MP&F’s Top 25 PR Questions

July 9, 2012

McNeely Pigott & Fox is celebrating 25 years in business during 2012, and one of the ways we’re celebrating is by answering the 25 questions we are most asked about our business.

Question 5: Why do we use social media?
A brief journey of social understanding

By Ashley Bright

Have you ever thought about when and why you bought into social media? Your reasons are probably just as human as mine.

  • I joined Facebook as soon as I received my college .edu email address, because it was the cool thing to do. I wanted to be cool.
  • I joined Twitter because I had a small freelance startup that I wanted to network. Once I shelved my startup, I realized I would be missing out on connections, relationships and a host of interesting articles, so I started keeping a personal account.

Regardless of why you set up that first account, it serves to help you connect and communicate. If used properly and strategically, social media is powerful in that vein.

My mother is a wise woman, and she always says that we exist for relationships with one another. We are remembered, not so much for our accolades, accomplishments or bank accounts, but for how we treated others in the relationships we had.

I’m not a sociologist, anthropologist or philosopher; but I think it is safe to say that human society is built upon connections and networks. Social media is an extended reflection of society carried by the advancements of technology. It is not a replacement or a carbon copy of real relationship. As with any good thing – like chocolate, red wine or black coffee – there is such a thing as too much. There is moderation to be had, which makes social media a powerful tool of connection.

In a recent blog, MP&F partner David Fox wrote about the definition of public relations. Not surprisingly, it is largely based on relationships – the client’s relationship with their audience and the audience’s relationship with the client’s story and messaging.

This is why we use social media, both personally and professionally – for relationships and connections – especially in the public relations business, where so much of what we do is based upon connecting audiences with the stories our clients have to tell. We are relational creatures as humans, and as PR professionals.

At MP&F we assist clients in telling their stories through many mediums of communication, but social media in particular has become highly effective for a number of our clients. NES built its presence on Facebook and Twitter, finding that it was useful for connecting with its customers in realtime during storms and related outages. Another client of ours, CSX, has an annual event called CSX Santa Train. It uses @TeamSantaTrain to build excitement by live tweeting as Santa tours southern Appalachia on a CSX train, handing out toys and food to local families for the holiday season.

Social media is a valuable channel of communication. A lot of audiences are represented there, making connections with one another, with information and with brands and organizations. So that’s where we are too, for ourselves, for MP&F and for our clients.

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