What to know about PR in the age of social media

10 Jun 2016
Janet Chan

There’s no doubt that social media has revolutionised the world of PR. Traditionally, commercial brands and corporations have relied on PR to tell their story to the media, and let the media report the news to the public. However, in the age of social media, any brand can reach the public directly, bringing a tremendous change to the communication process and public relations campaigns.

More and more brands in Hong Kong are aware of the importance of social media’s power and have started building up their online channels. At Sinclair, we advise, support and manage the social media efforts of our clients as part of our integrated approach to PR. For example, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is very active on both Facebook and Instagram. They share posts, images and video content about Singapore as a destination to attract eyeballs, which are in turn prospective visitors. Even local, traditional Chinese restaurants are getting in on the act, inviting popular key opinion leaders (KOLs) to publish posts and make videos as a promotional tactic.

Here are a few factors that PRs should bear in mind in the age of social media:

Stay tuned to market trends
Good PRs stay informed to ensure clients are trendsetters and always relevant. We consider a multitude of options when devising strategy: which is the most suitable social media platform for the client to build their brand? Who is the right celebrity, KOL or vlogger to appear in a brand’s social media campaign? What kinds of images or videos do we need for social media to tell the story? And what story should we be telling on what platform? Before we answer these questions, we have to understand who our audience is. By understanding who we’re talking to, we can make a positive impact.

Mediate between client and audience
There are often discrepancies between brands and consumers as to what the brand wants to place on social media versus what the public wants to receive and is interested in. As PRs, we have to explain and educate the client on suitable materials and potential incentives that can truly engage target audiences.

Build close relationships
PRs traditionally have managed close relationships with the media, and now this has expanded to include influencers on social media. PRs are needed to build personal relationships with online personalities. By forming a close relationship with these parties, PRs can work with them more easily to make noise on social media platforms, from creative collaborations to disseminating news.

Manage personal accounts
PRs are considered experts in the field, therefore, it is very important for us to manage our own personal accounts wisely, avoiding any faux pas. With social media one must remember the world is watching, so be careful what you share and how you share it!

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