Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Social Media Best Practices

Social Media Tips and Best Practices From PR Pro @PRSarahEvans [@Inbound Now #27]

by David Wells,
June 30th 2011

Sarah Evans joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot's social media and inbound marketing podcast!

Sarah, @PRSarahEvans on Twitter, is the owner of Sevans Strategy, a public relations and new media firm. She's been mentioned in Forbes magazine as one of the top 14 women to follow on Twitter, she has a great blog over at, and she's really the go-to girl in the online PR game.

In this episode, we chat about:

  • Creating a cohesive social media strategy
  • Making your company stand out online
  • Social media best practices for companies
  • Customizing the social ask
  • Twitter chats
  • Press release tips
  • Building in a promotional work flow

See the full transcript of the episode here: Press Release Best Practices and PR Pitching advice with Sarah Evans

To Subscribe to Inbound Now, Click Here

Creating a Cohesive Social Media Strategy

"You can look to see what already exists, and if nothing exists, then put something together before you start working because there are a million and one tactics, a million and one resources. It's so easy to get overwhelmed. You need something that you're driving toward."

The first step in creating a social media strategy is to make sure you have an overarching goal in place. You have to have something you're aiming for.

Making Your Company Stand Out Online

"Sometimes it's not about standing out, it's just about connecting or making an impact with where you're trying to reach, where your consumers are, where your customers are."

Companies can stand out online by doing a variety of things -- being innovative, launching a new tool, releasing a whitepaper, creating an infographic, etc. But the most important thing is to get connected with your customers.

As a side note, if you're looking to hire someone to be in an engagement role (like an online community manager), make sure you hire someone who is naturally engaging. They engage with people all the time already, and they just use the computer or a mobile phone as an extension of what they already do.

Social Media Best Practices for Companies

"We're in the trenches, and when I get to talk about these things, they're usually because of things that I've learned from either making the mistake already or things that people hire me to tell them because we're not afraid to jump in and learn them."

The first thing you should do is create a media list. The media list should contain three groups of people: traditional media, bloggers (people with an online space where they share their thoughts), and influencers/enthusiasts (active online conversationalists). Cision is a good resource to check out when you're building this list.

Also, research and see where else people live online. Does a journalist have a personal or hobby blog? Do the bloggers have Twitter accounts or Facebook Fan Pages? If one blogger has a blogroll, check that out for other targeted blogs in the same niche.

Then you want to interact with and follow the person. Tweet with them on Twitter. Read their blog posts and comment on them. Get to know their style and their interests. When it comes time to pitch something, you can draw upon your knowledge and past encounters to customize the pitch.

Customizing the Social Ask

"'Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook.' It's okay to let your consumers know you're there, but why do they need to go there to interact with you? What are you offering them that's different or unique?"

Instead of flat-out asking for a "follow" or a "like," make it clear as to what you're offering on those different platforms, whether it be early access information, special coupons, or something else.

Don't forget to capture your customers' information via your home base (website or blog), too. Get them on your email list.

Twitter Chats

"#Journchat has inspired something like 300+ (maybe more now) live industry Twitter chats since its inception. I've done a lot of work talking to the people who run the chats or are being interviewed about what works for #journchat."

Creating a Twitter chat is a relatively easy thing to do. You'll need to use a third-party application (like TweetChat or TweetGrid), as Twitter wasn't created for chats. The most important thing is to make sure there's a need for the chat topic. Do some research, and see if people would be interested in participating.

Press Release Tips

"We're making things more multimedia friendly. In my company, we're thinking of ourselves as a resource, almost as a producer for the media that we're targeting. So when we're crafting a release, it's something that would benefit the journalist or blogger or influencer who wants to write about this, but it's also being written for the forward facing consumer."

When you're creating press releases with the intention of reaching out to bloggers, the press release shouldn't be as lengthy or filled with industry jargon as old-school press releases. Make sure that the first 250 words of the press release are optimized for the web with relevant links and keywords.

Another thing to do is create 140-character soundbites from the press release text. Make it something that customers and bloggers would want to share, and make it easy to share.

Sarah recommends PitchEngine (she's on the advisory board) for press releases. Another good tool for recognizing PR opportunities is HARO (Help A Reporter Out).

Building in a Promotional Work Flow

"It takes, on average, five different tactics to drive people to your website or blog. So you write that blog post, you want to get people there to see it. So that's one portion of your promotional work plan."

Make sure to create a promotional work flow for after a blog post goes live. How will you get people to the new content? How will you repurpose the content? How can you link back to or pitch the content? This also includes having a plan for what you'll do if the content is picked up elsewhere.

Connect With Sarah Online

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @PRSarahEvans, on Facebook, and on her blog. Also check out Sevans Strategy, and a cool resource for PR folks called Commentz.

Learn more about how you can infuse social media into your PR efforts for maximum results.

Download the free ebook for tips on how to leverage social media to support your public relations initiatives.

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