Nowadays, it is noticeable how people disappear from traditional media. Newspapers and magazines are visited online and people use all kinds of social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.(Horton, http://www.online-pr.com, 2009)
What does this mean for PR practitioners?
Professionals need to adapt to the change and consider the social media channels more in their communications work. The European Communication Monitor (ECM) 2010 showed that the importance of the use of digital media and social media has rapidly grown in the media mix of organizations. Public Relation is now more than writing press releases to newspapers. It is connected to the digital world. Meaning, that social media provides an opportunity and gives the PR practitioners the chance to spread their messages more widely. Naturally, with communicating through digital tools the practitioner needs to control the message and be aware of threads through these channels. (Verhoeven, Tench, Zerfass, Moreno, & Verčič, 2012)
Today it is all about being online and being connected. PR professionals need to think outside the box and add more than traditional media to their portfolio. CEO Sabrina Horn of the Horn Group, a PR agency says: “What makes communications today “digital” is the delicate combination of PR with these interactive Web capabilities and social media – all the channels by which a company now gets the word out about its brand.” (Horn, Forbes Magazine, 2012)
In addition, professionals think that the industry will benefit from the emerge growth of social media. Especially the external communication practitioners claim that the growth helps communicating transparency, trust, precision, credibility, and honesty. (Wright & Hinson, 2013)
Practitioners need to use the channels wisely. Shitstorm can happen very easily and the smallest mistake can have a huge impact on the company itself. Companies and professionals need to have backup communication strategies and be aware of the power the digital world brings. Social Media is like the whisper children game just in a digital format. Meaning that the message we send throughout social media looses its meaning and and context by sharing and interpreting the message differently. (Qualms, Socialnomics, 2011)
PR needs to adapt to the digital work. To achieve the communication goals it is necessary to use the social media channels to reach the needed public and target group.
Horn, Sabrina, (2012), Public Relations Goes Digital, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/06/27/public-relations-goes-digital/#32d0c6391987
Horton, James, (2009). PR and Social Media. http://www.online-pr.com/Holding/PR_and_Social_media.pdf
Verhoeven, P., Tench, R., Zerfass, A., Moreno, A., & Verčič, D. (2012). How European PR practitioners handle digital and social media. Public Relations Review, 38(1), 162-164. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dejan_Vercic/publication/251582755_How_European_PR_practitioners_handle_digital_and_social_media/links/0c96053320175f384e000000.pdf
Wright, D. K., & Hinson, M. D. (2013). An updated examination of social and emerging media use in public relations practice: A longitudinal analysis between 2006 and 2013. Public Relations Journal, 7(3), 1-39. http://test.prsa.org/Intelligence/PRJournal/Documents/2013_WrightHinson_2013.pdf
Qualman, E. (2009). Socialnomics. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=de&lr=&id=yAqD19i2U0UC&oi=fnd&pg=PT13&dq=Social+Media+in+companies+awareness&ots=AwMeN4pV5K&sig=L3P6MKzfYd3InwBJpS4b0XPprOk#v=onepage&q=Social%20Media%20in%20companies%20awareness&f=false