The Power of Social Media-Driven PR
August 18th, 2010
A few weeks ago I attended a highly fascinating summit on social media offered by the DC chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. The focus was on how nonprofits can implement a social media strategy, and why it’s important.
Hands down, this was the best, most informative seminar I’ve attended. Take-away: If you represent a nonprofit that has a very little/nonexistent social media budget, there are tons of FREE and EASY ways you can get your message heard.
In particular, many of the discussions confirmed to me that the Twitter tide has turned, and we are now seeing the very tangible PR, marketing, and fundraising-related benefits of tweeting. (To wit, a highly influential local social media guru told us about how she helped AARP use Twitter feeds to raise over $700K for the Haiti disaster in one weekend. Yes, you read that right!)
So, after the conference I went home, excited to try out some new tips. And one panned out for me nearly immediately!
Here’s an example of how I put a piece of advice about Twitter to work for my own, ahem, personal branding purposes:
2. I looked for the “Sources” column (on the left). I clicked on Associated Press.
3. The AP list of Tweeting journos popped up. I clicked on “Mass-follow.” (Why did I choose the AP? Simply because they’re a national wire service.)
4. A few days later, I saw a tweet that said one of the AP journos was looking to interview people for a story he was working on about a new survey on the rise of DVR use among TV-watchers.
5. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to sing my Tivo’s praises, I quickly hammered out a short, quotable email message to the writer, thinking about how I could distinguish my soundbites from the inevitable thousands he would receive in response to the query.
6. In the email, I included the quotes, my cell phone number, and my name and title – ie, every bit of information he would need to simply plug in to the story, whether he chose to actually interview me or not.
7. Within an hour, I had received a message from the writer asking for a phone interview.
8. The story ran on the AP wire yesterday. Check it out here.
The result? Just a fun little egocentric exercise for me, but consider the outcome if I had been speaking on behalf of a nonprofit client: visibility in a national wire story that will be picked up in hundreds if not thousands of newspapers, web sites, and blogs.
This is the essence of “earned media” = thousands of people learning about your client without having spent a dime.