The public relations eco-system has dramatically changed. In the 19th and 20th centuries mass communication and mass media, through one-way communication, were the norm. Organisations controlled the message. The public didn’t have much choice of what, how and where they got their news from, and didn’t have the opportunity to have their opinions directly heard.
Traditional public relations, saw the organisation create the image then this would be passed on to the influencers (journalists) and key spokespeople, which in turn passed to the consumers and stakeholders. Traditional public relations strategies are unable provide communications to accommodate the fundamental shift in todays public sphere (Solis et al, 2009).
The 21st century media landscape is based on two-way communications, where open discussions are in an exposed forum that’s authentic, connectivity is instant and there is a different class of authoritative voices, the online public.
Now public relations practitioners are coming to terms with the reality of the 21st century media landscape, where consumers have the power and control over an organisations reputation, it’s not a flow-through ‘food chain’ system anymore.
‘Social media is no longer a specialism within public relations. It is public relations.’ (Waddington, 2013)
To improve, maintain brand reputation and enhance stakeholder relationships organisations must build a strong online profile through social media.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +.
They are all highly regarded by Google and through these digital platforms current and future customers can be contacted and included in live conversations.
“One of today’s most powerful current trends is the use of Twitter as a PR weapon – how else can you describe something that is fast, free and approaching ubiquity?” (Solis et al, 2009).
It is strongly argued that those not keeping up with the latest technology and social media trends are making a smaller profit because, traditional practitioners are trapped in a severely competitive and dwindling world of traditional public relations (Wilcox, 2011).
Some traditional practitioners might view plastering your brand all over the web as a massive risk to reputation. However, it is necessary now to be seen and will almost definitely increase business – if executed right. The risk of not being talked about is higher without an online presence.
The best thing about social media is the family relationship they all share, this is the integration of the digital age. Cross posting content can work well for a campaign, it’s the most effective way of getting more views and increasing awareness of your brand.
Social media presence is undeniably the way public relations can adapt to the digital era.
Social media is public relations and it’s time to engage.
CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations), Brown, R. Waddington, S. (2013) Share This Too: More Social Media Solutions for PR Professionals. Chichester: Wiley publishers
Solis, B. Breakenridge, D. (2009) Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR. New Jersey: FT Press. [Accessed 23/03/2017].
Wilcox, D. (2011) PR – a two speed industry. Behind the Spin [blog]. 18 October. Available from: http://www.behindthespin.com/features/two-speed-industry [Accessed 24 March 2017].