When looking at the changing PR landscape, particularly the presence of new forms of social media, what can PR professionals learn in order to engage rather than enrage social communities? Several examples were shared with attendees via a panel moderated by Peter Himler, President of Flatiron Communications LLC, and including:
- Rob Key, Founder & CEO of Converseon
- David Bradfield, Senior Vice President & Partner, FH Digital
- Lee Odden, CEO TopRank Online Marketing
Rob Key opened up the session with the advice for PR professionals trying to make sense out of social media and PR:
- Listen and observe the group you are trying to penetrate
- Understand the wants, needs, and requirements for entrance into said group
- Gain trust and credibility by offering something of value when entering
A social network, like a party of new friends, has its own wants, needs and – per Odden – its own written and unwritten rules to be followed. Unless time is taken to listen to what those wants, needs and rules are, and an effort is made to offer something of value based on this information, you will likely be seen as an outsider to the proceedings, unlikely to be involved in any meaningful party conversation, and risk the complete shunning of the group itself.
With the risk in of alienation high when leveraging social media in the new PR landscape, is the corresponding reward equally as rich? The answer is a resounding, and absolute yes.