How many social media platforms have you used today? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest? Sometimes scrolling through Facebook seems to happen subconsciously. Our days are no longer complete without constructing tweets, writing posts, sharing links and pinning images. The power of social media to connect people to each other and to information lays out the perfect foundation for companies to build relationships.
Web 2.0 provides organisations with a free platform to participate in dialogue with their publics. Companies such as Ford and Starbucks have demonstrated how social media can be used effectively: combining a blog and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to open a conversation with their publics. In the case of Starbucks it has also be used to invite publics to make suggestions regarding new products.
Social media has allowed organisations to connect with its stakeholders by facilitating two way symmetrical communications, a much more effective PR model in comparison to the dull one way communication seen on web 1.0.
It’s no secret that social media increases the possibility of negative criticisms to spread globally, but with a proactive approach social media can be a wonderful tool for PR practitioners to build relationships with their publics.
Just make sure you think before you tweet and keep it professional, unlike this Chrysler tweet:
Kietzmann, J, Hermkens, K, McCarthy, I & Silvestre, B 2011, ‘Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media’, Social Issue: Social Media, vol.55, no.3, pp.241-251.