I never really considered myself to be in tune with the social media craze. I really consider myself to be more old-fashioned : I prefer conversation to tweeting, and pen and paper to blogging. However, social media used in public relations has proven to be a huge step in the right direction for the profession as a whole.
In browsing online, I came accross three different, yet revelant, articles that focus on social media and public relations. The first article focuses on the difference between traditional and online public relations. The second article talks about how public relations practioners use social media for desired results, and the final article shows how the intergration of both strategies had positive results. In the article by Anthony Mora, The Difference between Online and Traditional PR Mora talks about how PR practitioners used print media to get their tactics across. Using newspapers, magazine articles, and other forms of the sort, practicioners were able to “tell a story” of the companies they represented and showcase them in a positive light. In Mora’s opinion, the difference between the traditonal and online form of public relations tactics is that the latter is more similar to marketing and advertising tactics. Whenever PR practicioners used print media to get their ideas and information to the public across, they had to go through a similar process that journalists are familiar with; a term that Mora refers to as “vetting”. Speaking from a journalist profession, before anything can go trhough publication, it first has to be submitted to a string of editors that tighten, fact-check, and proof the article. This is what the term “vetting” is used to describe, and this is what Mora claims makes the pitches done by PR pros more credible and solid. When social media is incorporated, this process gets taken out (Mora’s opinion, I would say).
Even though the first article spoke on how PR practicioners use social media (i.e blog sites, company sites, etc.), the second article dives deeper into the subject. In
<a href =http://mashable.com/2010/03/16/public-relations-social-media-results/“>Using Social Media for Results</a>, author Christina Warren points out some key social media websites that PR pros use and their effects, which she calls their “toolkit”. She uses a great example of how PR professional Jeremy Pepper uses Twitter to reach his client’s niche audience. In using Twitter, he reaches out to his target audience by tracking keywords pertaining to the company, carrying conversations with the public, and answering questions for both sides(check out their
<a href=http://twitter.com/#!/palisadedlp“>twitter page</a> ). Like Warren states, these social medias are platforms used by successful PR practitioners who can understand the benefits of using outlets like Twitter and Facebook to communicate to the masses and to form great strategy options for their clients.
The previous two articles are a great way to bring the last article in, which shows how the intergration of both resulted in a positive after effect. An article by the Wall Street Journal published in April of this year shows how Terry Kalley used both traditional public relations strategies and social media channels to gain awareness and support for the drug Avastin. The article provides full descriptions and pictures of the
<a href=”http://www.socialmediareinvention.com/2011/04/freedom-of-access-to-medicines-integrated-digital-media-traditional-patient-advocacy-pr-strategy.html >social media tactics</a> used.
A little backstory: Avastin is a drug that can be used to slow the progression of certain cancers, like colon and breast cancer. Approval was needed by the FDA in order for the treatment to be covered by insurers and Medicaid, as it was costly.
What Talley did in the traditional sense: he met with legislators and policy makers, as well as Avastin Co. representatives, and promoted coverage from newspapers.
What Talley did in the Social Media sense: he created a webpage, used social media “buttons” to connect to the webpage that served as the “home base”, and used Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube as “outposts”. All these were used to create public awareness and advocacy, provide in-depth information to both the company and the drug, and become a conversational tool for the public, showing both support and appreciation. Although the drug was not approved by the FDA, it became more widely known through the efforts used.
This brings me to my final conclusion. In the world of PR (or, at least my view of it), practitioners are the mouthpiece for their clients and their products, and how they can effectively sell them is the key to their success. In using social media, not only do they “keep up” with what’s current, they can reach the public in ways that cause for a more successful marketing of their client, and a better use of two-way communication. This, in my opinion, is the main ingredient to reach that level of success.
– Jaleesa S Pouncil