Social Media and Public Relations: How to and Why?

Public Relations has been a growing field in more way than just one. One of the most evolving and changing aspects of the industry is social media. Social media started as a way for friends and acquaintances to keep in touch and to regularly document the current generations lives publicly. But organizations and businesses began to use social media as a way to advertise and get in touch with their consumers which brought forth an entirely new medium as well as caused changes within social media forums. There are effective ways for social media to be used as a public relations tactic as well as useful ways for it to be measured.

Social media allows users to interact and exchange information via the internet through forums such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, which were originally the main uses for public relations.  (Neill & Lee, 2016, p. 9). This content that is exchanged is often a way to put the organization into a better light or a way to advertise for something. These meant that businesses could reach out to their publics using mass media but in a more controlled and evaluative manner. It seems that advertising was originally the main use of social media from organizations, but it seems as though opportunities focusing on the public and customer service may be the new focus in social channels (Snyder, 2016). Snyder (2016), senior vice president of digital strategy at PR and marketing agency: Ketchum, describes his first job using public relations and social media by saying “the ability to act on information, react to threats and capitalize immediately on opportunities was a professional dream come true”. Social media offers a lot of versatility to PR pros and how they can use it effectively to create relationships with their publics.

Social media has also given companies a way to easily and accurately incur information on each tweet, Facebook post, YouTube video, or Instagram post. This comes from the number of impressions, replies, likes, and favorites. Each gives more and more information to the organization that has posted the content. However, going a bit deeper and actually engaging with the audience via social media can be an even better way to analyze thoughts and opinions. Three helpful guidelines to follow when measuring a social media campaign include (Renfree, 2016):

  • Integrate insights from social media with other information sources
  • Align social media to business goals
  • Plan for performance measurement

Each of these offer an organized way to keep your social media campaigns on track and accountable.

Some brands have taken their success to the next level from simply differentiating themselves through social media and using it to their advantage. An article to check out is the 10 Brands Doing an Amazing Job on Social Media, from AdWeek. One social media I was the most drawn to was GoPro. GoPro uses their social platform to encourage users and inspire them to use their products (“10 Brands,” 2015). Here are some examples of the daily “Photo of the day” tweet they do as a way to show their audience what other people and doing and what they could be doing. This is simply done as a way to keep publics thinking about GoPro and what they do.


Ultimately, social media is a quick, direct, and easy way to develop relationships with mass amounts of people that often feels like a one-on-one relationship (Pollard, 2016). This is why social media is unique and this is why PR has taken advantage of everything it has to offer. I believe social media will only continue to grow through new applications and only gain a bigger presence in this industry.





GoPro (2017). GoPro (@GoPro) Twitter page. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from

Neill M. S., & Lee N. (2016). Roles in social media: how the practice of public relations Is evolving. PR Journal. 10. 8-9.

Pollard, C. (2016). Why you should combine your PR and social media. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from

Renfree, M. (2016). Measure any social media campaign with these 3 guidelines. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from

Snyder, A. (2016). Why social media is the perfect PR channel. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from

10 brands doing an amazing job on social media. (2015). Retrieved March 28, 2017, from


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