Public relations needs social media and here is why

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,

Dougherty, J. (2014, Sep. 8). 6 ways social media has changed public relations. Cision. Retrieved from,

Pollard, C. (2017, Oct. 20). Why you should combine your social media and PR. Huffington Post. Retrieved from,

Matt Henkel | GVSU | 15 November 2017


Tech trends of 2017: Ads on mobile devices

After previously elaborating on multiple advertising and public relations tech trends that look to take place over the course of 2017, I thought that I would take the time to focus my attention on what I believe is the most interesting of the few that I covered: ads on mobile devices.

Although many of us are already familiar with the idea of seeing an ad or two on our phones every once in a while, 2017 looks to turn it up a notch and makes ads appear much more frequently on mobile devices.

Below, I have shared a collection of photos posted on Flickr, a video uploaded to YouTube, and a podcast uploaded to SoundCloud in which I build on this topic of ads on phones, and further share my insight on what 2017 looks to bring to the table.

Photo Collage (Flickr):

Tech Trends of 2017: Ads on Mobile Devices

Video (YouTube):

Podcast (SoundCloud):


Matt Henkel | GVSU | 2 March 2017

2017: The twists and turns in technology

With each passing year, the entire world looks to innovate from top to bottom. In 2017, the world of advertising and public relations looks to do the same–through technology. Some of the most important or noteworthy trends that look to change the way advertising and public relations are done in 2017 are: advancements in virtual reality (VR), tweaks to the ways in which individuals can shop online, and unfortunately, a higher number of advertisements on mobile devices.

As for advancements in virtual reality, it seems like one of maybe three things can happen: one, virtual reality could become a huge success and you won’t be able to go anywhere or do anything without the assistance of some sort of virtual experience; two, VR could be minimally utilized and possibly be considered a waste of money; or three, and I think the most likely, is that VR will progress slowly and although it will be popular and fun to use at first, it will ultimately become necessary only in practical situations (likely in business) where you can get an idea of what a product or service will look like in your own hands.

Personally, I am excited to see what changes VR can make in our every day lives, and how it can effect businesses. What is even more exciting, is how easy the experiences can be created. Although the costs may run high and we cannot be too sure how limited the equipment will be when it is further advanced, we already have incredibly powerful technology to offer interested individuals the opportunity to go on virtual adventures in their own homes. For more on how that could become a reality, I have found an insightful page that breaks down some of the steps to get your experience started:

As if America wasn’t already lazy as heck, 2017 looks to find ways to make us even lazier. According to, people are now able to not only shop online for their favorite music and clothing brands, but also for food ( ). With dozens of different sites offering multiple types of foods to shop for, people can now trade the long lines at the grocery store for a few taps on the screens of their smartphones to buy their groceries online. Although the convenience of this new way of shopping is one that many can appreciate with the ironically busy lives of Americans, I also worry that individuals are becoming so increasingly reliant on technology that the world depicted in the movie WALL-E is slowly becoming a reality–and NOT a virtual one.

With the idea of grocery stores becoming less pertinent to our day to day lives, the opportunity for advertising companies to shift their focus to the mobile world is now. Although ads, spam, and pop-ups on phones can lead some of us to wanting to break our phones in half, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of companies slowing down in the near future. According to a story from Clearcode ( ), Robert Brill of stated in a Q&A that 2017 is likely to have “three fourths of the $32B programmatic spending” go towards mobile device advertisements. In my opinion, this is not only a smart move for advertising companies to make but also the right one. With the world is becoming so heavily reliant on their phones, it only makes sense that advertisements follow the eyes of the consumer, and if their eyes are no longer focused on the world around them, ads have no other place to go than right in the consumers hands. Although this may not be the most popular change for most people, it definitely makes sense.

Overall, 2017 doesn’t look to be too different than in years past. Although there may not be so many changes that we become unfamiliar with our surroundings, the world looks to become simpler and more convenient for the individual. With virtual reality experiences that allow you to become more familiar with a product in your own home, shopping online for more than that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting, and enough ads to make you feel like you’re still in line at the store, technological trends in 2017 look to change the world.

Matt Henkel | GVSU | 2 February 2017