It pays to know how to use social media for PR. After all, public relations and social media go hand-in-hand. They’re both used to establish and maintain trust in a business or company, brand, or persona and the products they are affiliated with. With almost everyone in each generation, from Boomers to Gen X, in modern society on at least one Social Media platform, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, the opportunities Social Media presents for Public Relations purposes are endless. 

Social Media for PR: What’s the Difference?

The most important differentiation between Social Media and Public Relations is their approach. Social Media is often about influencing sales by being conversational towards their target audience and being relatable on a personal level, whereas Public Relations is a little more corporate. Not that this is a bad thing; a corporate approach is sometimes necessary depending on the task at hand. 

Public Relations’ interaction with their content can be passive and one-sided, whereas Social Media’s aim is to engage their target audience and start a conversation. It is Social Media, after all. Social Media content is specifically crafted to evoke a response from both its current followers and a potential new audience. 

Another key differentiation is that Social Media is measurable. In the days of Public Relations, a company’s Public Relations representative or team would liaise with journalists, encourage positive press releases, and appear at public events to represent the company in a good light. But they had no way of actively measuring how many people saw their message or engaged with it on any level. You can track newspaper sales, but you cannot track which articles a buyer reads. 

Social Media changed all this. Most Social Media platforms have some sort of interaction and engagement measurement system that enables companies to track clicks, views, shares, retweets, comments, you name it. 

social media for pr blog image
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Above: The arrival of social transformed the field of PR.

What’s this got to do with PR?

Public Relations professionals nowadays are missing a fantastic opportunity if they ignore the significant influence Social Media has in our contemporary world. 

Social Media breaks down the corporate wall between a business or company and consumer, making for a more human connection. Those who say Social Media has negatively impacted on human interaction could not be further from the truth: we are more connected than ever, and Public Relations professionals are beginning to see this. 

A good Public Relations professional acknowledges and understands the role Social Media has in modern consumer culture. A great Public Relations professional utilises this to enhance their business or company’s brand and connect with their target audience on an emotional level. Social Media makes Public Relations more approachable, and emphasises a warm and inviting space to engage with people regardless of a business or company’s serious nature. 

A Guide to Use Social Media for PR

Sproutsocial found that people are 57.5% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Social Media, so its significance cannot be understated. 

There three elements of Social Media, regardless of platform, that can be utilised at almost any opportunity, be it product promotion, brand awareness, or events. 

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Real-time messaging has caused a revolution in public relations.

Firstly, share share share. Incorporate your Social Media Platforms into your press releases. Share new content on all your platforms. You can also adapt your press release depending on the style of each platform:

for example, longer blog posts are great for LinkedIn, whereas an easily digestible infographic or illustration is best for Instagram (you can also provide a linked in the caption to the longer post so your audience has a choice of how they want to engage with your content). 

Secondly, instant real-time messaging. This allows Public Relations to be more active and present. It encourages relationship marketing and breaks down the barrier between the everyday consumer and the scary corporate world. 

Thirdly, Live Streaming is a fantastic way to engage both established and new audiences. It reinforces the down-to-earth human connection corporations can lack, and it allows spectators watching to send in questions and queries that can be answered live! You can also set up Live Streaming to notify audience members that you are going live so they don’t miss a thing. 

Social Media platforms vary in style, and there are a multitude of ways you can use this to enhance a company’s PR. Here are the top four:

Facebook & LinkedIn

Facebook Marketing Solutions

Creating a Facebook or LinkedIn page for a business or company is a great start. It will enable you to post regular content crafted specifically for Facebook or LinkedIn and share links to a business or company’s website, or even relevant causes your company aligns itself with.

Say you’re a book publisher keen to incorporate authors from under-represented groups such as the LGBTQ+ community or authors of colour. You can share journal articles celebrating up-and-coming authors you support, and share content from other Social Media platforms, such as tweets or Instagram photographs or infographs, which are easy to consume and share.

Facebook and LinkedIn are also full of groups, both private and public, where consumers can openly discuss products from and experiences of a particular business or company. This is a good way to monitor how consumers view the business or company as it is a first-hand account of their experience.

Facebook and LinkedIn also have Professional Services that companies can utilise for maximum optimisation, including calls to action for donations and pledges. These platforms are also great for blogging, and LinkedIn provides unique industry insights and connections may not otherwise achieve through old-fashioned Public Relations.


