Authenticity Key to Survival on Social Channels, Say Digital Leaders at PR News’ Big 3 Conference

Photo: @tweetMattLevine

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and other social media channels have not only changed the way individuals live and communicate—they have changed the nature of the relationships between organizations of all kinds and the public. And with that change in relationships has come a change in expectations. This change in expectations has opened up a world of possibilities for PR professionals to lead the way within organizations and for clients and show them how to meet these expectations of transparency and authenticity.

To put it in plain terms your Aunt Bertha can understand—there’s no place for organizations to hide anymore. As many of the speakers insisted at PR News’ April 18 Big 3 Digital PR Conference in New York, if an organization intends to survive and thrive in the rapid-fire public forum of social media, it had better pass the smell test of authenticity on these channels, where most of us now spent huge chunks of our waking hours.

Keynote speaker Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy and innovation officer for VivaKi, said that social channels are “the people’s network,” and that once information becomes digital it becomes “digital leakage” and burns through boundaries between  companies, industries and the analog world. “If your company is not authentic, nothing will help you on the people’s network,” Tobaccowala told the more than 200 seasoned communications professionals who gathered at New York’s Grand Hyatt to advance their skills in using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social channels on behalf of their organizations. “The recipe for success is authentic storytelling and inspiring experiences.”

Digital communications leaders from a broad spectrum of brands and organizations including Whole Foods Market, Gansevoort Hotel Group,, Ketchum, Weber Shandwick, Texas Instruments, U-Haul International, The Nature Conservancy, Hard Rock International, Toshiba America Medical Systems, WellPoint, DeVries, Allison + Partners, Zumba Fitness, Livio, Sons of Essex, the Audubon Society, Southern California Edison, Cone Communications, Capital One, D S Simon Productions, Navy Federal Credit Union, Business Wire and Critical Mention shared tactics- and case study-packed presentations throughout the day. Among the topics covered were must-have digital tools, engaging audiences on Pinterest, using Twitter for media relations, Facebook’s latest developments and features, visual storytelling and setting key performance indicators for social media programs.

PR News presented its Social Media Icon Awards luncheon the day before the Big 3 Conference at the Grand Hyatt, on April 17. The awards event, which celebrated top social media campaigns from brands, agencies and nonprofits, was keynoted by Jonathan Perelman, VP of agency strategy and development for BuzzFeed.