Using digital platforms for online PR is becoming more important than ever. There are a lot of easy steps to follow when you are considering how and when you engage. 

We thought it would be good to go back to basics and then expand on each of the steps below in future posts. Hopefully this will give you a good overview of what to consider as your communications team integrates social media further into your PR planning and engagement.

1) Plan

What are you looking to achieve? Are you looking to create a proactive conversation around your brand or product? Or are you looking to change what specific communities think about your company?

It's important to first look at your goals and then see what is possible based on resources on hand. If you are the only one leading your PR engagement, you will have to limit some of things you may want to plan for.

You need to also determine who your audience is, and how you will reach them. Success metrics should be decided upon during your planning stage to coincide with your goals.  Lastly, you have to consider how you will sustain your communication on the long term.

With social media, we need to look beyond a single campaign and see how your communications with be integrated across all channels for the long term.

2) Listen and analyze

Before you can implement any of the strategies you've planned, you need to know what's being said about you, what channels it's being said in and who the influencing voices are. You then need to extend that to the topics and keywords that relate to your company and campaign. 

This could be an analysis to inform a short term campaign, the impact of past communications or previous issues that could effect your campaign. The insight you will get from listening will further direct and shape your strategy.

3) Engage

Once you've listened to and analysed the online conversations surrounding your brand, you need to decide who to engage with and where in order to fulfill your strategy. Your target list should include what platforms they primarily communicate on, how they like to be contracted and what their interests are. You also need to read any content they've produced in order to make your communications more tailored to them.

Engaging these influencers is not to simply push messages at them but to use your conversations to build relationships. It's important to be open and honest and keep your communications simple and direct and, most of all, personal.

How do you plan for your PR communications? Is social media at the table when you start your plans or just an after thought? Any tips or tricks you find most effective in your own campaigns?

Heather Taylor

Published 29 August, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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Comments (3)


Phil Reed

It's hard to imagine a consumer PR campaign these days that doesn't have a strong social media element.

But as well as the engagement and developing conversations, you need to think about what you want that to lead to. Changing attitudes, perceptions or behaviours tends to involve much more than a conversation on Twitter, so the PR strategy must take that into account.

almost 6 years ago

Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor, Editorial Director at Econsultancy

It's not that social elements aren't evident, but they often aren't planned for. Planning includes setting goals (i.e. changing attitudes, etc) which will help you determine what to measure to determine ROI. Social media is much more than Twitter - and through planning you can determine which platforms will be the most effective for what you want to achieve.

almost 6 years ago


Laura Kinoshita (Public Relations Consultant)

Having a thoughtful plan is the cornerstone of any campaign. It's important we also become trusted business advisers to our clients as well. Great article!

almost 6 years ago

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