With its 140-character tweet limit, Twitter is a great place for short announcements, promotions, and updates. Keep this in mind when writing longer texts – write in quotable or ‘tweetable’ sentences that leaves your target audience wanting to know more.

What Is Twitter? Advertising Opportunity

Its hashtag feature is a key way of reaching target audiences and tracking how a company is perceived in the public eye. It can also be a useful tool in Crisis Management. A hashtag can spread quicker than you could imagine, and by monitoring and measuring whether a hashtag related to your business or company is trending, you can quickly establish whether it is for a positive or negative reason, and resolve the issue quickly and efficiently if negative.

Like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter is also a great space to connect with businesses and companies who share your attitude and approach. You can show support for them by retweeting or liking their tweets.


Being only ten years old, Instagram is a relatively new Social Media platform, but with 500 million daily active users it is growing fast and showing no signs of stopping.

Instagram vs Facebook | Which Platform Should I Use for my Business? | Comparison of Meta Socials

Like Twitter, Instagram utilises hashtags, allowing for easy audience targeting and engagement measurement. And like Twitter, Instagram is about followers rather than ‘friends’ or ‘connections’. How many followers an Instagram page has is often reflective of how well a brand is known and trusted.

Instagram is all about visuals. Humans are visual creatures and our attention is often given to eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing images, be that other people, products, or easily digestible illustrations or infographs. There are dozens of things a company can share: professional or amateur photographs, screenshots, inspirational quotations, educational videos with tips and tricks relevant to the business, or conversational posts that foster engagement such as ‘Caption this!’ or ‘We love this product for this reason, why do you love it?’

Instagram (and Facebook too) also has daily stories that last for 24 hours. This is a great way to share sneak peaks or promotional material. It is also a fantastic way to share podcast episodes either from the business or company itself (think of The Guardian’s Today in Focus and Football Weekly podcasts) or businesses or companies with attitudes and values aligned with yours. 

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For today’s PR professionals, ‘Instagrammability’ is everything.

A great thing for a company to get behind is an Instagram Influencer. Influencers are active Instagram users who have built and maintained an audience through their credibility and authenticity. And they significantly influence consumer behaviour of their followers. An influencer can ruin a business or company by rallying their followers to ‘cancel’ them if they feel they are negative in any way.

Having an Instagram Influencer as a brand representative for your business could drastically increase not only your sales, but the trust your target audience has in you. If your values align with your influencer, then that influencer’s followers are more likely to engage with and buy from you.

A brilliant example of a brand that has employed this tactic is Gymshark, who have brand ambassadors galore on Instagram and have enhanced their image because of it.

Rather than just posting on the company’s official page too, ask your company’s CEO or Co-Founder to share things too! It’s all about breaking down that corporate wall and fostering genuine human interaction and connection.

Go that Extra Mile: The Human Touch

Unlike traditional Public Relations which relied mostly on trusted journalists to enhance their credibility, Social Media enables businesses or companies to go that extra mile by showing how their brand helps humanity on a larger scale beyond their direct consumers.

Fairtrade is a good example. Fairtrade’s goal is to provide better working conditions and improved quality of life for farmers in lower-income and less developed parts of the world. They explain that ‘with Fairtrade you have the power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices you can get farmers a better deal. And that means they can make their own decisions, control their future and lead the dignified life everyone deserves’. 

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In PR, image is everything. So, why not buy Fair Trade?

Businesses and companies who buy ethically from Fairtrade farmers, including Starbucks, the Co-Op, and Ben and Jerry’s, promote Fairtrade Fortnight every year by sharing the positive impact consumers have on these people’s lives by purchasing Fairtrade products on their Social Media platforms. This can be in the form of photography, camera testimonials, graphics, or in-depth interviews.

Emphasising the importance of positively impacting humanity through ethically sourced products is a remarkably powerful way to promote your business or company.

What to Avoid When Using Social Media for PR

While social media might seem awash with opportunities to enhance your public relations, there are also some trappings to avoid.

Spam, spam, spam: Posting too often can be off-putting to followers. If their feed becomes swamped by your content, they aren’t going to see content from other people they follow so they are more likely to unfollow you to resolve the problem. This isn’t what you want! While non-followers can still see targeted sponsored content, they don’t see and engage with your other posts, and it will bring your follower count down, decreasing your brand awareness and credibility. 

