I was recently tasked with the explanation of what is so crucial about Facebook for a business. As a communication strategist, my gut screams, “well duh!” but my relationships with my clients help me understand the importance of explaining this type of digital footprint in a clear and logical way.
In my desire to communicate a clearly as possible, I lost sleep over the search for appropriate words as I recounted books I’ve read, stories I’ve heard, and results I’ve seen. I also recount the clinical conversation of ROI for advertising and the nebulous value of public relations. Then it hit me.
Where the blur factor comes in is that we’re seeing a leveling of the playing field through social media with public relations and branding for both individuals and companies. They’re all in the same space! OMG! And that’s also where the confusion comes in. Facebook and other social media channels are simply that. They are the new tools of everyday advertising and public relations for people and companies whether they like it or not. Just ask an employer who ganders at a prospective employee’s Facebook page or does an organic Google search for office supplies. Do I really need to explain Angie’s List? It’s all about the digital referrals. Social media holds real time testimony, customer service, and personal relations.
No longer are public relations just for companies – its gone personal. And no long is Facebook just for individuals, it’s gone pro. Social media channels such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube, etc have changed the playing field from the notion that public relations is for businesses only. Social media has upped the game in that it’s the new fence over which conversations, word of mouth referrals, and reinforced public representation holds weight for both individuals and businesses. Both now share publicly their visuals and conversational intimacies- and very little seems sacred.
Because of the ease and enthusiasm of online postings, the influence of social media is not to be underestimated. How you show up – both personally or as a business can be maximized through the digital world. And if you don’t do it, someone, somewhere will do it for you without your control. Any good PR rep will tell you, it’s much harder to be in a defensive rather than on offensive position so I am strongly suggesting that both businesses and individuals step up their game and take the offensive position.
Take a deep breath, learn about the social media nuances and select the channels that best reaches those with whom you or your company interact. Become the master of your digital face. Smile, most likely your picture and or story is online if not by your own hand by someone else’s.