The impact of social media on public relations
The rise of social media has changed the field of public relations. Will this change cause the downfall of public relations, or will it simply enhance the practice?
Dr. Kaye Sweetser, a public relations professor at the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University, does not see social media overtaking public relations. She believes that PR practices are evolving, as things naturally do, but the “good old fashion” PR will always remain. She added that “PR will outlast social media because social media is a tool.” Dr. Sweetser sees social media as an implement of PR because we use it to help get the job done, but in no way does it make or break public relations as a whole.
Some believe that social media is good for public relations. In an article written by Paul Bates, he stated that “social media has made PR more ‘friendly’ to all stakeholders of a business, resulting in a new area of marketing called ‘relationship marketing.’”
An article written by 5W Public Relations described the numerous ways in which social media benefits the public relations industry. Companies and brands that are active on social media can develop a more personable relationship with their customers. They also respond quickly to complaints or problems on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Much of the time, consumers leave their feedback on their newsfeeds, and in response, companies reply, fixing the problem and protecting themselves from PR issues.
Social media platforms also give public relations experts the opportunity to control and navigate conversations around certain campaigns. As explained in a Millennium Agency blog by Linda A. Fanaras, the use of hashtags make finding, monitoring, understanding and engaging in conversations easier. They help reach the intended audience and allow brands to put out the messages they want.
By Tim’mya Cook
Tim’mya is a senior at San Diego State University studying Public Relations. She is currently exploring opportunities related to entertainment and fashion in the PR world. Following graduation, she hopes to work in the fashion or entertainment industry.