By Joy Landry
A bit of whimsy never hurts when it comes to social media. A TV news reporter based in Washington, D.C., offers a great example of how to do it.
This summer, Andrea McCarren began training a Labrador retriever puppy named Bunce to be a military service dog through the Warrior Canine Connection. Bunce rides along in the fully equipped news truck, going on all of Andrea’s assignments, including press conferences and live shots. He has even taken over Andrea’s Facebook page and his commentaries are presented as “the world according to Bunce.” Although he plays off his obvious advantage – he’s an adorable puppy – Bunce takes his social media seriously and we may learn a few lessons from this PR-savvy pooch.
1. Tell a story. As the voice of Bunce, Andrea posts their adventures almost daily, be it covering overnight breaking news or meeting Beltway celebrities such as RGIII. Her posts are succinct, yet engaging with a touch of humor.
2. Use photos and video. When Andrea and Bunce cover a story, they post photos of the new people they meet. When Bunce does something especially cute (such as running through the newsroom), a video captures his latest escapade. Every post features a visual to draw in the audience and help convey the story.
3. Be spontaneous. As PR pros, we tend to be planners. However, social media is constantly evolving. So don’t be afraid to jump in the mix and post a fun, spur-of-the-moment photo or VINE about your client or non-profit. People love to see the people (or in this case, the puppy) behind the company or product. It builds an emotional connection to your story.
4. Be responsive. When a fellow canine posted a glum selfie after being reprimanded for shredding toilet paper, Bunce had some cheerful advice. As the human behind Bunce’s storytelling, Andrea answers her audience’s Facebook comments regularly and actively favorites and retweets her Twitter followers. Being genuine and personal in your social media responses leads to a loyal, engaged following.
5. Be appreciative. Although it’s not necessary to lick your colleagues’ faces, social media etiquette suggests the value of saying thank you. After a fan sent Andrea a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts, she gratefully acknowledged the gift on Facebook. It’s amazing how a simple “thank you” can help build a reciprocal, working relationship, especially with reporters, bloggers and social media followers.
6. Always leave them wanting more. And that’s the reward for consistently providing valuable content. Writing and posting content that tells a story, offers solutions and engages your audience will keep them coming back to you for more.