PR Pros’ Storytelling Skills the Secret Weapon to Proving Value of Social Media

Krisleigh Hoermann

Not everyone is a good storyteller, but if you're a PR pro, you probably pride yourself on your ability to find the story behind any product, service or brand and tell it well on any platform. And don't let Twitter's 140-character limitation fool you—it's a storytelling medium through and through.

In the following Q&A, American Heart Association's community manager Krisleigh Hoermann, says those same storytelling skills can be used to prove the value of social media initiatives to senior management. Hoermann will elaborate on ROI, Twitter engagement and more at PR News' Aug. 9 Big 3 Conference in San Francisco.

PR News: What are the business objectives for your activity on Twitter?

Krisleigh Hoermann: First and foremost, our main business objective is to listen and then engage. We set measurable goals around engagement and brand awareness—share of voice and share of conversation. Our goal is to build relationships—whether crowdsourcing for new ideas, resolving a community member’s issue, monitoring our reputation or activating brand advocates and influencers to spread the word or take action.

PR News: What are the best ways to keep your 30,000-plus followers engaged?

Hoermann: We don’t talk at our community, we listen to what’s important to them and share information that is relevant to our community. Remember these three words: listen, respond and engage. Listen to what your community is saying—odds are they are talking about your brand whether or not they are @mentioning you. Respond to their concerns, praises and thoughts on relevant topics. Engage them to build their trust.

PR News: How do you measure success and present data to senior leadership?

Hoermann: We often use case studies. Sure, you can show them how many @mentions you received or how many followers you have. However, it’s more powerful to show them a story—how someone’s life was saved, how much someone appreciates your customer service, how someone had a good experience with your brand. Stories show leadership how important Twitter is to your constituencies.

PR News: What’s one key tip you’ll share with attendees at the Big 3 Conference on Aug. 9?

I’ll show you how to build relationships and earn trust on Twitter—hence growing and maintaining an engaged community—and give you some easy tactics to use before leaving the conference.

Attend PR News' Aug. 9 Big 3 Conference in San Francisco and learn more from social media leaders like Krisleigh Hoermann.

Follow Regina D'Alesio, @reginadalesio