How to use different social media platforms to build relationships with the press
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It’s no secret that PR is all about relationship building (hey, it’s in the name). Traditionally, relationship building has been done through blenders and coffee chats with reporters. I still remember the number of free dinners I was given during my years as a journalist! Enter social media and now you can reach a writer sipping his coffee halfway around the world. Yes, there are more opportunities to connect, but the basics of relationship building shouldn’t be forgotten.
Here are four social media platforms that I use to build media relationships.
There are only two platforms that are still great places to connect with traditional media professionals: Twitter and LinkedIn. While cold connections and cold pitch are becoming a thing of the past, it’s still something that happens regularly on LinkedIn, and it works! Especially with LinkedIn Premium, you can really dive into finding who works where and connect with editors from different magazines.
I usually choose an initial approach. I tell them I read their work, show that I know their topics and mention areas in which my client has expertise. It’s better than direct pitch right now, because I want them to realize that I have a valuable resource for them. Then once a connection has been made and they’ve given the green light to pitch, I get back to them when I have a relevant topic.
Continue to engage with the press, even when you don’t have a pitch. It shows that you are sincere about the relationship.
Related: How LinkedIn Helps Entrepreneurs
My relationship with Twitter is non-linear. I created an account in 2011 and wrote my first tweet, “welcome to my twitter”, before giving it up altogether. Then in 2017, Twitter came back on my radar as I researched press strategies for a client. I realized there were a few specific groups that kept Twitter alive, and journalists were one of those key groups.
While there are apps like Snapchat and others with “story features,” Twitter is still the fastest way to get information out to the public. Over the years, that hasn’t changed for reporters and journalists, and there have been a number of instances where Twitter users broke the news before the official media. Twitter is still the preferred platform for journalists to connect with sources they might not otherwise have reached. In fact, 83% of journalists have indexed Twitter as the most valuable media platform.
So how can you use Twitter to build a relationship with the press? First of all, you can’t settle for a cold pitch unless you really have a breaking news. In that case, finding the right writer and giving them exclusivity is your way to go. Otherwise, it’s about taking the time to build relationships and showing that you aren’t just promoting yourself. Follow journalists and take the time to learn about their interests, who they work for, their niche and their specialties. Retweet their tweets, share their articles, have real conversations, and share resources with them that really help you (even if they have nothing to do with your business).
Second, when you connect with them, mention one of their social posts that really stood out to you. It’s a great way to show them that you care and that you know who they are in the industry.
Providing a unique hashtag for your business is a great way to generate positive press around your business!
Related: How To Get Verified On Twitter: A Complete Step-By-Step Guide
3. Instagram and Clubhouse, combined
Honestly, Instagram on its own isn’t the best platform for connecting with the media. It’s not a platform where you’ll find editors and editors, but you can count on finding contributing editors. These people are usually into building their personal brands, and they are often criticized. Because of this, it’s a saturated area, so it’s best to avoid cold pitching on Instagram. However, in combination with Clubhouse, there is a powerful recipe for success.
My team has a strategy on this. First of all, we search the web and choose who we want to connect with. This could be an influencer, podcast host, or contributing writer. Next, we set up “alerts” that notify us when the person goes live on Clubhouse. We listen to what he’s talking about and use that information to research something that might make our pitch relevant to him. Finally, we reach out to the person on Instagram: “Hey, I heard you talking on Clubhouse. This creates a closeness effect, building a relationship where you are much more likely to receive a response.
Facebook may no longer be the go-to platform for instant news. However, in 2021, this platform is the best place to find communities and groups for networking. There are countless groups for the press, entrepreneurs, influencer marketers, and those working in public relations, making it the perfect platform to mingle with the press. Joining these groups is a great way to network, make a name for yourself and get noticed by the press.
Relationships can also seem more personal here, as you have to ask to be in a group or to be “friends” with someone. This means you need to highlight the value you offer up front. Make sure your Facebook profile matches your business, summarizing what you do and your specialty.
I highly recommend joining groups that connect podcast hosts and podcast guests and creating a schedule to check back on those groups regularly. Podcasts are a great PR tool because they are still growing in popularity and have a wide reach.
Related: Facebook Ads: The Complete, Always Up-To-Date Guide