With more and more people – and businesses – latching on to the hype of social media, public relations companies have had to adapt business policies in order to embrace the online phenomenon.
Social media is no longer thought of as a new technology, but is now seen as a tool that allows you to communicate directly with customers in a place where they are comfortable.
Businesses now understand that they can no longer bombard people with information, but it is rather up to them to develop the relationships directly with the consumers. Social media users are now carriers and distributors of content rather than just the media.
Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well as online directories have presented new channels of distribution. Using the online channels means that content now needs to be optimised in order to appear higher up in search engines.
Make your content visible
Online article syndication is a tactic which is used by PR agencies which involves writing articles that are not directly promoting your site in the way a press release would. They are written to provide valuable industry-related content and sent to online article directories, taking your content far beyond your contact list.
The articles must contain links and keywords that are relevant to your site in order to be picked up by search engines. They must also contain an “About the Author” section that could contain up to three links to your site as many article directories will allow you to include the links in the body of the text as well.
Monitoring leads to strategic insight
As the goal is to have the articles republished on as many relevant websites and blogs, it is imperative to have a trustworthy method of monitoring your online coverage. Monitoring allows a company to gain insight as to how their brand is perceived online which can be used to develop future strategies.
Without spending too much money, there are numerous online tools to track what is being said about your company.
The power of Google
Setting up Google Alerts for your brand as well as competitors is vital if you want be a leader in your industry. Google Alerts allows you to identify keywords and receive emails from Google every time those keywords appear on the Internet.
It further allows you to filter those results to news sites, blogs, videos and forums and allows you to select whether you want a daily email or a real time email which alerts you to any mentions as and when they happen online.
It is a perfect way to monitor the development of a news story as well as keeping tabs on your competition.
200-million Twitter users will have something to say
With about 200-million web users currently using Twitter, this micro-blogging outlet cannot be ignored as a method of monitoring as it grows at a rate of hundreds of thousands each day.
There are over 65-million tweets per day and despite having just 140 characters to make your point, Twitter is fast becoming the easiest way for people to express their opinions. Therefore, companies need to set up search terms on their brand, their competition and any other relevant industry news.
Twitter even allows you download an RSS feed of your search terms without even having to sign up for the micro-blogging service.
Monitoring is only half the job
Just because you are monitoring your brand online, does not mean your job is done. The internet – and social media in particular – has made it far easier for people to comment on your work meaning you now need to engage, respond and serve
The hard work takes place after the monitoring as you need to translate your clicks into followers or fans to create engagement. This allows you to understand and build relationships with people and ultimately take them to your website where you can convert them into customers.
Justin Lawrence is an account manager at Duo Marketing.
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