As we celebrate Social Media Day, ponder this – can you remember the last time you went an entire day without engaging with social media? The truth is, in today’s day and age social media will play a role in your daily routine; it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of for how long. And in PR, this medium has gone from being the new shiny object that was a ‘nice to have’, to being an integral part of getting ahead and staying relevant in the field. So much so that revisiting what PR looked liked before the inclusion of social media makes the industry look slightly archaic even 10 years ago.
Before we started living in the digital world, PR was used almost exclusively to communicate major changes to the public both internally and externally. This could range from corporate acquisitions to industry changes that affect the business as a whole. And how was it communicated? By pitching the story for on-air, print and online publications. Landing a successful hit on any of those traditional media mediums would be a win for the client. But with the presence of social media, new avenues became available along with improvements to existing ones.
Influencer marketing gives brands the opportunity to invest in influencers to create and promote branded content to both their own base and to the brands’ target audience. There was a time when brands struggled to connect with their consumers on a consistent basis, much less a daily one, but with the help of influencers this has become a possibility. In addition to this, they also lend authority to messages through third-party credibility as influencers are usually respected as subject matter experts by the media. This allows them to take part in real-life conversations, particularly on Instagram where the nature of the channel is far more social than the rest.It’s here that brands can form long-lasting relationships with consumers making Instagram the best social media platform to both find and appeal to influencers.
Generally, Twitter is the best platform to use when reaching out to journalists. They appreciate the efficiency of the tool because between monitoring news updates and promoting their latest work, Twitter provides journalists with the ability to interact with the public better than ever before. Similar to how you’d research and connect with a reporter in the past, social media has given PR professionals the chance to build those solid relationships with journalists that can extend beyond one story by simply sending a DM (direct message).
But where it all comes together is through the community management of these social channels. That begins with social listening – proactively gauging a brand’s sentiment. This can help to identify threats that could damage the brand’s reputation ahead of time, react to any negative press in a timely manner and continue to champion the good that the brand stands for. There are no longer barriers between a brand and the public thanks to social media, leaving an opportunity for those in PR and marketing to collaborate on ways to increase a brand’s reach and build loyalty amongst this growing online community.
The very first Social Media Day took place in 2010, and in that time we’ve seen unprecedented advancement in the PR industry due in large part to the boom in social media and the willingness to weave it into PR strategies. And this evolution will continue to change the way we communicate. So, will you evolve with it, displaying your talents as a PR professional coupled with social media marketing skills? Or will you fail to engage in this industry transformation?