Facebook: Although Facebook has been around for more than a decade, the social networking site still graces the top of the charts. The site is constantly updated and revamped to meet the latest technology updates, social shifts, or business needs. Because of Facebook’s inventive improvements, PR professionals can dabble in various tools on Facebook to closely connect with their audience and effectively promote a product or event. For example, an in-house public relations department can create a “Page” for their business or organization. Using the page, the PR department can create posts and “promote” them if they want to reach a wider audience, choosing between locations and age ranges. The PR department can pay for advertisements to pop up on various feeds along the edge of the website. If the PR department has an event coming up, the team can “Create an event” outlining the location, time, and other important details, and invite their friends to the page.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn provides opportunities for professional individuals to network across a channel strictly for career purposes. Public relations professionals can use it to connect with other communication specialists and compare experiences within their fields. There is a plethora of groups for various professional areas where individuals can post and read articles about significant topics pertaining to their occupation. Additionally, individuals can join groups to read information on professions that may interest them. Public relations groups on LinkedIn cover topics from crisis management to effective social media sites. Public relations teams can use this site to scope out future clients and as a tool to meet other specific professional needs.
Twitter: The strictly 140-character streaming site has grown from being an outlet to share quick, nonchalant thoughts with friends to a media outlet used to communicate with publics around the world. PR professionals can use Twitter to gain perspective on clients and their current audiences, and it can help PR professionals determine audiences clients may be able to attract in the future. Public relations personnel can also use the site to provide quick information about an event or product to an audience that mainly uses Twitter. Another way that PR professionals can benefit from Twitter is by networking. There are millions of users that have diverse interests and occupations. Public relations teams can use twitter to “tweet” at other PR firms to learn new communication techniques or to connect with new clients to reveal that the team has an interest in them.
MySpace: Haven’t heard of this one in a while, huh? MySpace was previously known as the “it” social networking site, and for many it seemed to have disappeared off the face of the Earth; however, it has transformed into a popular networking tool for the entertainment industry. Hosting comedians, bands, and musicians, the site offers customizable pages and a bypass of tough streaming laws. If focusing on public relations in the entertainment industry, PR professionals can use the social media platform to promote their client through an interactive page or search for potential clients on the easily-accessible website. Public relations teams can also use MySpace to run a campaign for a product or client by accessing those interested in their focus area.
Instagram: Instagram is the social media application most used by individuals under the age of 35. Throughout the past five or so years, Instagram has grown into a super social media site forcing Facebook to put up its boxing gloves. No need to worry, though, the two are here to stay comfortably living side-by-side in the social media world. Compared to Facebook, Instagram is an entirely different form of communication. It uses pictures and captions as the sole sharing method. PR professionals can use Instagram accounts to post pictures of their company’s work in the office or the community, of an upcoming product or campaign, or of a client’s work or product. If a PR team is having trouble reaching a younger audience, they can use an ad promotion that shows up on users’ feeds or they can interact directly with potential audience’s posts to grab their attention.