Public relations involve the undertakings that an organization participates in to promote
munificence between the company and the local community. Duhé (2006) argues that public
relations empower a company to get grip of communication between the company and its
workforce and customers. It exposes the company to its audiences using news items and matters
of public interest. It also facilitates a company to assess developments, forecasting their
consequences, advising organizational leaders, and effecting planned platforms of action, which
will serve both the public interest and the organization. How can these objectives be
accomplished without the support of social media, while the common activities of this office
include working with the media, social media engagement, speaking at conferences, crisis
communications and employee communication?
Social media has indeed opened a superfluity of opportunities for public relations
practitioners. The advance in development of social media has profoundly transformed the way
businesses are interrelating with their stakeholders. Public relations have been striving hard to
handle such dynamic and fast-moving developments. It is vital for public relations practitioners
to be proficient in applying these new technologies in order to influence current and future
business prospects. The world has transformed, and the crescendos of public relations must
change with it. Disruptions in international economics and the rise of social media have offered
the world of commercial communications with a novel prototype. Drastic fluctuations in general
media are shifting how public relations practitioners address the media, content and
demonstration of their clients (Scott, 2010).
At the core of the evolution in technology is content, and the public relations officer’s role
in its generation, accumulation and consequential conversations. The effective publication of content in the media has been an objective of customary public relations, viewed as the
deliverable by the public relations officer’s clients. Once published, the customary public
relations practitioner would be dissociated from the content, unable to oversee its propagation.
The content is given to the media, or publisher, which becomes the curator of its final form and
accumulation. Clients would then be hopefully exposed to the content, and a conversation would
come up, that public relation officer and their customers would not essentially be privy to.
The arena, in terms of inspiring the publication of content, is still also an important role of
public relations. But this now spreads outside traditional publishers. Of course, the public
relations officer must address customary media and press, but must also embrace bloggers,
conspicuous social media consumers and new media producers that have sway in their own right.
There are many tools now existing that enables the public relation officers to become publishers
and package content for consumers and media (Scott, 2010). These channels allow the public
relations industry to shape its own audience and endow them in the content publication. But in
order to successfully manage the publication of content, public relation practitioners need to
appreciate the effective use and implications of these tools. This implies recognizing the effect
that platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs have as much as content is involved and
accrediting of the shifting parts in tenure of that content.
For all of its approvals, social media sites are frustrating lots of companies. The sudden
sharing of opinions and information about products on blogs, Twitter, and other sites is
enthralling companies to try to sway these conversations by use of new ways of thinking and
technology. Businesses really get concerned about losing grip of what clients are discussing
about them online; that control is very much gone. As a result, many companies are being
persecuted by social media rather than exploiting it because they are too relaxed and ill-armed to respond to destructive comments that can harm their brands. Companies can make sales leads and
advance market share by endorsing themselves through blogs and tweets. One inspiring example
is IdeaStorm site by Dell. Here the consumers are given the opportunity to suggest fixes and
enhancements to products. Almost half of internet users claim they value evidence from other
clients more than that supplied by producers.
Marketing is another purpose of publishing that public relation must now also assume. In
the old prototype, the publisher had the responsibility to market packaged information, while now
the public relations officer must organize the marketing of content published by new and
alternative media channels. Social media, for instance, is as much a tool for the promotion and
sharing of information as it is for its design and publication. There are many uses, which may
include conversational marketing and reaching influencers, that public relations officer is able to
partake in conversations and respond to questions. The social media in this case can be a
sustenance system for both clients and companies. It can be as well used to sanction customers
and influence users to be a genuine resource for the business, a campaigner for its services or
products (Scott, 2010).
The influence of media has also transformed. In the past, readership numbers alone and
broad demographics were used to measure influence, but now eminence beats numbers. Solis and
Breakenridge (2009) argues that there is always a chance that 100 Facebook users who are
fragment of a function group, may provide more influence in a given area of interest than 3000
magazine readers may not be interested in anything. The propagation of information in social
media is also augmented as posted stuffs pop up in public timelines and are used by several users.
A tiny group of people is able to grasp potentially millions of users of social media with
relatively slight effort, if the information they are providing is of sufficient interest.
When the subsequent conversation about the information begins, the public relations
officer is in the mix. However, it is important to note that the part of social media is not to
influence the information, but to be conscious of its occurrence, usage and implications, and to be
accessible to reply if the need occurs (Brown, 2009). It is no longer tolerable to pretend these
discussions are not taking place. Public relation needs to be aware of the discussions and be open
to learn from the intuitions offered by the information consumers.
Constructive feedback from social media may be used to produce superior content in the
future. Tools exist that allow discussions to be monitored. However, the precise response to
damaging criticism is not to send free samples to the provocateur of the very item they are
lamenting about, or to try to switch the conversation. The company must instead realize that
partaking to these discussions is a privilege. If clients are telling you to rectify your merchandise,
then the issue is with the item itself, not the information surrounding it (Scott, 2010). If you
monitor the discussion, carefully stripping out commentary by persons seeking glory or trolling
for undesirable attention, a decent cross-cut of judgment is offered by the social media. The role
of the public relations officer in the conversation is as listener and facilitator. To find where the
discussion is taking place and access it to offer relevant response to the client (Brown, 2009).
The above arguments just highlight how social media can impact on a company’s policy.
There is need for businesses to realize that they need to adjust themselves with the changing
business environment. The way people converse and the forms of information consumption and
media are changing. Public relation officers need to be conscious of these changes and take their
responsibilities and roles accordingly. Social media is a critical tool for public relations in these
changing ways of communication.