The time has gone when businesses send out press releases and wait for the media to write about them. Even a few years ago, public relations were implemented via press conferences, press releases and advertising. Now it has merged with current media and integrated new channels like social media. Social media can be integrated with public relations. Share stories through social media, it’s the new trend. There is a question in the minds of many that where social media must be placed in the organizational structure? There is one honest answer; social media is the liability of public relations. Segregate the category by component – social networks, blogs, web TV, podcasts, wikis, micro-blogging, all of these forms a component of PR – corporate communications, writing, media relations, community relations, event management.
Five years from now social media community would be an exclusive domain of PR. In a recent study conducted by ING, it has been accounted that more than 80% of the PR professionals feel that it’s not possible to work without social media. About 78% needed social media for their daily job and 50% stated that on using social media they do not need to fact-check. Social media and PR goes hand in hand since inception, for example, Saxton and Waters did pay attention on the Facebook updates of NGOs and discovered that solo stakeholders favor mobilization and dialog messages.
Social media has a huge impact on brands as they implement plans to keep their audiences engaged and win loyalty. PR is also seeking avenues to communicate constantly and win customers who remain active on social media. Therefore PR practitioners are using this advantage. Its not only Facebook and Twitter but you can’t ignore platforms like Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn. All of these are used to communicate a successful story.
For example, Instant Public Address on Twitter and Facebook was done by South West Airlines when the flight #345 skidded in the runway itself with its nose first while LaGuardia Airport landing. Another instance is when O2, a reputed telecommunications brand experienced an outrage where plenty of customers became outraged. The company responded possibly to all tweets, even the harshest ones. Now social media is the new PR weapon for brands to survive and thrive. Social media gives brands the opportunity to share a statement instantly and concurrently across various platforms and convey the message to a huge number of audience.
Take a look at the ways how social media changed the traditional public relations:
- More focus on the customers – Social media forced brands to focus on their consumers and maintain a positive relationship. Customers can always give their reviews on social media like Facebook and Twitter and this helps the companies to resolve issues faster to keep PR crisis away.
- Now PR is affordable for small businesses – Now small companies can hire PR specialists to manage their online presence. Previously PR firms worked with companies that spent a hefty amount on crisis communications and brand management. Now PR professionals use incorporated marketing ideas to work with social media community.
- 24/7 news cycle – Delivering news 24/7 on social platforms has its pros and cons. The good part is brands can convey good news as people are always ready to listen and respond. The con is any bad news on social media can create a PR crisis very fast.
- Higher engagement – We all know that social media has created a two way communication systems where customers can also interact with the brands. Liking, commenting and sharing on Facebook are the trend and brands try achieving the maximum.
Social media will persist having a tough impact on public relations in days to come.