Social media has changed the landscape of public relations forever. Whether you prefer Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, or another social media outlet, brands and businesses have found ways to implement new strategies to reach their target audiences in ways that were impossible not long ago.
“Before the mass-adoption of social media, such precise messaging was never possible to the degree that it is now. And it will get more precise in the future: a new wave of targeting options based upon your proximity to a particular business or location are on the horizon.”
This quote from Jim Dougherty (2014) proves my point. When talking about a platform like Facebook, as Dougherty was in the quote above, he goes on to mention that having this new level of precision in parameters like behavior, interests, education, and connections, “allows for more sophistication and efficiency in PR campaigns” (2014).
To build upon this, think about where you go when you are in need of information; better yet, think about where you already receive most of your information, on purpose or not.
“…Users of social networks stopped looking for ways to connect with brands and instead began seeing these sites as sources of information… In the beginning, they were a mashup of brand-driven advertising content, and now the networks have matured into places filled with breaking news and insight” (AdWeek, 2016).
In this story from a guest writer for AdWeek, the focus surrounds the idea of how well public relations and social media work together, and why it is important that the realization of this is now to avoid any tension in the future.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoy when big time companies take the time to connect with their followers on social media. I believe that staying true to the brand while making that connection to the audience is a great way to build a following for business and general opinion. A great example of this comes from the Twitter account of the Portland Trail Blazers.
With a post like this, the Trail Blazers did a fine job of embracing one of their star players accomplishments by sharing it with their fan base, but also added a somewhat “unprofessional” or “unorthodox” twist on it by captioning it with a hashtag of, “#SexiestManAlive.”
In this post, the account continued spreading the love for their players and even showed them outside of work spending time together. With the simple caption used, it again shows a passion for the brand and the members of it in a light, entertaining, and safe manner.
Here, the Trail Blazers reached out to their opponent after falling to them in a close game, 101-97. Despite nothing spectacular standing out about this tweet, as a fan, I can tell you that it is always exciting to see two teams communicating through social media, competitively or not. In this case, the account simply shows quality sportsmanship in a situation that did not require such action. To the Portland Trail Blazers social media team, I would like to say hats off to you guys.
From the perspective of a company that does not share the same spotlight as an NBA team, though, it is important to understand what makes social media and public relations so powerful together. To a degree, the answer remains the same.
“With social media, you are developing relationships with huge numbers of people directly – often they feel that this relationship is one-on-one. It is a much quicker, more direct route of communication to a targeted audience who have chosen to engage with your brand on social media” (Pollard, 2017).
People like to feel important, and if a company has the opportunity to build that one-on-one relationship with their audience, it can often play a major factor in the success of a public relations campaign.
As we see it today, social media has become one of the most important staples in society and has shown no signs of slowing down. For public relations, this is important because of how well the two work together, and how bright of a future the two can have if they can be implemented effectively together.
AdWeek. (2016, June 15). Why social media is the perfect PR channel. Retrieved from, http://www.adweek.com/digital/adam-snyder-ketchum-guest-post-why-social-media-is-the-perfect-pr-channel/
Dougherty, J. (2014, Sep. 8). 6 ways social media has changed public relations. Cision. Retrieved from, https://www.cision.com/us/2014/09/6-ways-social-media-changed-public-relations/
Pollard, C. (2017, Oct. 20). Why you should combine your social media and PR. Huffington Post. Retrieved from, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/catriona-pollard/why-pr-and-social-media-i_b_12568802.html
Matt Henkel | GVSU | 15 November 2017