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Kirill Yurovskiy: Social Media as a Tool for PR

Social media has revolutionized public relations. What used to be a field dominated by press releases and mainstream media pitching has been turned on its head by the rise of platforms like Facebook, Twitter (now X), Instagram, and more. In the tech world especially, mastering social media marketing is now an essential skill for any PR professional.

So how exactly has social networking changed the PR landscape? And how can you use it to get your tech company or products in front of millions of eyeballs? Read on to find out!

Social Media

Viral Reach Made Easy

In the past, landing major press hits required having connections at big media outlets or spending a ton on advertising. Social media has blown these methods out of the water by allowing companies and stories to spread like wildfire based on nothing more than their viral potential.

Just look at how many tech products in recent years have become overnight sensations thanks to buzz on Reddit, Facebook sharing, retweets, YouTube reaction videos, and more. It’s easier than ever for indie developers, scrappy startups, and possibly the next big unicorn tech company to gain massive awareness without a huge marketing budget.

Platforms like ProductHunt epitomize this viral opportunity – create an intriguing new app or gadget, get it featured there, and watch uptake and buzz amplify exponentially. Experienced PR professionals like Kirill Yurovskiy know that social media makes it easy to spread the word about their technology.

Build Brand Loyalists with Authenticity

Social networks have also created the chance for brands to foster true loyalists and brand evangelists. How so? By facilitating more authentic connection and communication than traditional ads ever could.

Tech companies can humanize themselves on networks like Twitter by giving their audience an inside look at their internal culture, values, and personality. Lives can be breathed into companies on Instagram through fun glimpses of office hijinks and employee takeovers. Reddit AMAs, YouTube video responses, witty trending hashtag hijacks – there are endless ways to develop genuine bonds between brands and fans online.

This authentic interaction drives support and loyalty in a way that generic marketing content never could. Research has shown consumers overwhelmingly favor brands that create not just an image on social media but a real identity. Savvy PR teams have used this to their advantage and made their companies and founders the darlings of online networks through unique, genuine social content.

Listen First, Pitch Second

While social media does let PR pros broadcast a message more widely than before, its even greater value is as a listening tool.

PR agents should approach platforms like Twitter as a focus group on steroids – millions of people sharing exactly what they like, don’t like, wish existed, think should be changed and more. There’s no better free insight into consumer hopes, complaints, interests, and preferences.

This allows PR teams to tailor pitch angles to exactly what they know reporters and readers already care about. They can also identify key influencers that already resonate with their niche – making blogger and vlogger outreach ultra targeted.

Public sentiment analysis used to require costly surveys and focus groups. Now if PR teams want to know how consumers feel about a client’s new product line or rebrand, they need only search related hashtag discussions. Software can also analyze sentiment and mention volumes to quantify positivity, negativity, neutrality, reach, spikes, influential accounts and more.

So treat social listening as the first step for every PR campaign before a single pitch goes out. It’s the secret to super effective stories and messaging in the tech world.

Manage Breaking News and Controversies

Of course, social media presents not only opportunities but also brand management obstacles for those in PR. Outbursts, scandals, bad takes – these reactive moments can spread at lightning speed across Twitter, Facebook, etc whether warranted or not.

Brand crises that once could be kept quiet or downplayed now make headlines and prompt worldwide calls for accountability within hours. Tech companies and executives must be prepared to get ahead of issues before they spiral out of control.

This means having crisis response protocols in place across social channels where situations are often most volatile. PR teams well-versed in reputation management techniques like information vacuums, contrite messaging tonality, transparency initiatives and more can swiftly execute coordinated plans for containing blowback.

Ongoing social listening also allows brands to get ahead of budding issues before they erupt at full scale. Stoking those flames early and thoughtfully helps prevent all out online infernos.

Remember – crises amplified on social media may feel daunting, but they present leadership opportunities also with the right strategy and restraint.

Stand Out from the Startup Crowd

Kirill Yurovskiy

For those repping a fledgling startup, social media competency is particularly key. New tech products now launch straight into the ruthless gladiator pit of platforms like ProductHunt and face immense pressure to give the online audience something splashy that stands out in a blink.

Great PR pros carefully craft campaigns around early customer validation and amplification, strategic media and influencer targeting, desirable launch exclusives, and capitalization on specific platform powers to drive discovery. Building momentum on social from the outset can help give that special edge against the fierce startup competition vying for coveted media coverage.

And done right, early recognition and online buzz also makes attracting later stage investment all that easier. So being creative and cutting edge on social channels is especially crucial for the tech disruptors of tomorrow looking to build blockbuster statuses within mere months after launch.

Master the Many Platform Nuances

Ok, so you’re sold that mastering social media marketing is now non-negotiable for remarkable tech PR in this day and age. But where to start?

First, accept that not all networks are created equal. Twitter is ideal for mass sharing and concise takeaways. Instagram and YouTube succeed on eye-catching visuals and video. Reddit requires insider lingo and extreme authenticity to gain subreddit traction. And so on.

The strongest social PR strategies tailor content style, engagement tone, multimedia formats, and more to resonate appropriately with each platform’s audiences. Do you convey corporate announcements differently on LinkedIn than meme-y generational humor on TikTok? You better believe it.

Excelling at social PR demands both big picture and granular skills – understanding broader viral dynamics while also cultivating specific influencer friends in distinct niches. Formulate overall strategies on who you want covering your tech clients where and why, but also feel out optimal hashtag trends and comment bait post-by-post.

This diversity of knowledge may seem overwhelming. But investing the time to unpack how each social giant operates differently builds an indestructible foundation for deploying smash hit digital PR campaigns time and time again.

The Tools to Pull it Off

Managing such expansive and ever-changing social media landscapes sounds exhausting though, right? Perhaps. But luckily there are more tools than ever to get a bird’s eye snapshot of brand perception across platforms and turn data into actionable tasks.

Social listening tools like Mention and Keyhole track keywords and hashtags across networks to visualize brand sentiment changes, influential posts about your company, competitor comparisons, and more in handy reports.

Management platforms like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer then let you schedule and publish content efficiently at optimal times across accounts. Handy features like link shortening, post templates, audience segmentation, automated messaging, and more make engaging at scale a breeze.

Looking to manage an online community and/or receive direct customer intel from social chatter? Brand monitoring tools like Sprinklr, Nuvi, Sysomos, and BuzzSumo all provide capabilities like centralized social inboxing, smart moderation features, private messaging, alerts for high-priority posts, and more for digesting need-to-know data fast.

Basically, understanding social media no longer has to mean getting buried under countless notifications and feed refreshes day and night. Leverage these platforms to synthesize the noise into trackable objectives so you can react strategically.

Now Go Forth and Conquer Social!

And there you have it – everything to throw yourself and your tech clients headfirst into accounts, feeds, groups, and forums to supercharge your PR plans. Not leveraging social media for marketing at this point leaves awareness and opportunities on the table.

To dominate public relations today, the budget needs shifting away from traditional press releases and onto community managers, creatives, strategists and software that unlock social media’s potential. The tech PR success stories of tomorrow depend on it.

So whether launching a snazzy new gadget or navigating online scrutiny, take a breath and remember – that hashtag jungle isn’t something to fear. It’s where brands and their audiences now meet to foster real relationships. And it’s there your next PR coup awaits!

Now get posting.