About seven years ago, the Public Relations industry faced one of its greatest transformations: social media. Entering the digital age, technology will continue to provide necessary adaptations through social media and old-school practices to emulate what a successful Public Relations firm is. The circulation of information and data is at an all-time high, and soon jobs may be created simply to filter through the ‘fake news’ and the pertinent information. So, we must ask, what skills will be necessary for the Public Relations field over the next five years?
This year, brands and companies have already had to ‘up the ante’ on their crisis management. For example, Pepsi and the Oscars, admittingly have come out and apologized for the mistakes in commercials and ceremonies. However, social media has created a new fuel behind identifying slip-ups in inaccurate information, political correctness, and misinterpretations from every angle. Don’t be senseless with your media, be conscious of what you put out in the world because the emergency brake on a social media blunder has become inherently ineffective. The treacherous momentum in a lapse in thinking is almost impossible to stop.
Another astronomical change to social media has been the ability to reach an audience that was previously viewed as inaccessible. To be able to communicate across the spectrum and variety of the channels available will improve the accuracy of reaching a multitude of audiences. Building a company reputation can be difficult, but Public Relations professionals can adapt the advertising, marketing, and media relations strategies to fit core concepts. Writing will always be the most fundamental component of the Public Relations field. Matching the message to fit the medium is what has evolved into a glorified and necessary skill of this industry. The ‘one-stop-shop’ ideal is becoming less elusive and more concrete.
The receding face-to-face communication style of the industry and the emergence of a digital workspace has made it extremely difficult to apologize. Saying sorry has never been an easy task, and pushing the platform to social media has made it even more difficult. The need for an immediate response, the round-the-clock nature of attention, and the public space of handling such issues from customers over this channel is extremely stressful. Although some companies will elaborate on the closer connection they now have with clientele, many will not highlight the emergence of a new system that has been created. It is now that much easier to reach a company and explicitly illustrate their wrongdoings and what everyone is upset with. The social media interface does not create a constructive environment to deal with customer service issues and instigates an option for them to continually criticize the company.