Cutting Through Social Media Hype: Starting from Ground Up

I can’t preach enough how the PR landscape is dramatically changing. I know as an insider and a PR (I’d like to call myself a ‘pro’ at this point) I know it is all about ‘do’ or ‘die’.  I live and breathe security. This is what I do and this is what I know. I’m passionate about security – how the landscape is changing and what threats are evolving.  So is PR and marketing. I actively monitor what our competitors are doing, what they’re saying and how they’re positioning themselves in the market. As a PR pro, I don’t like to EVER trail behind. I like to be on the cutting edge.  My boss @cedwardbrice (http://marketinggimbal.typepad.com/) is exactly that way and he pushes the team pretty hard to be on the cutting edge and try new things, take risks. This means staying on top of the market your company or client plays in as well as the profession you’re in.  To be frank, I’ve met a lot of PR professionals who are content with the way they approach PR and complacent in their approach. Not me. I look at the latest trends, the evolution taking place within the landscape and take risks to define what “greatness” means.

In order to stay ahead, I’ve learned a lot over the years in terms of the role social media plays in the world of PR. After extensively researching what my competitors were doing, I wanted to take a more innovative approach and this is how I did it with the help of some clever PR/marketing and integrating that across our social media channels.  But first things first, you have to establish your strategy so below are some tips I’d like to offer up. But the key thing here is collaboration and integration – two very important words.

Getting Started

Define your strategy – do your research and understand what your strategy is for integrating your PR strategy with social media strategy. What’s the best social media channels that your company would best be suited for.  Is it Twitter that you want and is a fit for your company. If so, how are you willing to support it? This leads to my next step. 

Outline your resources – given the current state of the economy, can you support it and do you have the resources to support it. If you can’t back it up, your efforts will go to waste. In order to remain relevant in the social media realm, you have to consistently and constantly remain on top of these channels to support with your key messages and engage in two way dialogues.

Establish your social media channels – once you’ve established your strategy, set out to employ these channels, whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, etc.  For Twitter, make sure you’re following all of the relevant people in your industry and reporters/analysts who play in your space (@CindyKimPR, @_Lumension, @cedwardbrice).

Build up those channels with strong, rich content – these channels mean nothing if you don’t have the right content that your readers are interested in reading about. For instance, our Twitter account for Lumension is all about breaking news on the latest and greatest security threats that are relevant to our security / IT readers.  YouTube for instance – we have over 8,000 viewers who consistently visit our channel because our videos are premium content with our key experts who can speak to the evolving threats, landscape, and best practices.

Establish a corporate blog – this is the most powerful platform to engage your readers, elevate your company’s profile, and establish your company as the “thought leader” in the industry.  Create and push out content that is thought provoking, tied to breaking news, relevant to the industry, and critical to publishing informative conversation pieces. For example, I recently wrote a Q&A blog post on the State of Cybersecurity: Debate with Pat Clawson and Mike Jacobs.  Great tie into the latest debate over what our cybersecurity plan looks like and what it should be in order to thwart cyber crooks from penetrating our networks and critical government and civilian systems.

The Optimal Security Blog

Key thing to remember is having a very succinct, streamlined rapid response strategy either with your PR firm or within your PR department. This way you know how you’re going to integrate and push out content in a very timely fashion. For instance, we have a great process in place with Lois Paul and Partners. Our PR team is not only exceptional but very proactive in terms of leveraging these channels to get exposure.

Integrate all of these channels for maximum exposure – once you have all of these channels established (and you don’t need to have them all but a blog is a great start), integrate across your PR efforts.

Real World Case Study

We recently had a Conficker outbreak and this news headlined pretty much every news outlet you can think of, including CNN and all the security trade press. As part of my strategy to take a unique approach to this was to look at the threats Conficker posed on networks and critical systems. I worked with inside experts to craft a blog that went up immediately.  Once this blog post went live, I went and sent the blog link to my PR folks at LPP to do some heavy media outreach (with the link to the blog). I then went on to Twitter to tweet about this latest threat and linked it back to our blog.  With reporters following our tweets combined with our outreach by LPP, we gained significant coverage on this.  CNN then followed up with our experts to get additional quotes for a follow up story which ran [date]. Matt Hines of eWeek then blogged about it, sourcing directly from our blog. This is an immediate return on investment. By integrating these channels across your PR efforts and tying in rapid response, you can spread your message “wide”. 

PR firms who resort to simply pushing out news through their traditional channels, I’m afraid, are missing out. The key thing here is to understand where the conversations are taking place and where your target audience is looking for information. Simply by understanding and joining the conversation, can you truly leverage your social media efforts and integrate that across your PR channels.

While these best practices are tried and proven in my industry, I believe these carry over to other sectors as well.  Do you think different rules apply to different sectors. Tell me what you think?

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Comments

  1. I think that Matt Hines is the bomb, whatever happened to that guy? Those ThreatPost bozos are all self important fan boys… well except Naraine and Roberts. I miss the days when guys like that were keeping it real and giving you the good word. I blame it on the startling number of lesbians in PR these days. They make a hell of a pitch, but if they’re not “selling it” to the hotter looking media dudes, shiz goes, like, no-where.

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