How to Use Social Media for Managing Public Relations (PR)

Public relations (PR) is not the same as advertising. It’s a tool to support the overall marketing communications of a company, focusing on promotion via editorial content. In marketing, PR sets out to secure publicity through third-party endorsements and to gain earned media attention – a strategy that benefits both parties.

It’s always good to think strategically about PR and to treat social media as your best friend – a way to cut out the middleman.

The role of social media in PR

Social media has disrupted the field of PR, making it both more fast-paced, and more delicate. Businesses that fail to use social media to manage their reputations not only lose reach in the digital world but also risk going unnoticed amid all the competitive noise.

Before social media, PR professionals primarily engaged with the public after a major change. They announced new offerings, reacted to industry advancements and supported various causes to keep a company or political person relevant via a third party. Enter social media in 1997, and the constant creation of new and innovative online platforms and PR began to grow and shift. Obama’s presidential election public relations strategy in 2008 demonstrated how you can offer messages directly to your audience and the influence that social media could have on the masses.

Social media is a prime storytelling tool that allows you to communicate directly to your audience. You can become the direct source of news about your company, brand or profile, cutting out the third party. It’s a quicker and more direct route of communication to a very targeted group of people who have chosen to engage with you online.

What social media should you use?

Now, more than ever, customers are using social media to understand and interact with their favourite brands. If you curate your brand voice and know your audience, you can reach a new level of PR success because you’re able to create an emotional connection with what you have to offer.

While there are hundreds of social media channels to choose from, the key ones to consider include blogs, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Each platform offers different benefits so it’s important to assess what each platform brings to the table.


Guest blogging is a tried and tested example of newer-school PR. Most blogs are eager for fresh new content and a well-crafted pitch can see your story shared on big-time industry blogs or via a well-known ‘influencer’.

By sharing information on blogs other than your own you are able to reach a wider audience. You benefit from the credibility of the blog you’re posting on and in some cases, you can earn backlinks or significant traffic to your website. You can use guest blogging to share your opinion, provide expert advice and get personal with an audience you’re trying to reach. Just be sure to read other guest posts on the platform to ensure you’re sharing with the right people.


Instagram is a visual platform where you can upload content in the form of photos and videos. Users can comment and share your content, increasing engagement further.

Your business’s Instagram feed should remind your audience what you have to offer. One of the best ways to connect is to share new products and services, offers and promotions – anything that builds your reputation and gains trust. You can use it to produce a flow around a new product launch by posting teasers ahead of time and you can tap into ‘influencers’ who yield a lot of power. You can use the visuality of Instagram to create an ‘instant feel’ for your brand, allowing people to very quickly decide whether or not they want to interact with you.


A lot of journalists actively use Twitter to find spokespeople, case studies and breaking news. It’s quick, instant and allows you to tap into real-time promotion. You can also use Twitter to find trending topics and breaking news stories so that you better craft your content for other social media platforms. You can join conversations and build your relationships with journalists and editors who cover your industry or topics that are relevant to your business. That way they know where to come when seeking information for their readers.


PR is all about building relationships and Facebook is an ideal medium when used correctly. Relationships should be mutually beneficial, so approach your strategy with an eye for what you can do for the people who like your page. To take Facebook to the next level, the targeted capabilities of paid Facebook ads and their tracking functionality make Facebook ads a great opportunity for PR professionals and those managing their own social media promotions. Facebook ads can produce big results for minimum spend, with 1.79 billion users visiting Facebook every day.


An optimised LinkedIn business page helps users to get a better understanding of your brand and instil trust in you. You can remain top of mind by sharing engaging content regularly and by connecting with media and other brands that may bring benefit to your business. You can promote thought leadership, encourage employee participation and supercharge your PR efforts by making targeted connections with those influencing your industry.

Managing risks

Social media can be anyone’s soapbox and as such, there are risks that need to be managed. Because of the rapid speed at which social media operates, a misstep can quickly become a PR disaster.

People are going to say whatever they want about your company online but a fear of what people might say isn’t a reason not to use social media. If you’re part of the conversation with them, you have the chance to intercept, implement damage control, and even turn around a negative situation so that it becomes a positive one.

Every person or brand has a story and social media is the perfect place in which to share it. Think about what stories you have and what you want to tell and use a range of platforms to reach different audiences. Get creative and mix up your content, addressing questions commonly asked by customers, running polls about your products, hosting competitions or pitching to key journalists, bloggers and influencers. The PR options for social media are endless.

If you’d like to learn more about using social media in your public relations, kickstart your journey with the ICI public relations (PR) course. It will teach you the skills that you need to succeed quickly and conveniently, covering functions, techniques and insider secrets.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.