Why social media matters in public relations

What’s your social media strategy? If your answer is, “We don’t have one,” you may be overlooking an opportunity to communicate with your audience and control potential negative influences, which if left unaddressed could potentially seriously harm your communications strategy and overall image.

Consumer-led social media campaigns are becoming commonplace and have proven effective in producing tangible results. The most recent example at the national level is the #deleteUber situation, which gained instant popularity among consumers who wanted to directly chime in on the company’s executive leadership crisis. CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from his role at Uber soon after the social media campaign ramped up, a decision which was no doubt influenced by the negative imaging being heaped upon the company through social media.

Earlier this year, Pepsi’s now notorious social commentary ad featuring Kendall Jenner suffered a quick death as a result of social media outrage over the commercial’s insensitivity and sent the company into damage control to stymie the negative brand image.

A recent New York Times article aptly referred to social media as “the new TV” and detailed at length the power this medium provides consumers in impacting a brand’s image. “In the era when television shaped mainstream consumer sentiment, companies enjoyed enormous power to alter their image through advertising,” the article states. “Brands now have little say over how their messages get chewed up through our social feeds.”

Our public relations team helps clients address and plan for potential impacts of social media on brand images, both negative and positive, on a nearly daily basis. We also assist in navigating through crisis situations that occur as a result of social media activity, whether it stems from outside sources or is the result of a self-inflicted misstep.

Our overall view: When used correctly, social media is extremely useful in influencing opinions and in communicating directly with your audience. However, it is impossible to control every comment made about you on social media, so having a plan in place to address potentially negative feedback in real-time can make the difference between brand success and failure. Want to be proactive? We’re here to help.

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