Be aware of how often you are posting, and if you are posting the same type of content over and over again. Audiences are more inclined to scroll past your brand if they’re seeing similar photos all the time or big chunks of text. Mix it up with different content types.

Language: Are you using corporate or intellectual terms your target audience would perhaps find difficult to understand? Slang and jargon can put followers off instantly. The key is to really get to know your audience and adapt your language and writing style to what suits them.

Not being Active enough: While there is a danger of being too active, not being active enough is also a problem. Rarely posting content will not be engaging enough to gain followers and enhance your business’s image. Another danger is not replying to instant messaging. Nowadays users are more comfortable with instant messaging as it takes way the pressure of a fancy, well-written email but if you do not reply to messages from your followers they may think you are either not active at all, or worse, blatantly ignoring their query which could result in a negative outlook on your attitude towards your consumers.

We hope you enjoyed our blog on how to use social media for PR. Check out this animation for more insights!

Five ways social media has changed PR

ProfileTree is a content marketing agency based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. To find out more about PR and how it can transform your business, get in touch with our expert team or subscribe to our blog for more insights.

Leveraging Social Media for Crisis Communication: A Shield in the Digital Storm

Crises happen. In today’s hyper-connected world, social media can amplify both the speed and reach of negative publicity and misinformation. However, it can also be your most powerful tool to navigate the storm, rebuild trust, and emerge stronger. Here’s how to leverage social media for effective crisis communication:

Preparation is Key:

  • Develop a Crisis Communication Plan: Don’t wait for a crisis to scramble. Define your response team, roles, and responsibilities. Establish clear protocol for monitoring, messaging, and engagement on social media.
  • Identify Potential Risks: Brainstorm possible scenarios that could trigger a crisis, from product recalls to data breaches or public controversies. Pre-write key messages and communication templates for various situations.
  • Train Your Team: Ensure your team understands the plan and can seamlessly take action during a crisis. Practice mock scenarios and refine your response process regularly.
  • Monitor Social Media Actively: Set up social media listening tools to track brand mentions, sentiment, and emerging rumors. Stay ahead of the narrative and identify potential issues early.

Responding to the Crisis:

  • Act Quickly and Transparently: Don’t delay addressing the situation. Acknowledge the issue within a reasonable timeframe, even if you don’t have all the answers yet. Transparency builds trust and shows accountability.
  • Deliver Clear and Consistent Messages: Craft concise and factual statements explaining the situation. Use plain language, avoid jargon, and stick to a consistent message across all platforms.
  • Emphasize Empathy and Care: Show genuine concern for anyone affected by the crisis. Express sympathy and acknowledge the human cost of the situation. This fosters public understanding and builds trust.
  • Address Misinformation Head-on: Don’t let rumors and false information fester. Fact-check and debunk misinformation promptly with clear evidence and official sources.
  • Engage in Open Communication: Encourage questions and respond to comments respectfully. Provide regular updates as information becomes available, even if it’s bad news. This demonstrates genuine engagement and helps manage expectations.

Leveraging Social Media Tools:

  • Live Video Updates: Utilize live video streams to address the public directly. Provide transparent updates, answer questions in real-time, and demonstrate leadership during the crisis.
  • Targeted Content: Tailor your social media content to address specific concerns and misinformation circulating online. Share factual resources, infographics, and visuals to effectively communicate your message.
  • Social Listening Insights: Use social listening tools to identify sentiment shifts, track the reach of your messaging, and assess the effectiveness of your response over time.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Showcase stories of resilience, community support, and positive outcomes during the crisis. This helps shift the narrative and offers hope during difficult times.

Collaborating with Influencers: Amplifying Your Voice in the Digital Crowd

In today’s social media landscape, partnering with relevant influencers can be a game-changer for your PR and marketing efforts. These trusted voices within specific communities can amplify your message, build brand credibility, and reach a wider audience than your organic reach allows. But where do you begin? Let’s explore the intricate dance of collaborating with influencers for impactful results:

Finding the Perfect Match:

  • Know Your Audience: Define your target audience and identify the kind of influencers who resonate with them. Research their demographics, interests, and content style to ensure their audience aligns with your brand.
  • Seek Authenticity: Don’t chase follower count blindly. Look for influencers with genuine engagement, strong community connections, and a consistent voice that aligns with your brand values.
  • Content Creators vs. Celebrities: Choose influencers based on their content creation skills and niche expertise. A micro-influencer with a dedicated following in your field might be more impactful than a celebrity with less specific reach.
  • Platform Diversity: Consider the platforms where your target audience spends their time. Choose influencers who are active on the platforms relevant to your brand and campaign goals.

