Communicating effectively online can be hard enough with family and friends, let alone with a crowd of people you’ve never met before. Yet, that is the crux of Public Relations in today’s digital age.
In my last post, I touched on successful and unsuccessful examples of PR online communication. Today we’ll explore, more specifically, some new rules, tools and methods, which assist PR practitioners to build and maintain relationships with publics on behalf of organisations.
So, what exactly are we talking about?
Direct conversation with publics
Social media creates a public platform for conversation between publics and organisations. To build relationships within this conversation, PR practitioners personalize responses and attend to questions and comments in a timely manner. Thus, individuals feel heard and valued. The prefect example? KLM. Sending auto-responses or deleting comments is deemed not good enough – and publics will condemn such action, loudly and without hesitation.
Humor and wit can go a long way when making friends. When PR practitioners are able to express these qualities tactfully on social media, they add a ‘personality’ aspect to an otherwise faceless organisation, which helps individuals connect with the brand. If the material is entertaining enough, the sharing culture of social media will naturally deem it viral-worthy – great publicity.
Video is the future
Studies show that 55% of communication is through body language, 38% through tone of voice, and 7% is word spoken. The traditional press release has been revamped with the addition of something that can conveys all three: videos. It conveys an extensive amount of information in a short amount of time in an engaging fashion. Publics are able to visually and audibly connect with organisations and gain a fuller understanding that text alone does not provide.
The people have the power
PR practitioners now have competition. The outdated PR practitioner’s illusion of controlregarding information dissemination and interpretation has been monumentally shattered with the onset of citizen journalists. Who are they? You, me, your neighbor, your teacher, your ten year old sister… anyone who has access to the internet and publishes information. PR practitioners must appreciate that the public is now informed by each other and it is important to work with them and partake in their conversations to build trustworthy bonds.
Behind every screen is a real person. It’s as simple as that. To create mutually beneficial relationships it’s all about human connection, albeit via a Wi-Fi signal – today, that’s how we stay connected. Baring that in mind will guide PR practitioners on a path to connect, engage and even work with their publics and ensure a bright future of public relations for their respective organizations.