Back in the day, public relations meant press releases, stuffy press conferences, and companies hoping that their messages wouldn’t get lost in the stack of newspapers on the consumer’s doorstep. However, those days are long gone, and right now, things are quite different. 

 

Between the online world and its social media platforms, brands aren’t just able to produce press releases and call it a day. They have to generate thoughtful engagement with their audiences, connect on a more detailed level with their customers, keep track and get involved in real-time conversations, and more.

 

Two-way communication channels

Once upon a time, Dove shared a photo of three real women with different body types in their underwear. This moment generated instant conversations, millions of shares, and a massive boost in brand adoration from the public. It goes to show that social media platforms aren’t just about posting status updates and announcements anymore. 

 

It’s about handing the control over to the audience, listening intently, and joining the conversation. An excellent example of a brand doing this right is Wendy’s or dbrand’s sassy comments and replies on X. Those aren’t just posts, they’re invitations to a two-way street of respect and connection.

 

Human touch

It’s time for brands to forget about the carefully curated press releases. Today, companies are sharing messy hair bedhead selfies, like Glossier’s founders showing their morning routines, or behind-the-scenes factory snapshots, like Patagonia documenting its sustainable practices. This raw authenticity is what resonates with audiences worldwide. People connect with people, not faceless corporations. 

 

Improved audience targeting for maximum impact

Back in the day, brands had to invest a lot of time and effort in looking for their target audiences and ideal consumers. Fortunately, these days, they have social media platforms and their algorithms that are able to pinpoint a brand’s ideal customers with incredible accuracy. 

 

These tools allow any brand to ensure their messages will be able to reach the right people, those who will truly care about what the brand has to say, and what it has to offer maximizing impact without wasting time.

 

Navigating platforms and striking a balance

Of course, navigating today’s digital platforms isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Trolls can be found in the shadows, misinformation can spread faster than wildfire, and one bad tweet can ignite a PR crisis. But the rewards are worth the risks. Social media, used wisely, can be a PR superpower, allowing brands to build a large group of loyal fans. 

 

It also helps brands turn PR crises around with the right strategies or responses. Companies can track the likes, comments, emoji reactions, and more of their audiences, which helps in tailoring messages according to the desires of the consumers, making the audience feel seen and heard.  

 

Social media isn’t just about fluffy engagement. It’s about driving real results. Companies should track conversions, measure their impact, and work toward improving their bottom lines. Social media isn’t just a PR tool, it’s a chance to get rid of the boring PR strategies that are no longer working and start building genuine audience connections.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.