How Social Media has Evolved into becoming an Intrinsic Part of Public Relations

11 January 2019

Public Relations is also considered the fine art of building of word of mouth. And word of mouth is arguably one of the most effective and credible tools of communication in the modern world. Picture this, imagine seeing an advertisement for a car amidst a clutter of other brands and messages as opposed to a friend or relative telling you about the same car. The suggestions from the known person is definitely bound to seal the deal in favour of a particular car brand as opposed to the advertisement. This is the result of brands that succeed in building such virality aka word of mouth through creative campaigns.

In recent years the invasion of online and digital media in our lives has completely changed the communication landscape. What was once achieved primarily by journalists writing for print media is not sufficient anymore. Social media which has grown to become a fundamental part of our lives is resulting in changes in social behaviors and patterns. This is fast growing into the de facto platform shaping trends and perceptions around the world.

However truth be told, reining in this versatile animal is no easy task. It takes a distinctive understanding of the medium and the subtle art of messaging to achieve any success. Marketers on their part are waking up to this reality and are working hard to master this segment. Featured below are some of the popular routes to be a part of social media conversations that are driving influence.

Guest Blogging

Blogging is in reality an effective communication method directed at audiences who are on a time crunch with ‘easy to read’ content on popular platforms. This has the potential of reaching a large audience basis the topicality of the content and its creativity. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group is a firm believer of blogging and believes it is the best way to share ones thoughts. He regularly captures his life’s’ experiences into blog posts and also encourages his peers to pen down their thoughts as often as possible. However, this is dependent on the writing prowess of the authors who should be able to direct their readers to their desired goals and therein improve brand visibility.

LinkedIn Posts & Marketing

LinkedIn today is considered the best, professional social media platform, with more than 500 million users on it. They have been instrumental in building a professional community of individuals from around the globe. It is observed that by making an insightful LinkedIn page for your company, one can immediately double the chances of visibility within the focused community. Experts can then post technical articles, personal thoughts, expectations from the industry and also build a reputation on the platform which could in-turn gain readers and followers who inevitably reach the authors’ specified websites. Top posts like ‘How Successful People Stay Calm’ by Dr. Travis Bradberry and ‘The No. 1 Career Mistake Capable People Make’ by Greg McKeown are some of the most viewed articles on Linkedin which have contributed in them being seen as go-to-experts in their respective fields as a result.

Social Media for Crisis Management

The bane of large enterprises is that they are under constant scrutiny and crisis situations are common place as a result. In such cases, a delayed response may cause irreparable damage to the perception of the company. One of the most recent examples is that of a Zomato delivery agent caught on camera eating from his consignment. Zomato got into a frenzy to contain the crisis as it had become viral within hours. The company then sent out a damage control tweet promptly promising tamper proof tapes for all their orders. Similarly, Pepsi, Cadbury, Jet Airways and many others have resorted to social media to immediately assuage and address an issue, to ensure that the customers’ trust is not compromised.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing in simple terms is popularizing the brand through a familiar face, much like conventional advertising. However, in these platforms, influencers are the highly followed Instagram or YouTube celebrities. They are typically experts on a particular niche and these influencers can help brands reach out to a wide range of audience (their followers) and boost sales. Often their favored persona also make them an ideal collaboration for brand building.

Social Media for Press Release

A well-known method of communicating with the press is with a press release. This is considered a publicists’ favored route, but in the present times, a brand can fine-tune the way a press release can catch a journalist or consumer’s attention, via social media platforms. You could use twitter and Instagram (predominantly) to announce the release of an exciting new feature or celebrate that much awaited award, with a global audience in this approach. Brands like Harper Collins, Penguin Books often resort to Instagram to unveil their new books, events, and upcoming shows. It is a good way to be creative and engage the audience to sit and take notice. The virality of these conversations online prompt journalist to in turn take notice and then publish them on their own platforms.

Needless to state Social Media is here to stay and we have to accept the fact that it is changing the way we operate, socialize and conduct ourselves. This is evident from the fact that Facebook has 1.74 Billion users, Instagram has 1 billion active users and Linkedin has over 500 million users. This is the growing popularity of this effervescent medium. It is time for marketers to wake up to this reality and find ways to engage with their target audiences through Social Media in PR.