On Wednesday, PR News brought together more than a dozen millennial communicators from PR agencies, corporations and nonprofits to gather insights into how this rapidly ascending generation views the PR profession, and their own future within it.
One key finding from this wide-ranging conversation: When asked which social network they use most in their work lives, the nearly unanimous response was Twitter. In their personal lives, Twitter and Instagram are the most used social platforms.
Chloe Sharfin, project consultant with APCO Worldwide, put it bluntly: “I use Twitter because stakeholders are engaging on the platform.”
Facebook was cast as nearly irrelevant for brand communications. The participants said that Facebook's latest algorithms penalize posts that are even vaguely promotional, making it difficult to justify any time spent with the platform (on the job, that is).
A couple of the participants urged their colleagues to use LinkedIn, which is viewed as more about networking and pitching. The site offers a more professional format than Twitter for reaching out to journalists and allows more space to market your message, according to Albe Zakes, global VP, communications for TerraCycle. While the participants recognized the potential in LinkedIn’s blogging feature, they lack the spare time to create a consistent presence on the social platform.
The fact that many of the participants cited Instagram as their platform of choice in their personal lives only heightens the photo-sharing app’s importance for PR. If you’re trying to reach millennials where they live, then Instagram should be top of mind for enterprising communicators.
While up-and-coming apps such as Snapchat and Periscope are seeing upticks in interest and use among PR pros, these millennials are sticking with the platforms they know and have been with since the beginning.
The full story on how millennials view the future of PR, as well as their own challenges and opportunities in the profession, will run in the May 25 premium edition of PR News.