Public Relations & Social Media | Why it Doesn’t Work For You

Social media has become a popular and effective go-to tool of marketing and PR agency efforts, yet some companies still don't view it as as such for their marketing and PR campaigns. There can be many reasons why they have come to this conclusion, and most of them are affected by way they look at social media. More importantly, it involves the way they go about planning and preparing their PR and marketing activities.


Here are a few reasons social media might not be working for you:

Your audience.

These people are pivotal players in the success of your campaign and PR plans. If you don't pay attention to this group, and the group that is your targeted audience, you really have very little chance of success. (If you do succeed, I have to give credit to luck, and I don't believe in luck.) When creating a PR plan or campaign, be sure to include these people into your planning process. Social media has little effect on things and can attribute little to the overall success of your PR plan if you are unaware of who you are targeting. What's more important here is that you use the right social media tools that reach your right audience. Some social media users prefer one method over another to connect with you.

Your strategies and tactics.

Much like the target market and audience, your use of social media must come with reason. If you use social media for no reason, or worse, just because everyone else is, you could end up wasting a lot of your time, money, and effort. Worse, even, is the ability you have to damage your brand, your customer and public relations, and your overall image if you use it improperly or for the wrong (or nonexistent) reasons


Your current marketing approach and PR activities.

Just because you use it now and do things a certain way currently doesn't mean that they are the right way to do things. Get used to changing things, because the industry, the market, and the business world is changing, so you need to keep up. Many companies do the same things over and over and expect different results. (This is Einstein's definition of insanity, by the way.) Unless the market changes to your advantage, making your methods useful and successful (which is pretty unlikely), you need to change your methods to meet the needs of the market. This means that, although press releases through the media may have worked in the past, customers can now read press releases online, without the need of the media. Know what social media can do for you, and how it is changing the way companies communicate with customers.


You use it, sort of.

Like I've mentioned quite often here on Public Relations Blogger, social media isn't a one-shot thing. It cannot work if you do not maintain it. You can't tweet once and expect things to suddenly change. You also can't just send out tweets, you must reply to the people who are trying to communicate with you. There is a big difference between setting up a blog and blogging. The most consistent and the more often you update your blogs, Twitter accounts, etc., the more likely you are to have success in your social media efforts. People get bored, so give them things to read, do, know, and share.

It just doesn't work.

I'm afraid this isn't true. Social media cannot simply "not work". There is a reason. Figure it out! If it is one of the reasons above, great. You can work with that. Unless it is something you cannot change, like your target market (because I'm assuming you don't want to change your entire product or offering), you'll have to move on and look at your other options that have the potential to work. If it's something that you can change, like your use or your strategy definition, do it. It really is as simple as that. Put some effort into it and find the solution you need to get social media working for you.


Post use.

Do you use social media, or do you engage, measure, and redefine your social media use? There's a pretty significant difference between just using social media, and measuring your results. The latter situation can make your social media efforts more successful. As with anything we do in life, if there is no reflection and no efforts to do better the next time around, nothing changes. Again, this is much like companies doing the same thing over and over while expecting something different to take place. You must measure the results of your efforts to see what was successful and what was not.

We've often heard and read that social media is useless. As you may have been able to gather from the above: social media is not. Much of the reasoning that comes with that stance is derived from things that the company itself can control, like how often they use social media to the review and measurement of results after using it. The only reason you shouldn't be using social media? Your audience cannot and does not want to be interacted with through it. Other than that, social media can only do good for your company; you simply need to use it correctly.

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