Notes, Chapter 4, Social Media


Social Media

Overview of chapter

Social Media defined by Merriam Webster online dictionary defines social media as electronic communication, including through which people communicates to share information, ideas, personal messages and more.

  • Social media is an important arena for public relations.
  • Rules and styles of communication area can be unruly for for some organizations, yet social media offer digital technology to reach audiences.
  • Social media may change an audience’s expectations for communication with your organization.
  • Special Skills – Social media takes special skills with technology, including communication, connections, conversations, collaboration and multimedia.

Programing – Social media is a dialogue with an online community that’s targeted to the current campaign goals or developing an online community.

Effective Communication in Social Media – Principals of two-way communication and identifying key influential members of the social media community are vital for successful campaign.

Analytics  – There are many tool or social media analytics to monitor conversations about your organization, along with ways to measure the success of a campaign.

Four Stage Process 
The four step process ( ROPE:  Research, Objectives, Programming and Evaluation) can be used in planning a social media campaign, same as other forms of public relations. 

Social Media Campaign – Social media campaign involves creating  a favorable working relationship between an organization and the online community which success or failure is determined.

Social Media  Distinct Components
1.  Two way communications with key target audiences – People expect a voice and expect to be heard with social media

2.  Communication is powered by continuously changing digital technology – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and more are just a few channels of social media with potentially shorter life spans than newspaper.  Smart phones, tablets, laptop and desk computers, wristwatches connected to iPhones, help connect audiences to social media.
3.  Technology – It’s the technology that helps connect people in socially with great ease around the world, especially with smartphone, allowing contributions globally to a social media conversation.

Social media involves:  communication, connections, conversations, collaboration and multimedia.


The process for researching social media of an organization starts by looking at  current use, opportunities or problems (strengths and weakness) and the audiences need to be targeted for social media campaign, along with messages for effective communication with audiences.

  • Analysis – Start with a current measure of social media. 
    What’s work in past? – Determine if social media campaigns have been used in the past, if there was engaging dialogue.
  • Current Discussion – Is perception positive, negative or neutral?  What’s the intensity of the feelings about the client? How large is the public that’s engaged in dialogue about the organization?  Can you identify opinion leaders starting the discussions?
  • Client, Organization real interest  – Is it in the best interest  to engage in social media?  Does the organization need training (Social media skills), social media needs to be set channels or platforms?  
  • Opportunity or Problem Research – Is there a real strategic reason for a social media campaign?  Opportunities can be found by reaching a specific audience, especially if there is a high rate of social media use. The product, service or campaign initiate can also lend itself to online conversations and activities.
  • Audience Research – It’s vital to understand the public in a social media campaign.

Determine the specific audience, and micro audience.
Look at technology, geography and demographics

  1. Be careful of over simplifying an audience, not all younger demographics, teens to grandparents are using social media.
  2. Identify digital skills, technologies – Some social media users are inactive or creators
  3. Audience values – The values of audiences also help to form a social media campaign.
  4. Motivation on social media:  Making new friends, social media pressure, websites use and contribution, impulse, people watching, creativity, knowledgeable and shared  experiences. Note:  each motivation might require a specific tactic for a specific audience>

Online influences – Some members of the online community might have a large following, with celebrity status, with higher number indicating social media influence.  Using bloggers to help engage in a campaign might be helpful, especially with journalists, adding credibility.

Tone of current conversations on social media – Find out what’s being said about organization, similar organizations or related industry.  There should be a list of audiences and understood before starting to engage on social media.

Changing awareness, attitude or behavior of an online public are examples of potential objectives for a social media campaign.  Using technology is not the objective as technology is already being used to communicate via social media.

Impact objectives
Impact objectives represent a desired outcome to change awareness, attitudes and behaviors of a targeted audience.  It’s good to have something that is measurable, such as percentage of views increased, increase positive mentions by a certain percentage, increase views on Youtube by a specific number and more.  Example:  Increase the number of views on organization YouTube channel by 10,000 views.

Output Objectives
Output Objectives in social media campaign are the efforts or work by the PR practitioner for a client or organization.


  • Create an online presence to encourage discussion and participation in social media
  • Create daily Twitter posts, at least 10 each day, for 45 days on a specific organizational initiative.
  • Develop, published a company blog to promote specific organizational initiative.
  • Create, distribute 2 new videos on YouTube, share on social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook and more.


Programing for social media campaigns includes many of the similar forms of planning used  public relations.
1.  theme and message; 2.  action or special events; 3.  uncontrolled or controlled media; 4.  principals of effective communication

The primary strategy in social media programing is to engage in dialogue with an online community appropriate to your campaign goals, or develop your own online community.

Social Media Programming includes communication, connections, conversations, collaboration and multimedia.

Theme and Message
A compelling story can help with a high impact social media campaign.  BMW smaller car, the Mini Cooper has a theme called Motoring Hearts, with a message to connect with an audience’s values, such as helping families out of poverty, and engage in the campaign.

Motoring Hearts Theme
Note:  The theme and message needs to be newsworthy and engaging for a particular audience.

Action and Special Events
Events can help attract the interest of a special audience in social media.

Examples might include having people vote on a soft drink or create their own flavors.  Celebrity endorsed produced on Facebook, Twitter or other can help increase awareness.

Uncontrolled Media
Most information in communication for social media is controlled by the organization that’s posting online.  Responses from the audience are generally uncontrolled media, but need to be monitored.  The line of controlled and uncontrolled become blurred in social media.

Photographs and Video Opportunities
Photos, visual, video are very important part of social media.
Have a social media policy ready to evaluate responses to videos that can seriously damage the reputation of an organization.

Controlled Media
A controlled post is only the first stage in a social media conversation.
Monitor responses, be ready to respond
Don’t expect to control the conversation.

Blogs are one way to start a social media conversation.  Have sharing widgets for sharing.  Establish credibility, using real stories with emotion, real people, create a voice.  Train on technology, educating your public, if you are a tech company. 

LinkedIn – have professional profile for company.

Facebook page – for organization for contact.

Twitter is great for micro blogging, 140 characters.
Instagram – Controlled images, videos

Effective Communication
Social media communication is a two way conversation that’s ongoing, involving a level of  trust,  risk and venerability.

  • Connected
  • Interaction,  spontaneity
  • Empathy or feeling
  • Risk
  • Commitment

Source credibility – show that your client or organization can be trusted
Opinion leaders are key for social media interaction
Salient information – timely and relevant.
Selective exposure – message might not be relevant to all members of public.
Audience participation – Invite to join Facebook, vote on topic of interest, comment on blogs, videos and more.



Monitoring the impact of a social media campaign is important as any other public relations campaign.  There’s many monitoring services available to help evaluate responses to campaign.

It’s important to understand where the conversations in a social media campaign are occurring, who is engaged and what people are saying.

Evaluating Impact Objectives
Awareness objectives can be evaluated simply by looking at view on Facebook and YouTube.

Attitude objectives  can be measure by new friends, followers and like on Facebook.

A survey can measure attitude changes about a product or client as a measure of success.
Behavioral impact metrics involve measures of increased sales, attendance at an event or survey of changed behavior.  Example of survey of behavior changes on drinking after a campaign.
Google Alerts, Tap and more have analytic tools for online engagement

Valuating Output Objectives
Example:  Go to Twitter feed and measure the number and quality of the blog posts, videos distributed.