Public relations (PR) is all about managing relationships with the publics and influencing their opinion of you. It also involves creating exposure and developing goodwill for the company.
Fundamentally it deals with any contact a company has with the publics, including the media.
PR representatives convey information about the company to the public; gather feedback from them and ensure that the company is well represented. They are required to work closely with the media and the publics through news conferences, sponsorships, special events, seminars and other activities that would affect their company’s reputation.
Publicity, which is commonly confused to be another term for PR is actually only a small aspect of it. Publicity is free media to bring awareness to a company and its products. Social Media has brought about a new way to publicize a company, for free. Many PR representatives have started using blogs, social networks and media sharing sites to communicate with the public. This is the start of Public Relations 2.0.
WholeFoods uses Twitter to communicate with clients directly – answering questions, offering promotions and conveying brand and product information to the Twitter public.
Starbucks utilizes Facebook to present a positive image by informing the public of its involvement in Corporate Social Responsibilities.
Pringles uses the Facebook Page to gather valuable feedback from clients. Remember, PR is a two-way communication between a company and its public.
Google delivers important news about its company and products to its public through Blogger. In this case, it also projects that Google is trying to make products that truly help countries in need.
Very evidently, PR is as I said, is all about managing relationships with the public. And social media has revolutionized the way to do it.