A major shift is underway in the public relations/public affairs world when it comes to the use of social media, according to a new survey by PR/PA agency mergers & acquisitions consultants StevensGouldPincus.
In a news release the consulting group said that the use of social media for public relations/public affairs purposes by U.S. communications consulting firms has increased 12-15% this past year.
While the percentage of work currently devoted to social media by these firms is 30% overall, that percentage will increase to an average of 42% new year. For firms with revenue in excess of $3 million, the increase will be even higher, at 46%.
“If this trend persists, within the next two years social media will replace traditional media as PR/PA’s primary tool for reaching client audiences with news and information,” said SGP Managing Partner Art Stevens.
“When you consider that traditional media have been the bedrock of professional PR/PA practice for more than 100 years, the implications are profound.”
Media relations has the highest use of social media, averaging 36%, followed by product marketing (25%) and issues advocacy (20%).
While the amount of time devoted to social media varies each month, Facebook gets the most attention (31%), followed by Twitter (29%), LinkedIn (18%), MySpace (17%) and YouTube (14%).
The survey indicated the most important issue to public relations and public affairs firms is the ability to track and measure results, and quantify value.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.
It is very interesting being a PR student during this major era in media’s history. Rather than learning about how to work closely with the media, we are studying how to be the media. I’ve found that studying the behavior of public relations reps is easier than ever. YouTube videos, blogs and Twitter provide a genuine look of what they do and how they do it. Students should take advantage of the resources available to them outside the classroom. All things considered, we will be spending majority of our public relations career’s using social networking (from the looks of it) so why not start now.
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