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How To Leverage Social Media to Optimize PR Success and Increase Your Brand Awareness

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One of the most exciting PR approaches today is thought leadership. By showcasing their expertise, thought leaders establish themselves as authoritative and trustworthy sources in their industry.

Some of the most common methods used in a thought leadership campaign are podcast appearances, guest posts, and contributorship programs. The key to unlocking all of these opportunities is social media.

Many entrepreneurs don’t realize the power social media has to connect them not only with their consumers but also with fellow business leaders and further opportunities to share their expertise. In our increasingly online world, social media has become a fundamental part of an entrepreneur or business leader’s personal brand. As entrepreneurs seek to become thought leaders, social media is a valuable tool.

Not only are social posts essential for showcasing your media resume by posting any podcasts, bylines, or mentions you get, but you can also use social media platforms to communicate your expertise directly. However, without the right social media strategy, you won’t be able to take advantage of this powerful tool.

Related: How to Create a Strong Personal Brand by Leveraging the Power of PR and Social Media

Optimize your social media content strategy

The first step a business leader should take in developing a social media strategy is to choose the right social channels. Every social media channel is different, and which platform (or platforms) are best for your company will depend on a few factors, including your industry and audience.

TikTok and Instagram, for example, are great for short-form video content and connecting with younger consumers, while YouTube is better for long-form content and allows you to go into more depth, making it perfect for professionals. LinkedIn caters to a more professional audience, while X (formerly known as Twitter) is for a more general crowd. Generally, it’s best for business leaders to have a presence on multiple social networks, but focus on a few that best align with your business goals.

As your social media presence and brand become bigger, you can achieve more prominent placements on podcasts and contributorship opportunities. Many of these opportunities have minimum requirements for you to qualify to participate. Identifying the podcasts and publications you would like to appear on will allow you to set your social media goals.

Many leaders fail to realize that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers on your social platforms to leverage them successfully. What you must have, however, is a professional presence. Even if you only have a few hundred followers, you would be surprised how far good posts, a well-made bio, clean photos, and a fully filled-out profile — including profile and header pictures — can establish your legitimacy just as well as a nice website.

Of course, even in the era of social media, it’s still important to have a professional website, too, since this is where your social media profiles will point your followers. You want a clean and concise landing page, including compelling, a call to action, and something to buy. Also, don’t forget the small details like favicons and logos. Although these may seem insubstantial, they are important in showing your brand’s consistency in its identity.

Related: The Business of Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Mistakes entrepreneurs make when creating a social media strategy

One of the biggest mistakes a business leader can make regarding social media is emphasizing quantity over quality. Although there are some minimums you must hit to create a splash on social media, most of these guidelines have more to do with consistency than the amount of content you produce. So long as you post with a regular cadence, you don’t have to publish excessive amounts of social content. A few excellent posts a week will be more effective than multiple bad posts daily.

Remember, social media should function as an extension of your brand narrative, so ensure any messaging you share on social media aligns with your brand’s mission and goals, and plan your content based on your audience. While taking advantage of social media trends might work for some companies, it could present too informal of a social presence for others.

Once you build your social media presence, you can leverage this for podcast and contributorship opportunities to further boost your credibility as a thought leader, creating a cycle of success and authority. If an outlet or podcast sees that you have been featured on another reputable podcast or publication, they will likely trust you more and want you to share your expertise with them, too. This is why keeping a media resume is so crucial in thought leadership.

Related: 6 Ways to Ace Social Media Branding for Your Startup

Successful social media strategies pay off in the long run

Social media is a long-term game, and while some people have indeed become overnight viral successes, attempting to capture that lightning in a bottle is often futile. Instead, you should focus on consistently putting out high-quality content.

Over time, as you continue to provide value to the people who read your content, you will continue to gain followers. The podcasts you appear on and the outlets you contribute to will also share your content, which could also help you grow your following.

Social media can be a powerful tool for entrepreneurs looking to become thought leaders, but to harness its full potential, they must understand the platforms they are using, the people they are serving, and what image they must present for success. Understanding these critical aspects of social strategy will help you stand out as an authority in your field and increase brand awareness.

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