a strong relationship with the media is understanding what to say and when and how to say it. It's that simple, and that important.

For More on Social Media and Media Relations
HubSpot: How to Leverage Social Media for Public Relations Success
Forbes: Winning Social Media Strategies For Public Relations