Yes, I have a Facebook account. I have a Twitter account. I also have an Instagram, Snapchat, and BuzzFeed account. No, sadly enough, I do not have a MySpace account like all of the cool kids.
Now a days, social media dictates how a large majority of people receive and share their information. According to Internet World Stats (2012), there were approximately 836 million Facebook users in the world as of March 2012, a number that has continued to increase since then. What’s with all the social media buzz? The word is in the question. Social. People want to be able to share information and be seen by others, even socially “approved” by their peers. In a way, this directly connects to public relations in that exact sense. Public relations practitioners are all about building and maintaining relationships between individuals or organizations and their peers or publics, of which the individual or organization needs an “approval” from.
“Today, the Internet implementation in the marketing process is inexpensive, delivers instant international reach, offers great real time feedback, and reaches millions of people for whom the web is the center of virtually all communications” (Papasolomou & Melanthiou, 2012, p. 319). Even though this article is targeted more on marketing instead of public relations, the same concept can be applied. The internet offers lightning fast production and reach across the worldwide spectrum. Facebook has recently created a sidebar on the user’s home screen that shows internet “trends” or popular articles or searches. Public relations practitioners can utilize this as gold if they are campaigning or involved in a situation that catches socio-technological attention. A well handled situation may be broadcast on that trending bar, viewed by the public, and retained as positive information or a type of “save it for later” information that may come in handy when it comes time for the public to make a decision on the campaign that is being represented.
Robert Wynne of Forbes.com, of which was included in a previous post as well, says in another of his articles that he has “strategies” for “winning social media” through public relations. Wynne (2014) offers six key components into properly integrating and utilizing social media in public relations:
1. Be Brief. Don’t Be Boring.
2. Be Newsworthy.
3. Be Helpful.
4. Avoid Facebook (interesting, first negative post about Facebook I’ve seen in my search)
5. Be Live.
6. Be Video Proficient.
In essence, what Wynne is saying is not to throw a press release on Facebook. Get to the point quick, but efficiently. Tell the public the important points that they need to know. Supply helpful information that is going to give the peers a “leg up.” As far as Facebook, Wynne says to yes avoid the boring, unattractive posting, but that groups that are well organized are a great idea. Being live means be up to date, respond to questions or mentions in a positive manner, and suggest private contacting for a more in depth response. Lastly, being video proficient can help attract necessary attention. The video may be shared, and shared, and shared, and shared, and before you know it, more than half the country or even world could know about your campaign.
Social media is the destination in which the current world is heading towards, if not already there. With the game changing, practitioners must also follow suit before getting lost in the past and potentially overlooked by the public. It may take time, but one can’t expect a flower to bloom the day the seed is planted, can they?
Facebook Growth and Penetration in the World – Facebook Statistics. (2012). Facebook Growth and Penetration in the World – Facebook Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.internetworldstats.com/facebook.htm
Papasolomou, I., & Melanthiou, Y. (2012). Social media: Marketing public relations’ new best friend. Journal of Promotion Management, 18(3), 319-328. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1240208254?accountid=39473
Wynne, R. (2014, April 28). Winning Social Media Strategies For Public Relations .Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwynne/2014/04/28/winning-social-media-strategies-for-public-relations/