Press releases have been a major communication tool in the public relations world. Since social media became heavily used by the public, many companies started using social media for the distribution of their news. So the question rises: is social media replacing press releases. Before answering this question, what is a press release? Press releases can be written or recorded targeting the public using mass media (newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, …etc).
“While I don’t believe the press release is dead, it has been transformed, to become this living, breathing thing. If a release doesn’t have a social element — that is, a way for viewers to comment or share to their social networks — it doesn’t have legs.” – Amanda Miller Littlejohn (As cited in Swallow, 2010)
In fact, social media does not replace press releases; it is just another way of communicating the message of a press release to the audience in a more narrow and personalized way. PR practitioners used this in their advantage where they can reach their audience targets in no time and with minimum costs. According to Swallow (2010), “The social media platforms with the most value must be used by a client’s target audience and be a meaningful place for brands to connect with consumers and journalists” (Para. 20).
Social media has many advantages; PR professionals aim to establish a relationship between their employers/clients and their publics. Using social media they can make this happens faster and easier where communicating with customers through social media is a two-way communication. Social media give the audience target the option to give feed back instantly. For example, customers now can tweet about their experience of using a product or a service, in return, companies can respond to fix problems or to correct misunderstandings and rumors. Also, social media can be so helpful in raising awareness, spreading the word, gaining understanding, motivating customer acceptance, and building trust. (Papasolomou & Melanthiou, 2012).
“By maintaining this new form of public relations, audiences are going to be more inclined to not only give the brand a chance, but remain loyal. A whopping 71 percent who have a positive customer service experience via social media would recommend that brand to their friends” (Boyd, 2013).
Social media is not only a way for PR pros to communicate with the audience targets; it is also a way PR pros can use to communicate with each other’s. Social media gives independent PR professionals the option to share their views and consultancies with individuals seeking advices. According to Swallow (2010), “LuAnn Glowacz, an independent PR strategist and founder of PR firm WordCove PR notes, “My most valuable business connections are other independent PR and related professionals in Austin, who I connect with daily on Twitter and Facebook”.
So, social media does not replace press releases, instead, social media promotes press releases. It makes them customizable and more controllable since feedback can be generated, which gives PR practitioners the ability to understand the publics more.
Boyd, M. (2013, August 16). Social media’s role in modern public relations. In PRDaily. Retrieved November 6, 2014, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Social_medias_role_in_modern_public_relations_15017.aspx
Papasolomou, I., & Melanthiou, Y. (2012). Social media: Marketing public relations’ new best friend. Journal of Promotion Management, 18(3), 319-328. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1240208254?accountid=39473
Swallow, E. (2010, August 16). The Future of Public Relations and Social Media. In mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/08/16/pr-social-media-future/