Social Medial: It’s impact on PR tactics

Social media platforms have forever disrupted traditional PR works in its processes, values, strategies and campaigns. These methods of communications have moved from being the social domain of individuals to a rapidly growing and vastly changing landscape which the PR industry ignores at its peril.

Social media has the benefits of being a way to speak directly to the target market in a PR campaign, often without having to go the traditional route of negotiating space and coverage through the owners and managers of traditional media such as print, radio, and television.

While this holds huge benefits it means that PR practitioners have to be on the cutting edge at all times on what is going on in the social media sphere. There is little point in advising a client who wants to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account to do so if they are not prepared to implement its 24/7 monitoring and to see it as part of an overall PR strategy.

Social media is an almost instant medium and criticisms or questions left unanswered run the risk of causing reputational risk to the client. Social media shapes and mediates communication every second of every day; one only has to consider the uprising in Egypt and the subsequent ejection of that country’s leader to understand the power of the medium.

By analysing and working social media into strategies for clients PR practitioners are able to create meaningful relationships between the client, the agency and the target audience. This communication can be immediate and swift. It has an intimacy and an immediacy that cannot be achieved with long-lead media or even daily media. With this comes the caveat, alluded to above, that social media strategy must be built into a campaign in a way that is coherent with the wider strategy of promoting the best business interests and growth of the client. And it must be handled by PR professionals who are au fait with every new development and able to see how it can be applied to their strategies.

The conversation now two-ways

The conversation has now become a two-way one between clients, which has opened up the door for exciting communication strategies, but has also forced the industry and its clients to a position where transparency is vitally important. Honesty and straightforward communication are essential, as they are in all other strategic communication areas. PR is no longer the playground of spin-doctors, the public has become too savvy to fall prey to (what was or should never have been) a tactic employed by some in the industry. While this does not mean that messages do not need to be crafted and packaged it does mean that the PR practitioners who survive will know the value of honesty and never underestimating the intelligence of those they are communicating with.

As PR practitioners we should play the role of communications strategists, guiding our clients on content creation and dissemination. We should also take on the role of community managers, assisting our clients in building honest relationships with their online and offline communities.

Shifts in communication lines have opened up exciting opportunities for the PR industry to carve itself a central role in the new communications world order.

One thought on “Social Medial: It’s impact on PR tactics

  1. A good analysis. Your organization is well respected, especially in the social media sphere, hence I hope people pay attention to what you have to say.

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