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Tell Me About Your Brand, in 140 Characters or Less

Melissa Broussard

It’s stating the obvious to highlight the fact that digital technology and social media have greatly changed the way we communicate today, in both the professional and personal realms. Tools such as Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, YouTube and blogs have made such an impact in the fields of public relations and marketing that entire teams dedicated solely to managing and monitoring social media have developed. Undergraduates training in the field of public relations now have course electives in “New Media” that focus on campaigns that incorporate social media tools. Professional organizations offer workshops on how to effectively use this new technology, and almost every brand or business has both a Facebook and Twitter account. Smart phones have only fostered the growth of social media by conveniently allowing us to text, tweet, post, email, or record whenever (or wherever) we feel the need to share a thought or experience with our “friends.”

To communicate with our publics, we now think in catchy phrases (or tweets) of “140 characters or less.” We can disseminate a message to our target audience with the click of a button and have feedback within seconds. The ease of rapid two-way communication between the organization and its publics seems like a dream, but it can bring an organization down just as fast as it brought it to the top. Because the content on blogs, Twitter and Facebook is largely audience-generated, the world of social media is uncontrollable from a marketer’s standpoint. Customers can publicize any experience they have with an organization (positive or negative), to a much larger network immediately. That means we have to constantly monitor these online conversations. In fact, several technology companies have developed software that uses metrics to keep track of social media conversations. The software examines the tone and relevance of every post made about an organization, which is invaluable to a marketer attempting to adjust messaging and maintain a certain image.

Communications, marketing and public relations are three very dynamic fields that are inextricably linked. As a public relations practitioner or marketer it is essential to keep a finger on the pulse of developments in all three fields and to adjust your strategies accordingly. In today’s highly connected society, digital communication is going to continue to evolve at an alarming rate. So, one of the most important things to remember is that change is the only thing that is constant.