In public relations, we have been taught that it is important to manage our communication messages effectively and strategically, identify key stakeholders for our client and determine how we are going to evaluate whether or not our campaign is going to be successful or not.
The question then is – how do we do this when it comes to social media? Brian Solis outlined how corporations and public relations professionals can do this by identifying and connecting with these key stakeholders for a corporation or individual, or also known as influencers. These individuals are not connected necessarily with the client or corporation in question – however, they have the power and presence to persuade others. Another way to do this is to make sure that the public relations professional knows what social media outlets are out there and which ones are specifically being used by these influencers and stakeholders.
So, after looking at how to identify these influencers and stakeholders for a corporation, how do we as scholars and researchers implement this into our PR classes and to our students? There are several ways that this can be accomplished. Have the students work on a case in class where they represent the PR department for a corporation and assign them to identify key stakeholders for a specific client (ex. Amarula cream liquer and fashion designers in South Africa) and ask them the following: identify the opportunities and challenges that they may face in reaching this group, discuss the key influencers that may be appropriate to target for this campaign, and determine what are the appropriate social media / traditional media outlets / strategies & tactics to reach this group of influencers. It may also be fun to have the students bring in their laptops into class so it can be interactive and they can present their findings to everyone at the end of the exercise.
To sum up – social media in many ways is allowing public relations professionals to be more informed about their messages, stakeholders, and be more strategic and innovative in reaching out to these individuals. The more research and familiarity that a PR professional has about social media and how it is used, the more successful they will be in the long run.
Hope you all are having a great day!