Taking the Plunge

As is the case in many relationships, social media and public relations often struggle to completely come together. Social media is like this cool new addition to the professional world, while PR is the seasoned veteran that has seen it all before. Even though these two components make a great team, businesses seldom put them together because it’s risky. There is not a set of standards that will guide the actions taken in utilizing social media and the internet for public relations. Even more intimidating is the idea of going in there without knowing what will happen!

Alas for businesses that have yet to see enough worth in this risk, it is time to just do it. PR with social media is not an exact science yet, so anticipate some “learning experiences” through mistakes. Sometimes that is the best way that we learn anyway, right?

Of course this does not mean I suggest running blindly into this tandem of PR and the internet without the least semblance of a plan of attack. On the contrary, plans should be the first step to any campaign. We should however take it upon ourselves to be diligent students of the trade. Read other blogs and news articles about social media usage. Monitor other sites that seem to have succeeded with a similar game plan. Watch YouTube videos in your spare time that discuss using the internet effectively for your business. Do not just wait for success to fall into your lap. Take some initiative, try things out, and see what you can learn through experience.

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PR in the Digital Age

The generally accepted definition of public relations according to the Public Relations Society of America says that PR “helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other” (2011). Since the early 1900s, it has been the communication vessel between corporations and the community.

With recent technological advances, public relations has been forced to make large adjustments to their traditional methods of practice. In fact, the marketing industry as a whole has shifted from what is still labeled in textbooks as “traditional media” (TV, print ads, billboards) to new, or digital, media. That is not to say that the old ways should be abandoned altogether. On the contrary, these traditional forms of media have withstood the test of time and will continue to be tools in the public relations process.

The true test for public relations is going to be combining the tried-and-true methods of traditional media with the digital, Web 2.0 tools that are now available. And it is especially challenging because both methods have wildly different implementation schemes. While in traditional media, proven formulas are adjusted to meet company needs, digital marketing requires a bit of experimentation.

As we continue to learn about the capabilities of the digital realm, businesses will learn new ways to connect to the public. Though the promise of the web has been around for several years now, the promise remains largely unscathed. Opportunity is out there for a marriage between social media and public relations. Someone just needs to set these two up.

http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/PublicRelationsDefined/

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