Impact of Social Media on PR and How Professionals Are Using These Platforms

On on average day, I spend about about 50% of my work hours on the phone. I’m not a telecaller but majority of my work is done on the phone. Another 40% of the time is spent on email and researching stuff online. Welcome to an average day of a PR professional. We never really log off work, since we are on social media, surfing generally and our mind is keeping track of all the things that might be helpful or relevant for work. 

 About 71% of India’s youth (aged between 18 and 29 years) state that their primary source of news if social media. They aren’t scouring newspapers to know what’s relevant but rely more on the links shared in their social circles to stay updated. 

Given these trends, naturally, online and social media becomes important for a PR Professionals.

 Unlike a few years ago, PR professionals primarily used email and the telephone as tools. However, with the changes in media format, we can no longer merely blast information and expect to succeed in getting it covered. Journalists do their research before writing a story, and the PR professional is expected to do their research and relevance before pitching a story.

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR RESEARCH: 

People live out a major part of their lives on social media. And for PR professionals who want to know the pulse of things, it is the simplest way to access information. Opinions on brands, trends, current topics are sought and got quicker on Facebook / Twitter. 

A quick scan of Twitter shows how journalists are also pushing their stories and initiating conversations on topics. Visibility is important – be it for a brand or for their stories. Twitter has become a handy way to gauge trends and sentiments for PR Professionals, making it imperative that we get on the bandwagon. 

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR RELATIONSHIPS:

Conversations are important. And in this hectic world, most of us tend to engage digitally rather than face-to-face. Twitter and other social media platforms have helped some professionals in building relationships with key influencers and journalists. Of course, merely following a journalist on Twitter or LinkedIN also helps one understand what the the person likes, writes on, changing ideas, so when it is time to connect to the person, you aren’t wasting time bouncing off irrelevant ideas. 

With more competition for editorial space, and incredible chaos, a PR professional needs all the edge one can garner. The biggest edge one can have is the industry knowledge. 

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BRANDING STRATEGIES:

The main objective of any marketing, PR or social media campaign is to expand your reach, promote your brand and retain the existing consumers. As social media channels and the digital ecosystem have developed, measuring success has become increasingly challenging, hence most agencies use an integrated growth strategy to amplify the message.

The biggest benefit for PR practitioners on social media is that they get a ready-made source of influencers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIN to reach out to the masses than through social networks in shorter time frame.

Social media compelled many brands to start focusing more on their customers, and building positive relationships. Customers can always go on Twitter and Facebook to review or write about their overall experience. This forces companies to resolve issues speedily to avoid crisis. 

PR Professionals also use other listening tools included in Meltwater or CISION that help analyse sentiments, and reach out to journalists quicker. A quick turnaround time is Essential, and in this case, the earliest bird gets the worm. 

Using social media influencers in marketing is the practice of building relationships with the people who can build relationships for the brand. Whether an influencer’s audience is huge or small, they can reach consumers through their blogs and social networks that brand may not be able to. 

Social media also has its cons for the PR field because they are viewed as untrustworthy, inaccurate and not credible. Just like it is easy to spread information on social media it’s difficult to control rumours, false news on these platforms

Social media requires a significant time commitment, and efforts to see the desired results.

On balance, it’s clear that the pros outweigh the cons, yet cannot be ignored and companies will take this into account. PR professionals would plan it in such a manner that the cons can be minimised or eliminated  

About The Author:

Pooja Jain is a Management Associate at Pepper Interactive.

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