Despite the lack of trust in major social media platforms, users still cite them as important sources of information.

After recent revelations about the emotional and societal damage sites like Facebook and Instagram are having on the world, there is a question about the relevance of social media moving forward.

Whistleblower Frances Haugen called the company to task in testimony to Congress about failures to promote civil discourse and protect young users’ mental health. Brand managers are reconsidering their connections to these platforms, perhaps. Yet, Americans are still relying on these platforms for news—making them indispensable for communicators trying to share brand stories.

Per data from Pew Research Center, Americans’ reliance on social media for news is down slightly from 2020, but 46% of U.S. adults still get news from social media at least sometimes.

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Specifically, nearly a third of Americans get news from Facebook. Per the data, 66% of U.S. adults regularly use the site, and 31% regularly get news from the platform.

That compares to 72% of U.S. adults who use YouTube regularly, compared to 22% of U.S. adults who say they regularly get news from the site.

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These numbers are a reminder to communicators of the need to define their brand and its values on major social platforms.

Here are some top tips for engaging with social media from recent guest contributors on PR Daily:

  1. Don’t assign social media to the interns. Not only do many social media tasks require expert strategic skills and resources, but plunking your interns on social media accounts fails to prepare them for the full scope of PR work, argues Emily Wenstrom, vice president with Stanton Communications.
  2. Don’t expect social media to be a silver bullet. Think carefully about the customer journey before you start dumping content onto social media, argues Atul Minocha, partner at Chief Outsiders. Social media can feel like a quick way to check a marketer’s box, but that kind of mindset is dangerous.
  3. Ask if a platform is really a fit for your organization. Michelle Knight from Brandmerry offers three questions that brand managers must ask before joining a new platform: Is my audience there? Do I have the capacity for this? Does this fit with how I do business?
  4. Create your social media “elevator pitch.” Boil down your strategy for your social media content into three sentences. Use this “pitch” to keep stakeholders aligned, argues social media strategist Gerry Moran.
  5. Prioritize authenticity. “Social media contests are like the viral videos of 10 years ago,” shares Paige Guzman, CMO with Lagunitas. The only way to stand out in a crowded marketplace is to be true to your brand identity while remaining creative. “Just like there were a million viral videos back in the day before TikTok, there’s a ton of social media contests,” Guzman says.
  6. Embrace user-generated content. With fewer opportunities for capturing the moment in-person, social media pros can help build community by putting the call out for submissions. That’s the advice from Meggan Hood, division director of tourism at Explore Georgia.

 

What’s your advice for connecting on social media in 2021 and beyond?

Share your ideas in the comments, please, or we would always love to hear from you on social media @PRDaily on Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Learn more about the future of social media and public relations by joining us for Communications Week, Nov. 15-19.

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