Social Media Don’t: Don’t use your Social Media for press releases only

One of the things that drives me the most nuts about Social Media users and elected officials is when they only use their Social Media like it’s another contact on their media list.  In other words, they use Social Media to push out press releases…and that’s about it.  Don’t get me wrong – there is a place for that, and you’d be a fool not to use Social Media to push your press releases.  However, the difference between this being a fail and a win ultimately comes down to how you publish your press releases and what else you are pushing.

HOW

When you post a link on Facebook, you can post text in addition to the link.  One of my pet peeves is when the only text posted is the headline of the press release.  This represents a huge wasted opportunity and demonstrates a basic misunderstanding about how Social Media works.

Social Media is supposed to humanize brands and elected officials.  If you use the text section to simply repeat the headline of your press release, congratulations, you are a corporate robot!  By the way, the headline of the press release is most likely also the headline text of the link you are posting, so not only are you missing an opportunity to speak, but you are repeating yourself.

So, what should you say instead?  Obviously it depends on the subject of your press release, but there are some basics tenants you should stick to.  Press releases, by necessity, are very “corporate” and sound-bite friendly.  Social Media is supposed to humanize you.  To that end, use this text section to explain, in more user-friendly language, what you are talking about.  If you are releasing a press release explaining a vote, say something like “I was proud to vote for bill XYZ because of what it will do for Allentown: more jobs, more money, blah blah blah.  Read more in the press release.”  That last sentence is important.  Always include a specific call to action that entices people to click on the link.

WHAT ELSE

As I said, I get very frustrated by people who only use Social Media for the purposes of regurgitating sound bites.  This is a huge lost opportunity.

For me, the difference between success and failure largely comes down to what else you post on Social Media.  What other content are you posting?  Are you using Social Media to post other information about your community?  Pictures of events you are attending?  Other useful content from local elected officials?  Programs that your constituents can take advantage of?  Really, in general, are you fully using Social Media to post other-centered information that your constituents can fully take advantage of?  If you are, then yes, by all means, post your press releases, without shame.  People will appreciate the occasional press release.  However, they won’t appreciate it if it’s all you talk about – and your page will, without a doubt, flop.

So, what do you think?  Any other thoughts you’d like to add?  Let me know in the comments!

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