Social media has had a profound effect on public relations, creating new opportunities and challenges for brands. Social media allows brands and consumers to engage across a variety of channels in real-time, which has led to an increased demand for brands to address consumer inquiries quickly and effectively. Social media has also led to the emergence of powerful digital influencers for brands to reach out to and work with.
Social media has given brands the opportunity to reach consumers on a variety of channels. Whether it’s through an engaging Facebook post or touching YouTube video, each channel offers a different venue for brands to share its content with consumers. These channels contribute to a brand’s overall personality and help consumers feel a deeper, personal connection with brands. While social media gives brands the opportunity to engage with consumers on many channels, it’s a two-way street. Social media also gives consumers the opportunity to engage with brands on a variety of channels. Consumers can “like”, comment on, and share brand content, which can help spread brand awareness and messages. However, social media also gives consumers a powerful voice to express criticism and share negative experiences. Since social media is transparent, these complaints are visible to the media and other consumers. Brands must respond quickly and effectively to prevent these complaints from escalating.
Social media gives brands the opportunity to engage with consumers on a variety of channels, but with opportunity comes responsibility. Social media has raised customer service expectations. Gone are the days when consumers could only interact with brands during business hours, Monday thru Friday. Consumers can now interact with brands on social media 24/7 and many consumers expect the same from brands. In order to accommodate these customer demands, many brands have extended their social monitoring hours to nights and weekends. Since news and hot issues often break on social media, brands that monitor their social channels closely and address these issues swiftly and tactfully can control the conversations, rather than reacting to them.
Social media has given ordinary people outlets to share content and voice their opinions. This has broadened the definition of journalism, creating powerful influencers for brands and public relations professionals to collaborate with. In addition to pitching traditional media outlets and reporters, brands now search for these key influencers to promote their products and services to target audiences. Social media has created more contacts for brands to work with, including bloggers, vloggers, contributors, experts, and spokespeople. Brands that have collaborated with these influencers in creative ways have developed meaningful relationships with these contacts and created impactful campaigns.
Social media has given brands and consumers new, exciting outlets to communicate and share information. These channels are constantly evolving, challenging brands to adapt quickly and create compelling content to reach target markets across a variety of mediums. Brands that recognize the power of these channels and invest time and energy to stay ahead of social media trends and developments have emerged as industry leaders, bringing value to their overall brand and creating loyalty customers.