Aisling McCarthy takes a look at how social media has turned the PR industry on its head.
Not only has social media changed the way PR professionals communicate with the public, but it is becoming an increasingly important part of their daily work life.
So what does this mean for people working in the industry? To stay at the top of their game, PR pros need to ramp up their social media strategies in order to get the most out of each platform.
Let’s take a look at the five ways social media has completely changed the PR industry:
1. PR is now a two-way street
More so than ever before, PR in the age of social media involves two-way communication. Through traditional mediums, audiences can communicate with PRs through phone calls or letters, but social media allows instant, direct communication.
Social media allows PR pros to connect with audiences on a human level and invites them into a conversation, rather than simply telling them something.
The feedback that consumers can give is invaluable and can allow for strategy refinement to happen almost in real-time. And when consumers know that their opinions and ideas are really valued, then the brand connection with them becomes that much deeper.
2. Engagement happens 24/7
A job in PR means never working the traditional 9 to 5. And thanks to social media, your audience is always
able to connect with you or your brand. With this in mind, it’s up to PR professionals to play the host at the party – by keeping the conversations going!
PR professionals need to be ready at all times of the day, and night, to encourage some back-and-forth with consumers, make new introductions and to facilitate constant – and consistent – engagement.
3. Digital professionals are in demand
Do you know your memes and your hashtags like a second language? Well, if you work in PR you need to!
The advent of social media has forced PR professionals to stay up to date with the latest happenings in the social sphere. Failure to do so can lead to some very ‘un-woke’ campaigns that can be received in bad taste. And you don’t want to be sent to social Siberia, now do you?
It’s time for PR people to explore and embrace new technologies, and add them all to their repertoire.
4. Paid, owned, earned - what?
Social media has blurred the line between paid and earned media. Not only has this altered the definitions of the two, but it also poses a challenge to PR professionals about how to integrate all three – social media, paid and earned media – for their greatest success.
Before the age of social media, earned media was what PR pros focused on – purely editorial content that saw no money changing hands. Then, there was paid media that marketers focused on – pure advertising.
Now, however, we are seeing a mix of the two in the form of native advertising or sponsored content. By focussing on a balanced mix of paid and earned media, PR professionals can help brands have a great lasting impact on consumers.
5. Success has a new definition
While maths might not have exactly been your forté, it’s time to cozy up with the numbers. Metrics have been – and continue to be – a PR professional’s best friend. And thanks to social media, the measure of success is constantly shifting.
Whether it’s the number of likes your brand has, or the amount of daily retweets, we know that quality always beats quantity. One real follower is worth more than a hundred bots – and a long-term approach to your PR posts on social media will garner the best ROI when it comes to making connections.
Social media isn’t the only thing that has caused fluctuations in the PR industry. Find out more about the direction the industry is going in our article, What does the future of PR look like?