Frankly, online communications are to our message style what TV was to the phonograph; what the sleek crossover has been to the original boxed-out minivan; what the Kindle Nook has been to the 960-page paperback version of Gone With the Wind.
The way people use the Internet today involves so much more change in the form of interaction, conversation and idea sharing than anyone probably envisioned at the dawn of the “great information superhighway.” The changes have been more than most could fathom, and the public relations industry has taken note.
Public relations professionals are embracing social media in their strategies to great effect. The various social media channels offer public relations professionals many more avenues to reach out to new audiences in real time. Beyond that, smart PR professionals can clearly and precisely react to the ways people are driving communication and turn it into some profitable results for clients. These types of strategies – called online reputation management – began growing in popularity about three years ago, and continue to gain more popularity as a vital part of any public relations strategy.
There’s so much to be said about the here-and-now impact of social media on public relations. Social media never shuts down, and news feeds as well as client social media streams can be viewed and responded to at a non-stop pace. Instead of sending the audience information that is aimed in one direction and has no avenue for feedback, social media has changed the playing field dynamic to one of interaction.
For example, Twitter is an army that’s 200 million strong with 110 million tweets going out each and every day. Twitter is a quick and easy way to create content that hits the target audience with simple messages in 140 characters or fewer. PR professionals have used Twitter to pitch stories to journalists, who are also big users of Twitter, live-tweeting news events, etc. Twitter chats are an excellent example of the way social media allows PR pros and the audience to interact.
However, PR professionals have to carefully consider how they’ll use social media as a PR tool. The information being shared on social media has to be content-rich. The focus has to be on generating content that engages the audience in every post. It’s important to do more than share information regarding an online message campaign – that message has to be viewed as trustworthy and valuable by the client’s audience.
Certainly this can include a range of approaches, such as sharing valuable links, asking the audience questions, promoting upcoming events and letting consumers know that they’ve been heard.
With this new playing field, public relations professionals can refine their processes and make improvements that allow them to reach a larger audience and cater to it more efficiently. They have to, because audiences are getting more information from so many sources.
Want to experience a monumental shift when it comes to making social media part of your public relations approach? Contact Axia Public Relations today. We’ve been at this for years, and we’ve figured out what works (and what doesn’t work) so you don’t have to.
By Jason Mudd, APR
Jason Mudd, APR, is the CEO of Axia Public Relations and an Emmy-Award-winning accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for established national brands such as American Airlines, Dave & Buster’s, Florida Blue, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Ray Charles and Verizon, as well as emerging brands like Brightway Insurance, Pragmatic Works and It Works! Global.