In the twentieth century internet was more of a place where one would find archived information. In the twenty first century, internet has grown several notches from being a store-house of information to being a social media platform. Going by statistics, there are more than 110 million tweets daily and Facebook accounts for 12.3% of the time spent online by the citizens of the US. This addiction to social media has made a huge impact in all industries globally.
These days, there are separate departments for formulating strategies on the social web. Public Relations (PR) are no exception to this and public relation professionals have found social media to be of huge benefits.
Social Media and Public Relations
The power and potential of the social media has provided public relations professionals a myriad of choices to connect to the audience and potential customers. Over the past few years, PR professionals have increasingly recognised the benefits that social media provided to their campaign.
Quite convincingly, the relationship between these two entities has grown and public relations have noticeably undergone major changes through the use of social media.
Public relations can in no way dictate information to the audience. Two-way communication has replaced the age-old way and today, the organizations can obtain real-time feedback from the consumers.
The continuous process of interaction between the company and the audience allows for continuous improvement and refinement for better communication. Not only does it soften the brand image but also breaks down the barrier that exist between the consumer and the PR professionals.
A huge change that social media has brought about in the field of public relations is the way information is shared. The very first thing that comes to the mind is the speed with which information is shared today.
Information sharing is exponentially faster than it was a decade ago. Not only this, public relations professionals are using social media to the best of their advantage to leverage the information to the potential consumer. Market research has become more efficient and easier. This helps them to provide a better brand visibility and awareness. Social media in the twenty first century is helping in targeting a particular product to the concerned target market.
The relationship between the public relations and the journalists has undergone a mammoth change, thanks to social media. Journalists, in addition to searching the internet for information are also sharing the same. Thus getting in touch with the journalists is easier than it was a few years ago.
The increased use of social media has made consumers demand more in terms of individualization. People don’t want mass and non-targeted information anymore. Previously, mass information was presented to a customer and he had to read through the whole of it to find if what he requires is fulfilled by the product or service. Moreover, in the past the same complaints would have flooded the PR departments and then the story needed to be published elsewhere.
Today, this can be done in a couple of minutes on Facebook, for example, by not including any leakage of the backlash to other sites. We individually promote and discuss about our auto trader and Jupiter discount codes every time we publish blog posts about them on our discount coupon site. The more specific the information is, the more Likes and comments (and hence traffic) we get.
Faster and Quicker
Social media has transformed PR professionals into machines. For example, suppose there is a post regarding a newly launched product that harms the company brand image. This post may have enough potential to push the company into a major crisis.
Thus, the PR professionals need to move faster and think more quickly. 24/7 attention is necessary to douse any such flames arising out of a dissatisfied or disgruntled customer.
Social media has provided professionals with tools to measure the success and track their investment. PR departments can calculate the return on their investment through website traffic and time spent on tools by the staff.
Over the last decade or so, public relations have undergone a major change. Previously, they just required to announce a press conference and hold a conference. Today, the same procedure has been molded so as to leverage social media for better brand acceptance and brand awareness. Most importantly, social media has ensured that PR becomes a job that never sleeps, with millions going online at various moments.