The Impact of Social Media on PR

Digital World: The force behind the need for PR and Marketing disciplines to continuously evolve and adapt

It goes without saying that Marketing and PR professionals in this field are under a constant pressure to evolve fast and be super creative (on many levels) even more than their predecessors, thanks to the nature of the digital world we live in. You just need to look at the manic pace of new applications, social networking forums, state-of-the-art video conferencing, and more to understand the unrelenting pressure to stay ahead of the curve.

Social media stickers

More and more publications including newspapers are going virtual and cancelling their hard copy counterparts for good. Social forums, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ have become the preferred mode of communication amongst us, for personal, business and marketing needs.

To conduct effective and result driven public relations today, you need to be flexible and fast on the uptake but the key is to know how to utilize different platforms and networks effectively. This may not be a simple exercise as it involves time, money and a desire to really learn and apply in a targeted and relevant way to Client campaigns to ensure they are successful. There is a skill to offering Client successful Social Media campaigns as they are so diverse in application, reach, style, content, tonality and more…any small mistake can backfire and yield the communication campaign a failure.

There’s no denying the power of Social Media and its not rocket science….Many people undermine it or sideline it for many reasons, some don’t understand how it works, some are too scared and some just don’t want to adapt. This is a grave mistake to make as Social Media is not a passing phenomenon rather one that’s part of the communication fabric and here to stay. You really need to embrace it and understand how it works and how it impacts your target audience, and/or stakeholders.

If you look at Twitter, adoption is slower than Facebook perhaps but nonetheless, a ‘social media networking’ force to be reckoned with. Whatever your business communication needs may be, they can be ‘translated’ to suit the Twitter style and engage the growing number of businesses networking and connecting with each other in ways never thought possible.

So much you can do and communicate besides chatting to your target audience, you can get widespread publicity for your articles, various developments in real-time, news announcements, achievements, announce and invite Tweeps to your seminars, launches, briefings, TV and radio interviews, engage them in competitions, the list is endless.

A really important trick is to follow and study the thought leaders, experts and even the competition in your industry. There’s nothing wrong in getting a few tips from those who know how to work it on social media…Besides just following them, you need to monitor and digest what they are saying and how…need to understand what makes time tick, interests them and check out the sites they recommend. Learn how to engage them, through common interests, opinions, live dialogue should they/you throw a question out to your audiences, and even attend Tweet ups or other gatherings they announce they will be attending on Twitter.

It’s also key to be up to speed with the common references used in various social media platforms, such as RT (retweets), FF (Follow Friday), # (Hashtags), Tweeps, Post, Tweets and more.

Social media tag cloud

To get an intimate insight into the media, following them on Twitter/Facebook is a valuable tool to have. Search for the key reporters who are a target for your business and communications. Join and/or follow their publication accounts and do your homework on what interests them, what they are writing about, get to know them better. By doing so you can then comment on their tweets or posts and refer to their articles and build a repartie with them that is based on mutual respect.

I believe that most people would agree that Facebook is more straightforward and simpler to master. The key here is to spend some time to expand your network. Build ‘relevant’ relationships. It’s more about quality than quantity and the success of this is based on how many fans really want to engage with your brand for the long-term as they are genuinely interested. Your challenge besides securing those fans is to keep them engaged through interesting and eye grabbing content. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition and the fast paced and incredibly creative NOISE you get on Facebook.

At the end of the day – like any proper marketing plan – you need to manage, coordinate and stay consistent across a number of platforms and not look at each one in isolation.

PR’ing your business through social networking doesn’t have to be expensive if you just remember to network and use all the tools available to you in a well thought through and intelligent way. In fact, it can be a lot of fun as you become part of the future, the digital Social Networking crowd and learn to adapt fast to the evolving demands of this world – an instant means of meeting and influencing target audiences and in turn introducing you them to your business, culture, product or solution offering. If you feel that you don’t have the bandwidth, or the know-how, you can call on the support of social networking experts who spend majority of their time on various platforms. There is no excuse for not to get on board.