The public relations world like many other fields has changed in the era of social media. PR practitioners had less to worry about before the advent of social media. Instead, our only worry was being able to write and speak well. Today, we still have to know how to write and have strategic connections with journalists but so much more. Public Relations compounded with social media has made communications even more interesting. Being well versed in social media strategy is a necessity in today’s world. The Institute for PR identified some interesting results from a study conducted in 2014 which found Twitter replacing Facebook for public relations activities. It is a strong reminder that what’s hot in social media right now could change drastically within a few months. Check out the graphic below from Leverage Media that summarizes the need to participate in social networking.
For instance, crisis communications skills must be sharp for a practitioner. There is less wait time to make a statement. Being silent after a crisis has always been a huge no in public relations which still holds true. Yet, Twitter forces us to interact with the public about problems with our companies, executives or products. There is an advantage to this fast paced media in the sense that we have more control over the message which can be difficult in our field. Consumers are also able to engage in an organization’s crisis through social media like Twitter and Facebook by supporting or dissenting. This means that the PR practitioner has to factor in another player within crisis communication plans.
There is a huge benefit for PR people using social media. It allows for measured results which can determine specifically if public relations goals have been met. Quantifying results from impressions and print placement are an arduous task. We can now use analytics to measure clicks to our website, get specific data on who our audiences are and blog subscriptions. This means PR people do not have the luxury of falling behind on “emerging media”. Each type of social media must be understood to apply them effectively to the overall goal of the practitioner.
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