Can you keep up with social media and its trends? Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest. The list could go on and on. Why? Because social media keeps improving and changing. Look at the past seven years for example. Instagram was invented in 2010 and it’s now a main social media platform. Snapchat was invented in 2011. That’s only six years ago and now it has taken over. The point is, social media is constantly changing. And that means social media within public relations is changing also.
According to 5W PR, “Social media changed how people communicate, as well as when they communicate, where they communicate, and even who they communicate with,” (5W PR, 2016, para. 1). So, how can PR professionals adapt to this change?
1. Use digital strategies. 79% of Americans now use Facebook, 24% Twitter, 31% Pinterest, 32% Instagram, and 29% LinkedIn (Greenwood, Perrin, & Duggan, 2016, para. 3). Social media is prominent, so use that to your advantage when creating digital strategies.
Socialnomics puts it this way, “Mobile marketing and mobile device adoption is rapidly growing and the impact of mobile on various industries is becoming increasingly noticeable. It’s highly likely that the audience you are targeting on behalf of your client, can access the Internet on the go. Therefore, you must have solid mobile strategies,” (Calcutt, 2016, para.5).
2. Engage your audience using social media. Again, since social media is prominent, use it. Engaging your target audience on social media can be as simple as creating a Twitter poll or posting on your Snapchat story. These are great ways to get more people engaged and talking about your company. PR professionals have to continuously find ways to connect with their audience and social media is a great way to do that.
3. Keep an eye out for new trends. Use current social media sites to see if there are any emerging social media platforms. Look into what’s new. It may be able to put you ahead of the game as a PR professional.
Even though social media is great for interacting with your audience, it can sometimes make extra work for PR professionals. Social media makes it a lot easier for information to get out, especially if it’s something that can damage a company’s reputation. Information can go viral, and it can be hard for a PR professional to try to fix the mess that one bad viral review does.
But social media can also help PR professionals with managing crises. In the Conflict Management Life Cycle, the first step is the proactive stage. This includes environmental scanning, which is constant reading, listening, and watching of current affairs (Wilcox, Cameron, Reber, & Shin, 2013, p.172). Social media makes it easier for PR professionals to scan the web and see what others are saying about their company so that a crisis does not occur.
Altogether, social media allows for greater communication between PR professionals and their target audience. Engaging conversations can sprout from a comment all because social media was used in public relations. PR professionals can also spot crises before they happen thanks to social media. Social media will continue to evolve, and along with that, public relations will follow.
5W PR (2016, Oct 6). 5 Ways Social Media has Changed Public Relations. 5W PR. Retrieved from http://www.5wpr.com/new/social-media-public-relations/
Calcutt, V. (2016, Feb 16). Public Relations Trends 2016. Socialnomics. Retrieved from http://socialnomics.net/2016/02/16/public-relations-trends-2016/
Greenwood, Perrin, & Duggan (2016, Nov 11). Social Media Update 2016. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/
Wilcox, D. L., Cameron, G. T., Reber, B. H., & Shin, J. (2013). Think Public Relations. New Jersey: Pearson.