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article imageSocial Media changing the face of Public Relations Campaigning

By KJ Mullins     Jun 7, 2011 in Business
Toronto - Who would have thought that a few carefully chosen words sent out to the masses would change the face of public relations? Social media has impacted that world and is continuing to grow.
The first Social Media Reality Check was conducted in 2009 by CNW and Leger Marketing studying the use of social media by professional communicators compared to consumer opinions about social media influence on their purchasing behavior. Two years later Social Media Reality Check 2.0 conducted among 1,039 users of social media and 590 practitioners has found that social media is one of the largest trends in the industry.
"Social media continues to be one of the most quickly evolving areas of the public relations profession; not to mention a hot topic of discussion both online and off," said Laurie Smith, Vice President, Culture and Communications at CNW in a press release. "Two years is a long time in the online world and much has changed. We are very excited to partner again with Leger Marketing to re-examine the results of the 2009 Social Media Reality Check and see what's new."
The professionals are now using the big six social media tools; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Skype and LinkedIn to get their campaigns out into the public's view.
Twitter's use has grown from a mere 39 percent of communications professions use in 2009 to 76 percent in just two years. Their audience has not grown as fast, using Facebook and YouTube more.
The public is slowly starting to be influenced by social media when it comes to their purchasing behavior. Thirty-seven percent of consumers say they have bought a product that they heard about on social media first. Consumers tend to be more influenced for smaller purchases like books and music.
In 2009 awareness and generating dialogue were the main objectives for social media campaigns. Today visibility and awareness are the top goals. The way public relations is using social media though has changed little in two years with objectives remaining largely informal.
"The results of the Social Media Reality Check 2.0 survey revealed some interesting trends and changes over the last two years," said Dave Scholz, Vice President and General Manager of Leger's Toronto office in a press release. "Keeping the pulse on audiences' changing uses of social media will give PR practitioners valuable information that may be useful in designing social media campaigns in the future."
The latest study's results will be presented today at the Canadian Public Relations Society Annual Conference.
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