Better PR, Search Results, and Happiness Using Social Media

Press kits, news conferences, and media pitches almost seem archaic. News gets picked up by tweets faster than networks can blink, journalists find stories via Google search, and company boardrooms are now doing the social media hustle.

At the time of this article, Twitter celebrates 10 billion tweets, Facebook is claiming 400 million users, and YouTube is beating out Google in searches. Brand mentions in tweets are showing up in real-time search results on Google, Yahoo, and Bing thanks to the advent of social search.

When best-selling author Gretchen Rubin decided to write her latest book, “The Happiness Project,” she looked beyond the traditional marketing mix, ensuring to add social media to her pre-launch media strategy.

A branded blog, Facebook Fan Page, and Twitter profile went live more than a year before her book was released. Interacting with her friends and followers and having conversations about happiness kept fans engaged! By the time “The Happiness Project” hit shelves in December 2009, Rubin already had a community of 10,000 fans and 18,000 Twitter followers waiting to buy (and talk about) her book. Meanwhile, traditional media like The Today Show still played into the PR mix. One month after the launch, “The Happiness Project” hit number one on The New York Times best seller list.

So, we talked about selling books via social media, now what about a $140,000 plane by Piper Aircraft? Yes, social media has wings.

Greg Jarboe, president and cofounder of SEO-PR points to a case study launched this year by Piper Aircraft. Piper’s PR campaign focused on social media networks like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to promote the launch of PiperSport Light Sport Aircraft, an entry-level airplane offering features and performance normally found in more expensive, high-end aircrafts.

If you do a Google search for “PiperSport Light Sport Aircraft,” the results are evident one month into the campaign. The search engine editorial mentions and social media network results dominate. How is that for SEO (define)?

Whether launching a book, product, service, or business, the digital strategy is incomplete without the grace and speed of social media. But the jury is still out in some corporate cases as to who takes ownership of social media. Is it the PR agency, marketing department, or, in some cases, the college interns? The social media influence of public relations, branding, and sales makes it a tough call, but all links point to social media belonging in the boardroom, sitting right next to public relations.

“By the end of 2010, Generation Y will outnumber the Baby Boomers in the workforce. If you’re not already on the social media bandwagon, it’s time to jump on and really understand how to fold social media into the public relations mix,” notes Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich agency.

Here’s a checklist for blending social media into the PR mix:

  1. Think SEO and keywords
  2. Content and video count
  3. Let press release themes work together with social media content
  4. Authenticity and relevancy matter; have a real voice and personality behind the social media networks
  5. Combine each press release with a video component
  6. Monitor and listen to what is being said about your brand and your competition
  7. Measure using tools like Google Analytics

The press release is now the tweet, the post, and the status update. For more insight, check out #journchat on Twitter, Monday nights.

Meet Lisa Buyer, Greg Jarboe, and Gini Dietrich at SES NEW York, March 22-26, 2010 at the Hilton New York. SES and ClickZ are both part of Incisive Media.

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