The advent of social media has greatly influenced the way that Public Relations practitioners build and support relationships with publics and stakeholders. This is a grand statement, but not surprising when we consider the effect social media has had on society as a whole.
The way people communicate with family members, friends, colleagues and even organisations and brands have rapidly changed with social media. We have become a society hooked on instant messages, sharing our every thought, photographing the amazing and mundane while developing painful text claw.
As social media platforms become more ingrained in our lives as an essential tool of communication we look at the 3 ways that social media has influenced PR and ways that practitioners build and support relationships.
- GLOBAL AUDIENCE
Social media has brought the world a little bit closer.
The below image was taken in Sydney and captioned “what is this guy looking at, the world?” and posted on social media. It has since been shared around the world to thousands of people that can easily relate to the scenario of waiting for transport while glued to their phone.
Similarly, images and text from organisations around the world are spread from one person to the next regardless of language, country or context. This unification of the world, this truly global audience, allows PR practitioners to build stronger networks within their community and beyond.
- INSTANT NEWS
Social media, as opposed to traditional media, is fast.
We all remember hearing the news of Whitney Houston’s untimely death. It was a sad occasion but what made this news so controversial was that the first tweet about Whitney’s passing was on Twitter more than 20 minutes before official confirmation.
What news of Whitney Houston’s death showed us about PR is that social media has changed the way people collect news. Good and bad news stories are circulated at an alarming rate. Social media has changed the way PR practitioners respond to publics and stakeholders as users expect fast replies and are just as happy to share communication failures as much as successes.
- TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION
Social media is designed for two-way communication.
The concept of social media is the exchange of information and ideas through an online platform allowing PR practitioners the opportunity to connect with the community in two-way communication.
Recently, Pantene encouraged over 5,000 Australian women to cut their hair in a masterful PR campaign, however fell short on their social media offerings. While they had created a multi-platform approach to social engagement their communication was all one-sided. PR practitioners are offered insight and a direct line to their publics and stakeholders through social media platforms enabling them the tools and opportunity to build and support relationships.