The Institute for Public Relations (IPR) in Gainesville, FL recently launched an innovative and free online research center intended to further the science of social media.
The Institute for Public Relations (IPR) is "An independent nonprofit foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. We focus on research that matters to the practice, providing timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use."
The IPR tries to achieve these goals by focusing on:
1. Social media research that provides insight into how to best guide and evaluate public relations (PR) communications
2. Research on how to understand the best PR practices (what to do and how to do it)
3. PR research as "the social science underpinnings of our work"
Since social media has begun to play an ever-increasingly important role in day-to-day life, companies are more concerned with figuring out what drives customer behavior, and how to apply what the social sciences have discovered about behavior in order to further PR efforts.
For a free research center, IPR offers a lot of valuable information. The site hosts articles tracking social media use in PR for the past decade and detailing how big organizations use social media to stay connected to their customers. There's even an article dedicated to an analysis of how Fortune 100 companies use Facebook in PR efforts.
With this sort of information emerging online for free, it will be interesting to track how new technology will shape the delivery of content to customers based off of those same customers' preferences and behaviors. It's easy to imagine just how specific and targeted PR efforts will become. Are the last days of expensive, formal and experimental research lingering? With the recent advancements of online tracking and other social media/online-based research methods, one simple Google search can lead to resources providing a basis for understanding important usage patterns for customers and competitor companies alike.
For more information, visit the Institue for Public Relations.