I have a keen interest in blogs and blogging in general, but also in social media. Twitter has been the most meaningful social media platform that I have joined through the years, because it gives me the ability to connect with people, places and subjects of interest and also gives me the voice I long for to get my information out to many.
Social media has been proven as an effective tool for public relations. Social media includes the use of email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), blogs, podcasts, real simple syndication (RSS), social searching, social networking, microblogging (Twitter), and web content management. It is the number one sought-after job skill for public relations practitioners.
Social media is important to public relations because it positions the person as the expert. We heard in class that only 14% of people believe advertisements while 86% believe peer reviews.
Other benefits to social media are that it tests ideas and personalizes relationships.
To select which social media platform is best, a PR person needs to analyze the intended audience to help identify the kind of content to be published. The content needs to be realistic and compatible with the team’s strengths.
Social media is a huge part of campaigns. If I was the social media specialist for a PR firm, I would use social media for a campaign in the following way:
First I would start a conversation on Facebook. I would join in on others’ conversations, research competitors, scan media, and check alerts.
Facebook is a highly personal medium, so it needs to have a 1-on-1 impact. When using Facebook, the practitioner needs to know the public and decide if the content posted to Facebook will be appropriate for the intended public. A company can connect on Facebook by buying an ad, listening, and developing content based on outcomes. It is important to note never to pitch on Facebook. To help develop a Facebook presence, it is important to produce and share interesting information so people can “Like” the organization. Then the organization can promote themselves. 80% of the posts should be educating and informing and the remaining 20% should be promoting.
PR personnel can also work with journalists on social media sites. Twitter can be used for breaking news. Facebook is used to start a conversation. Email is used for heads-up announcements, follow-up, and private conversations. Blogs and websites are utilized for in-depth information on topics. An important note is that new and social media should not replace traditional media outlets.
SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
Social media tools include Trendsmap, Booshaka, and Tweeted Times. Other tools include Quora and Flipbook.
Trendsmap is a map of trending topics on Twitter in cities and countries.
Booshaka is a list of the most passionate people and communities on Facebook.
Tweeted Times is a personalized newspaper created by tweets that are generated from your twitter account and followers’ tweets.
Flipbook is a social media magazine on the iPad.
Quora is a different type of site. It is a question-and-answer platform that connects you with everything you want to know. The user posts a question, waits for answers, and then votes on the best answer. Some uses that Quora may have for PR include knowing peers and influencers, sources of ideas, and knowing search engine effectiveness.
These are just a few of the social media principles I learned about last year in my Principles of Public Relations class. Social media continues to grow as an effective new media platform and provides an abundance of resources available to both PR practitioners and journalists. I know that I will constantly use social media throughout my lifetime and career in the Communication field. My knowledge of social media techniques will prove to be an asset in my job search.
As we have all heard the saying, you can never know too much about a subject – well, with social media; that certainly rings true!