What is the world of public relations without the causal tweet from Subway apologizing for the Jared Fogle mishap or the accidental post from Chevy about how people drive ‘fuck*ng slow’ in their trucks. With social media dominating the internet- public relation prospects can take this trending phenomena at full speed- however– some are disturbed from the possible catastrophes that social media can cause.
First we need to ask ourselves- what does the term ‘social media’ actually refer too? Kasper Welbers writes in his scholarly journal, “Social Media and Public Relations”, about the term and what it implies. “Social media is a new concept and therefore lacks consensus to what the term exactly mean. The general understanding is that social media is a name for grouping certain internet applications sharing certain characteristics, (Boyd, 2009; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2009)” (Welbers, 2009). We cannot name social media as a definite term considering the constant changes it constructs. However, we can use the advantages that social media has on our world to enhance the lives of PR professional.
Social media gives abundant ways to communicate to the nation. In a mere second, you can get information out for the world to witness. The website, Social Media Examiner, had writer Maggie Patterson post an article regarding “4 Ways to Use Social Media in Public Relations” (Patterson, 2014). Patterson stated the reasons were:
- Include Social Sharing with Press Release
- Create Social Campaign around Customer Case Studies
- Executives to Publish on LinkedIn
- Offer Expertise Opinions in Real Time
When looking into reasoning one in more depth, PR people can use social media to share things in that mere second. Using social media cites like Twitter or posting blogs on cites can enhance a company’s audience and gain attention efforts. PR people can communicate issues and compassion with a 140 character tweet that will reach their audience quicker than a scheduled press release. Patterson also concludes with, “By focusing on a social approach, you’ll be able to communicate your messages directly with your stakeholders” (Patterson, 2014).
Some may agree to this concept and add that social media is a powerful tool that allows PR pupils to market to their target audiences. The book, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations”, talks about the ways social media benefits the jobs or PR professionals. Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge state, “Social media is empowering people to become new influencers, and it is forcing PR and marketing professionals to recognize and include these powerful tools in their advertising and marketing communications strategies” (Solis & Breakenridge, 2009).
Contrasting, the two authors continue with, “However, marketers are still unsure exactly how to adapt to this new world of Social Media” (Solis & Breakenridge, 2009). This could be the anxious reasoning of why some PR professionals are not using social media; they are unsure, or obtain the slightest worry about the impact the internet and media has to a company’s image if not used properly.
Things go wrong… that’s life- and with social media, things can translate quicker and be stored for a lifetime. Weblers states that, “…there are many cases in which online PR went wrong (Charlton, 2009)” (Welbers, 2009). Sometimes, employees of an organization post on the company profile instead of their personals. There have been moments when a company tweeted something that was misleading or misread; which caused backlash and angry customers. Weblers continue to phrase that social media should be used with discretion and caution- but that there are plenty of ways social media can be used to benefit PR.
With ups and downs, like every situation in life, social media has a major impact on the way we live and how our society behaves. Some may argue social media is crumbling our communication skills into dust, and some state social media connects us with one another in astonishing ways. Whether a PR professional decides to plan a press release or simply tweet out the occurring issue is their choice.
Patterson, M. (2009, September 15). 4 ways to use social media in Public Relations. Social Media Examiner. Retrieved November 9th 2015 from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-in-public-relations/
Solis B, Breakenridge D. (2009, February). How social media is reinventing the aging business in PR. Putting the Public back in Public Relations. Retrieved November 9th 2015 from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xLXinA8LbTMC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=social+media+and+public+relations&ots=FtpgbK22dN&sig=SFHfadEmFnU3BjEX-Nqinnr9HFc#v=onepage&q&f=false
Welbers, K. (2009, December 22). Social Media and Public Relations. Retrieved November 9th 2015