Short answer? Yes.
Social media is heavily tied into PR for one very basic reason: it is everywhere.
Insight into media targets
Social media makes your job easier. If you need to quick method to update your media list or garner insight into a reporter’s interests, all you need to do is monitor a reporter’s social media channels. Like anyone, many members of the media livestream their lives on social media, so you’re getting live, first-hand insight about a possible contact.
Now, a word we’re all tired of hearing, “influencers.” Why are influencers so important?
There is a certain influencer culture. You may scoff at the idea of Instagram models and YouTube video gamers but they have a most coveted asset: the trust of your client’s target audience. Influencers are the perfect balance of celebrity and relatability. This amounts to unbelievable sway. Targeting millennials and retaining their loyalty is crucial to many brands, yet millennials are the one of the hardest segments to market. Young adults don’t trust big brands, even when they try to cloak themselves in hipster [see Caleb’s Kola]. Consumers know brands ultimately only want one thing. Influencers on the other hand, (virtually) welcome their followers into their homes, share personal stories, have sparkly, witty personalities. So when they do pander to consumers, it’s easy to forget that it’s paid adverts. It’s more like a friendly and very helpful suggestion.
Where does traditional media fit in?
The rise of the importance of social in the PR ecosystem does not mean traditional media is losing relevance. In many ways, the immediacy of social is filling in the gap that traditional print used to serve. However, traditional media is evolving as it continues to explore how people consume media. Yes, we watch television but how? The introduction of laptops and tablets and bigger, smarter phones means that consumers spend less time waiting for next month’s issue of Elle and more time watching their favorite beauty guru highlight and strobe.
As publications go digital, their focus is changing as well. They do stories on top influencers, hire bloggers, beef up their social media accounts and although there is no guarantee they can keep up; this is the best way to stay relevant.
There are better ways of even reaching out to possible placements. The incorporation of CRM tools makes work “smarter, not harder.” Keep up with your own social media channels. How does your PR firm appear from the outside looking in? Social media is inseparable from PR, both as a way to represent and a way to be represented.
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