Anna Pope, APSU Senior, Public Relations
This blog post is part two of a three-part opinion post that analyzes how social media is harmful and helpful to public relations practitioners and how to effectively use it to connect with audiences. This post will analyze social media and explain why it is a helpful tool for a public relations practitioner.
Social media is growing every day. With more and more people using it, it is becoming one of the main tools of communication. This has made public relations easier in four specific ways.
- Faster feedback
Today, people expect everything to be fast and get irritated when it is not. Social media provides people with a platform to voice themselves instantly without having direct contact with others. This barrier and speed encourages people to share their feedback (good and bad) with people and companies that they interact with. This is a great thing for public relations personnel because they can use this to obtain feedback for campaigns, events, promotions, and other things. They can also get honest feedback because people are unafraid of sharing their true feelings if they are hiding behind a computer screen.
- User co-creation of brand/input
Another benefit to social media in a public relations sense is the ability for everyday people to co-create the brand they want a company to have. Ultimately the company and public relations professionals have the final say on what goes but allowing and encouraging consumer input on products in small ways will allow the company to be humanized. This creates a better connection with its audience.
- Constant accountability
The consistent flow of information on the Internet and social media making it more accessible has created a stronger sense of accountability for companies and public relations professionals. If they mess up, someone will make it known to everyone, and the same goes if they do something spectacular. Accountability requires public relations to be done correctly and ethically.
- Super targeted audiences
Social media also allows for public relations professionals to target their audiences more specifically. In the past, audiences were mainly targeted by geographical locations but now because of the information that social media platforms gather, more specific targeting of audiences can be done. Audiences can be targeted through their gender, location, likes, trends, and many other ways.