While social media is often highlighted as a hindrance to communication, it is worth noting the vast positive effects it can have in promoting relationships between public relations practitioners and influencers/bloggers. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are often used by bloggers and influencers to promote products and personal brands. While these platforms were initially used primarily as a form of public information communication, in recent times this communication model has developed to increasingly include two-way asymmetrical and two-way symmetrical communication (Grunig, J 2008, p 287). An increase in comments, subscriptions, polls and other elements of participatory culture (Hutchins, L, Tindall, N 2016, p. 104), has cemented social media as one of the most vital recourses available to public relations practitioners.
So how as public relations practitioners can we use this resource not only to promote our relationship with the public, but with bloggers and influencers to promote both online and offline relationships? One of the amazing features of social media is that it allows for quick and concise communication. Through comments, reposting and re tweeting, practitioners are able to develop and maintain a relationship and rapport with bloggers and influencers without time consuming face-to-face communication. In future face-to-face interactions it can assist in promoting topics of conversation and business proposals that are relevant to their current work and built on an already existing relationship.
The ability to communicate and effectively run social media demonstrates to bloggers and influencers the ability to understand the field they work in, the ability to create content for, and communicate with, audiences in a way relevant their field. Monitoring social media personalities and trends demonstrates that the work created by the public relations practitioner can be relevant to both them and their wider audience. Personal accounts can be used as a portfolio of sorts to demonstrate skills in both creating and managing accounts, be that personal or business.
While social media does no doubt hinder communication in some forms, as public relations practitioners in the 21st century it is vital to both the development, and longevity of business and communications. Assisting in developing relationships, promoting partnerships and demonstrating relevance, social media communication plays a role that reaches far beyond its user’s screens. Therefore the vital importance of this tool, not only online, but in the promotion of relationships with bloggers and influencers, should not be underestimated by modern day public relations practitioners. With Boriack describing influencers as “one of the key ingredients in any integrated communications campaign” (Johnston, J, Rowney, K, 2018, p. 54).
Left wanting more? Check out this Forbes video on ‘The Business of Influence’ and the power or social media!
Grunig, J 2009, Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management, Grunig J (eds), retrieved 4 April 2019, Ebook database
Hutchins, L, Tindall, N 2016, New media, new media relations: Building relationships with bloggers, citizen journalists and engaged publics, Routledge, retrieved 4 April 2019, .
Johnston, J, Rowney, K 2018, Media Strategies: Managing content, platforms and relationships, Allen & Unwin, Melbourne.
Why Are Brands Choosing To Work With Influencers, YouTube, Forbes, 2 October 2017, retrieved 26 May 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaDgaRI79YE.