Organisations are jumping on the social media bandwagon left, right and centre – changing the face of public relations and the way PR organisations work forever.
Social media is now standard practice for many individuals and organisations alike. It is seen as a tool, which can be used to connect with customers directly in a place where they are comfortable.
Customers will no longer accept being simply bombarded with information, they now expect organisations to develop relationships with the customers. Social media users are now carriers and distributors of content rather than just the media.
Social media; LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well as online directories have presented new channels of distribution. Using the online channels means that content now needs to be optimised in order to be seen higher up in search engines.
Make your content visible
Taking a different tact to the traditional press release, PR agencies are now writing articles that are not directly promoting your site in the way a press release would. They are written to provide important industry-related content and sent to online article directories, taking your content to many not on your contact list.
Containing links and keywords, which bring the focus back to your site, when this information is picked up by search engines. They must also contain an “About the Author” section, which could contain up to three links to your site as many article directories will allow you to include the links in the body of the text as well.
Monitoring leads to strategic insight
The aim of this exercise is to have your article republished on as many relevant websites and blogs as possible. It is therefore imperative to have a trustworthy method of monitoring your online coverage. Monitoring allows a company to gain insight into their online reputation, which can be used to develop future strategies.
Without spending too much money, there are numerous online tools to track what is being said about your company.
The power of Google
Google alerts can be used as a great tool to monitor your own company and competitors in your industry. Google Alerts allows you to target keywords and receive emails from Google every time those keywords appear anywhere online.
It further allows you to filter those results to news sites, blogs, videos and forums and allows you to select whether you want a daily email or a real time email which alerts you to any mentions as and when they happen online.
It is the perfect way to monitor the development of a news story or campaign as well as keeping a close eye on your reputation.
Twitter users always have something to say
Twitter currently has approximately 200million web, this micro-blogging outlet cannot be ignored as a method of monitoring as it grows at a rate of hundreds of thousands each day.
There are over 65million tweets per day and despite having just 140 characters to make your point, Twitter is fast becoming the easiest way for people to express their opinions. Therefore, companies need to set up search terms on their brand, their competition and any other relevant industry news.
Twitter even allows you download an RSS feed of your search terms without even having to sign up for the micro-blogging service.
Monitoring is only half the job
The ease in which people can now comment on your work means that two-way communication is essential. It is not just about monitoring your brand online, you now need to engage, respond and serve.
The more difficult part takes place after the monitoring – as you need to translate your clicks into followers or fans to create engagement. This allows you to create and build relationships with people and ultimately take them to your website where you can convert them into customers.