PR Insider: Making Facebook Work for PR

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BREAKING NEWS: Social media has completely changed the foundation of public relations.

I realize you have heard that headline before but in our fabled business, you may be surprised to know how many “experts,” “consultants,” “pioneers,” or “gurus” have no clue how that foundation has been changed.

Shawn Paul Wood
Shawn Paul Wood

When considering social media, Facebook is still the major domo of the Interwebs. In fact, according to Statista, Mark Zuckerberg’s pet project hosts 1.35 billion active monthly users. And because of that, most clients in the wonderful world of PR will casually ask at some point during your blossoming relationship, “How can you help us with Facebook?”

While you are sensing the possibility to cross-sell some services or increase your retainer with your trusted social media management acumen, perhaps you should ask yourself, “Is Facebook even relevant for what this client needs?”  

Here are a couple ways to find out:

Get People to “Like” You.

Who are the most important people to your client? The audience that already invests in that client’s services. They obviously like you, so be sure they are familiar with that Facebook page in hopes that they will “like” you as well. For companies, Facebook only offers a few select ways to show its relevance. And without your primary audience taking the time to say “Yes, I really like this brand,” prospective audiences assume there is a reason that they don’t.

Get People to Appreciate You.

In the world of corporate America, having some community outreach is a good look for some positive mojo in your client’s favor. You don’t have to be a non-profit organization to specialize in highlighting that outreach, but you should be an organization that profits from that service. Sure, you can create posts that show some nice pictures of the people your client serves, but is there a tab dedicated to that service? Want to save some money? Having a tab dedicated to CSR may be more effective than any page hidden on your client’s website ever could.

Get People to Find You.

Corporate fan pages should be dedicated to...the fans. There is no science there. And fans need to be able to share parts of the page, have a reason to take part on the page, and find the page. It’s the last part that scares your client but even a lean budget can be effective with advertising on Facebook. Opening an account is free. Boosting posts are cheap. And even buying “like” ads can be cost effective with the right strategy. Without the proper amount of promotion and positioning with a corporate page, fewer consumers will be able to find the page. And if that happens, they don’t find the products or services either.

While Facebook is not the right vehicle for media outreach, outside of sharing an article with a reporter that happens to be following the page, Facebook still has its strengths for public relations and media outreach. PR is about presence, positioning, and promotion. And Facebook can help your client accomplish all three, if you use that social media platform for the reason it was created -- being more social, less media.

Shawn Paul Wood is a 20-year veteran of traditional and digital public relations, as well as a former radio news director and on-air talent. He is a managing account digital strategist for Ketchum PR. Follow Shawn: @shawnpaulwood