One day my daughter, who was about 4 or 5 at the time, decided she had enough of our demands to help make her bed, clean up her toys, and put away her shoes. She looked right at my husband and I and said, “That’s it! I’m going to pick up all my shhhhh…oes and then I’m leaving!”
In that moment, when she hesitated on the word “shoes,” my husband and I looked at each other, worried. Is this the day we realize she’s heard us use the sh—word a few too many times? Is she really going to say what we think?
Imagine our relief when she finally said shoes!
Today, we’re going to talk about getting your social shoes together. You can substitute another sh– word, but for the sake of feigning decency, I won’t.
I like the analogy of shoes for social media because shoes are what you put on before you go out in public. In some cases, your shoes might be the first thing a person notices about you. Make sure your shoes are neat and tidy!
Too many times, when a client hires me to work on PR, I notice that their social shoes aren’t in order. They might have social accounts setup on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., but they don’t have a social strategy or plan to leverage those networking sites to grow their audience and brand appeal. They often aren’t posting anything at all or all of the content is curated from elsewhere. How are you a thought leader with no original content?
Some business owners want me to work in a silo, they say, “you focus on media pitching because we have someone else focusing on social media and special events, etc.” These are the hardest projects, honestly, but I understand when budgets are small (or even non-existent), then you have to make some tough choices. You might not have a budget to hire an expert for social and earned media outreach at the same time. Many times the “someone else” doing social is an intern or somebody’s child posting random things. There’s nothing wrong with this approach for the short-term, but this is not an effective long-term social strategy.
That said, it’s time to get your social shoes in order and all tidied up so that your media outreach efforts will be most successful.
Picture this: You are a technology executive leading a software development company. I’m working with you on thought leadership and publicity to garner some brand visibility in trade and local press. We pitch a fantastic guest article or story idea to the technology editor of your city’s major paper. They like the idea, but they’ve never heard of you or met you. How influential can you be in this space? What do you think they’re going to do next?
Any credible media outlet is going to check with their sources. They want to visit your website, blog, and social sites to see who you are and what makes you an authority on the topic.
It may be that your social activity levels won’t matter as much to them because it’s a hot topic and they need someone for commentary right away. However, imagine this scenario:
- They check out your LinkedIn presence and realize that you have hundreds of industry contacts and publish articles regularly that generate great questions and feedback, or
- They see that you have a few thousand Twitter followers and you regularly engage with your contacts by using mentions, popular hashtags, or participating in Twitter chats related to your specific industry or niche.
Which scenario positions you to become a great industry resource within the community that they should really get to know?
I’ve had prospective clients who refuse to set up a LinkedIn profile because they want to remain anonymous, but they want me to get their company named mentioned in top-tier publications and blogs. Unfortunately, I have to decline these projects.
With the consolidation of major media outlets, the tremendous changes in journalism that have reporters now writing for online and print, as well as hosting podcasts and more, media pitching is challenging enough just presenting topics and sources that would be of interest.
Some outlets now only work with new corporate executives exclusively through their ad team for sponsored or paid content. If you don’t have a budget to pay for content visibility, then you have to put in more time and effort to organically stand out.
I love working on differentiation strategies, social strategies, and publicity plans. However, if you’re hiring a PR rep solely for media outreach, then you have to get your social shoes in order. Be thoughtful and intentional about your approach, and talk about it. Your PR rep should know about your social media strategy and your social media manager should know about your PR strategy. The future of PR is a blended one.
What’s been the hardest part about getting your social shoes together?