PR in the time of Social Media

Public Relations

Sonam Shah, Founder and CEO, Treize Communications shares how the economy and dynamics of Public Relations as a practice has changed with the evolution of Social Media.

The last few years have seen digital and social media erupt as “The Big Thing”, “The Way Forward” and “The Gamechanger”, and no doubt it is. We have truly changed a lot of games, moved quite forward and created enough big things to talk about, now it’s time to move to Public Relations.

While digital has been helping brands and companies build visibility and recall, one cannot deny or overlook the role of PR anymore. Public Relations is no more a tool which can be ignored by any brand, company or even a start-up. To be honest, it is start-ups which require PR more versus any other marketing tool as it’s the most cost-effective brand building exercise for them. We work with some interesting start-ups and they have benefited a lot from our regular PR exercise.

Any early stage company requires PR to create visibility, while an established company needs PR to remain visible.

Public Relations is a fairly old industry, but the importance of it has been understood too late or maybe say still to be understood and accepted. PR as a tool is the most undervalued and incorrectly used tool in the marketing and communication plan for any company or brand.

A lot of times clients come to us at the end moment with PR Requirements, not understanding that PR is not always about creating news and buzz, but more about image construction, brand building and reputation management. Its not an overnight magic wand, which will weave an enchanting story all by itself! The primary focus of PR should be attached to a long-term purpose with having the correct buttons of communication pressed. Mere dissemination of press releases is not going to serve any purpose but maybe ‘trigger the wrong nodes’ in a journalists’ mind about your brand. Public Relations involves the true art of storytelling, building image and reputation via these stories and press releases along with ensuring itis communicated at the correct time via the correct medium.

PR is not an ROI driven industry but an industry or a medium which is people oriented. Its people talking about your brand, your company, your start-up, to other people, which holds much more value, credibility and authenticity then any digital and social media platform. You cannot evaluate how and what people talk about you, Afterall!

In today’s digitally driven and social media related world, PR brings in much more than any brand can anticipate for. PR not only provides third party promotions, earned media, trustworthiness but also helps showcase content which is being created digitally. Majority of the content created for digital media, have people talking about it only because it has been PR’ed smartly.

Also Read: Social Media “SWOTed”: A Public Relations perspective

Brands need to start adapting PR in their overall marketing strategy at a base level, and not just approach PR teams during social media crisis. When there is a social media crisis, brands first involve digital teams and agencies, but ideally it is the PR team which needs to be involved, to prevent damage control beyond social media platforms. Brands need to realise this and change their outlook towards PR.

While digital creates content, its PR which helps it reach to a larger audience and create buzz and word of mouth. That buzz and news created helps generate a chatter within people, thus helping the digital driven content get more shareability and virality. Strategic use of PR builds hype and an eagerness to know more. It gets people curious about what next, thus helping build conversations.

With PR growing at an enormous rate, it is getting very exciting to see how it will be adapted and used in the time of social media and whether it will take over social media or no? Should it take over or go hand in hand?

The article is authored by Sonam Shah, Founder and CEO, Treize Communications.