Social media is now important more than ever. To integrate social media with other channels of communication might be a good idea for most businesses. Companies, organisations and employers have to be where the people are. It is vitally important â€“ especially for smaller businesses â€“ to be visible and active on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and different kinds of blog platforms.
A new range of media is available for us because of new technology. The market has widened the potential impact on the relationship between an organisation and its public, and to me it looks like the Internet has affected businesses by making it easier for them to generate their presence. It is easier and faster to communicate and integrate, and it is easier to get the audience to talk about their organisation. Third-party endorsement of this kind might be really helpful.
In their book PR Today, Trevor Morris and Simon Goldsworthy (2012) say that the new opportunities and the availability that came along with social media were an advantage for organisations that wanted to use public relations to grow. It is important to use the latest trends, and social media is still evolving fast. The interactive form of online media among Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all ways of communicating with the public. Social media can be used to form peopleâ€™s opinion of a company, organisation or even a product.
In October 2013 it was estimated that 2.7 billion people would be using the Internet worldwide by the end of 2013. These findings came in an annual report done by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), called Measuring the Information Society 2013. With this said, by the end of 2013 about 40 per cent of the worldâ€™s population would be connected to the Internet (International Telecommunication Union, 2013). Even though the majority of the people in the world are not online, social media can be used to target audiences many organisations or businesses are aiming towards. Smaller businesses based in the United Kingdom â€“ that have objectives to make a good impression and lasting relationship with people in the UK â€“ will benefit from using social media. By the third quarter of 2013 86 per cent of adults in the UK had used the Internet (Office for National Statistics, 2013).
Within the communication process social media plays a crucial role because it works well for sending out messages as well as giving feedback to the organisation. Also, with the new medium of social media, the message will be received faster than ever before. A social media plan will for many organisations be a part of, for example, a public relations campaign. The traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio are all good things â€“ but they have their negative sides as well. There might be lack of direct control because the information goes through someone else and the coverage can be negative as well as positive. With social media the business choose what they want to be said â€“ and they can deliver it the way they want.
There are many benefits within online and social media. It is flexible and has a great capacity for two-way communication. It is more personal, mobile and another channel to influence people for example journalists. Of course there are risks â€“ the right group of people might not always see the messages, it needs to be updated regularly and it might also fail to match the media to its audience. One thing to keep in mind is that social media might be dangerous and ineffective â€“ people can write whatever they want on social media, and there is no way to keep up with it all. Social media has a tendency to let negative posts spread like wildfire. What others say about you and your organisation is crucial, even on social media â€“ my advice is to be careful either way.
Using social media as a part of a campaign or just to help put your business on the map might be either positive or negative, but in most cases it is in-between. Some people might even see the message you send out and like it without even being in the target group. In the end, social media get messages out to the publics in a faster way than ever before. Using social media, within for example your website, might be a good way to start the new year of business. Why not give it a try?
Resources mentioned above:
International Telecommunication Union (2013) Measuring the Information Society 2013 [online]. Available here [Accessed 13 January 2014].
Morris, T., Goldsworthy S. (2012) PR Today â€“ the authoritative guide to public relations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Office for National Statistics (2013) Internet Access Quarterly Update, Q3 2013 [online]. Available here [Accessed 13 January 2014].