By Alyssa Welch

In 2003, one of the first social media platforms launched: Myspace. Shortly after, in 2004, Facebook was launched. After Facebook, a snowball effect of social media platforms started. Now, in 2017, there are 20 plus social media platforms. As social media has advanced over the years, it has altered the way that public relations professionals and journalists write.  Because of social media, PR professionals can now bypass media gatekeepers, write instant responses and measure the effectiveness of PR strategies.

When it comes to social media, everyone is a journalist.

In the past, PR professionals would have to send their articles, press releases, etc. to media gatekeepers to get their story out. Getting a journalist to take on a story used to be one of the toughest jobs PR professionals faced. Because of this, it often made it more difficult for PR professionals to have their campaigns covered. Now, social media bypasses the media gatekeepers and goes straight to the audience. Any story can become viral from a single tweet, post or pin if your audience finds it interesting enough to share. Gatekeepers who may have bypassed the story, are now obligated to cover it if it goes viral. This is an advantage for PR professionals because it allows their work to actually be seen.

Social media never sleeps

Social media is a global medium over all 24 time zones. It has no press time or on-air schedule to worry about, the cycle never ends. Social media gives PR professionals an opportunity to write an instant response to situations, such as a crisis. Breaking news can travel via Twitter or any other platform and the whole world will know about it seconds later. In the past, it could have taken hours for a PR professional to write a press release and send it to the media to cover a story. Because social media is “always on” this means that PR professionals need to be too. Luckily, social media monitoring apps such as Hootsuite exist to help monitor multiple platforms at once. This gives PR professionals the opportunity to easily monitor current situations and respond to them immediately. They can post whenever they want and keep the public informed instantly.

Social media provides constant feedback

In the past, effectively measuring feedback on their strategies was challenging for PR professionals to determine. Social media opened the opportunity to help PR professionals gauge their audience’s attitude and better refine their message by listening to their direct feedback. At the same time, this also gives the audience a public forum to express complaints. Though handling these complaints may not always be easy, it is important to have an open dialogue to maintain credibility. PR professionals can address the complaint open and directly rather than just ignoring it. Not only does social media provide written audience feedback, but you can also use social media measurement tools to learn what actions and content drive traffic to your page, website, article, or whatever else you decide to link to. Using social media measurement tools allows PR professionals to know what content works and what content fails. This ability to track results enables PR professionals to better pinpoint effective strategies on how to best represent their client.

What does Social Media and PR have to do with SEO?

Well, SEO and PR are now closer together than ever. They both have the same goal to build and maintain a brand through organic interest. One of the ways that they both do this is through linking social media post’s to a brand’s website. Social Media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are ways to gain incoming links, which are based on organic interest to a website. PR professionals create the content, such as a blog, to post on social media, and SEO marketers take that content and optimize it to create links and traffic to the website. To sum everything up, as social media has evolved, it has altered the way that PR professionals write and build a relationship between them and SEO within a digital landscape. Social media has become an asset to the public relations world and will continue to grow as the years go on.

This has been a contribution by Alyssa Welch, communications intern at Motoza.