Today you pick up any magazine or newspaper you would find an article or two on the rise of social media in India. Be it on how the who’s who of every sector from politics to filmdom tweeting to the various comparative analyses on the user bases of social networking sites like facebook and orkut. This sudden importance imparted on the social media can also be seen by the communication planners of various organizations, who now are seriously making it a part of their communication media spectrum.
PR industry which was till now mostly about media follow-ups and coverage in traditional media, now like other communication fields, is waking up to the social media revolution. Even though digital communication as part of the PR industry is still at its very nascent stage there is actually a huge potential to it. By and large I can underline the following facts:
a) It gives you a direct control over messaging than conventional PR:
In conventional PR you have to depend upon the journalist’s discretion-on what and how he or she is going to interpret and convey your message. Also you need to be careful about the editorial and marketing policies of various media organizations when you wish to use them as a communication medium for your client or company.
But with respect to social media you are not bound by such restrictions except a few guidelines on propriety of the content etc. You have direct control over what you post online and you just have to know where and what to post that can catch maximum and relevant exposure to the right target audience.
b) You are in direct communication with your target audience:
Unlike the traditional PR your message does not surpasses to your intended target audience by a third party communication medium. Its you who take the communication directly to the place where your target audience is. This enables much more command over where and what message to place to gain maximum mileage in your target audience. It also provides a huge scope of interactivity. You can participate in discussion forums and not only gauge what your target audience is talking about but also formulate and implement your communication strategy according to it.
c) You are more focused with your approach:
Even though traditional media supporters will argue that with the choice of particular medium like trade magazines, business channels etc you can get more focused messaging towards your target audience, I would still say social media gives you much more edge over it. Even if you choose a specific class of media your message still gets a lot wasted. On the contrary with social media you get to explore the universe with different communities and discussion groups. For example a community on New Delhi will mostly have people from Delhi and would be interested in any news about Delhi & NCR.
In addition to above highlights, I further feel social media is not only about B-to-C communication. With professional networking sites and industry specific portals and blogs there is wide prominence of social media with respect to B-to-B communication and relationship building. And as a result any communication strategy today that discounts the social media cannot be considered complete!