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Cision Tip Sheet - How PR Pros Should Be Using Social Media

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  • 1. us.cision.com  866.639.5087  Copyright © 2013 Cision, Inc. All Rights Reserved.ca.cision.com  877.269.3367 332 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60604 1100-150 Ferrand Drive Toronto, ON M3C 3E5 Social media is inescapable. We have multiple log- ins across several networking platforms and we’re constantly plugged in, whether it’s at home, at work, or on the commute inbetween. It’s important to realize, however, that social media is merely a tool, if not just a different way to reach people. Social media is not a stand-alone PR strategy, but a means to help you achieve strategic goals—if you know how to harness its power. So how should your brand or company be using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to interact with members of the media? Here’s what the journalists who attended our Cision Breakfast Panel had to say. 1Listen Want to know what stories, experts or sources a journalist needs? Read what they have to say across multiple social media platforms—it’ll reveal a lot. “The great thing about 2013 is, now journalists are constantly telegraphing what they need,” says Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer at Columbia University. A journalist who specifically requests something that you can provide is a great segue to an introduction. 2Don’t pitch Let’s be honest—flat-out pitching on any social media outlet is awkward. But that doesn’t mean social media isn’t a great tool to initiate relationships. “Twitter and Facebook isn’t the way to pitch a story—it’s the way to get in our heads, it’s the way to know who we are, know what we’re thinking about and know what we don’t like,” says Brian Stelter, media industry reporter at The New York Times. If you want to use social media to introduce an idea, be brief. “What works for me is if somebody reaches out on Twitter, doesn’t explain the whole entire story, just says ‘Hey, I have a story, it involves this, can we talk later?’” says Melanie Eversley, civil rights and social issues reporter at USA Today. 3Stay wired Listening is important—as is reading news, broadcasting your own news and making meaningful connections with people. Journalists will be inclined to interact with you on social media if you’re socially active. Sreenivasan says, “The best PR people I work with are the ones who are connected, not because of Twitter, but because they read a lot, know the issues and have a great Rolodex.” 4Don’t be everywhere Do you feel pressured to join every social network? If so, take a step back and decide 1) what your goals are and 2) what platforms your target audience is using. “It’s not so much you need to Tips for how PR pros should be using social media Tip Sheet 10 Tips from journalists at Columbia University, The New York Times, USA Today and more!
  • 2. us.cision.com  866.639.5087  Copyright © 2013 Cision, Inc. All Rights Reserved.ca.cision.com  877.269.3367 332 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60604 1100-150 Ferrand Drive Toronto, ON M3C 3E5 Tip Sheet be everywhere, but the [digital tools] you are using, just use them effectively and efficiently so that it really does enhance what you’re doing,” says Tonya Garcia, business editor for MadameNoire.com. 5Identify yourself If you’re representing a brand or company, people shouldn’t have to guess who you are, what topics you cover or what clients you represent. “Please put your full description of what you do in your Twitter bio,” Sreenivasan recommends. “I still see people who have mysterious things about who they are—if this is a business account, you should be saying what you do.” Sreenivasan also reminds people who post on behalf of businesses to “have personality on social.” 6Say what it is If you send a journalist an ambiguous message over social media, there’s a good chance he or she will assume you’re a spammer. It doesn’t matter if your product or brand is the perfect fit for their beat—a tweet or post that says ‘click this link’ without an explanation will only get negative attention. Stelter explains, from the PR perspective, “If someone ever tweeted me, ‘Are you spam?’ I wouldn’t even reply, because I’ve already done [my job] so badly at this point.” 7Be tradigital Think social media has drastically changed the way we do business? “The basic values and ways in which you communicate have not changed, despite all these tools,” Sreenivasan assures. “Every PR person should be a ‘tradigital’ PR person, meaning you understand all the values of traditional PR, but you know how to interact, connect and share.” It’s important to remember that the medium does not outweigh the message. 8Start a blog If you want to get in the heads of journalists and get further immersed in social media, try your hand at writing and managing a blog. “Blogging is one of the most important things PR people should be doing,” says Shonali Burke, president and CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. “If you don’t experiment with the tools that we have at hand, you won’t be able to work on it for your clients.” Starting a blog will help you learn about SEO, getting pitched and how to pitch. “You don’t have to write a big fancy blog that becomes Mashable,” says Burke. “You just need to be practicing.” 9Avoid social goofs With the instantaneousness of social media, sometimes it’s easy to forget how a platform works or which best practices you should be applying on a particular outlet. For example, “Please be sure to follow a journalist if you pitch him or her via Twitter, so they can DM you back,” says Sreenivasan. He explains that improper usage can have damaging implications. “It’s really ridiculous when a PR person pitches you but doesn’t follow you—that means you’re just trying to exploit the connection rather than being genuinely there.” 10Don’t forget about e-mail Even though social media is, increasingly, how relationships are forged between PR professionals and journalists, don’t forget that e-mail is still the most popular and preferred way journalists wish to receive communications. “I do think email is the way to go, but you can know us, thanks to social media, in a way that might be really valuable,” says Stelter.