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7 steps to developing a PR strategy with social media at its heart

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Although in 2018 social media is somewhat divisive— some love, some loathe— if there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that the majority of people we know will use one platform or other during an average week. Tapping into the kind of content they are likely to share, and where, is vital for successful digital PR.

According to Sprout Social’s Q4 2017 Index, life moments are the amongst the most common reasons to post something to an online network. These could be birth and pregnancy announcements, holiday snaps, engagement parties and weddings, promotions or even festivals.
You get the picture by now. But do you understand how vivid this picture really is? Well, a staggering 79% of consumers have shared a milestone on social in the past— enough said then.
Figuring out how to incorporate this when developing a PR strategy may not immediately be that obvious, so we’ve come up with the following 7 steps to developing a PR strategy with social media at its heart, and specifically life milestones on social media.
1. Consider how your brand can help people achieve their life goals 
1 in 3 consumers would mention a relevant brand when sharing a personal accomplishment online, so if you sell products or services relating to any of the typical milestones you’re in luck.
Consider looking at User Generated Content within your PR strategy to truly get the world and their spouse/fiancee/new boss talking favourably about your company.
2. Some demographics share more than others, so think about how to target each of them 
Unsurprisingly, Millennials are the most keen to share brand names in their milestone posts, with 41% seeing this as a great way to say thanks to a brand that has helped them.
3. Understand which networks work for your consumers 
A great social PR strategy hinges on knowing where you should be focussing your attention. Here’s how the networks break down in terms of popularity for sharing milestones amongst different demographics:
Over 60% of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers look to Facebook first, in comparison only 30% of Millennials do. 
Google+ and then Twitter have the lowest rate of milestones being shared by consumers.
Millennials are the most active group on Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube (in that order).  
4. Know that social media is the most common way we share our milestones 
79% of consumers will share an achievement via social media, in comparison to:
75% – In person
72% – Text message
71% – Phone call
38% – Video call
30% – Mail
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5. Think about the type of milestones people are likely to share
The most popular life events we share, and therefore those that have the greatest chance of working within a PR strategy, are:
Holidays – 66% would share, 47% would mention a brand
Family events – 59% would share, 30% would mention a brand
New relationships – 58% would share, 29% would mention a brand
Personal accomplishments – 55% would share, 35% would mention a brand
Educational achievements – 51% would share, 27% would mention a brand
Life event of child/grandchild – 50% would share, 23% would mention a brand
Professional success – 48% would share, 28% would mention a brand
Death of a loved one – 47% would share, 13% would mention a brand
Moving/buying houses – 44% would share, 30% would mention a brand
Divorce/separation – 11% would share, 4% would mention a brand
6. Understand why people are sharing 
54% want to invite their network or celebrate
43% want to let their network know
42% want to share information
33% want to acknowledge the event
29% are looking to be congratulated
21% want to answer questions on the experience
17% want to increase their social standing
7. Finally, know why people would mention a brand
50% want to recommend
34% want to say thank you
34% want a discount or to make the most of a similar incentive
30% want to let friends know about their brand preferences
29% share brand values
15% are following a previous social interaction with the brand
13% want recognition from the brand
11% will use a branded photo filter
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