Recently, the Scott Public Relations team watched a Cision webinar highlighting how to effectively use social media to engage audiences and get noticed by journalists.  Ian Greenleigh, host of the webinar, noted that his emphasis on reaching journalists through social media is not to sidestep traditional outreach methods, but to use as an “alternative avenue of access.”

In support of Greenleigh’s recommendation to connect with journalists through social media, a study conducted by Cision in 2015 indicates that journalists are relying more heavily on social media for content sources and ideas, as well as for monitoring and promotion/distribution of their own content. According to the Cision study, fifty-one percent of journalists polled reported that they would be unable to do their job without social media. At eighty-three percent, however, Cision found that email continues to dominate the PR-journalist relationship.

As healthcare PR professionals, we fully understand how challenging it can be to reach journalists. Review these tips below in order to connect with journalists on social media and get the media coverage your healthcare organization deserves:

    • Become known. Start becoming a “familiar face” on social media, offering credible information that reporters can use and cite. Post regularly on topics of interest to your healthcare organization, like the Affordable Care Act for example.  Use Twitter to engage with journalists by liking, retweeting and commenting.
    • Build your empire. Get noticed by publishing your healthcare organization’s content on your social media pages. Use videos to convey important organizational and/or branding messages; screen shots of articles are an alternative if you don’t have video options.
    • Climb the media ladder. The media ladder is a great way to build from the bottom up. Start with knowing where the major outlets are pulling content from.  These are usually smaller outlets that are further down the ladder and typically are easier to engage.  Share content with these sources and as they use your organization’s information, use that to build up your expertise/authority.  This will take some time but will be worth it as part of an overall media strategy.
    • Understand the different social media platforms. Review the platforms you choose to engage with media on, because not all of them will be the right fit. Per the Cision study, Twitter and Facebook are the most popular platforms for journalists but all should be reviewed depending on the industry being targeted.
      • Facebook – Considered not as user friendly when it comes to engaging the media. Search ability is limited and does not result in the best results.  The recommended use is to use targeted ads to show expertise and gain reach.
      • LinkedIn – Because this is a professional site that is more of a reciprocal relationship, the same issues apply that are seen with Facebook. The one plus is that in some instances search options can provide some opportunity for connecting.
      • Twitter and Instagram – On these two channels, relationship building is more open and you can follow and be followed by anyone. This increases the opportunity for showcasing your expertise and building recognition.
    • Use social media ads. Using social media ads are less expensive and more targeted than using digital ads. When starting a social media advertising campaign, make sure your ads provide a link to compelling content that has your organization’s direct contact information.

As social media platforms continue to grow in number, it is important to understand which ones are best for a healthcare organization’s needs. With the rapid pace of the daily news cycle, it is harder to reach major outlets, but working with smaller outlets first to build relationships can mean getting your client’s message into mainstream media, but it may not happen overnight.

Does your healthcare organization use social media to connect with the media?

Do you find it difficult to know which media to connect with?

SPR can help! Contact us online or give us a call and we can set up a time to discuss a media relations and/or social media program with your healthcare organization.

If you’re in healthcare, insurance, technology or other professional services industries, and need help with a PR, marketing or social media campaign, contact Scott Public Relations.

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