Saying social media changed everything seems like an understatement. From political activism and poetry to sports and entertainment, everything under the sun has been revolutionized—for better or worse—by the rise of platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
The trajectory of the field of communications is no different. It may even be safe to say that social has effectively split PR in two. For some, it heralds a new golden age of communications management, and for others it is a murky and ill-defined conundrum lacking coherent structure.
Still, in many ways the brass tacks haven’t changed. The act of public communication has just become easier, the barriers of entry lower. It is impossible to deny the power of possibility in the social realm, equally accessible to the layman and the PR pro.
The immediacy and two-way nature of online conversation has spawned a reality in which brands negotiate their public images with consumers daily. Many thrive—or suffer epic failures—through social media.
Jeff Joseph, of the Consumer Electronics Association, knows that to wield the social media sword—one of many tools in his communications arsenal—you have to be smart, fast and genuine. Although a long and storied career in PR helps too.
Here Jeff offers some thoughts on the ways social media has changed managing brand reputation. To get the full story behind the online life of brands, be sure to attend PR News’ Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington D.C. on December 11th, where Jeff will be talking about “Social” Media Training: Managing Brand Reputation in the Mobile, 24/7 Universe.
- Immediacy — In the good old days PR professionals had time before the next news cycle to respond to negative news or a potential brand crisis. With social media, response time is now measured in minutes instead of days or hours. You have to engage quickly before others grab control of the narrative.
- Direct Engagement — No more hiding behind press releases. Social demands direct engagement and a willingness to engage in a dialogue with your audiences in an open and honest manner. More, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your audiences and respond accordingly.
- Transparency —While it’s never been a good idea in PR—or any pursuit—to hide the truth, that holds doubly true in the age of social media. Online, the truth will eventually come out. Make sure you are the one deciding when, how, where and what’s revealed.
- Reach — This may be the most obvious and, arguably, the greatest benefit of the online world. Social allows for promoting and managing your brand on a global scale at a relatively low cost. At the same time, social media allows you to hyper-target to the most discrete audience segment—like middle-aged African American PR professionals who grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs and love country music. Just sayin’.
Join PR News for the Media Relations Next Practices Conference on Dec. 11th, in Washington D.C