Social Media and Public Relations: Review-Notes

Social Media and Public Relations

8 New Practices For the PR Professional

Deirdre Breakenridge


  • Discusses inspiration- marketing and PR professionals
  • Increasing our knowledge and skills- share, innovate and learn
  • #PRSTudChat
  • Conversation structured around social shaping- new affordances of technology and people adapting to better use these tools in their work lives
    • “Dynamics that have shaped public relations in the past are not only present in social media, but often accentuated and amplified by it”

Foreword: David Armano

  • PR frontline of social media
    • Why? Public shaped by PR are present in social media and accentuated/amplified because of it.
    • Social media keeps a story relevant and in the “newsfeeds”
    • Re-think and Re-examine way we look at PR
    • The data suggests
    • trend indicates institutions and those who represent them remain more challenged when it comes to trust versus individuals
    • Never before have professional communicators been tasked with not only making statements, but also understanding “sentiment” viewed
    • Being a “PR pro” today means understanding and being effective in community management.
    • Transparency and ethical standards that remain higher than ever as social media has proven to punish those who attempt to manipulate it for personal gain
    • Consider these thoughts a blueprint for both communication and engagement in an era of social business

Introduction: When Social Media Meets PR, Communication Unites with Technology

  • PR means handling communications in the public spotlight because of the increasing use of social media.
  • Professional must discover new research methods, develop specific policies to guide employee and public participation, experiment with content through a variety of social media channels and learn to connect and build relationship with stakeholders through new technology.
  • Core Competencies
    • Ability to research and plan
    • Apply strategy to business goals and objectives
    • Handle issues and crises
    • Professional and ethical behavior
    • Communication skills
    • 2011 Study- 4 major components to creatively solve problems
    • Competent use of information technologies= necessary skill

PR Practice #1: The PR Policymaker

  • Development of social media policies, training and governance
  • Developing and maintaining
  • Surveillance/lurking
    • Monitoring what other businesses are doing
    • Making sure employees are following guidelines
    • Maintenance- updating policy regularly

PR Practice #2: The Internal Collaboration Generator:

  • Works within specific departments of the company to increase sharing, collaboration and innovation for better internal/external communication
  • Hear everyone in the companies opinions on social media
    • Immaterial Labor
    • Constant communication for growth
    • Reestablish and reiterate goals

PR Practice #3: The PR Technology Tester

  • Uses technology for better peer to peer communication
  • Knowledgeable about latest technology, testing for better interactions
  • Research and test
  • Target specific groups- segmentation
  • What tech affordances to use- hashtags?

PR Practice #4: The Communications (COMMS) Organizer

  • Educate and redirect an organization to implement a new communications process
  • New types of stories by developing, coordinating, and curating content through different channels

PR Practice #5: The Pre-Crisis Doctor

  • Crisis prevention plans with comment response charts and helpful tools to identify and illustrate levels of crises escalation through all media, included new media
  • Ease an explosive situation before it escalates to a crises

PR Practice #6: The Relationship Analyzer

  • Communications sociologist
  • How audiences connect, with brands and peers
  • Higher-level engagement
  • Lurking? Seeing how communities are connecting
  • Weak ties, bridging/bonding, social capital

PR Practice #7: The Reputation Task Force Member

  • Reputation management
  • Core values and brand voice
  • Respond with immediacy, constant accuracy, and transparency

PR Practice #8: The Master of the Metrics

  • Measurable objectives and metrics tied to higher-level organizational goals

-Strategy Table

-Companies never had control of their communications until now (?)

Key Topics:

1. Surveillance/ Lurking

2. Segmentation

3. Communities/ Ties/ Social Capital

4. Labor- Immaterial

-PR purpose is creating social capital, brand voice; not necessarily a commodity you can sell but instead selling a companies image

5. Social Shaping

Questions/Points of Contention:

  1. Social Media is an important new communication technology but for most major companies, an employee wide conversation doesn’t seem necessary
    1. Uses tips as job positions someone needs to have instead of an overall outlook everyone should take when thinking about actions on social media- all these positions really necessary? Repetitiveness?
    2. Little discussion on offline world of PR
      1. Makes social media seem like only concern in new age
      2. Only a small part of a PR agencies focus everyday
      3. Crisis Management- is social media always best way to handle company issues


  1. […] Eventually they can capitalize on these blooming strong ties for social capital (Caity, Kaitlin, Alison, Melisa, Alexis). But only after considerable social grooming. It all seems so […]

  2. […] very intelligent, but I found myself lost a lot of the time. As Allison Emes points out, are “all these positions really necessary?”  D2i agreed that we feel like many of them overlap, and I feel that, realistically, less […]

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