This article originally appeared on PR Daily in February of 2018.
Public relations and social media: At times it would appear there’s tension between the two.
However, social media presents a significant opportunity to enhance PR.
New technologies are changing how we interact with each other—and with businesses. For PR professionals, embracing new tools offers exciting new opportunities to meet clients’ needs.
Here are four opportunities social media offers PR experts and small businesses in 2018:
1. Increase reach for your press events with live video.
Livestreaming is a great way to give your followers a press pass to your events and media conferences.
Video content has become one of the biggest online trends and around 500 million people watch video on Facebook alone each day.
Stream your event using applications like Facebook Live or Twitter’s Periscope and give your audience a new opportunity to connect with your client’s brand. You can also use live video to reach reporters and news organizations in other parts of the world.
Live video can be especially helpful for promoting upcoming events or teasing new products. In 2016, General Motors became one of the first automotive brands to use Facebook Live for a product launch when it introduced a new model.
When you select a platform from which to broadcast, make sure that’s where your target audience is spending their time.
2. Use digital audio.
More news organizations—even those that don’t broadcast—are using different forms of media in their articles.
There are often a few stand-out quotes in your news release or announcement. Record these and attach as sound clips.
You can download sound editing software and upload your edited clip to a platform, like Clyp or SoundCloud, and include the link in your statement. Don’t forget share on your social media and your website.
3. Use social media to share updates in real time.
Constant updates—especially in crisis communication—are key.
To ensure you can manage a crisis in the digital age, you need to have a crisis communications policy in place, with clear time frames.
Put honesty at the center of your crisis communications and make sure the spokesperson has the most updated information. People will look to your social media feeds for credible updates, rather than outside sources who might be sharing inaccurate information.
Regular social media listening can also help address concerns before they become full-scale crises.
[FREE GUIDE: 8 steps to making killer videos]
4. Develop your website to bring in new customers.
Organizations are often told they need an online presence—and some stop at creating a Facebook page.
While Facebook with its audience targeting and ability to reach a wide audience with a limited budget is a great channel, the company is also changing its algorithm and favors updates from family and friends. Organic reach has dropped on the platform as low as 2 percent for some pages. Last year, Facebook’s split news feed trial saw organic reach for affected pages declining by two thirds for some pages.
The lesson: Facebook should not be at the sum of your digital strategy. Instead, invest in the channels you own—i.e. your website. There you can upload your press releases and other news.
Make sure your website answers customers’ questions through content.
What are their customers’ issues? What information do they need to solve their problem? If you (or your client) is in the finance industry, you could create content to guide consumers on what the latest government budget means for them. In tourism, you can put together articles or videos on which attractions to visit during the holiday season.
Bronwynne Powell is an independent communications specialist and founder of Bronwynne Powell Media. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.