Social PR Contacts: The Information Is Out There. Uh-oh.


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In the days of the phone book, privacy was a comparatively simple matter: the unlisted number was a powerful weapon against unsolicited and unwanted calls, used by recluses, the upper crust, and reporters who didn’t want to be bothered. The impulse to maintain some shred of privacy is still out there, but with multiple contact methods usually just a Google or Twitter search away, the temptation to “reach out and touch somebody” is strong. In the resulting melee, sometimes restraint is what earns you a gold star.

I have had this on the brain lately as I’ve been drawing up industry- and niche-specific lists of those mysterious key influencers. (And yes, boss, they are out there.) As the middlemen between business and opinion-makers, PR people are often called upon to supply the artillery with which unwise shots are fired (pointless press releases, inappropriately aimed pitches, etc.). And with every untargeted blast, our ability to garner positive attention through trusted relationships is slightly diminished. So to corporate, to marketing, and to internal PR, here’s a short list of commandments to help us help you with social campaigns:

  • You have to have a plan. If you set up a social media account and start following your list of influencers, you’d better have an idea of what you want to talk about — today, tomorrow, and next week. That’s not because you should monopolize the conversation or follow a preset schedule with blinders on (you shouldn’t — and you must respond to others’ relevant comments) but because you have to bring something unique to the conversation. Without an area of focus, you’re just an online bystander.
  • Trust gets you read. Do you want your social media outreach to generate buzz? Interview requests? Sharing? Then make sure your comments are more intelligent and engaged than they are self-promotional.
  • Relatedly, that list of influential Twitter handles is not a spam target. Do not ask us to mass-contact (DM, that is) with press releases, pitches, or any other kind of thoughtless spewing-forth. You will be unfollowed. Instead, use your finger on the pulse of the conversation to micro-target your outreach. Thoughtfully using knowledge of a contact’s preferences, interests, and work is the social media equivalent of a homemade gift; even if it doesn’t quite fit, the effort will be appreciated.
  • Your social media team simply must be empowered to update with their own judgment. This is a key struggle for larger organizations, but it just has to be overcome. The online world moves fast. Tweets are like lightning. News can go viral. And if your blog comment isn’t one of the first, it probably won’t be read. Simple efficiency requires that you trust the people updating your online presence; pick carefully and let them (ahem, us) run with it.

In short, it’s about relevancy and trust. If you play by the rules, these methods of contact will all stay open and available. If you don’t, you might end up with a lot to say, but no one who’ll take your call.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.


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