Co-exist: Social Media & Public Relations

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Yes, we’re posting yet another entry on social media. This time, instead of talking about HOW you should link social media to the rest of your media plans, we’re discussing WHY you should connect social media with other areas of your business, particularly public relations.

First, the keys to social media:
•    Be open and transparent
•    Listen to people
•    Respond rapidly
•    Work with people
•    Empower people

And, the keys to public relations:
•    A vague comment is better than “no comment”
•    Make it personal: put a face to your brand
•    Always make your point of view the first
•    Consider customer/consumer concerns
•    Make your audience feel important

Do you notice the connections? If not, here’s a brief description of how it works:

1.    Social media tells us to be “open and transparent.” This means sharing information openly, letting your audience see what your corporation is all about. Public relations also tells us to appear “transparent,” always giving a comment and NEVER leaving your audience in the dark.
2.    Listening is an important factor of both social media and public relations. Listening gives your customers input, and also gives you a glimpse into how your audience is feeling. For social media purposes, listening enables you to be more connected to your audience while in public relations, listening lets you know what to discuss.
3.    A rapid response is equally important in public relations as it is in social media. By getting your opinion heard first, the competition will have to work harder to prove you wrong. Responding quickly to your customers (in social media) and to a crisis (in public relations) will increase trust in your company.
4.    Work with people. Consider the Gestalt Principle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Consider customer and consumer concerns and listen to their input. They may have a good suggestion to help better your products or solve a problem.
5.    Who doesn’t want to feel a sense of empowerment? Perhaps the best way to do so is to thank your customers. Using social media, send an e-mail or a direct message, post it on their Facebook wall, let the world see that you recognize them as a key component to your business. In public relations, include it in a speech, or write it in a press release. Everyone will appreciate the fact that you take your customers’ comments into consideration and show that you appreciate them.

Social media and public relations “Co-exist.” Take advantage of the similarities between the two, and don’t forget that everything is linked (pun intended).

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