Getting into the social media game:
The benefits of online public relations for businesses
We are living in a new era of influence.
An era where news break around the world in seconds and citizen journalism is on
the rise. An era when the majority of the world's population has now plugged-in
to a powerful online platform and where the continuous stream of new content and
opinions never cease.
We are living through a time when one word - the internet - stands as the most
significant revolution in communication history.
It is now a question of whether or not your business is keeping up to speed with
the online revolution.
As author Brian Solaris stated in his book
the Public back in Public Relations' (2009), businesses must expand their scope
and understanding of all that is online and furthermore, begin engaging in
Online public relations is the management of online communications and includes
developing and/or enhancing company websites, e-newsletters, social media
interaction, blogging strategies, interactive media releases and more.
There are many benefits of online public relations for your business. Including:
- increased traffic to a website
- contribution to search engine optimisation by generating links back to a
website as well as enhancing website authority
- enhanced brand awareness
- position a company as an authoritative voice in their industry
- provide an avenue for improved customer relations by allowing a company to
directly engage with individuals interested in their brand or product
- provide a platform to communicate information and/or company insights to
Regardless of the medium or the pace at which technology changes, the
traditional principles of online public relations will continue to remain the
Listen. Create. Engage.
The first step to successful online public relations is to listen. A business
must listen to and monitor what is being said about their company, product or
brand online, who is driving these conversations and where these conversations
are being held. This research will provide a solid foundation for effective
online communications. This ground work is essential in giving your company
confidence to enter online conversations with the right content, in the
appropriate space, to the correct audience.
The next step is to create relevant content to post online. Regardless of the
platform or technology a company decides to use, every piece of information
posted by your company online must be relevant and of interest to the target
audience. Fresh content will draw people continuously back to your company's
website, blog, Facebook page and so on. This will assist in raising your company
or brand's profile while also establishing your company as a thought leader in
your chosen area of interest.
Most importantly, a company needs to view online communication as a process of
continuous engagement. Without interaction, social media tools can quickly
become another broadcasting mechanism. Interact with others online by, for
example, commenting on blog posts, replying to followers on Twitter, entering
forum discussions and so on. Make sure when engaging online to be personable in
your approach. Any hint of a 'sales pitch' will be easily identified and your
company's presence on the social media platform may be hindered as a result.
A successfully executed online public relations strategy offers endless benefits
to a business. By listening and researching online conversations and key
influencers, creating compelling content and interacting with others online, a
company can effectively use online public relations to enhance the business and
For more information on how to develop an online public relations strategy