The push and pull factor make PR an over passer in every societal activity. Public Relations has benefited greatly from the use of Internet technology. My present post on PR and social networking provides the opinion on five different ways throw which social networking is changing PR. As noticed almost all around, most people have a facebook or a myspace account but do most people watch the same news? current affairs? commericals? the spread of campaigns is really better off with social sites.
Most campaigns would not have been as big as they became if they were not on social networks. It is not just about PR speaking their messages via the social sites but these social sites also allow people to communicate to each other.If a campaign is posted on a social site it forms a word of mouth where a person tells another person and the information about the campaign spreads.
There are two questions that I want to answer in this post. Firstly, what are some examples of effective campaigns that have been conducted online using these social networking websites and how were they effective through utilization of internet technology? And secondly, what were the avenues Public Relations used to reach the public before the rise of Internet Technology?
The Internet is littered with social networking sites – in fact, there are almost too many to choose from. The most popular ones among these are Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. It is almost uncommon today to meet a person who does not engage in some form of Internet social networking. This means that it is an invaluable resource for a PR practitioner wanting to get a message out to the public. Barbara Nixon makes some interesting points in her slideshow about the use of social networking sites for PR practitioners. To look at this slideshow, click this link: http://www.slideshare.net/bnixon/social-media-for-up-and-coming-pr-practitioners-presentation. An interesting thing that Nixon says is that by using social media websites, PR practitioners are able to make the switch from merely speaking to an audience, to sharing ideas. It would be thought that this type of communication as opposed to the public being told what to think, would be much more effective. This is due to the fact that people prefer to be part of an exchange of ideas, as opposed to merely listening to a point of view or ideas.
Let’s have a look at some examples of successful PR campaigns that used social networking sites to achieve a positive result. The first example of this is Coca Cola. This company seems to be always forward-thinking in terms of their marketing and Public Relations strategies, and their team was quick to act when two mere fans of the product, Dusty Sorg and Michael Jedrzewski, started up a Facebook corporation page for the product. The page became incredibly popular, but due to Facebook policy, the Coca Cola Company was contacted by Facebook and told that the page would need to be run by the company rather than the fans, or be shut down. Instead of taking control of the page themselves, Coca Cola contacted Sorg and Jedrzewski. After meetings with these two fans, Coca Cola made an agreement to let Sorg and Jedrzewski run the page, along with help from the company’s marketing team. For more information on this story see Karen Freberg’s blog by clicking this link: http://karenfreberg.com/blog/?p=749 This story is proof that big brands can infiltrate social media and have influence on the public in a non-threatening way.
Another example is the company Disney and its use of MySpace to create success with the dance-themed movie “Step Up”. The company created the MySpace profile specifically named for the movie, and very soon after had thousands of young teenagers requesting “friend adds”. The company decided to take a different approach – steering away from overloading teenagers with marketing information, and instead kept a steady stream of contact with their fans through constant updating of the profile page. By the time the sequel to the first movie had been released, the MySpace profile had 156,000 friends, and “Step Up 2 The Streets” became a box office hit. This goes to show that young people today value relationship, interaction and being part of a movement or lifestyle much more than being told what to do or what to buy. For more information on this campaign, visit this link: http://social-media-optimization.com/2008/03/a-successful-myspace-social-media-campaign/
These examples show us that companies have achieved success with marketing and public awareness through social networking websites. This technology has opened up opportunities that before may not have existed. Previously, companies may have been restricted to avenues such as television advertising, magazines or newspapers which has a limit to the amount of people who will be exposed to the campaigns. Social networking presents an opportunity to reach a much wider range of audiences, and is also an extremely cost-effective alternative. Internet social networking is the way of the future, and for businesses to realise this and make use of these available tools, it is probable that they will be able to more effectively promote their message to the public.