Nurturing the Partnership:

  • Transparency and Clear Communication: Openly communicate your campaign goals, expectations, and brand guidelines. Provide detailed briefing materials and ensure the influencer understands your message.
  • Creative Freedom with Boundaries: Encourage creative expression while setting clear boundaries around messaging, brand values, and legal limitations. Avoid scripting their content; let their authenticity shine through.
  • Mutual Benefit is Key: Ensure the partnership benefits both parties. Offer fair compensation, provide product samples or access, and promote the influencer’s content alongside your own.
  • Ongoing Communication and Support: Stay in touch throughout the campaign. Offer support, answer questions, and respond to feedback. This fosters trust and strengthens the partnership.

Campaign Activation and Measurement:

  • Co-created Content: Collaborate with the influencer on engaging content like product reviews, tutorials, or social media takeovers. Leverage their expertise and style to authentically showcase your brand.
  • Targeted Contests and Giveaways: Partner on joint contests or giveaways to incentivize audience engagement and amplify your reach. Choose prizes relevant to both your brand and the influencer’s audience.
  • Track and Analyze Performance: Monitor key metrics like reach, engagement, and website traffic generated through the influencer partnership. Analyze and adapt your strategy based on data insights.
  • Amplify Their Content: Share the influencer’s content on your own channels to broaden its reach and demonstrate your appreciation for the collaboration.

Beyond the Campaign:

  • Long-Term Relationships: View successful influencer partnerships as long-term investments. Continue collaborating on future campaigns, offering support, and fostering mutual growth.
  • Community Building: Encourage the influencer to connect with your existing audience and vice versa. This fosters community engagement and builds deeper brand loyalty.
  • Authentic Advocacy: When an influencer genuinely believes in your brand, let them be your advocate. Encourage user-generated content and testimonials to further spread the word organically.

Measuring and Analyzing Results: The Compass of Social Media Success

In the swirling ocean of social media, navigating towards success requires a trusty compass – and that compass is made of metrics. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and analyzing their meaning, you can chart your course towards effective social media strategies. Let’s explore the essential metrics to measure and the insights they unlock:

Reach and Awareness:

  • Impressions: How many times was your content displayed on users’ screens? This indicates potential visibility and brand awareness.
  • Reach: How many unique users saw your content? This helps gauge the breadth of your audience and content’s potential impact.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): What percentage of users who saw your content clicked on it? This measures the effectiveness of your calls to action and how engaging your content is.
  • Mentions and Shares: How often is your brand mentioned or shared by others? This indicates organic engagement and brand advocacy, building stronger connections with your audience.

Engagement and Interaction:

  • Likes, Comments, and Reactions: How actively are users interacting with your content? This shows genuine interest and potential brand loyalty.
  • Direct Messages and Mentions: Are users initiating conversations with your brand? This indicates deeper engagement and potential leads.
  • Polls and Q&As: How actively are users participating in your interactive content? This reveals valuable insights into their interests and preferences.
  • Brand Sentiment: What is the overall tone of social media conversations about your brand? Monitor sentiment to identify areas of improvement and maintain a positive brand image.

Conversions and Leads:

  • Website Traffic: How many users click through your social media posts and visit your website? This measures the effectiveness of social media as a driver of website traffic.
  • Leads Generated: How many inquiries, contact form submissions, or sign-ups did you receive through social media? This showcases the direct connection between your social media efforts and generating leads.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): How much, on average, does it cost to acquire a customer through social media? This helps you evaluate the cost-effectiveness of your social media advertising and marketing efforts.
  • Social Commerce Conversions: If you sell directly through social media platforms, track purchase rates and conversion funnels to understand how users move from awareness to purchase.

Tools and Platforms:

To effectively track and analyze these metrics, utilize built-in analytics dashboards offered by popular social media platforms like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, or Instagram Insights. Additionally, social media listening tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Brand24 can provide deeper insights into brand sentiment, competitor analysis, and trending topics.

