Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 15, 2011

Public Relations in a Social World

In today’s social world, anyone can be a content creator. From marketing and community managers to sales people and customer service representatives, the front-line staff has a far broader reach than ever before. Today’s increasingly social world brings new opportunities to more effectively promote and represent a brand, and create an open dialogue via social channels to the community the organization serves.

While public relations professionals have always played a part in creating content and pushing client messaging to relevant target audiences, the “social boom” has expanded public relation’s role to that of “public engagers.” Now, public relations professionals have to lead and guide the social activities both inside and outside an organization, properly engaging with online influencers and communities.

The expanded role of public relations professionals now includes:

• Social Monitoring and Research

  • Monitor brand mentions and analyze sentiment
  • Track competitor activity and conversation
  • Closely examine conversations from top targets

• Social Engagement

  • Respond to community activity
  • Cross promote news coverage through social channels; give credit to media
  • Foster dialog
  • Survey target audience attitudes

• Content Curation

  • Create valuable content for the community and media (in a variety of formats)
  • Share material and comments of others
  • Measure response rates

• Community and Influencer Development

  • Identify and engage with key influencers
  • Build relationships with media and key influencers via social media, then take conversations offline (events, briefings, etc.)
  • Grow and deepen the social base, advocacy building
  • Maintain relationships through engagement

The focus of public relations has evolved from mass media to the mass community. In today’s social environment, the possibilities to promote a brand are endless, and it isn’t solely the job of the public relations department anymore. Social media has opened up a new world for public relations professionals to promote their client’s initiatives across channels, as well as educate and activate its employees and community to become advocates for their brand.

Ric PratteRic Pratte, Director, Meltwater Buzz, is focused on helping businesses capitalize on new media to reach and connect with their customers and market. As a pioneer in social CRM, he has shaped the development of how businesses can understand social relationships and conversations, and effectively utilize that knowledge. As co-founder and president of JitterJam, he drove the development of a unique and compelling social CRM (SCRM) system that is being used by brands and agencies worldwide. JitterJam was acquired by Meltwater Group in March 2011, where Pratte is now director of the Meltwater Buzz business unit.

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