Does Facebook have a role to play in modern PR campaigns?

Facebook will boost your PR campaign.

Admit to spending time on Facebook these days and many people will look at you like you’ve just admitted your worst, dirty little secret.

It’s almost fashionable to deny liking the social media giant, but with more than 1.71 BILLION USERS logging in monthly it’s an incredibly powerful way of getting your company message out to potential customers.

And I’m one of those who believes Facebook has a valuable place in public relations strategies.

But that doesn’t mean you can just post any old nonsense and hope for instant success.

So, in the first of a three-part blog series, let’s take a look at making Facebook work for your business.

Back to basics: Who are you targeting on Facebook?

You need to know who you want to communicate with.

Your online audience. Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do? Are they likely to belong to Facebook groups?

Spend a little time researching your audience as this will help you develop better strategies for communicating with them on Facebook.

And that means spending time yourself on Facebook.

Any social media guru who knows their stuff will tell you the first step in planning a strategy on Facebook is to listen. Find active groups focused on relevant topics, and join them. Spend most of your time just listening, watching and learning.

EXAMPLE: Let’s imagine you make a range of cycling accessories and you want to let people know about an amazing new widget coming out in time for Christmas.

Facebook has a search option which is a powerful tool for finding groups and pages that are relevant to your industry. Just type in your keywords in the top left-hand box and see what pops up. Try a number of different searches and see what comes up.

search Facebook for groups

You’ll be shown a number of groups, pages and discussions that Facebook thinks might be interesting for you. Take a look at them and join the ones you think will work for you.

But don’t start posting straight away – spend a couple of weeks just watching what goes on. Are your competitors using the page? What sort of post gets the best engagement? How often are people posting? And what are they saying? Work out what style gets the most response.

Facebook know your audience

Starting your Facebook campaign

You’ll need to have a business presence on Facebook and the best way to do this is to create a ‘page”.

If the thought of making your own business page fills you with dread then don’t panic. Facebook is an incredibly user-friendly platform and has tons of help and advice online.

So start by watching this great tutorial  which will take you through the whole process in an easy to follow guide.

Making your Facebook page engaging and fun

One of the biggest mistakes rookie Facebook business users make is to just use their page as an advertising platform.

So, while it’s perfectly OK to promote your business on Facebook, you need to build credibility with your target audience too.

Remember, Facebook is meant to be fun and interesting for users – they don’t want to log in and find nothing but thinly disguised adverts in their news feed.

So, apply the 80/20 rule. Make your posts engaging, interesting and informative. If 80% of your posts are consistently focused on educating and entertaining your audience, they’ll tolerate 20% hard sell!

Spread the word on Facebook

People love to share content and that’s why Facebook can be a winning part of your PR strategy.

You know yourself that people share the Facebook posts they like. Yes, it’s often viral videos and photos of cute fluffy cats (nothing wrong with a cute fluffy cat, by the way, but let’s not forget dogs are cute too!) but it’s also special offers they’ve spotted, stunning pictures of places they would love to visit and posts they think their friends would enjoy.

Get Facebook content right

So you need to tap into that desire to share Facebook content.

Let’s go back to being the cycle accessories company again. It’s launching its amazing widget for mountain bikers and it hopes to make it a hot Christmas present on every cyclists’ wish list.

But rather than just post a photo and a dull advertising message it could have a bit of fun by posting quirky videos of the widget being used, or offer the chance to win a free widget by linking to an online promotion.

Or even try a photo caption – take an amusing picture and ask people to think of the best caption with a free widget for the best one.

use the 80/20 rule

There are tons of other ways to get your audience to share content and the next blog will look at maximising Facebook engagement, using Facebook adverts and building your Facebook audience.