Social media and public relations cross paths on many different occasions. It has transformed public relations in many ways over the past few years and predictions for the future show that it’s not going to change. PR uses social media during company crisis, collecting data or information, and most importantly talking to the consumers. Now that it is easier for those working in public relations to do all of these things, they are also expected to act on them as well. The public has higher expectations on customer service now that it is easier to communicate through different social media accounts. All in all, social media will continue to be used in public relations to achieve goals and plans.
Public relations handles company crisis’ by fixing the problems and building up the relationships with customers again. Social media has played a huge role in helping companies know and understand the needs of the consumers. It also allows companies to communicate with the public much easier than ever before. In an ebook, section three, titled Social Media & Crisis Communication, Seiple describes PR in crisis with social media,
“social media monitoring is important for any modern PR professional. And beyond monitoring, social media participation is also critical. It‟s one thing to be paying attention to conversations. It‟s another to actually get involved. Luckily, with social media come some great tools for monitoring the conversation about your brand so you know where people are talking about you and can participate accordingly.” (Seiple, pg. 18).
Now that everyone puts all of their thoughts and feelings onto different social media sites, companies can track different trends on what is being said about their services or products. This allows for company to improve their business to create the best customer satisfaction.
Dave Folkens explains in his article three different ways on how social media has changed public relations over the past few years. His three points include Conversation Versus A Speech, Information Gathering, and Personal Service. He further explains each one by illustrating that PR cannot speak to its audience but must have two-way conversation. The speed at which information is gathered for public relation’s use is much faster. And finally, consumers expected to have their issues addressed and helped by companies, and not being looked at as the public.
“There are a number of ways that the field of PR must continue to adapt as the social media tools of today will change tomorrow. Rather than focus on the channels, focus on the expectations of the audiences and how to serve as a valued resource for them.” (Folkens, 2010).
It is important for those working in PR to use social media effectively. Meaning to use it more than just a communication medium but also for gathering information and helping customers with questions, complaints, or compliments.
Social media use in public relations isn’t something that will fade away over time but will continue to grow. Erica Swallow identifies that PR specialists were some of the first people to use social media and now it has grown into it’s own field,
“Public relations specialists were some of the first people to embrace the power of social media, and as a result they are often the ones leading the way in the social space, whether they are consulting with clients from an agency point of view or strategizing on an in-house PR team. In the past decade, the Internet has had a huge impact on how PR professionals function. As of late, social media is changing the face of PR, as well. We interviewed 14 PR pros on the future of public relations and how they see social media changing the industry. We collected their thoughts on how social media will affect the future of the press release, the evolution of social platforms, current limitations and solutions for those impediments, connecting with other PR pros, cost savings, and building relationships.” (Swallow, 2010).
Swallow continues with her article in explaining the thoughts of the professionals who were studied. All had very similar ideas on how social media should be used effectively and how they see it being used in the future. Now that print media is slowly fading away, people now see their news and connect with others over the internet. Companies need understand with these trends in order to keep up with the changing and evolving world of technology.
Folkens, D. (2010). Social Media PR – 3 Ways Public Relations Has Been Changed by Social Media. Retrieved from http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/02/social-media-changing-pr/
Seiple, P. (n.d.). Social Media Monitoring & Crisis Communication. In How to Leverage Social Media for Public Relations Success (p. 18). Retrieved from http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/53/file-13204195-pdf/docs/hubspot_social_media_pr_ebook.pdf
Swallow, E. (2010, August 16). The Future of Public Relations and Social Media. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/08/16/pr-social-media-future/