Recently, I met with a new client to discuss social media (hey, it’s what I do).
We had an exchange that went something like this:
ME: What is your process for writing and distributing press releases?
CLIENT: We have a great process. The communications team meets every month to discuss the pipeline of news. We assign people to draft releases and do the necessary internal and external research. When they have a suitable draft they go through me for edits and approvals. When I’m done with them they are sent to my boss and eventually to the CMO for final approval.
ME: What is your process for creating your Facebook content?
CLIENT: Um… Jenny does it.
ME: Who is Jenny?
(Client points to the junior PR staffer at the end of the table. Jenny smile sheepishly.)
CLIENT: She just puts up a post everyday.
ME: Hi, Jenny. What’s your Facebook process?
The answer? She’s winging it.
Ponder that for a moment.
Press releases generally go out on a distribution wire and then are published on a company’s website. Even highly respected and global distribution services like PR Newswire inform clients that press releases are only picked up 55 percent of the time and, on average, only by five media outlets.
“Twenty percent of PR Newswire press releases are picked-up 4+ times. That’s more than the average 11 percent of wire service press releases getting 4+ pick-ups,” according to PR Newswire’s website.
This client had a Facebook page with more than 75,000 likes. Thinks about that. More than 75,000 people opted in to the company’s Facebook page for news and information. This is simplified math, but the average person on Facebook has 130 friends so that means my client’s potential audience for each Facebook status update is millions of people.
This doesn’t even take into consideration that the average brand fan on Facebook is more loyal, spends about $75 more than non-fans and is 41 percent more likely to recommend your company’s products and services, according to study last year by Syncapse.
Yet my client spent more time, energy and money into writing a press release – a non-targeted communications tool with a sporadic and random audience reach – rather than investing in a robust content and account management strategy on Facebook where an eager audience of brand advocates was already waiting.
Is your company making the same mistake?
Here’s a thought: Social media should be at the heart – the very center – of corporate communications – not an outpost being manned by junior staff members as an afterthought.
What is your company’s plan on Facebook and other social media channels?
PR Newswire’s press release statistics
Syncapse study: “The Value of a Facebook Fan”
Baby photo by Christina Rutz (via Flickr)
Strategy photo by Stephan Erschwendner (via Flickr)