Social Media: “Sorry, this relationship is just not working out.”

It’s no secret that public relations relies heavily on social media in this socially digital driven economy, and no wonder why. Social media allows companies to gain global exposure, engage in direct conversations with their targeted public, and develop trust in order to build and support relationships with their publics and stakeholders. However, in order to effectively communicate and connect with them, public relations practitioners need to have a solid understanding of their publics and the environment they are operating in.

The first thing PR practitioners need to do is listen and observe. PR 2.0 requires PR professionals to participate in the communities they seek to influence and learn from. You have to observe, appreciate, and understand how to immerse yourself into a community. Social media (unlike traditional media) has allowed PR practitioners to do just that. All the conversations that occur between public to public, or public to organisation gives PR practitioners insights and understanding on how to engage and build great social alliances, and support strong communication with their publics and stakeholders.

Automotive Social

Image via Flickr, Automotive Social, July 10, 2014.

By ignoring these insights, observations and rich qualitative information, PR practitioners are still engaging in the one-way communication model where they aimlessly throw out their message in hopes that the web of conversations that occur will catch fire and spark.

Social media hasn’t just enabled two-way communication,or global reach. On a deeper level, it’s allowed PR practitioners to listen and observe, to understand how opinions are evolving and how social forces shape individuals attitudes and behaviours which then drives a community. This is how social media has influenced how good public relations is able to build and support relationships with publics and stakeholders in today’s day and age.


  • Solis, B. & Breakendridge, D. (2009). Putting the public back in public relations: How social media is reinventing the ageing business of PR. New Jersey: Pearsons Education Inc.

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