Now that we have examined the rise of social media in our daily lives and we have established that Public relations professionals are jumping on the bandwagon, we now need to establish how social media can help Public Relations Professionals “do their thing”.
The New Rules of Public Relations
One things for sure, the Press Release is not what it used to be, it’s not as easy to convince people while shoving information at them and expecting them to be impressed and satisfied.
Press Releases are now an interactive feature (with videos and hyperlinks) where one is never enough, and because they are targeted at buyers not the media, Public Relations professionals are now required to research their audiences and know how to write for them.
So how does social media play into all this?
Well for one, most of us “the publics” are on social media nowadays!! And this gives Public Relations professionals a huge playground to play in with not one or two, but a number of slides and swings as options.
Social media creates new avenues for Public Relations practitioners to:
1) Broadcast to a wider and interactive audience and build relationships over time:
In the past it was vital to build contacts with the media and this was very daunting, especially for new Public Relations Practitioners. Now with twitter and LinkedIn, you can start building a relationship with the media and your audience via a retweet, favourite and/or a message.
2) Display their skills and expertise:
This doesn’t mean constantly bragging about how fast you can retweet or stream through your twitter feed. It means the skills to write succinctly, using key words and messages to appeal to your audiences.
This is usually one of the elements that scare Public Relations Practitioners as it can be both positive and negative. For instance a Facebook or Twitter page can act as a positive platform to reach out to perspective audiences or act as a feedback channel for unhappy customers. In saying that, it is vital for Public relations practitioners to know how to deal with the negative feedback and use it to showcase how their organisation deals with criticism and their willingness to be proactive.
4) Use various channels within web 2.0 to get their message out:
Public relations professionals can now use video, audio, and text to send out the same message. For instance a Public relations practitioner can now use twitter or Facebook to send out a key message and attach a video to add a visual element.
It is important for Public relations practitioners to know what sites their target audiences use. This can help them target their specific audience and appeal to them on a personal level.