As we enter an era of intersectional communication, it is important to look back and analyze the utilization of social platforms that the media Gods have so graciously blessed us with. While accuracy may not always be the priority of users, accessibility has proven to be a major component of coverage in many scenarios. Whether you are focusing on audience engagement during an event or taking advantage of Twitter to disseminate urgent information, the goal and purpose of publicizing stays the same.
The most recent example of social media coverage strength was the civilian journalism taking place during Hurricane Harvey. While a great number of Americans consumed traditional media during the state-wide catastrophe, the nation also rushed to social media to discover new information. Twitter hashtags, Facebook live streams, Snap Maps and even Instagram stories were being used to get information out. Although many feeds and timelines were filled with global thoughts and prayers, these outlets also provided life-saving content.
Many of us witnessed something that has never happened before. The increased accessibility to provide and receive constantly updated information led to victims being saved and informing the public on how to help.
It is completely understood that we, as public relations professionals, may never experience an event to this capacity (I wouldn’t think we would want to either,) but there are some major takeaways from an event at this scale.
In order to survive and stay relevant in the public eye, it is vital to adapt and continue to educate yourself in the latest methods of communication. While Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and every other storytelling platform are far from being considered “new,” professionals still lack basic knowledge of these platforms and their furthest capabilities.
While many seem to focus on the cons of such easy accessibility, it is no comparison to the pros this brings to any event type. Investing time in educating yourself on social media trends can turn any occasion into a digitally engaging affair, which is highly beneficial to your event.
No. Turning to social media for coverage is not a fad. This is a new way of life. If organizations do not adapt to this form of communication, they fall victims of modern evolution. It is important to realize social media engagement is not a trend, it is now the new standard of correspondence between you and the public.
This does not mean one should throw out all knowledge of traditional media and PR methods, but simply innovate new approaches and collaborate with old. Maintaining a versatile and fresh communication skillset will only strengthen the connection between you, as a professional, the organization you are contributing to and the public you are targeting. The faster we are willing to adapt to new approaches, the more your brand will stand out and draw in larger audiences.
Don’t let yourself fall behind and lose to evolution. The will to learn and evolve contributes to the bigger picture of increased accessibility. Strengthening the relationships between organizations and the public all starts with maintaining communication.