6 Ways Social Media Has Changed Public Relations
Public relations has had to change with the times. In fact, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are the first go-to channels for getting out crucial company updates and news to the public. Social media has changed public relations in various ways. These include:
1. Customer or Client Targeting
Social media has forced many companies and brands to razor-target their clients with products and services designed and produced with those customers in mind. It is now easy to establish exactly what customers are looking for by profiling their social media behaviours. Applications exist that track a customer’s search profile to understand fully what they are looking for. As you browse the internet and leave comments, likes and follows across the social media platforms, it is possible to analyze with precision what your online needs are. In fact, Facebook thrives by just asking a simple question: what’s on your mind? This question is an ice-breaker that provides Facebook and PR professionals with a sneak peek into whatever is going on in your mind.
2. Ability to Instantly and Directly Respond to Clients’ Demands and Complaints
A bad customer experience can severely damage a company’s reputation, especially if that client goes ranting about it on social media. It can be even more damaging if that client is a social media influencer with a huge following. A the need to respond to customer complaints immediately and exhaustively. If arrested on time, a damaging social media rant can be transformed into a powerful PR campaign that enhances a brand even further. This has to be done professionally and effectively to resolve the issues in question and turn a ranting client into a diehard convert of your brand.
3. Round-the-Clock News and Updates
When a company is hit by bad weather, that is, a crisis necessitating constant blow-by-blow updates on what is going on and what the company is doing to address the situation, a PR professional finds in social media an effective tool for keeping clients updated. The immediacy of social media ensures that a crisis is addressed in a timely manner to the satisfaction of all players. For instance, a listed company in a crisis needs to have a PR department that understands the importance of addressing the situation as quickly as possible to avoid a run on their stock. If not efficiently managed, a crisis can irreparably damage a company’s brand.
4. Cost Effective to Small Businesses
Before social media came onto the scene, only large corporations, celebrities and politicians could afford to hire public relations firms for brand management. However, social media has today made it possible for virtually anyone to access PR services at a fraction of the cost. Today, small businesses can afford to hire PR professionals to manage their online brand without breaking the bank.
5. Easy Integration
Social media allows easy integration of marketing and PR strategies for maximum brand impact. The integration of marketing and PR provides a win-win situation for a company. This is because an improved brand also results in better sales, ultimately improving a company’s bottom line. The PR department should work alongside the marketing department for maximum brand impact.
6. Improved Engagement
Social media has heralded a new era in terms of communication. In the past, communication was one-way as companies disseminated information to the public without an appropriate feedback mechanism. This has greatly changed with the coming of social media as customers can provide feedback to products and services by sharing, liking or commenting on various PR messages. This is crucial feedback that allows PR professionals to tweak their messages before distributing them across the social medium platforms.
Public relations has come a long way. Just a couple of decades ago, the term social media was unheard of. However, since the advent of information technology, especially the internet, public relations now straddles a host of social media platforms that keep audiences informed about news, updates and events as they unfold. The beauty of social media is that it defies the restrictions of the traditional media, especially in terms of access and speed.