4 Strategies to Solve the PR Puzzle with Social Listening Tools

Jeff Lutz – VP, Corporate Communications & Content

As communicators and marketers working in a rapidly evolving media landscape, it can seem nearly impossible to develop, execute and measure a full campaign without major changes derailing the plans. Whether it’s a global pandemic or a regrettable tweet that goes viral, brands are struggling to stay on top of trends, gauge consumer sentiment and craft strategic PR campaigns that hit on all cylinders.

Recently, Hart’s VP of Corporate Communications & Content, Jeff Lutz, hosted an expert webinar with global social media intelligence company and Hart partner, Digimind. During the webinar, Lutz shared an innovative approach to informing PR campaign decisions: social listening.

Social listening goes far beyond monitoring your owned social media channels. As discussed in Hart’s two-part series, Social Listening: Insider Tips to Get the Most Out of an Evolving World, true listening involves gathering consumer insights, frequent keywords, competitor research, industry trends and more, to keep a pulse on the way people are talking about your brand around the world.

So, how does social listening affect PR? We’ve compiled a list of four key takeaways from Lutz’s presentation.


1) PR-driven campaigns are most successful when you’re feeding insights from a variety of sources.

If you’re settling on a single source of truth, you’re immediately limiting your campaign’s success. Consumers are likely talking about your brand on a variety of platforms, including traditional media, social media, word-of-mouth, customer reviews and more. It’s important to consider all of the potential outlets when crafting a campaign to ensure you get an accurate, full picture of your brand reputation. Unfortunately, when it comes to your strategy, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach – your audiences will be affected and respond differently depending on the platform, timing, messaging and many other factors. Anticipating these factors in advance through social listening is more important than ever.


2) Increasingly, integrated campaigns require real-time data to remain contemporary.

There’s no doubt about it, client needs will continue to shift and grow to match the demands of our ever-evolving society. You’ve likely seen an uptick in crisis communications, influencer marketing and social media management over the last few years – and those needs will undoubtedly change by this time next year. As campaigns become increasingly integrated and diverse, PR professionals can no longer rely on a one-phase approach to data collection. Instead, implement a regular cadence for gathering real-time research and insights throughout your campaign to help align your strategy across every touchpoint and quickly pivot when needed.


3) Today’s PR campaigns are fluid and open for adjustment.

As we learned in 2020, being agile and prepared to adapt is the new norm. When you’re developing a PR campaign, it can be helpful to start the process with a mindset of fluidity. For example, whether you’re targeting traditional media outlets or social influencers, your pitch angle and media list can rapidly become obsolete. Be sure to triple check your pitch against current industry trends before reaching out to writers and content creators. Social listening tools can help you craft pitches that are timely and relevant, and identify the right influencers to tell your story.


4) Aligning your messaging to your intended audience requires action to back it up.

The truth is, the old ways of doing things just don’t work anymore. We are living in a world where two realities can exist at once – fake news is abundant and a single social media post can evoke a mob mentality. During these controversial times, your audience cares less about what you say and more about what you do. The questions we ask and the way we think about our campaigns must improve. Is your brand socially responsible? What do you truly believe? And are you willing to take action to back it up? Trendwatching and social listening can help you understand how your audience is affected by current events, so you can better determine how to take action and make a genuine impact.


If you’re interested in learning more about how PR and social listening can work together for more informed campaign strategies, let’s talk! From an influencer assessment to a social listening trial, Hart is ready to help.