Many PRs ‘failing to respond to social media queries’

30/04/2015

The majority of UK PRs use social media for work on a daily basis - yet a high number of PRs are not responding to comments or engaging with conversations, posts and discussions on social media, according to new research.

The study, from Cision UK in association with the Canterbury Christ Church University examined social media use among UK PR professionals.

The findings indicate that 40% of public relations workers do not respond to media queries on social media channels. This is despite PRs strongly believing that PR is about building conversations, suggesting that PR professionals are yet to implement the full potential of social media.

Meanwhile, PRs at public sector and not-for-profit teams have been most optimistic about the impact social media has had on PR as it has made it easier for them to directly engage with audiences at a relatively low cost.

These and other eye opening findings form the thesis of Cision’s first ever ‘Social PR Study 2015,’ which launches today with the objective of exploring the impact social media technologies have on PR professionals’ work.

According to the findings, social media has improved productivity for PR professionals, but it hasn’t reduced their workload; rather, new responsibilities have been added to their existing role.

While PRs used social media mostly for promoting and reposting content, the study found that there remain a high number of PR professionals who are not responding to comments, posts and discussions from media and consumers. This seriously questions whether PR professionals are implementing the idea of a conversation to its full potential or just using it as a vehicle to promote their existing work.

The study also compares the results of the PR research with data from our Social Journalism Study 2015 in order to identify correlations and disparities in the ways the two professions use social media. For the most part PRs and journalists are largely in agreement with how social media is changing their working environment. What is noticeable is the difference between how journalists like to be contacted and methods used by PR professionals to pitch their stories.

While email and telephone are the most popular channels of communication used, the greatest disagreement is over the use of the telephone: 49% of PRs preferred to use telephone to pitch a story, while only 23% of journalists wanted to be pitched this way.

Other key findings from the study include:

1. PRs can’t carry out their work without social media. More than two thirds of PR professionals use social media daily. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular social media tools.

2. Promoting content and reposting content are the most important reasons for social media use. Almost three quarters of PR professionals use social media to promote content.

3. Social media has improved productivity for PR professionals but it hasn’t reduced their workload. Rather, it has added new responsibilities.

4. Email and telephone are the most common and preferred forms of communication with journalists.

5. Social media has changed the journalist-PR dialogue. Nearly half of PR professionals believe social media has made them less reliant on journalists to get their story out.

6. A quarter of PR professionals report their relationship with their audience has changed fundamentally as a result of social media.

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