How social media and PR work together in 2021

Here’s a look at the big takeaways of new data from Pew Research on U.S. consumers social media habits—and what it means for communications.


Pew Research Center recently released its latest data regarding news consumption on social media platforms.

The data revealed that fewer U.S. adults often or sometimes get news from social media in 2021 compared with 2020. Facebook still leads as a news source (but also saw the biggest decline). TikTok saw the largest increase in consumption. The report also revealed differences in how varying demographics use the different social media platforms.

Though the data wasn’t glowing like a preset filter, it provides industry professionals and organizations with the following important insights into the future of social media and PR:

1. Nearly half of U.S. adults still get their news from social media sites. Don’t let this data dip deter you. Social media remains a significant source of news for many.

Organizations should still actively share and promote prominent and relevant news stories and placements to their target audiences via social media. That being said, don’t be afraid to diversify strategies to capitalize on consumption and reach elsewhere to ensure the other half who don’t get news on social media is reached too.

2. Facebook still rules—and has rules. Even if less news is being consumed on social media (and Facebook), it remains a significant player in the communications game and should still be used to amplify brand messaging, including issues awareness, education and advocacy campaigns, influencer implementation, as well as executive and employee thought leadership.

On the Facebook front, older, white women make up a significant share of core users—so corresponding content should align with that in mind.

3. Diverse, younger audiences require different engagement tactics. Don’t sleep on platforms like Snapchat and TikTok.

They’re not only where diverse and younger audiences are consuming news and other branded content, they’re growing. Though still a small share of the social media market, they should not be ignored, especially when these young consumers are of an important target audience for your organization..

4. Election cycles will impact consumption habits. Don’t forget (as if you could), 2020 was a doozy. Not only with the election, but that’s when the pandemic hit. People were glued to their devices and devoured news updates due to these events and likely have been off the social sauce since as some “normal” life patterns have started to return..

5. This is publishers’ (and other digital platforms’) time to shine. Data be darned, brand managers should view this report as a signal to diversify your organization’s news sharing, be it via digital advertising directly with publisher networks or other digital amplification tactics. Publishers are also taking more pieces of those digital media budget pies as the 2023 demise of 3rd-party audience targeting approaches.


Rachel Winer is SVP of digital at ROKK Solutions.



One Response to “How social media and PR work together in 2021”

    Alyssa Thomas says:

    I enjoyed reading this article and gaining a better understanding of how social media and public relations go hand in hand and work together to provide consumers with information they want and/or need to see. All the important insights that were listed in the article are very helpful to present and future PR professionals on how to incorporate social media for their consumers of all demographics to engage with.

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