Social media has had a complete game-changing effect on the public relations industry. In a simplified manner, public relations main function is communication. Whether that communication is directed to journalists through media relations, employees through internal relations, or the community using external relations; effective communication is key.
Today, a new technology has been created to make this intensive process easier for public relations professionals; the Internet. Social media has changed and had an effect on all areas of PR. The Internet and social media are now used in managing crisis programs, promoting multimedia campaigns, and creating partnerships and alliances. As a result of this fast-paced media environment, public relations specialists must now learn how to quickly react and respond to comments and questions directed to the organization they are working for. Response must be quick and efficient. The worse thing that someone working in public relations can do is avoid the situation. Now, it is easier for people around the world to publicize their opinion about almost any organization, especially if they have had a bad experience with it. In reaction to the bad word rapidly being spread, PR practitioners must address the situations and work to change the public's negative opinion.
I think that social media contains a lot of the same aspects that old media did, but makes content more widely available. Although newspapers and press releases are still around, all of the same information can now be found online in half the time it would have taken to get sent out or delivered. Social media also incorporates two-way communication and feedback, which is something that the old media was not able to obtain. On the Web, audiences are able to write comments and address their needs from the organization. In return, I do believe the use of social media is now necessary for a business to stand a chance of being successful in the world today. PR professionals must be aware and educated on all aspects that social media deals with in the organization and work to achieve these cooperative connections with their audiences.
Take for example, Twitter. Twitter is a new form of social media that allows brands to have their own personality. Connecting with their followers on Twitter allows the public to feel as though that have a bond with the organization. Updates and promotions are also able to be conveyed though this medium. These at-the-moment, constant updates were never able to be achieved using the old traditional media.
As amazing as this new creation is, social media can be both an opportunity and threat to organizations. In reality, the opportunities when using social media seem limitless. PR professionals are now able to communicate with whomever they want, whenever they want. Distance and time no longer prevent an organization from communicating with their target audiences. This communication technology also allows companies the opportunity to develop even stronger relationships with the pubic because of the free flow of information. Although this technology may seem glamorous, potential threats have developed from the use of social media. PR professionals now must be constantly monitoring what is taking place on each form of the organizations social media sites. With the Internet, news and information are able to travel across the globe in seconds. It is important to always know what people are saying about your company and address any outstanding complaints they may be talking about in the digital world. When dealing with social media, you really must take parts of bad that come in with the good.
Considering the pace at which social media is currently growing at, I think that Twitter will the most important form of social media that PR professionals will use. Twitter allows for the quickest communication and most convenient way to receive important constant updates from organizations. These updates are being able to be provided to their followers many times each day so that the audience always has a constant flow of information and can stay up to date on events.
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