Do journalists like to be contacted via social media?
As the world becomes increasingly digital, social media plays a greater role in many aspects of our lives. Despite its name, social media has transitioned from being used for purely social purposes, to proving itself as a great tool for businesses. Earlier this week, we ran a Twitter poll to find out if companies were still using social media to contact journalists – 71% of you said “YES”.
Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have enabled businesses and PR agencies to make instant contact with almost anyone – but is this an effective way to contact journalists with news?
It's undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the ways in which many of us work. From a media point of view, many editors and reporters began working remotely, which made it more difficult to call them and ‘sell’ a story, unless you had their personal mobile number. As a way of making direct contact, many companies resort to attempting to contact journalists via social media – however, this may not be the best approach.
The prime purpose for social media lies in its name: it’s a tool for socialising. Whilst many journalists do have social profiles, which they may use for work, bear in mind that these may be personal accounts. We wouldn’t expect someone to contact us in a professional capacity through a personal profile, and we should extend the same courtesy to journalists. Now, there are instances in which journalists are clearly seeking to make contact with people through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, requesting more information regarding a particular story or topic. In these circumstances, communicating with journalists through social media is a great way to share your story and build rapport, but we have to draw a line between responding to journalists’ requests and pitching to them.
Social platforms are a great way to make connections and network – they have the ability to bring together people from different industries, across all parts of the world. Whilst many of us do use social media in some capacity to keep abreast of current affairs and news, this doesn’t mean that these platforms should be used to pitch to journalists. Some journalists will add extra privacy measures on Twitter, disabling any direct messages from external contacts. Instead, they may have their work contact details in their profile biographies. If the contact information is right there in front of us, we should assume this is their preferred method of contact and be respectful of this fact. Secondly, some social media platforms have a character limit. Whilst a story pitch shouldn’t resemble a novel, limiting yourself to a set number of characters can result in either a loss of detail that will reduce your chances of capturing the journalist’s attention, or a string of posts that will unnecessarily spam their notifications.
So, how should you contact journalists? A strong presence in the press and on social media is crucial to any business in the digital age. As we’ve established, contacting the media can be a difficult path to navigate, especially when you have so many other demands on your time. For this reason, it’s best that contacting journalists is left to experts in the field. PR professionals have a sound knowledge and understanding of how to navigate the media world to ensure the best coverage for your business. We have established contacts and access to industry platforms – we do the research for you, so you can focus on successfully growing your business, rather than trying to hunt down journalists to sell a story.
Are you ready to boost your media presence? Dragonfly PR is an established PR agency based in South Yorkshire, with 20 years’ experience in SEO, social media, digital marketing and public relations. We specialise in B2B across the manufacturing, construction and food sectors, serving clients both in the UK and internationally. Our dedicated team is ready to take on any challenge, using our expertise of over 20 years’ of B2B PR and digital marketing. To learn more about how we can help you, get in touch by calling 0114 349 5341 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.