Cyber and Public Relations
Public relations professionals play a critical role in promoting an organization’s activities to the public. The advancement of technology in the modern era has introduced various digital media that have shifted the dynamics of traditional forms of public relations, thus creating a new form of PR through digital marketing and social media that corporates currently use to promote their brand.
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To fulfill their roles successfully, It is important for these PR professionals should have a high level of experience in packaging communication and publications messages in a manner that is attractive to the public.
The extensive use of social media in PR activities has enabled most companies to be more transparent in their operations since negative public perceptions can have devastating effects on their sales and growth.
Optimizing the use of online media has contributed significantly to increasing the interactiveness and accountability of public relations to the internal and external public (Allagui & Breslow, 2016).
The emergence of new media technologies is rapidly driven by the widespread use of the internet, thus promoting the widespread digital PR in social media to reach a wide audience as opposed to the traditional approaches.
Technology has evolved organizational marketing from traditional approaches such as newspaper, radio, television, and magazine to modern digital media such as social media, including Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The rise of the internet has broken down the traditional physical and geographical barriers of communication, thus enhancing the efficiency of public relations campaigns, especially when launching new products. Currently, PR professionals can use social media to reach customers in any part of the world.
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The Success of Social Media in Promoting PR
Social media is a rapidly rising trend, and there is a need for PR professionals to adapt to the changing dynamics of corporate marketing. Social media has become an integral component of modern marketing; therefore, as a communication professor, I consider social media essential in promoting public relations.
In modern marketing approaches, PR uses influential individuals such as investors, famous artists, and shareholders (Himelboim et al., 2014) to promote their market awareness and brand strength.
With the current technological advancement, public relations and social media are intertwined, considering the changing trends of corporate marketing.
In many ways, it is important to note that social media has a significant impact on PR, and there are numerous benefits that companies gain through cyber PR activities, which are essential in enhancing the image of the company to the customers.
The real-time messaging introduced by social media has created instant feedback capabilities that allow PR to have a more substantial impact on the audience from quick responses.
The published brand content in social media creates lasting product impressions on the minds of customers that often influence sales (Kent & Li, 2020).
The interactiveness of digital media, such as Facebook, enables two-way communication between the organization and the target public (Allagui & Breslow, 2016).
There are fast feedback responses since the internet enables PR professionals to respond much quicker to all parties through real-time messaging.
The lasting impressions created in the minds of customers often result in purchases as they strive to experience the products or services being promoted.
Weaknesses of Social Media in PR
High reliance on digital media has created the absence of gatekeeping and content monitoring, thus reducing the ability to monitor the behaviors and anonymity of the target audience.
Negative comments expressed against companies through social media affect the firm’s corporate image. While it is the responsibility of PR professionals to constantly present the firm’s positive image to its consumers, keeping up with the rapid effects of social media comments that might affect corporate image is difficult (Gesualdi, 2019).
Public relations professionals, particularly those working in organizations, often struggle to ensure their companies remain relevant in the minds of their target customers by responding positively to the numerous criticisms they face on social media.
World Examples of Challenges of Cyber PR
An excellent example of the difficulty PR professionals face in the real world is the handful of X Games skiers aboard Air France who turned too social media to express their disgust when they missed their bags which had the necessary equipment for their final competition upon arriving in France. The complaints made by the sponsoring company later used social media to apologize for the athletes’ experiences.
For PR professionals working at Air France, this could have presented a difficult situation because, before any official communication on the issue, the affected individual turned to social media. This has a significant impact on the organization’s corporate image, particularly in regard to its customer service. Therefore, PR professionals experience challenges keeping up with emerging media and its influence on public opinion and resulting attitudes towards a particular organization, brand, or product.
Allagui, I., & Breslow, H. (2016). Social media for public relations: Lessons from four effective cases. Public Relations Review, 42(1), 20-30. Web.
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Gesualdi, M. (2019). Revisiting the relationship between public relations and marketing: Encroachment and social media. Public Relations Review, 45(2), 372-382. Web.
Himelboim, I., Golan, G. J., Moon, B. B., & Suto, R. J. (2014). A social networks approach to public relations on Twitter: Social mediators and mediated public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 26(4), 359-379. Web.
Kent, M. L., & Li, C. (2020). Toward a normative social media theory for public relations. Public Relations Review, 46(1), 101857. Web.
Sutherland, K., Freberg, K., Driver, C., & Khattab, U. (2020). Public relations and customer service: Employer perspectives of social media proficiency. Public Relations Review, 46(4), 101954. Web.