Social media is a game changer for public relations. It’s bringing new challenges and opportunities to savvy pros and the industry as a whole.
Here are seven ways that social media is changing PR:
1. Two-way conversation is essential.
PR pros can no longer blast information about their brand or client and expect to be heard, let alone succeed. Consumers and journalists have come to expect that they won’t be “spammed,” and instead will be communicated with quickly and in a personal manner. Timely, two-way communication is the new normal. Listening, engagement, and thought leadership
are now three areas that PR pros manage.
2. Can’t play dumb about digital tools.
PR pros need to know the latest digital tools, including social media monitoring platforms, Twitter, and Google Analytics
. They need to understand blogging and the nuances of communicating with different online communities.
3. Research opens new doors.
Social networks provide a wealth of information on target markets, customer service, and media for PR pros to pitch. The explosion in new opportunities is almost entirely the result of social media.
4. Citizens are journalists; brands are media companies.
Traditional media is no longer the go-to source for information. News can break anywhere as members of the public become citizen journalists. Meanwhile, many organizations are becoming media companies by producing content. The publishing of that content usually falls to the PR department. Be sure to read: How is Social Media NOT Journalism
5. Faster and more visible communications.
In our 24/7 customer-centric world, social media has increased the number of ways customers can complain and heightened the visibility of their outcries. Crises happen faster and the response time must be equally as fast. It is important for PR pros to develop their organization or their client’s online presence before a crisis happens. Because technology is always changing, the crisis plan needs to become a “living” document that helps provide an immediate and well-informed response to the latest information.
6. Math is important (sorry, English majors).
PR pros need to understand and use math every day. Social media can help track the return on investment, including the direct costs of staff time spent using the tools, and measurement of the traffic it drives to a company’s website.
7. Organizational hierarchy changes.
Social media has helped remove the extra layers of bureaucracy, allowing for a direct line to the CEO
if you are an internal or external stakeholder.
A version of this post first appeared on the blog Spin Sucks.