Social media has changed public relations in so many ways. For one, a public relations professional no longer just writes press releases and hopes they are put in the newspaper. We have direct contact with our audience by way of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and even Pinterest! Being able to use those social media sites and knowing that our audience is already there sure does make things simpler but it’s not always a good thing. Managing a Twitter feed for a company and keeping up with a Facebook page seems easy enough. I mean we all have a Facebook and Twitter account and know how to use them. Yet, updating your own Facebook status and tweeting about your own life are a lot easier than having to do the same for a company. I’m helping to create the Twitter account for my internship site, as well as updating their Facebook page and it’s a lot of work! Coming up with topics to discuss that will engage your publics is not as easy as trying to engage your friends on your own personal social media accounts.
Having a background in public relations is essential to using social media for a company. Those people are trained to know what to say, how to engage in conversation with customers, and how to handle a crisis and deal with complaints and compliments in a professional manner. It’s not just a job for anyone and those attempting to handle social media without the proper knowledge could get overwhelmed by it. If a customer makes a rude comment on Facebook, someone without the PR knowledge might handle the situation poorly and not only lose that person as a customer but anyone else who visited the page and saw the interaction. Not having a clear understanding of social media and how it benefits you can end up hurting the company in the long run. It’s best just to go with a PR person to handle the social media.
In today’s social media craze, not choosing to engage in customers that way is the worst thing to do. A company not having a Facebook or Twitter may seem out of touch and detract customers.