USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
How do you use social media to enhance your company’s public relations? If you think social media is an exotic, foreign thing then you need to wake up and smell the coffee. And if you know a bit about social media but think only about Facebook and Twitter, then you are missing out on a world of opportunity.
It is not the future. It is the present.
The connection of “new media” and public relations (PR) lies in the way one leverages the social web, including professional connections on Linkedin as well as publishing sites such as WordPress and Scribed.
The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore social media in your daily effort to engender awareness, business relationships and reputation.
PR and marketing Professors Andrew Kaplan and Michael Haenlein describe social media as a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of the web and allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content mainly for social interaction, as a superset beyond social communication.
It is not enough to simply ask clients to follow your company Facebook page or Twitter handle, which then go for several days or weeks without being updated. There is a lot more you can – and should – be doing.
There are different types of social media: collaborative projects like Wikipedia; blogs and micro-blogs like Twitter; content communities like YouTube; social networking sites like Facebook and virtual social worlds like Second Life. These use technologies that allow blogging, picture-sharing, wall-postings, email, instant messaging and music-sharing, among others.
Whilst today we speak about specific PR tools, the future is likely to see a merging of traditional and digital tools when the digital divide is bridged. In the meantime, the idea of digital PR continues to proliferate while we see traditional ways giving way increasingly to social media.
A recent Top Rank digital report states that 18% of marketing and PR decision makers have no interest whatsoever in traditional marketing. This shows good percentages are already embracing digital fully and is a potential forerunner of the future. Other data in that survey adds that a majority agrees that knowledge of social networks (80%) and blogging (87%), and micro-blogging (72%) is either important or very important when it comes to PR and marketing.
A PR pitch today that does not address the question of dealing with social media is dead in the water. Ugandan PR firms would know a bit about the power of social media; when last year’s Public Relations of Uganda nite (PRAU nite) was marketed through social media, 50 extra people turned up (the organisers were expecting only 200).
However, you need to engage social media with some clear guidelines, a plan of action, a sense of what people are seeking and how, and why they communicate, a definition of what they represent and how they will personify the brand online, and the goals, objectives, and metrics associated with participation.
Authentically PR managers who in Uganda are the custodians of managing the social sphere should brace themselves to transition from the broadcasting age to the intricacies of a new form of net casting architecture where both users and corporations interact by acquiring basic knowledge and practical notions that they can leverage to design a consistent strategy that will work wonders.
Applied strategically for public relations, social media can make a brand referential, allowing you to apply a “pull strategy” which will naturally attract attention from all other types of media.
Social Media PR is a dynamic; and not all practitioners and companies will be agile enough to embrace it. The few brands and professionals that get it right are memorable because there are so many who get it wrong. But those who do will see returns far greater than traditional PR can offer.
This article was first published in the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU) Excellence Awards Magazine on 5th June 2011
Am glad the dispatch clerk from British Council came on time yesterday afternoon.
Perusing through my order, I realise the Elements of Style book by Strunk and White that I orded for is different from what my colleagues bought at Hadija’s photocopy. One from Hadija is scripted in an essay form with details yet what I have with me is brief with tabulations of sentences and examples on each use of grammar as stipulated in the earlier sentences.
Oh gracious! What may have seemed a sigh of relief yesterday has turned out to be troubling and the only way to verify this is to log on to the web and ascertain the fact of the matter.
After a short while on the internet, I can now clearly understand that my classmates are reading is a fourth edition of Elements of Style by Strunk and White yet what British Council availed is still Elements of Style, fourth edition(New edition) by Strunk and White Junior. After reviewing the pages with sample reading of either edition, the one obtained from Hadija’s photocopier seems easier to maneuver.
In that case I will settle to read both editions since deriving knowledge isn’t harmful.
It is a beautiful day. Not necessarily weather wise, but in the way I have chosen to feel. I remembered to say my personal prayer this morning, and I think that has helped me. What a sigh of relief!
There is just an indescribable comfort and peace in doing so; a kind of peace that transcends understanding. Thank you Lord for this.
I have ordered some books and movies from Akili on-line library at the British Council. I hope the dispatch clerk delivers them here before close of business today. Am hoping to read Elements of Style tonight since we have been tasked to master it cover to cover, it is one of the books I have ordered for. I happen to have read it a few years ago but this time round hoping it will be a companion for daily review.
I love reading journals from the “real world hands-on practitioners” like the Harvard Business Review (HBR) and Fareed Zacharias’ pages in the News week, its my way of releasing stress of work and ascending in the business practice and when it comes to reading ‘O’ magazine by Oprah Winefrey, it is about learning to love myself much as I do not access it more often like the HBR and News week that are subscribed for monthly..
Looking forward to reading Strunk and White’s Elements of style.
I grew up in an African town called Jinja home of the source of the Nile and white water rafting in Uganda, by then Jinja was refereed to as Uganda’s industrial city attributed to the big factories such as British American Tobbaco, the Nile breweries, textile firm Nytil among others.
The town streets here were built in an ancient Asian style of ‘duka’ well as the schools were locates in the surburbs near Source of the NIle River. We lived on one of the prominent streets however my siblings and I never went to school in this town, Our parents chose to take us to boarding catholic schools near the City(Namagunga for the girls and Namilyango for the boys) and I believe the background we got here has contributed highly to what Am today. My parents now live in our country home in Iganga- 30 kilometres from Jinja but they still own property in Jinja hence my visits there once in a while.
If you have experience breathtaking adventures in Uganda like White Water rafting, Bungee Jumping or better still tracked Gorillas in the famous Bwindi, had game rides in Queen Elizabeth or Murchison falls National Park….. You may have not had an exhilarating moment until you spend a night in a cozy canopy in the wilderness of massive torrents and cool breezes from of River Nile Wild waters lodge.
The calming effect of the racing rapids on my mind were relaxing enough to get me a strategic plan for my life in 2011. The newly built Wild waters lodge is located on a private island, mid-stream in the mighty Nile amidst a thick revering forest that has been naturally constructed in a tactical way; each of the ten cozy timber-floor rooms is be situated amidst the forest with private, breathtaking views over the River Nile’s massive torrents that never ceases.
The amazing walkways are wooden and have been created not to tamper with the forest inhabitants9snakes, lizard etc) that freely move below as you walk and the walkways link the main restaurant and bar area to all rooms on the island yet transcends to the vibrant Cobra rapid falls on the right of the Lodge and Kalagala falls above which a brilliant mechanism was built to transport all building material above the yelling falls. As if that is not enough, the sinks were curved from the island rocks and the restaurant ladies room sink stands beautifully on an assembled hard tree log that must have collapsed on the island forest years ago – Nature has been put to good use in each aspect of the lodge.
Wild waters is such a remarkable story due to the fact that the environment is fully conserved and the community has been offered utmost social responsibility from the owners – Cam and Kate McLeay, I must say they are an epitome of Ugandan hospitality much as they are not natives and their hospitality traits flow right from their youngest son- Alexander to the ever smiling Lodge staff
The first day of 2011 got me at this ultimate location enjoying one of unique and extraordinary last wild areas of the entire Nile River.