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6 Ways Social Media Is Changing The PR Landscape

March 1, 2013

By Jacqueline Feldman

social-mediaThe widespread use of social media networks like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Pintrest have ushered in an era of change for the public relations industry. PR professionals need to understand the challenges and the opportunities associated with social media, so they can continue to generate results for their clients. Here are six ways that social media is changing the PR landscape that you’ll need to know in order to remain successful in the field:

1) Social Media Has Created A Conversation
PR pros have lost “control” of the message with social media. We can’t just blast out info about their client anymore, or talk at the audience. But we have gained the ability to listen, understand and engage with our audiences.  Being a successful PR pro today means that we have a two-way conversation, which can help us to tweak and influence on a more powerful level. Having a conversation also means we can create brand ambassadors and communities via our social media—and that’s really powerful for brands.

2) Understanding Digital Communication Is A Must
PR pros must master the nuances of communicating with different online communities. For example, what works for Facebook vs. what works for Twitter isn’t the same as what works for LinkedIn.  What works for print won’t necessarily work for broadcast. The same goes with social media, be sure you are packing the information most effectively for each specific social media platform.

3) Role of Traditional Journalism Is Evolving
One of the biggest impacts social media has made on the PR industry is that traditional media isn’t the only go-to source for information any more.  Thanks to social media news can break on Facebook or Twitter, or anywhere really! Social media has also given way to regular people becoming “citizen journalists” so to speak.  The consumer doesn’t have to rely on major news organizations to be on the scene for the news, brands are becoming media companies and PR people are becoming publishers. 

4) Research Is Easily Accessible
One great aspect of social media networks is that they provide a great deal of information to PR people about target markets, customers service and even what media to pitch. PR professionals can now generate new leads and opportunities that might not have been there without social media.

5) Faster and More Visible Communication
We live in a 24/7 world now.  Things break quicker than ever before, which means that our response times have to be faster.  Social media has also increased the visibility of complaints against companies, so PR pros need to be on constant alert when it comes to social media networks. Make sure to regularly monitor it for the latest “news” about your client and react in real-time.  On the flip side, people can also provide positive testimonials by way of social media. This positive feedback provides powerful social proof , which can help really help convince others to buy your product or service.

6) Analytics
Social media presents a great way for us to track ROI, and in an industry that is harder to measure than marketing or advertising this benefit of social media can really work in the favor of PR pros.

This isn’t the first time PR pros have had to adapt to technological advances. Remember when the fax machine was used to send out press releases? The PR industry has always had to re-think they way they’re doing things to produce results, and social media isn’t going to be the last change we’ll have to deal with. 

How do you think PR has evolved due to the emergence of social media? What else would you add to this list?



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Topics: Public Relations, PR Strategy, Media Relations