Social Intelligence Information about the use of social media in PR

26Oct/11Off

Platforms and Channels – All you need is a little PR know-how.

social media channels

 

Understanding platforms and channels is fundamental to successful online public relations. Any organisation operating in the online space, looking to engage with its publics via the modes of digital media needs to appreciate this, and act accordingly. According to Clay Shirky, “We live, for first time in history, in a world that being part of a globally interconnected group is the normal case for most citizens.” Today, access to the internet or devices with internet capabilities, like smartphones and iPads, are everyday objects that the average Joe can own. On and offline media regulators Ofcom, have published on their website statistics stating that not only are “37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teens…‘highly addicted” to smartphones, but that “Smartphones are beginning to affect social behaviour”.

 With information like this, social media platforms and channels have never had more potential for effectively communicating a brand’s message, as long as they are used properly!

Platforms and channels go hand in hand. Platforms, such as smartphones, laptops, PCs and tablets allow users to access, share, produce and download content. Channels are the way in which these acts are communicated to others across the internet via an appropriate platform or platforms.

In order to effectively communicate with their prospective online audiences, organisations wanting to engage with platforms and channels should look to the five key drives of online public relations:

Transparency is vital in online public relations and social media. With the rapidity of sharing across channels, brands cannot afford to not be transparent when communicating with their consumers. Some organisations have done this and paid the price. You can be assured that if a brand makes an online ‘fail’ it’ll be blogged about, tweeted and re-tweeted. Brands that prove to have gotten this right are open and honest with their public and in return are widely praised. It is common practice now for organisations to use social media channels as a space for their ‘fans’ to access and communicate with them, often for customer service purposes and as brand advocacy portals. Without transparency, these channels can turn into brand bashing arenas.

Agency is all about encouraging your audience to participate. Bloggers often invite their readership’s input into what they want to see on the blog. This is a great way of making your audience feel important, listened to and by posting things of interest, you will engage them. Furthermore, you will start to build a relationship with them.

Porosity is something that will always affect organisations; large volumes of information are passed around an organisation and can be leaked. Usually, these leaks are unintentional. With the majority of organisation using online wikis, communicating via online channels like email and Skype, it is not surprising this can happen. However, it is not always bad. Leaks can promote transparency within the organisation as a result to combat the event reoccurring.

Richness not only drives visitors, but keeps them coming back for more - the richer the content the better. Updating your Twitter and Facebook accounts daily, having more original content on your blog, making your website more interactive and displaying clearly, all your social media platforms is a good place to start.

Reach is a high priority for most online operating organisations.The higher the reach the better.  A websites influence is measured by its reach and there are vast numbers of programs that profess to analyze and measure the reach of a website. Influence in other words, is the popularity of a site and therefore represents how widely it is read, how many new daily users it may have and how many new visitors it has.

In the most technologically and communicatively advanced society in history, an organisation cannot justify not taking advantage of the incredible access they have to their publics. With this five drives as a starting point, effective communication is inevitably going to promote online brand awareness on a mass scale. Many organisations I have encountered are concerned with the level of access their consumers might have to them through online platforms and channels. By focusing on transparency overall, organisation will find success.