Under the influence: Social media in today’s modern PR landscape
Over the last few years, social media as a PR channel, has changed the modern PR landscape. Social media has changed the way people communicate, engage with and share information, all at the ease of tapping a few buttons. Not surprisingly, social media has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with global users numbering billions.
Take a look at recent statistics, Twitter now has 126 million daily users, up from 115 million compared to one year ago! Worldwide, there are over 2.41 billion monthly active Facebook users and roughly 1 billion people using Instagram every month. It is clear that social media is beyond what they call a “phenomenon”. Social media today has an impact on people, brands, and most importantly those of us in the Public Relations industry!
With the rise of influencers and thought leaders, the way in which we consume news and share information has changed. We as PR professionals have had to adapt. Its influence is now simply too large to ignore. Understanding these changes is critical for the PR industry to be successful, relevant and ahead of the competition.
Here are a couple of ways social media has impacted the PR Industry:
- Rise of the Influencers
Some could argue that the term “influencer” is the ultimate defining ‘buzzword’ in the age of social media. “Influencers” are broadly defined as influential people or key leaders in various industries who have the power and potential to influence people – from Beauty Youtubers to Travel Vloggers to Thought leaders such as journalists. Social media have transformed the traditional model that was once focused on TV, print and radio and instead brands are now recognising the potential of how engaging content and social media activity influencing the ever-changing field.
- Crisis communications has become even more crucial.
With social media, the ability to communicate a message to an audience is now quicker and easier than ever, whether it be sharing a tweet or posting on Facebook. However, for PR professionals, social media has now increased the chance for brands to potentially damage their reputation if they are not careful. PR professionals are now responsible for managing and protecting a firm’s online reputation through engaging content and engagement with their respective communities as well as media monitoring.
- Digital media has shortened the life span of news stories
Social media is an effective tool especially when communicating breaking news coverage. In contrast to blog posts and articles that you find typically published on websites, most of the content on social media has a short lifespan. As journalists are constantly searching for the next big thing, PR professionals must also keep up or risk getting left behind.
- Increased engagement and reach
On average consumers spend nearly 2.5 hours on social media platforms everyday around the world. These statistics alone show how consumers are increasingly active on social media and engaging with brands and their content through likes, shares and comments. From a PR standpoint, this highlights how there is ever growing opportunity for engaging content to reach the masses and boost visibility of a brand to a larger audience.
As social media continues to change, there are no signs of it slowing down and for those of us in the PR industry, we must continue to adapt and stay ahead of trends in order to not risk getting left behind.