Pitching reporters through social media can be tricky and you should proceed with caution. With that said, the process is not impossible. With the right tactics, social media pitching can be an incredibly useful tactic for your small business PR campaign.
The most effective social media tool for PR pitches is Twitter. The micro-blogging allows 140 characters and, by necessity, forces people to be brief, which most journalists appreciate over long-winded PR pitches.
Tweeting PR pitches is actually fairly easy, but you do have to follow a few rules when trying to push your PR message out. For starters, make sure to follow the reporters you want to pitch. How do you know which reporters to follow? Read a history of their tweets to familiarize yourself with what the reporter tends to cover and tweet about.
Then, and only then, should you engage them in casual conversation on Twitter. If you see a reporter tweet about an article they wrote, @ reply to it and engage in conversation about the article or the topic at hand. This will get your name on the reporter’s mind – and Twitter feed. You may want to do this a few times to get the journalist comfortable with hearing from you.
Then, when you have a story to pitch, a tweet promoting it will seem much more casual and not as “pushy” than had you “cold-tweeted.” Simply mention the reporter in a tweet saying: “You may be very interested in covering X topic…” Since the reporter will have already interacted with you, and because the topic is appealing to them, your chances of receiving a reply are better.
As for Facebook pitching, some – I would even say most – reporters consider their Facebook pages to be more personal and private. Indeed, a pitch on Facebook directly to a reporter could backfire and get you black-listed by the journalist. You may, however, have better luck pitching the Facebook page for the media outlet at which a specific journalist works. Because it’s the official page for the media outlet, it’s accustomed to receiving a variety of comments.
To sum up: Twitter PR pitching tactics seem to work the best. Always make sure to @ mention/reply them. Unless you know the reporter well, never use a direct message. Why? Because a direct message pitch is an invasion of privacy most reporters will undoubtedly resent.
Following these simple rules of the social media PR game will greatly increase your chances of connecting with the right media. Once you get some practice, you may find social media pitching to be a fairly effective means of getting great media coverage.