Remember: Tracking metrics is not just about checking numbers – it’s about extracting insights and taking action. Regularly analyze your data, identify trends, and adjust your social media strategy accordingly. Focus on metrics that align with your specific goals, whether it’s brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, or sales. Don’t be afraid to experiment, test different strategies, and refine your approach based on what the data tells you.

Case Studies and Best Practices: Social Media PR Powerhouses in Action

The world of social media PR is brimming with success stories, each offering valuable lessons for marketers and communicators. Let’s delve into two inspiring case studies and discover actionable insights you can implement to take your own PR game to the next level:

Case Study #1: Domino’s Pizza and Twitter Transparency

  • Challenge: Negative consumer perception due to inconsistent pizza quality and poor customer service.
  • Solution: Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle embarked on a radical transparency campaign, directly addressing criticism on Twitter. He apologized for past mistakes, outlined improvement plans, and openly engaged with customers, even embracing negative feedback.
  • Results: Domino’s Twitter following skyrocketed, positive sentiment increased dramatically, and sales bounced back significantly. This case study highlights the power of transparency and genuine engagement in PR, demonstrating how directly addressing issues and embracing customer feedback can rebuild trust and brand loyalty.

Actionable Insights:

  • Embrace transparency: Don’t shy away from criticism. Acknowledge mistakes, be open to feedback, and show your commitment to improvement.
  • Engage directly: Don’t just broadcast, converse. Respond to comments, questions, and concerns promptly and authentically. Twitter, Instagram Lives, and Q&A sessions can be powerful tools for direct engagement.
  • Show your human side: Inject personality and humor into your interactions. Humanize your brand and build connections with your audience on a personal level.

Case Study #2: Dove and #RealBeauty Campaign

  • Challenge: Narrow beauty standards creating insecurity and negative self-image in women.
  • Solution: Dove launched the #RealBeauty campaign, featuring diverse women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities, challenging traditional beauty standards and promoting body positivity. They utilized creative videos, user-generated content, and influencer partnerships to amplify the message.
  • Results: The campaign went viral, garnering billions of views and sparking online conversations about beauty and self-acceptance. Dove’s brand image shifted significantly, positioning them as a champion of diversity and inclusivity.

Actionable Insights:

  • Focus on purpose: Go beyond just selling products. Align your brand with a bigger purpose that resonates with your audience and addresses social issues.
  • Embrace diversity and authenticity: Feature real people with diverse backgrounds and stories in your content. Challenge stereotypes and promote inclusivity.
  • Empower your audience: Don’t just talk, invite participation. Encourage user-generated content and empower your audience to share their stories and perspectives.

Bonus Practices:

  • Utilize influencers effectively: Partner with relevant influencers who align with your brand values and target audience.
  • Leverage social media trends: Stay on top of trending topics and hashtags and find ways to integrate them with your PR campaigns organically.
  • Stay consistent and track progress: Social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Create a consistent content calendar, track your progress, and adapt your strategy based on data and audience feedback.


Q: What are the biggest challenges of using social media for PR?

A: Some common challenges include managing negative feedback, staying consistent with content creation, navigating the ever-changing algorithms, and measuring the effectiveness of your efforts. However, with careful planning, authentic engagement, and data-driven analysis, these challenges can be overcome.

Q: Which social media platforms are best for PR?

A: The best platforms for your PR strategy will depend on your target audience and goals. However, some popular choices for PR include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

Q: How can I measure the success of my social media PR campaigns?

A: Track key metrics like reach, engagement, website traffic, leads generated, and brand sentiment. Utilize built-in analytics dashboards and social listening tools to gain deeper insights and adjust your strategy based on data.

Q: Can I use social media for crisis communication?

A: Absolutely! In fact, social media can be a powerful tool for managing crises during a PR situation. Be prepared with a crisis communication plan, respond promptly and transparently, engage openly with your audience, and demonstrate empathy and care.

Q: How can I find relevant influencers to partner with?

A: Research influencers within your niche who have a genuine connection with your target audience. Look for those with consistently high engagement, authentic voices, and values that align with your brand.


Social media is a powerful tool for PR that can help you build brand awareness, engage with your audience, and manage your online reputation. By understanding the platform landscape, crafting compelling content, and utilizing data to measure and refine your strategy, you can transform social media into a valuable asset for your PR success.

Remember, authenticity, engagement, and creativity are key. So, get out there, connect with your audience, and watch your brand thrive in the vibrant world of social media PR!

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