Social Media’s Impact on PR

Uncategorized Posted Sep 24, 2013 by Kayla Krause

Special Report: Q & A with Kevin Kosh

Social media is a critical component of PR programs today, and – like all other components — requires careful and comprehensive strategy and planning, from audience identification/prioritization to influencer and community engagement.  The foundation of PR is built on relationships, which is exactly what social media mirrors and amplifies: relationships and the value of interactions between people.

As the Tech Media Analyst and founder of Sam Whitmore Media Survey, Sam Whitmore said, “social media is symbolic of all media — people talking to people like people.” But while “people” are at the core of social media, “individuals” have their own personalities and perspectives that we get to see and share through these social outlets. With a perspective that pre-dates the “social era,” I decided to interview one of our partners here at CHEN PR, Kevin Kosh, to get his personal perspectives and preferences on social tools…

What social media outlets do you like and use the most?

  • KK's twitterFor work, definitely Twitter. It’s my news feed and in a short form you can still have a productive conversation with someone. You also can get a better feel for their personality and still get the information you’re looking for. For personal use, I like Facebook. It’s more visual than Twitter and has such a rich interface. My kids love Instagram, they share pictures and jokes with one another all the time. For me, it’s not immediate enough, you don’t just take a picture and upload it like you would to Facebook, you have to pick a filter and choose which one you like best, etc.

As a PR professional, what do you get out of social media?

  • Public Relations has always been and will continue to be about relationships. Growing up in the industry, I’ve seen it, and it hasn’t changed. When social media came into the picture, it gave us another tool that provided a great opportunity to get to know the people I work with even better. For those who use it right you really can get to know someone’s personality by reading their posts or tweets and engaging with them on topics of interest – be they personal or professional. Additionally, one of the reasons I like Twitter so much is the entertainment factor.  At the end of the day, the social media firehose can be all consuming, and we all need a laugh break, like a co-worker’s tweet about something their kid said or your own snarky observation about a news item. There are some pretty funny characters out there, and twitter also has helped share that with others – and you get to cut right to the punch line.

Has social media improved your business? Or the opposite?

  • Social media can both help and hinder business; depending on who uses it and how they use it. If used the right way, it can greatly improve business communications and engagement, especially for a PR professional.  However, if people abuse it, social media can become a major distraction – or worse, a source of risk. It’s like being a kid again and feeling like you’re going to miss out on something if you’re not playing outside with all the other kids. It takes self-control; sometimes you just gotta close the tabs…

Is there “etiquette” for social media as a PR professional?

  • Yes, it’s the same as if you were talking to someone in person at a networking event or press conference. Be a resource, be resourceful and be yourself…within reason – meaning, do your job while being respectful of others and their time, and always ask yourself, who might be offended by what I want to say next?

What are the top 3 benefits you receive from social media?

  • Intelligence – not smarts, but actually knowing what’s going on, the trends, products and contacts that are emerging.
  • Relationships – this type of communication builds a stronger relationship between you and the other person, while also letting you get to know them and their traits better.
  • KK_tweet 3Entertainment – at the end of the day, we all need some form of entertainment. Hello Twitter.

How much do you trust social media?

  • Not at all. Twitter is all about communicating a piece of information. If I’m interested in something that is tweeted, I’ll take a second step to clarify it. Twitter doesn’t police the truth, it only polices itself, and not always effectively or quickly – and viral begets the virus. When it first came out, it was a race – who was the fastest? I think we are slowing learning to think twice to clarify its accuracy before we press that blue “tweet” button. However, this is the biggest challenge when it comes to social media. Just like in life, gossip and misinformation spreads like wildfire, while the truth can be hard to discern. The goal is, how do we get the truth to spread at the speed of a lie.

So what has social media done to and for the Public Relations industry?…seems like a lot! As Kevin mentions, due to the fast-paced nature of social media, some of the content should not be taken for granted. However, it does seem to hold value to the cores of public relations. I believe Kevin is right, “PR has always been about relationships.” Relationships mean engaging with others. Social media is an exact mirror of this; which is why it has come so far and been such a benefit to the industry.

To see what Kevin is talking about, follow him at @kidko92, trust me, you’ll certainly find some entertainment there. For some great inside technology news and content, stay connected with CHEN PR, follow us @CHEN_PR, and on Facebook and LinkedIn.