Social media has only flourished in the last 10 years, and because of its capabilities, it has been welcomed with open arms in the public relations field. The impact it has had on PR cannot be underestimated. It’s impact in PR due to its abilities to improve communication, establish a brand image, organize a campaign, among many others, often seem to be overlooked by those who rely on public relations and how they utilize social media. But the way public relations professionals operate their businesses today could not be done if it wasn’t for the way social media has greatly impacted our lives and the lives of everyone around us.
Social media’s ability to improve communication is often taken for granted. PR professionals need quick access to information about their target audiences and consumers, and social media can provide it for them. In the case of crisis response, it’s vitally important that brands are also quick to respond, which was reported by PR News in a survey they did of more than 400 PR executives. Social media also allows direct communication between brand and consumer; “It’s not just a place that allows you to communicate with your consumer; it lets your consumer communicate with you.” (para. 7) Doing this allows an opportunity for brands to gather important information about their audience and who engages with them on the daily. The gathering of this information allows PR professionals to know who they’re working for and what to research so they can do their job that much better. All parties involved only benefit when proper social media communication is practiced.
Maintaining a brand image is also something made exceptionally easier in our age of social media. The job of a PR professional usually surrounds the image of the brand or company they are hired by. Social media allows quick access to data about the current brand image and what the respective PR firm can do to improve it. The relationship between a brand’s overall image and their social media can be clearly determined, so it is vital that it is properly maintained. “Social media has made things transparent as it reveals the good, bad or ugly regarding a brand which can get viral easily through shares” (Ansari, 2019, p. 6). While maintaining a positive brand image is important, Ansari et al. mentions that anything can happen for a brand regarding social media, so crisis management is also important. It’s a jungle, and one can easily get lost.
Nowadays, campaigns are most prominent on the internet. It’s normally how word about them spreads, through shares, likes, and tweets. TV ads are a good way to give a “vibe” to a campaign, but people are more likely to engage in the campaign if they’ve seen it online, via a post through the brand’s official pages or an ad on a social media site. PR professionals often opt for campaign awareness via social media, especially in more modern times if their target audience is millennials or younger. It’s a great way to ensure most people get the message of their campaign, or at the very least that it’s happening at all. Social media has risen through the ranks as the thing that now connects most of the world, with more than 3.5 billion people logged online as of 2019. Because of this fact, it is arguably the way to reach the public (especially given recent times). Given any company that is thriving today, chances are they have a social media presence, meaning PR professionals are having a field day when it comes to ease-of-access for communication, brand image, and campaign awareness for these companies.
Ansari, S., Ansari, G., Ghori, M. U., & Kazi, A. G. (2019). Impact of brand awareness and social media content marketing on consumer purchase decision. Journal of Public Value and Administration Insights, 2(2), 5-10. https://doi.org/10.31580/jpvai.v2i2.896