HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO BUILD AND SUPPORT RELATIONSHIPS

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In my previous posts I:

  • Established the amount of time the average person dedicates to social media per day
  • Outlined the need for PR practitioners to create a presence on social media
  • Discussed brand communities on Instagram creating user generated content (UGC) and
  • Used Chobani’s best practice use of Instagram as a case study to show how companies are using social media to engage publics and stakeholders

Now that we have looked at social media being used to successfully engage stakeholders and publics, here are some tips on how to do this.

It is important to remember that while social media can strengthen relationships with stakeholders, it also has the potential to derail a brand’s reputation and ruin stakeholder relationships in the blink of an eye. So, it is crucial that social media is used correctly by PR professionals.

 

Top tips for using social media successfully (and avoiding disaster):

  1. Regularly update content: users will remain engaged as active followers when content is regularly updated. If followers have to wait a week between posts there is a high chance they will unfollow your social media account.
  2. Engage followers in conversation: two way communication is detrimental on social media. It is important to take your followers on a journey and make them feel like they are a part of your brand. Two way communication will ensure followers remain interested in your social media account.
  3. Reply to comments in a timely manner: as discussed in my first post, we are living in a now generation. This means that people expect to receive answers quickly. Make sure your social media accounts are actively responding to comments and thanking positive feedback.
  4. Monitor what is being said: following on from replying to comments in a timely manner, it is also important to monitor what is being said as social media can be used to post negative opinions. Monitoring your accounts regularly gives you a chance to diffuse any negative comments quickly (Prior, 2010).

Social media is probably the most effective way to build relationships with clearly identified stakeholders and publics in this day and age. The driver of brands using social media is position, position, position. The easiest way to engage stakeholders and publics is to position your brand where its stakeholders and publics are spending most of their time: social media.

Used successfully, social media can lead to UGC, or in other words, your publics creating content featuring your brand, ultimately promoting your brand without even knowing it.

Social media creates a platform where a personal connection is created between brands and publics, and if done correctly can support positive attitudes towards your brand and encourage content creation and content sharing (Yang & Kang, 2009). Ultimately it can strengthen relationships with stakeholders and publics. Used effectively, social media can both build and protect a brand.

My advice is to go for it, get on social media, use it right, and it may just be your newest employee of the month.

Let me know what social media fails or successes you have found interesting – I would love to hear. Leave a comment below or tweet me @lucywilby using the hashtag #socialmediastakeholder.

Image: SumAll on Flickr.

 

References:

Prior, M. (2010).
Top 10 tips for social media.
Public Relations Institute of Australia.

Yang, S., & Kang, M. (2009). Measuring blog engagement: testing a four-dimensional scale. Public Relations Review, 35, 323-324.

 

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