Although a relatively young phenomenon, social media is becoming an increasingly important aspect of business communication strategies. While the medium was seen by some as a ‘fad’ when it first came about, perceptions have now changed and marketers are realising the importance of social media and the potential that can be uncovered by having a watertight social media strategy in place.
Social media is the umbrella term for numerous networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These are some of the bigger players, but in recent years there has been a proliferation of new community-based sites that are also important to consider when approaching online communications for businesses. This new generation of online communication brings another facet to PR. Unlike traditional which is focussed on primarily sending out controlled messages, social media is more about creating conversations and dialogue. There is undoubtedly an ongoing role for both in business communication strategies, a complementary relationship with the results potentially greater than the sum of the parts.
Platforms such as Twitter have become irreplaceable for PRs and journalists alike, to either disseminate information or keep abreast of breaking news. The opportunities to connect with journalists cannot be underestimated as more and more turn to Twitter to research stories.
By identifying the correct audiences, blogs are a great way to reach specific demographics with tailored content and in turn producing more effective results. Blogging also allows PRs to monitor conversations about their clients in the marketplace. Monitoring blogs is an essential activity to measure the effectiveness of a company’s communications but also to determine a company’s reputation with their customers, as well as ensuring a quick response to any negative comments.
The importance of social media cannot be underestimated. Social media is fundamentally changing the way people communicate and Public Relations is no exception. Two-way, direct communication with customers presents tremendous opportunity for businesses and by engaging with audiences and focussing on their expectations, companies can connect with target audiences and therefore communicate more effectively.
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