While Chai in itself is good but it tastes even better and the experience of having it is enhanced, when Chai is accompanied with biscuits. Chai and biscuits, though might seem like an unlikely pair, actually complements each other. Similarly, social media platforms which have become a part and parcel of everybody’s life, is now is an indispensable unit of Public Relations.
From baby boomers and millennials to Gen x and Generation alpha, almost everyone from each demographic cohort has an account in at least one, if not all, social media platform. In such changing times, where social media is one of the most dominant platforms for everything, ranging from daily conversations to social activism, the field of Public Relations was largely affected by the mounting power social media possesses.
Keeping in tandem with the current trends is important for the success of Public Relations to connect well with the public. In light of this, social media has become an integral part of Public Relations and the various PR strategies employed.
Social media platforms, especially Twitter, nowadays function as a channel which the audience uses for gathering news. Disseminating information relating to the company or any new policy of the company through Twitter and other alike platforms will reach the mass quickly. For example- sharing a press release on social media will distribute the message to the intended audience and media in seconds.
Social Media is being used by PR to maintain relationships with journalists and media outlets. Apart from maintaining established relationships with media personnel, social media platforms also help the PR team to reach out and approach new media personalities and develop friendly relations.
Social media influencers, as the name suggests, play an important role in shaping public opinion. PR campaigns in 2021, include influencer marketing where the company and its product/service are being endorsed by these influencers to create a positive image of the company and urge more people to buy the product or engage in the service provided.
Social Media also helps PR campaigns to access a wider range of target audiences with minimum monetary investment. Public Relations strategies and campaigns will no longer be restricted or bound by factors such as geographical location or expenses. Subsequently, the wider reach will also amplify the company’s customer base and further add to brand awareness.
Social Media platforms are also be used by brands to show their support to a cause or to reprimand a negative event. This helps a company maintain its positive image in society and project itself as someone concerned about public issues.
A part of PR is also to remain in constant communication with the concerned public. When companies post pictures and videos of their products or the company culture, it is a successful attempt at drawing in more customers through such regular engagements. Such posts also help the public to feel as if they are a part of the company and thus, enhance the credibility of the said company.
Creating new hashtags helps the PR team to track online conversations surrounding the company and ensure that the company’s content is easily searchable.
TWO WAY SYMMETRIC COMMUNICATION
Owing to social media, the communication that happens through Public Relations between the concerned company and the public is now two-way. Social media has provided opportunities and platforms for mutual understanding between the two stakeholders. Instead of just trying to influence the audience/public; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other similar social media platforms have also created an environment that facilitates a conversation that leads the PR team to incorporate a change on any concerned issue, be it a social topic or a company policy.
Facebook pages and Twitter handles of companies have made it easier for the public to leave their feedback, positive and negative. The PR team of any company needs to be active in the social media platforms to respond to the feedback and engage in real-time crisis management when the situation demands.
Any social media platform is a hub of public opinion, one negative comment about a company can spread like wildfire. Therefore, scrutiny of social media, so that the PR team can instantly deal with negative press and show gratitude for positive feedback is of utmost importance in 2021.
Therefore, social media and Public Relations, in 2021, fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. Without the inclusion of social media, PR would now be deemed incomplete. Thus, social media can prove to be an integral part of Public Relations, when used wisely.
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