The ways PR pros use social media.

By Armani Shumpert

The impact that social media has had on the PR industry is clear. It created new opportunities and new challenges for brands. It allows brands and consumers to connect in real-time on severalplatforms. Today, PR practitioners are no longer able to escape this effect.

There are several ways that PR professionals use social media. I wanted to address some of the ways that social media has influenced the PR industry, and why all professional communicators need to get involved.

1. The 24/7 news cycle. 

The advent of social media has resulted in a 24/7 news cycle. Brands can now share good content at any moment, and they know that everyone is listening and ready to respond. Social media platforms also provide an opportunity as part of an emergency response plan to allow notifications to be play-by-play as things go south. This offers the opportunity for PR practitioners to participate in the conversation in a way that makes them an active participant in brand communication.

However, the 24/7 news cycle can become a vortex as false content travels across social media channels, creating a PR crisis that makes healing, regeneration, and regulation more difficult.

2. Enhanced journalists’ access.

Another way that social media integrates with public relations is that it allows greater access to reporters than ever before. Having the opportunity to connect with journalists on different social media sites, PR practitioners can learn the tone of voice of a writer, perspectives on specific subjects, and recent research.

Resources such as Muck Rack will help you find publications and journalists that suit your needs and connect to their latest social media tweets and profiles right away.

Caution: While social media can be a wonderful way for journalists to study and communicate, it is not in your best interest to tweet or steer your pitch message directly to a writer unless their profile specifically says it does.   

3. Control of real-time crisis.

Public relations professionals also can put an end to online crises that could potentially lead to a negative brand reputation. Social networking channels allow PR professionals to respond to situations and/or interactions with the audience in real-time. This has been very beneficial as it now enables PR teams to take advantage of social media to resolve problems and preserve the brand’s positive online image.

PR professionals must be able to use this complicated but amazing tool which is social media to be successful. In the public relations market, social media is no longer a secondary thought — it is an integral part of the industry. 

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