Social Media and the PR Professional

Photo courtesy of Toprankblog.com

The future of public relations relies on the smart implementation of social media to supplement and add to existing PR strategies.

Together social media and traditional methods will merge to create a cohesive form of communication. Social media will transform the future of press releases, the evolution of social platforms, building brand loyalty, cost savings and building relationships. The channels of distribution present the opportunity for strong visualization and brand authenticity.

Tools of the Trade, Social Media and the Future

  • Press releasesIvy Lee, known as the founder of public relations, created the first press release in fall 1906, and for much of history it has remained insignificantly changed – until today. Shifting away from fax or e-mail to online newswire services, according to an August 16 article on Mashable. Services such as PitchEngine, PRX Builder and MindTouch are transforming the press release into a medium open to being embedded into social media forums, e-mail and other digital means.

The role of the press release is expanding due to social media’s immersion into daily communication and it’s transformation may depend upon consumption trends, according to David McCulloch, director of public relations at Cisco Systems:

“In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a marked shift in [the press release’s] format to reflect the accelerating societal shift from mass consumption of media (“push” media) to personalized consumption or “pull” media. That’s a shift that has led Cisco to spend less time telling reporters and bloggers what it is we expect them to write, and more time helping them understand how what Cisco is doing might fit with their interests.

“…[I]t’s pretty clear where the press release will go next: It’s going to get shorter; link to more sources; be focused on simplification and explanation; and it’ll come in many more flavors. Practically speaking (assuming the SEC keeps pace with media evolutions), that means the press release of the future will deliver its content in text, video, SMS, microblog and podcast form, to any choice of device, whenever the reader decides, and preferably it will be pre-corroborated and openly rated by multiple trusted sources.”

  • Brand Loyalty Regardless of the actual message, the goal for most PR reps is to build brand loyalty. How they do it or how well is up to their efforts. To get real results using social media, many reps, such as Jeremy Pepper, find Twitter as a valuable tool, according to a March 16 Mashable article. Working with Targus, an accessory and computer bag provider, Pepper implemented a Targus Twitter account used for giveaways, promotions and monitor conversations to target potential customers.

Targus communicating to a customer. Image courtesy of Mashable.com

Social media is not just a fad, it is the revolution of how we communicate. Right now you are reading this. Check interaction with social media off your list – micro blogs. While every industry is still adapting to how best to use it, PR reps should be rolling in euphoria. Now, more than ever, reaching your audience is easier than brushing the pad of your fingers across a screen.

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