The Future of Public Relations and Social Media
Public relations practitioners were among the first people to truly embrace the power of social media, as a communication and outreach tool. As the internet speed and use has increased over the past few decades, so has the effort and process of a public relations practitioner changed to adapt to the new consumer mold.
PR professionals have had to adapt to the new social forums and progressively learn and grow with the new technology and generations of change.
The Press Release
The press release has long been written and formatted in a traditional and unchanged way. It wasn’t until online content and devices were created to make the process smoother and quicker, that pr practitioners allowed a transform of the traditional layout and messaging outlets of the press release to be more tech savvy. A new press release called the ‘social media release’ uses services like PitchEngine, PressLift, and PRX Builder to enhance the online experience and attractiveness of a press release to digital formatting.
The Evolution of Social Platforms
Though there are many popular social media platform sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, it is extremely crucial that the client’s target audience is present on that platform and willing to engage with the client.
“”Really, it’s more about PR pros becoming better PR pros and understanding their clients’ businesses, as well as what their clients do … Social media is not a one-size-fits-all solution, said Cara Stewart, founder and principal at Remarx Media” (Erica Swallow, The Future of Public Relations and Social Media).”
Current Limitations and Solutions
Though PR practitioners are experiencing much respect through social media, there are still many areas of improvement and places that client’s have not been able to reach; on a social forum.
For instance, the communication level of a pr practitioner on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have been heavily information based; client’s are distributing press release and media releases to inform the public. However, ideally the communication level of the pr practitioner and its consumers on the social platform will build more of a listening and communicating relationship base that will allow for a stronger, deeper connection between the client and it’s consumer. As well as targeting and communicating with the specific audience the client is looking to engage.
Connecting with other PR professionals
As the online networks increase, more and more independent PR firms along with larger firms are building a presence and network of professionals online. Social media has been a huge driving factor in building those relationships and allowing for faster communication possibilities. Twitter chats have been among the top forums for PR professionals to reach and communicate with each other.
Saving Money & Making Good Use of It
Social media platforms have the ability to save clients, companies, and practitioners a lot of money in outreach and messaging strategies.
“”For PR professionals, social media also saves time and money by yielding higher response rates to pitches. VanScoten explained: “It’s amazing to me that I get a MUCH higher response rate when pitching reporters via Twitter than e-mail. I would actually go as far as to say that every time I’ve pitched a reporter via Twitter, I have gotten some sort of response (often resulting in a story for my client). Via e-mail, I have maybe a 50% response rate. The phone call response rate would be my lowest” (Erica Swallow, The Future of Public Relations and Social Media).”
The Human Factor
Regardless of the tools or platforms of communication a practitioner uses, the most important factor to a PR practitioner is the human factor. The reason PR is there and communication is necessary is to build and maintain a cohesive relationship between the client and its consumer. PR practitioners are there to maintain a social bond and increase the mutual knowledge and understanding of the client.
Social media has the capability to connect clients and consumers in a relationship style that has yet to reach its full potential. PR practitioners now have social media tools that can allow for an outreach potential greater than ever before, using new techniques and interactive media to engage consumers in new ways.
The future of public relations and social media has a big and bright future ahead of it if the right methods and tools are used for the job.