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Modern PR Industry: Social Media Edition

I’ve walked through the crowd with my phone glued to my hand, posting on Instagram and tweeting while memorising relevant hashtags, all while trying not to walk straight into people because I’m trying to maintain the landscape layout of the post.

This was my life when I worked as a social media manager.

I was introduced to PR through an internship position and something about this whirlwind industry hooked me. Two countries, six years and countless clients later, I haven’t looked back. While I experienced more than a short stint in the social media industry, I am observing the close correlation between PR and social media because nowadays, you simply don’t get the most out of one without the other.

In the ever evolving media sector, it is hard to keep up with current communication trends that focus on traditional PR, let alone adopt newer ones. In this industry, the misconception is that the job focuses primarily on media relations. Securing a cover story in a reputed daily or an exclusive feature with a luxury publication isn’t necessarily a measure of success. Customers are using every online platform to give their feedback and this is where a PR professional must channel his/her social media knowledge to showcase the positive and address concerns.

Public relations is measured not only by the coverage secured but by ensuring relevant exposure, offering unmatched ideations and most importantly, providing crisis management.

While working with an established jewellery brand as their social media guru (as I was so fondly called), I worked round the clock because social media knows no time bounds. But a sizeable portion of that time was spent drafting press release content while balancing media relations and dealing with the spillover of negative comments on social media. Addressing the negative comments required immediate social media action while simultaneously ensuring that the content being shared with the press would allow for no negative repercussions.

Public relations agencies traditionally focused only on news announcements, but social media focuses on real time interactions. Gone are the days when press releases were responsible for communication. Now, social media echoes PR content with ‘Why was this news shared?’, ‘What does this have to do with me?’ or ‘Did you notice the typo?’

Public relations professionals must possesses a working knowledge of social media and its significant impact on brand image. With customers taking to various platforms to announce thoughts that would normally remain private, the public relations industry now coexists with the social media realm – all thanks to 140 characters or less.