media update’s Emma Beavon explores seven of the ways that social media has reshaped the PR industry. 

The impact of social media is too large to ignore ... 

With millions of people using social media platforms every day, it has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. It has therefore impacted just about every single industry in some way or another, and the PR industry is no exception

Here are seven ways social media has impacted the PR industry:

1. The lifespan of a news story is shorter on social media 

While social media is great for breaking news stories, it also means that the lifespan of stories are shorter as there is an influx of content on these platforms, but their reach is astronomically larger. There are around 8 741 tweets shared every second on Twitter, and that’s just one social media platform

This means journalists are constantly working to find the next big story — and PR pros have to keep up as well. 

Even though the lifespan of stories may be shorter, stories are able to reach a much larger audience than before, as millions of people across the globe are active on social platforms. This means that people from the other side of the world could follow your page and consume your brand’s content, which would have never happened without social media. 

And thanks to social sharing, even an article from a small, local newsroom may go viral. This means that PR pros are able to get their clients’ brands mentioned in many countries to thousands — if not millions — of people. 

2. Crisis communication is more crucial than ever because of social media 

Social media has brought a whole new platform and along with different ways for brands to make mistakes if they aren’t careful — as if PR pros didn’t already have enough on their plate. 

Along with scheduling interviews and pitching stories, these professionals are now responsible for managing their clients’ brand voice and their image online. This is done through the publication of additional content, engaging with communities and utilising media monitoring services.  

If PR pros don’t monitor brand mentions on social media and have a crisis management plan in place, it could lead to missed opportunities or worse, a full-blown crisis. 

Brands can, therefore, make use of social media monitoring services, like amaSocial, to ensure that their PR pros are able to stay on top of their brand’s online reputation

3. Social media allows for increased access to journalists 

By simply following a journalist on social media, PR pros can learn about the type of stories they cover as well as their opinions. 

This means that they’ll be able to get a feel for which journalists would like to receive content, such as press releases about their brand as well as thought leadership about topics surrounding their specific brand. This will also help to build a trusting relationship between the PR pros and journalists.
Want to know How PR pros can build a trusting relationship with journalists? Check out our article on how to do just that. 
However, it is not a good idea for PR pros to direct message their pitch to the journalists unless they explicitly say to do so in their bio, as this will annoy the journalists and may cause them to ignore your content in the future.

4. Social media has led to real-time customer service

Due to the fact that social media interactions happen in real-time, users expect an immediate response from brands when they have a complaint, question or concern. Because of this, PR pros have had to become much more customer-focussed. 

This is because building an online community around a brand is now as important as getting your CEO interviews. 

The instant nature of social media means that if a brand doesn’t get back to customers in a timely fashion, it could lead to complaints being posted on social media pages, leading to a negative sentiment surrounding the brand. For this reason, PR pros need to keep an eye on the customer service as it reflects back on the brand itself. 

5. Social media has brought about the rise of influencers

Social media has led to a whole new marketing practice — influencer marketing. This marketing practice has become a huge part of modern-day marketing strategies. This is because influencer marketing is considered to be one of the best ways to attract new customers.

These influencers offer PR pros and the brand they represent big opportunities to get more business. 

But, there are dangers involved with influencer marketing that PR pros need to be aware of, and stay on top of. As mentioned in a previous media update article, influencers can offer inauthentic partnerships, ethical conflicts, fake followers and can change their stance on certain issues. 
To see examples of these Four dangers of influencer marketing, as well as the impact of them on brands, check out our article. 

6. Social media has brought greater engagement

Customers engage much more with brands since the rise of social media. This helps brands figure out how effective their content and ads are in reaching the masses and boosts the brand’s visibility. 

In the past, the only way brands could track how effective their campaigns and adverts were, was by measuring their sales. But now brands measure the effectiveness of adverts and campaigns by seeing the number of likes, comments and shares their posts receive as well as measuring the sentiment of those posts. This is where social media monitoring services are also extremely helpful.  

7. Social media has brought about integrated PR

Marketers joined the social media train way before PR pros realised that they could incorporate social media into their PR strategy. 

This has led to a kind of integrated PR, as PR pros have to work in conjunction with social media marketing by integrating marketing concepts and practices with strategies to achieve the best results.

The integration can cause brands with a separate PR and marketing department to clash over who controls the brand’s social media. 

How else do you think social media has reshaped the PR industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. 

That was exciting, wasn’t it? To get more insightful stories delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

The PR industry has seen some huge changes over the years with the advancement of technology. Check out our article to find out How the last two decades have changed the PR industry.