The FireFox and the PR Hound

– By Alyssa Sy de Jesus

As a wise man (Sean Tyson, Director of Strategy at Invoke Media) once told my BUS450 class at SFU: “Social media is like teenage sex. Everybody wants to do it, but not everybody knows how.”

Running on the theme of effective social media use and age, my colleague Nicole Freeston wrote about why it IS okay to trust a 23 year old with your business’ Social Media. But for this week, I’d like to build on that by discussing why it might be a good idea to trust public relations in particular with your social media.

Most businesses and organizations look to social media to grow their reach and reputation by means of positive interaction with the right audience. In this sense, using social media successfully for business is about public relations.

Now I know that “Firefox” is a browser and that some would not consider it a “social media”. However what I’m really getting at here is a beautiful friendship between two seemingly opposite but in actuality, complimentary forces between the free-flow interactive technology of the Internet and the specificity of communication in public relations. Also, I’m Disney fan.

The way I see it, social media is the fast and free fox that moves about in the vast and rampant terrain of technological information and interaction. And as for the PR Hound? Under the Magnolia Tree, we define the PR Hound as somebody who loves to go for the focused and targeted chase of communicating good stories and making great connections. The fox may run wildly and the hound may hunt sharply, but instead of chasing after each other’s tails, I believe that the targeted PR Hound can use its senses to help to strengthen and focus the agile fox in the wild terrain. The fox on the other hand, can lead the PR Hound into new territory.

Here are two reasons as to why I think that the FireFox and the PR Hound can be good friends and why using social media for business is something that comes naturally to PR:

1. Understanding the “Media” in “Social Media”

While I am admittedly a social media enthusiast, I do not see it as the Holy Grail with the Midas PR/marketing touch. So first thing’s first: social media is a media outlet. This means that it’s all about figuring out how to best use it according to one’s specific needs and goals. Using social media effectively is a lot about customization and who better to intuitively figure that out through skill, expertise, and experience like a PR Hound? PR is about identifying a business’ or organization’s story and finding the best way and avenue to tell it from. Along with picking the right outlet, a PR Hound can figure out how a great story can be told through both a 14 page print feature or in 140 characters or less.

2.   Understanding the “Social” in “Social Media”

Social media echoes of and adds to the immediacy and fluidity of conversations between people. But besides being able to feel people out and discover the stories that resonate with them, PR Hounds are also great at immediately responding to and making the best out of a situation. In short, PR Hounds can keep up with the pace of social media interaction because of their improvisation skills. Magnolia team member, Hanah Van Borek, wrote about the importance of improvisation in PR and the same tips on “agreeing, contributing, and making statements” go for social media. However, improvisation in social media and PR is not just about building on connections but creating something positive out of the negative as well. As Kristina Lee’s  post on how people have forgotten the letter and taken to Twitter points out, social media is now an active place for customer feedback. A PR Hound would immediately know what it takes to handle negative customer feedback on social media, where interaction happens at the speed of light, and improvise based on their people and business know-how.

From a PR perspective, social media is all about figuring out how to effectively use the technology according to the ways in which people interact and connect on it. Social media provides a range of information and potential for PR outreach and storytelling. PR can help to strategize a productive and efficient direction for your social media trail to take. Together, the FireFox and the PR Hound can really go places.

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