The Impact of Social Media on the PR Industry

It’s obvious that the emergence of social media and its widespread adoption has transformed the entire dynamics of communication, from the way we go about our daily lives, the way we work and the way we manage friendships. Billions of us use social media every day, and as this figure continues to grow, so does its impact on the world of public relations and business.

social-mediasource: northeastern.edu

With consumers, businesses and organisations living more online lives, social media has gone from a bonus component to an essential part of any business strategy. As companies desire new and innovative ways to engage on social media, practitioners must go beyond press releases and stunts in order to engage with key audiences and build relationships. What was once a more straightforward discipline, PR has now grown into a more complex profession in order to adapt to and integrate with the ever-changing digital landscape. Here are 5 ways social media has affected the PR industry that you’ll need to know in order to stay successful and sustainable:

GOODBYE TO ONE-WAY CONVERSATION

Social media has created conversation. Practitioners can no longer get away with unwillingly forcing information down audiences throats. Instead, they must listen, engage and understand in order to generate successful two-way conversations. Through live interaction, brands are able to make human connections, helping build on their own reputation and their publics trust. Not only that but these conversations allow for brilliant insight, giving businesses real-time feedback and deeper audience understanding.

EASY INFORMATION

Ever since Wikipedia took over the World Wide Web, we have had access to an unprecedented  amount of information at our fingertips. Social media has accelerated the speed of information sharing, which has provided practitioners with insight into future content, customer service and target audiences – all pretty helpful right?

PRACTITIONERS ARE PUBLISHERS

Ever since social media was introduced to the public, we have waved goodbye to solely relying on traditional media sources. With anyone having the ability to become citizen journalists nowadays, we can experience breaking news everywhere, from blogs to Facebook. This allows opportunity for PR professionals to create compelling stories for their brands, in order to remain relevant within this new media environment.

EVERYTHINGS PERSONAL

Many brands are fearful of social media due to the challenges surrounding a crisis. For practitioners, this should be seen more as a chance to excel. A companies reputation is everything, so the fact that social platforms have opened up the opportunity for brands to personally respond on potential issues, in a public way, should hold huge importance to them. Without these positive testimonials, a company cannot survive.

ANALYTICS

Success has always been a difficult aspect to measure within the PR industry. Social sites have become very useful tools in helping practitioners evaluate campaign success and measure conversations and engagement.

Of course this is not the first time the PR industry has had to adapt to new technologies, and will certainly not be the last, but social media has certainly added a whole new dimension to the PR industry. You may not completely understand every aspect of social media but as long as you remain educated, evolve with it and fully embrace it – the digital world is your oyster!

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