Why is Social Media Participation Critical for PR?

Cori Stevens

Rather than silo the PR and social media teams, it is very important to have them work together. Here's why.

Public relations (PR) specialists craft messages and maintain a positive public image for a company or organization. They increase awareness of a brand by creating messages that shape public opinion regarding the company or organization. Social media is critical because it’s an important vehicle to promote and spread messaging and create a social presence.

Similar Goals
Both social media and PR share similar goals when it comes to building a brand. Both are an integral part of a brand’s overall strategy since both social media and PR are responsible for spreading information. They both aim to generate visibility for your brand, drive traffic to your website, connect with influencers including journalists and bloggers, increase conversation and heighten engagement. They both want to steer you away from crisis yet are the first to be brought together when it occurs. When a crisis occurs, it’s necessary to respond via social as well as using traditional PR vehicles. On a daily basis, and most importantly in a crisis, it’s important for both the social media and PR teams to formulate messaging and posts that encapsulate the brand’s tone and personality and the company’s general stance on inside and outside topics.

Connecting People & Developing Relationships
While PR is many times at the forefront of social media engagement, what is unique and vital about social media is that it creates two-way communications for customers and businesses. Communication, even in the corporate world, has become casual. The landscape is no longer linear. Rather than simply putting out one-way communication, such as a formal press release, it requires more dialogue. Social Media plays a crucial role in connecting people and developing relationships with key influencers and journalists covering your company’s sector. It also provides a great opportunity to establish customer service by gathering input, answering questions and listening to customer feedback. Social channels are a great way to maintain relationships with people because it’s fast, easy and more personal.

Understanding Customers
Social media is important for marketing analytics in order to better understand customers. PR is most effective when there is an accurate analysis of who must be reached and how best to reach them. A social media audit can obtain metrics to assess growth and opportunities which aids in creating an effective PR strategy. Social media target audience research analyzes the current behaviors of the target audience, also necessary in creating PR strategies. In real-time, through social media channels, you can literally follow your customers so you can better understand what makes them tick and then pivot your PR strategies to cater them.

Social media is a strategic part of any effectiveness PR campaign. When PR works in concert with social media, it allows your company to be part of a bigger conversation. Both PR and social media can create conversations but social channels allows you to “follow” your customers and it also allows for real-time dialogue. It is  that extra personal connection with people that will set your company apart from its competitors.

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