Public relations has changed a great deal during the Internet age. The Internet has created a method of communication that provides uninterrupted and 24-hour connectivity to the public. The constant connection Facebook provides is an advantage to a public relations professional. It allows for the instant dissemination of a message and for instant feedback in a way that was impossible prior to tools like the social networking giant being widely adopted.
When a traditional press release is sent out through media channels, it takes time for a company to gauge its effect. Responses are seen through buying patterns or in reactions or rebuttals to the material. When Facebook is used as a public relations medium, however, the feedback is instant. The way people share, comment or discuss content lets you know in a matter of minutes what the public reaction is.
Facebook is perhaps not the ideal place for every aspect of a public relations campaign, but it does provide an excellent forum for activities that target the media. This is especially true for online media and bloggers who use social networking sites as a primary means of information gathering. Facebook provides an excellent venue for a public relations professional to maintain a dialogue with media people, influential social networkers or bloggers. Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire's vice-president of social media, advises on the company's site that Facebook is one of the more effective tools for media relations. The site can be leveraged to help public relations professionals form better relationships with media professionals.
Call to Action
Public relations activities that involve issuing a statement of fact with no call to action are ineffective. With Facebook, a clear call to action in a post invites feedback in a measurable way. Companies can judge the success of their actions based on the volume and type of responses obtained. Facebook has a page it maintains that illustrates some best practices for public relations professionals using the site. A study Facebook conducted on how people interact with journalist pages showed that posts with direct questions got 64 percent more feedback than posts without a defined call to action.
Content posted on Facebook is incredibly easy to share. Scott Steinberg, CEO of TechSavvy Global, ranks easy-to-share content in his top seven tips for great PR. This highlights exactly why Facebook provides such an advantage in the public relations game. The very nature of the site means that all of the content that you post is easily shared by your audience. Great content has the potential to go viral and have a huge impact on your message's visibility.
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