Social media has no doubt changed the way brands communicate with customers and how they prefer to be seen and heard. In an attempt to increase their visibility and speak to their influencers, every organization engages in active Public Relations, which has naturally been affected by the boom in social media.
In the following post, I will highlight the changes brought about by social media in the field of Public Relations and how PR pros can use it to their advantage.
Conversation Versus a Speech
The job of a PR professional just does not end now with a well-written speech with jargons. They have to be eyes, ears and voice of the company in the true sense. Apart from just sending out information, the PR professionals now have to constantly monitor the social media channels and ensure that their company is present on the channels where their customers are active. And it doesn’t end there! With an ongoing monitoring comes real-time conversation and feedback. Therefore, listening, thinking and answering gives them greater responsibility.
Content and Information Sharing
With social media playing an important role in everyone’s life, we may not realize how much information is shared every minute. According to recent data shared by Facebook, there are over 900 million objects that people interact with like groups, events and community pages. An average user is connected to 80 communities and pages while 30 billion pieces of content get shared each month (blog posts, notes, photo albums etc). With this mammoth flow of data and information, it is difficult to be seen and make your customers come to you.
But on the other hand, it provides an open opportunity for brands to connect with their customers. A tool like Twitter makes it possible for brands to connect with their customers on a one to one basis. By engaging proactively with social media, PR teams can create new opportunities for favorable brand impression that can lead to the beginning of a social media relationship leading to a positive customer experience.
Press Conferences vs. Blogger Outreach
Social media has increased the circle of influencers for brands. When looking for testimonials, reviews and opinions about a brand, the easier and a more prevalent choice now is social media. This includes different social networking sites as well as communities, blogs and forums.
Now, when a new product is launched or an announcement has to be made, it is as important to have a blogger outreach to target online influencers as traditional journalist – if not more! Also, it is also wise to remember a lot of journalists now are social media savvy and are actively present on Twitter and Facebook as well as they follow blogs and communities of their interest to collect information and monitor customer opinions.
With coming in of social media, customers expect that they will not be subjected to mass, non-targeted information and any concerns will be addressed quickly and personally. This can be challenging for PR staff managing social media efforts. One upset customer on a Facebook page or a challenging blog post can send brands into a crisis.
Also with social media, the human side of brands comes into play. Brands can no longer be “dead” both literally and metaphorically. They need to make constant efforts to make their customers come to them and also by engaging them in a conversation. It is good to remember that for this new found life of brands, PR professionals have to act like their senses – help brands see, listen and reply.
So what do the PR professionals feel? We would love to hear 🙂