social media & the impact on PR

What’s undeniable about social media is the impact it has made on everything: social networking websites, communication, news, public relations and the business model just to name a few. However with that said, it’s imperative to remember that although each medium is affected, the way in which it is affected is vastly different. Both of the articles that we read for this particular analysis: The The Impact of Social Media on Public Relations and Analyzing the Impact of Social Media From Twitter to Facebook build on each other. One demonstrating how the initial impact of social media is changing the field of public relations, the other in return demonstrating how that impact is being felt through consumers as well as the potential that this impact could possibly bring in the future.



PR representatives Nigel Ferrier, Tom Malcolm, Andy Heaps, and Pete Goold shared their insights and opinions as to the impacts their agencies are experiencing as a result of social media.

Questions Asked/ Analysis of the Responses:

Familiarizing myself with these responses has only furthered my understanding as to how social media can be used as a tool for advancement in the PR field. In order to analyze these responses and begin to dissect what can be done with the answers provided I am going to readdress the questions

1. What effect is social media having on PR?

  • What’s clear from all of these responses is that social media is creating PR to become much bigger in it’s entirety.
  • There is now a more clear need for content to be created and presented with many things “in mind”. For instance, there has to be much more consideration given to who the audience is and how content can be presented so that they will engage in it. As content is bombarding the social sphere from every angle, its has to be packaged in just the right way for a consumer to even notice it let alone engage in it, whatever that means.
  • With this said, PR professionals also have to give consideration as to what will happen should their produced content not be successful. What might the threat be if content is received poorly and users become vocal about their dissatisfaction.
  • In regard to the creation of content, PR firms and professionals no longer generate it alone. They need to be willing to work together with ad agencies and other organization in order to collaborate and create the best fit content in regard to the channel they’re utilizing and the audience they’re targeting.
  • There is also a need for accountability and transparency in the PR world. No longer will audience just take the information given. As the power has shifted to be in the individual’s hands, they now have the ability to publicly question why things are presented as they are as well as to vocalize dissatisfaction. The PR world now has to be prepared to address conflict publicly all while saving face for the organization’s reputation.

= What does all of this mean? It means that PR has grown, social media has caused PR to become the responsible party for the dissemination of information to the public but with great power comes great responsibility. When things go wrong PR professionals much be able to engage in conflict management with a friendly face as to not lose the interest of their target audiences.

2. Have social media and PR become synonymous with each other? 

  • Well, it depends on who you ask. Some professionals say no, some say oh yes. From those professionals interviewed for this article, it would seem that more of them feel that they have become more integrated by they are not necessarily synonymous. If anything, there is more recognition of one another and a greater understanding of the roles each plays within the social sphere and the organizations structure.

= What does all of this mean? That PR and Social Media professionals need to be able to understand each of their specific purposes within the organizational goals, and they need to be able to work together effectively in order to benefit the organization.

3. Does the PR’s traditional toolbox lend the profession to leading the way in social media?

  • It seems as though people’s don’t want to believe that the traditional PR toolbox is no longer enough, but that seems to be the consensus from theses professionals. There are various needs that have been catalyst by social media that the traditional PR toolbox simply doesn’t address.
  • The most prominent needs pinpointed included: reformed skills to connect with audiences, skills to keep up with technological changes, there is a need for PR to become more cohesive in working with other agencies and there is a need for PR to have a more analytical approach in terms of utilizing social media.

= What does all of this mean? It means that the PR toolbox is a great place to start, but there are skills that are not considered part of the toolbox that are become increasingly more important with the rise of social media. Perhaps these skills are not taught in the same ways in which the PR toolbox is, these newer skills may be acquired through hands-on experience, however these tools are giving PR professionals with them the competitive edge to keep up in our new social mediated world.



Creating a PR campaign is undoubtedly an important stop in navigating the PR field, but knowing how to evaluate the effectiveness of said campaign is what distinguishes the good from the great. Vocus provided great criteria as to how PR professionals can evaluate the success of their PR campaigns through five evaluations:

1. Getting the Right Results

  • Don’t let your message get lost!

2. Following Your Message

  • Focus on the areas that give your message the most attention

3.    Benchmarking with Caution

  • Gauge your efforts with your competitors and be willing to edit along the way!

4.    Learning from Success, and

  • Follow your greatest impacts and utilize them fully!

5.    Spotlighting the Results

  • Dashboard your success so at any given time you can highlight it!

= What does all of this mean? You have the control to monitor your PR success and the impact that it is making, but it is a process. You have to track your PR closely and be willing to make sudden changes if necessary. However, there are ways to lighten your load. If similar campaigns are finding success, you can evaluate the channels they are employing and potentially replicate their success with your message. You can cut down on time and resources by finding the audience that best fits your plan and tailoring your content to be most attractive to them. If you’re constantly tracking and revising your efforts you will be more successful in the long run and build longer lasting relationships with the audience as you tailor your content toward their preferences.


Understanding how PR is changing can help you tailor your message to be successful, but in PR success is not something you arrive at. In order to be run a successful PR campaign you have to constantly be innovating, interacting and evaluating. The PR world is ever changing due to the influence of the social media sphere and ways to be successful will only continue to grow and evolve as the field of social media grows and evolves.

Here’s a video worth checking out that provides additional views on how social media is changing PR:


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