The 5pm peak hour trains departing from Flinders Street Station all have something in common. Can you guess what? Passengers are consumed with their mobile phones. The window scenery blurs as fingers skilfully scroll through the daily news feed of social media platforms. Continue reading
In an online world where everyone’s a critic, strategic management of your reputation is imperative.
Social media offers unprecedented opportunity to modern organisations. Brands must engage with consumers and develop an authentic, continuous and multi-faceted presence online.
image from Flickr, by Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen on Sep 15, 2014.
‘PR is all about relationships’ – I reckon nobody will object this (If you do, I would love to hear your opinions). PR people have a role as the bridge. By building and maintaining good relationships with the publics and stakeholders, we help all parties to better communicate with ourselves and all each other. And YES, social media (as web 2.0) is a SMART and easy way to do so. Let’s see how! Continue reading
It’s those campaigns that come straight to mind in conversation, that seem to have been the most effective and impactful.
And it’s campaigns like Coke’s “share a coke” that come to mind when discussing PR 2.0. Steering away from broadcast marketing or generic messaging, PR 2.0 is humanising and personalising stories for the people you want to reach – it’s creating a relationship with the people important to the brand and most specifically, the consumers.
Recognising that the company had to “reconnect with Australia”, Coke decided to “get personal, recruiting fans and making them the face of the campaign for personalised coke cans everywhere”.
With the basic idea of printing names on bottles and cans distributed across the country, Coke’s “share a coke” campaign is at the forefront of engaging consumer campaigns and is an old-fashioned advocate for PR 2.0.
Helping to pave the way for digital interaction everywhere, coke’s interactive campaign brought unprecedented results with a 870% increase in facebook traffic, 12,020,000 earned media impressions and 76,000 virtual ‘coke’ cans shared by the public.
With such a memorable and impressionable campaign, Coke’s “share a coke” shows whats needed to form a relationship with consumers and the importance of PR 2.0.
Reference: Breakenridge, D. K. (2008). PR 2.0: New media, new tools, new audiences. FT Press.
The global popularity of social media necessitates wide-eyed attention by Public Relations Professionals. Social media’s relational and dialogic nature provides ways expand the conversations that people have always had, or always wanted to have.
But in the world of reputation management, social media can also manifest extreme risks. Poor reputation threatens organisations and individuals in tangible ways including competitiveness, local positioning, media relations and the legitimacy (Aula, 2010, p,44).
Consider the time, effort and money required to build loyalty and trust amongst your valued stakeholders, only to lose it with the blink of an eye? Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, can relate to this.
During a recent ABC Radio interview, Mr Abbott received a call from Gloria, a 67 year old pensioner with incurable and life threatening conditions. To illustrate the consequences of the proposed Federal Budget cuts upon her livelihood, Gloria shared “I survive on about $400 a fortnight after I pay my rent and I work on an adult sex line to make ends meet.”
Mr Abbott responded with a ‘wink’ and a ‘smirk’. Although hidden from both Gloria and the radio audience at the time, this poignant moment was caught on camera. Not surprisingly, social media sharing rapidly spread the incident nationwide.
Interpreting motive is debatable. For many, their perception became the reality-creating ‘ambient publicity’ (Aula, 2010, p.47) through which Mr Abbott’s encounter became known as ‘Winkgate’. The effects on his online reputation were startling.
Professionally, his role as Minister for Women was attacked in news feeds and social media and questioned Mr Abbott’s ability to perform this role when he clearly has ‘women problems’. This ‘fuelled new beliefs’ (Aula, 2010, p.45) about Mr Abbott’s capabilities to which he was required to respond. Unfortunately the PM’s explanation differed from his office’s official statement. The very impression of insincerity caused female voter support to drop 33% – all fuelled by online opinion.
Tweeters labelled his reaction as ‘creepy and disgusting’ and lead to the irreverent hashtag #MorePopularThanAbbott, which has since suggested that both ‘socks with sandals’ and ‘ebola’ are more popular than the Australian Prime Minister.
The onslaught of social media influence ‘presented a collective truth’ (Aula, 2010, 46) so convincing and remarkable that the US TV show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver caught on and also gave Mr Abbott a roasting… and Winkgate made the final cut.
Clearly ‘social media expands the spectrum of reputation risks and boosts risk dynamics’ (Aula, 2010, p.45). Publics can scrutinise what they want, when they want – as long as there’s a recording of image, words or actions which can be shared, replayed and criticised in detail.
Public Relations Professionals who engage with online publics harnesses incredible potential to simultaneously be exposed to extensive risk and also achieve strategic goals like never before. However, note that ‘social media content cannot be controlled in advance’ nor can ‘content be managed’ in the traditional sense and it’s nearly impossible for organisations and individuals to ‘control conversations about themselves’ (Aula, 2010, p.44).
Therefore, a strategic case-by-case approach may be the best bet for Public Relations Professionals wanting to build and support social media relationships with their stakeholders. Solid corporate responsibility fares well with online publics and enables believability when attempting to inspire ‘true and compelling’ interaction and sharing.
Do you think it’s possible to reverse the damage done to Mr Abbott’s reputation? Is there hope for his Public Relations advisor?
For more on social media and building online relationships, see Public Relations now: Social media is a return to origin and A new frontier: Social media reignites Public Relations.
Pekka, A., (2010), Social media, reputation risk and ambient publicity management, Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 38 Iss: 6, pp.43 – 49.
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.