As brands are forced to engage with publics using greater diversity and immediacy, social media is now essential to successful communications strategy. The ubiquitous presence of social media in our daily lives has revolutionised how we interact, transforming how society functions.
To be seen and heard, brands must engage through a variety of communication channels. Social media is a formidable tool in building, establishing, and maintaining relationships with publics. Digital mediums have provided a platform for individual expression on an unprecedented public scale and have influenced the way brands must operate.
PR practitioners must now think globally and continuously. Organisations need to shift from traditional one-way to two and three way communication with and within their publics. Brand content is no longer just generated by individuals then distributed to publics; it is collaboratively and continuously modified by a variety of users. User-generated content, interaction and feedback are now critical to effective social media engagement.
Women’s news and opinion website Mamamia embodies digital media success. Starting in 2007 as a personal blog for Mia Freedman, it now boasts:
Mamamia arose out of frustration with “static one-way mediums” so promotes dialogue by emulating real-life discussion with an “engaged community” of visitors who contribute articles, comments and opinions. It is Australia’s fastest growing network of women’s websites and leading the industry in reader engagement measures.
“Mamamia’s trajectory from niche blog to commercial entity echoes the experience of companies such as Google, Facebook, Ebay and Seek”
Publics now expect this interactive engagement on digital platforms. As such, effective online PR is essential to brand prosperity. Organisations that don’t effectively engage online are quickly becoming conspicuous in their absence.
Image reference: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jrhode/4169516827
Grunig J.E. (2009), Paradigms of global public relations in an age of digitalisation, PRism Online PR Journal, 6(2) pp 1-19.
Kaplan, A.M & Haenlein, M (2010) Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media, Business Horizons, 53(1) pp 59-68.