Chapter 10: Social Media–Uses and Messaging
The rise of social media has had significant effects on the strategic communication industry. Marketers use social media to enhance traditional efforts such as direct mail fliers and television advertisements. Social media also enable marketers to create interactive content for audiences. In the public relations field, social media give professionals easier access to journalists and news media outlets. For example, it is becoming common for public relations professionals to reach out to reporters via Twitter.
In many ways, social media have made it easier for consumers to hold organizations, public figures, and large institutions accountable (Green, 2012). Users can easily find and reveal information about a previous event involving an organization, whether it was advantageous or damaging to the brand. Users can also provide instant public feedback by voicing their opinions via social media networks. Furthermore, social media have made it challenging for many organizations to control their brand and present a consistent message across platforms. Audiences can generate information that can be damaging to a brand’s reputation. Take a look at this video from Sherry Lloyd, social media and marketing manager for Vineyard Columbus, who discusses brand management and the challenges of controlling a company’s identity in the social media age.
Many campaigns effectively use social media to produce beneficial effects. In 2011, KFC created a public relations campaign aimed at strengthening its relationship with young consumers and enhancing its brand reputation. The campaign launched a contest that awarded a $20,000 scholarship to an individual with the best tweet using the hashtag #KFCScholar. The contest generated more than 1,000 media placements, 2,800 applications, and a 20 percent increase in KFC’s following on Twitter (Black, 2011). This example demonstrates the utility of using social media to create reputation and relationship management campaigns.