It is no question that social media has become one of the most vital parts of Public Relations today. Because basically all of our society is living in the digital world, social media one of the most effective ways to reach them to date.
Although, as I’ve said in basically all my other blogs, the tasks of a PR professional are limitless. It is important to know when considering a job in Public Relations that social media might be one of your most tedious and crucial job attributes. Not only is social media awesome at making relations with your target audience, it builds a brand personality and creates a balanced leadership within an organization.
As Y. Luo from the International Journal of Strategic Communications put it, “In other words, by showcasing how social media programs can contribute to accomplishing an organization’s objectives, a public relations leader can attain organization-wide leadership, as manifested in valued participation of public relations in counseling top executives and other managers in strategic planning” (Luo 2015). By adopting in regular social media usage into an organizations tactics, the reach to the target audience and other professionals spreads increasingly.
In the same article Luo explains the three mechanisms for public relations managers to build their leadership: developing leadership capabilities in strategic social media management, gaining expert power to exert upward influence, and paralleling relationship building with peer leaders from other organizational functions. Luo explains how the use of social media increases the reach of the leader and overall enhances their presence as a leader (Luo 2015). This describes the desperate need not only for the consumers to connect with the PR personnel, but also for other members in the organization to feel connected as well.
Personally, I think social media is so effective because it can reach people in a way that they feel like they have control over. Social media promotes a relationship between producer and consumer that can be as close as casual as the consumer so chooses. Because there is an informal relationship and social media can tend to feel more like an online presence than an actual authentic, personal identity, I think consumers are more willing to interact with a brand.
Stuart Bruce expresses the importance of social media this way, “I find it surprising that the most popular services clients buy from PR agencies are social influencer outreach (12%) and blogger outreach (9%), both of which are often better done by the in-house PR team. This might partially explain why 19% claim not to use their PR and communications agencies for any areas of digital and social” (Bruce 2017 para 3). So we know social media is important to organizations, the questions lies now in who does it best?
I think it’s pretty obvious that the entire job of Public Relations Professionals is to establish a relationship with the public and keep the desired brand image and personality. What better individual or team to hand over the social media accounts to? Because social media gives so much opportunity to not only relationship building but also marketing, sales, advertising, design, and creativity I think corporations may get confused as to who should have primary control over the digital accounts. I urge you to realize that Public Relations often encompasses all of these categories in their one job title. I realize I continue to stress the complex role of a PR department but I believe this position is essential to all businesses in society. Understanding their role and how important their reach via social media is in this digital age is a reality.
Once again, Stuart Bruce makes a pretty accurate statement, “Just imagine how much more complex managing a website and all of the other associated digital and social media will be during a crisis” (Bruce 2016 para 3). Did I mention that PR teams also have to keep their social media updated during crisis? Another major concern, company crisis, falls on the shoulders of our favorite PR people. So not only are our PR people reaching out daily to consumers, they also have to decide what to disclose to consumers as well (even amidst a crisis). Although social media is not very old, (I’m 21 and I’m pretty sure I’m older than Myspace -when was that again?) I could not imagine PR without it today.
It’s kinda like the whole idea of cell phones. Phones were great and all back in 1990 when you just wanted to call your mom and check on the family; but, cell phones have completely changed the definition of what a phone is. I could not imagine my world without a portable, internet-accessing, music playing, facetiming, glass box. In the same way, public relations was an important asset to companies throughout the years; but, the introduction of social media has completely altered it’s capabilities and will forever change the view of what PR can do.
Bruce, S. (2017, March 24). Digital PR spend increases significantly, but still not enough investment in training. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from http://stuartbruce.biz/2016/10/digital-pr-spend-increases-significantly-but-still-not-enough-investment-in-training.html
Bruce, S. (2016, June 01). PR problem? Hire a journalist… or rather don’t if you want to have successful PR. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from http://stuartbruce.biz/2016/05/pr-problem-hire-a-journalist-or-not-if-you-want-successful-pr.html
Luo, Y., Jiang, H., & Kulemeka, O. (2015). Strategic social media management and public relations leadership: Insights from industry leaders. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 9(3), 167. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1695025621?accountid=39473