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TECH ADVICE: Using Social Media for Positive PR

April 2009
By: Ken Freeman

SOCIAL MEDIA - the use of blogs, websites such as Facebook, YouTube, MySpace,
Feedburner, Blogger, and over 2000 other sources of help and distribution solutions to expand your Internet footprint.

Social media has changed the face of public relations (PR). Because what the public sees on the Internet often makes up most of what they know about your non-profit pregnancy resource center, managing your online image is very important.

An unhappy customer has access to the same Internet as your business does. A happy customer tells 3 people, but an unhappy one can now use the Internet to tell 30,000 people! In addition to the need to maintain high customer service standards, you want to get the positive PR on your center out there on the World Wide Web.

As Lee Iacocca said, "You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere." Social media is a great tool for getting your ideas out there to be responded to. Instead of just being at the mercy of what everyone else is saying online, social media optimization services advocate using social media to your advantage—creative persuasion (a.k.a., marketing) and getting across why your prospects should WANT to visit your center. We call that 'Positive Marketing Communications,' and it is how you attract the client you want.

The top five ways to use social media for beneficial PR

  1. Magnify your PR. Instead of a happy client just telling 3 other people, put them on your web log (blog) so the goodness can spread to all the areas your blog is broadcast to. Better yet, do a video feature on your website and blog (it does not have to be fancy, just real) so prospective clients can see and hear someone who appreciated the value of what your non-profit pregnancy resource center offers.
  2. Blogs are great for positive PR for two basic reasons. First, you write them, so you control the content. (Or hire professionals to write your blog in a marketing-savvy way.) Second, you can moderate any comments that outsiders make—filtering out those who would devalue your content.
  3. Put your Press Releases on your blog. These newsworthy announcements deserve the extra boost in awareness that your blog's RSS feed can give it when properly set up.
  4. Be your own publicist. A publicist is there to accentuate the positive spin on whatever their client does. Don't distort the facts, but feel free to utilize social media to announce donations made, to highlight how your employees volunteer at other charitable organizations and community involvement, to explain the positive motivations and intentions behind your center's actions, changes, and so forth.
  5. Put positive PR out there on other blogs. Find complimentary blogs with common interests and leave a positive footprint there. Comments and testimonials, when done in a win-win fashion and not a self-serving, opportunistic style, can let readers of other blogs know what worked for you. Pay it forward. Think of this as a place to share your positive comments and testimonials.

Ken Freeman is a professional web and social media consultant. He has served pregnancy resource centers with marketing, advertising, web design, hosting, social media orchestration, and optimization support. Contact Ken Freeman at askkenfreeman@gmail.com or by calling 214-703-0505.



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