Most of my clients are focused on the Automotive Industry, selling products to car dealerships to help them improve process, sell more, increase service business and the like. In working with my clients, it is important to me that they understand that PR and Social Media go hand in hand and that we develop strategies that tie the two disciplines together in harmony. Here are some best practices I’ve discovered in striving to build this happy marriage:

Best Practice #1 – Understand Each Discipline. Of course I understand where each discipline begins and the other ends, but it is also important that my clients have a basic understanding as well. Making sure that we clearly outline a set of expectations for PR and also for Social Media is a key component to having success with them together. Once we have a clear understanding, then we can quickly move on to setting goals, which brings me to my next tip.

Best Practice #2 – Develop Measurable Goals and Build a Plan Around Them. Having 1,000 Facebook “Likes” is a great goal, but not if you don’tCarter West Image know what those “Likes” mean to your company. Is having 1,000 Twitter followers more valuable, or is the brand more visual and 1,000 YouTube views where energy should be focused? I’ve found that in the hubbub of Social Media, some marketers look purely at numbers without having a reason behind them. I strongly encourage my clients to develop goals that are measurable, attainable and actionable. This goes for PR too. Is the goal to win awards, or is it to use PR to get SEO traction… or both? Put it all out on the table and you will start to see commonalities and harmonies you didn’t think of before! Once you see all that you have to work with, and can clearly agree on priorities, it will be much easier to develop a comprehensive plan with both strategy and tactics to reach the goals.

Best Practice #3 – Monitor and Respond in a Timely Manner. In teaming up with my clients to increase their exposure, I make sure that we cover all the basics of Social Media and PR and then ensure that we have the resources and tools to monitor, act and leverage every aspect of our outreach. I encourage my clients to leverage Social Media to connect with their customers and share positive experiences, and to monitor and respond to any negative customer comments or feedback in a timely manner. With our outreach to media and industry, I strive to market my clients as a thought leader and keep them on standby so that we are ready to roll when we are asked to participate in an article or a speaking engagement.

Best Practice #4 – Be Proactive. This is the kicker. In both Social Media and PR, the key to success is to be proactive and on your game at all times. Anticipating industry trends, posting valuable content, developing timely and informative blog posts, press releases and industry articles and reaching that upper echelon of “Thought Leader” takes dedicated time and a ton of proactivity. It may sound daunting, but go back to Best Practice #2. It all starts with setting clear and measurable goals and a plan to reach them.

Public Relations and Social Media success won’t happen overnight. Just like any relationship, it takes time, energy and a ton of TLC to make it work, but the end result will be well worth the effort.

Sara Callahan | Carter West Public Relations

by Sara Callahan