Influence Of Social Media On The Practice Of Public Relations In An Organization
The research which examined the Influence of Social Media on the practice of Public Relations in an Organisation with a case study of Global Communication Limited (GLO) shown that the use of social media has increased among consumers around the world, causing an increase in the adoption of social media as tactics and means of sharing information among many public relations professionals because of its cost effectiveness, speed delivery of message, effective feedback and interactive. This new form of communication is growing at such a rapid pace, it is important to analyze the effect of social media on the practice of public relations because communications world is dramatically moving in a digital direction and those who understand this transformation will communicate much more effectively than those who do not.” Public relations practitioners are in the business of communicating with publics and therefore must understand this transformation in order to communicate effectively.
However, due to the fast-paced growth of social media, it is difficult for these professionals, as well as the universities training future professionals, to keep current. Blogs, for example, are increasing in popularity because they give independence from traditional editors and media gate keeping (Pavlik, 2007). The use of blogs as a means to gather information is increasing as well as the posting of blogs to better position oneself in he eyes of the public The survey of public relations professionals revealed that they value social media more than they actually use it; however, a majority of respondents believe social media have changed the way their organizations communicate. Respondents’ answers showed that they and their firms are not measuring the impact of social media practices even though most agreed that public relations practitioners should measure who is talking about their organization or their clients’.
Nigerians have increasingly spent more time on social media and blog sites over the years. Many companies have also taken notice and are beginning to plug themselves into these outlets globally (Martin 2009). As noted by Brown and Hayes (2009), the world’s leading online competitive service, social media have replaced pornography as the number one use of the Internet. Because of the escalating fame of these new technologies, it is important to examine the impact they have on the public relations practice. According to Martin (2009), social media is giving rise to a new style of communications that is characterized by conversation and society. It is significant to understand these new channels of communication in order to effectively utilize them as a means of communication with the public as well as to know what implications they bare on public relations practice.
1.1 Background of the Study
Many aspects of social media have recently challenged how individuals relate publicly within the organization. According to Tuten (2008), public relations in the digital age requires understanding how key constituents are gathering and sharing information and then influencing them at key points. In addition, that doing so requires strategies that embraces the digital age.
The probable impact of social media on public relations is phenomenal. Yin (2008), points out that employee blogs have huge, almost unlimited potential to share knowledge, encourage dialogue, market goods and services, and unlock up two-way channels of communication.
The use of social media is on the increase among consumers in Kenya, causing the urge to adopt social media as a tactic to improving public relations within the organization. This is as result of this new form of communication growing at a faster pace. It is important to analyze the impact it has on the overall performance on public relations practice within the organization.
This project will therefore, assess the use, the value and the impact that social media have on public relations at GLO.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Many Organisations are grappling with the emergence of the social media and its impact with regard to public relations. More often, they try to advance their public relations with their clients and stakeholders. Employees on the other hand have embraced social media technology to advance communications between them within the companies. They often feel that the management does not effectively relate well on the social media platform. Regardless of fault or blame, at some point, the two sides have to come together, resolve where the breakdown in relations is and move towards a place of co-existence. Freberg, Graham, McGaughey and Freberg (2010) define organizational public relations as a central binding force that permits coordination among people and thus allows for organized behavior. Brown and Hayes (2009) argue that the behavior of a state agency is best understood from public relations point of view. Effective public relations are a prerequisite for implementing agencies strategies as well as for managing day-to-day activities through people.
The purpose of this study is to find out the impact of social media on public relations in an organisation with bias to GLOBA COM. Some of the common complaints from employees are that managers do not communicate effectively; important information is delivered through emails when, in some cases, face to-face meetings seem more appropriate. In some cases, clients complain that the company is not responding to their queries on twitter handles, face book pages and other modes of social media communications. If good public relations are to exist in organisation, Social media communication must be embraced and the managers, employees and clients are going to have a positive working relationship. It is important for the Agency to know that problem(s) exists and once learning of the problem(s), implement solutions to quell those issues. Gillin (2009) say that the social media has changed the rules of the game in every part of strategic communication. They also claim that over the past decade these new communication vehicles have not only turned upside down everything people knew about communication but also have dramatically changed the business of managing public relations.
Social media is being utilized on an ever-increasing basis by corporations, and other state agencies. Martin (2009) reports that more than two-thirds (69%) of the current companies and state agencies are using social networking sites. Eisenhardt, Kathleen and Graebner (2007) have addressed the effective use of social media in investor relations. Yin (2008) reports on how organisations are advancing their public relations agendas via Face book. Bell and Emory (2011) has studied the importance of ethics and stakeholder management in connection with top corporate websites.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The goal of this study is to advance research and knowledge by finding out the impacts of social media on public relation in an Organisation with bias to the GLOBAL COM.
- To find the modes of social media platforms embraced at GLO
- To determine the management, employees and customers of GLO embrace the social media platform.
- To determine how the social media affects public relations at GLO
- To determine how social media as a tool of communication may be harnessed to enhanced public relations at the organisation
1.4 Research Questions
- What modes of social media platforms are embraced at the glo ?
- To what extent have the management, employees and customers of glo embraced the social media platform?
- How has the social media affected public relations at the glo?
- How could social media as a tool of communication be harnessed to enhanced public relations at the organisation?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The current study anticipates advancing research and knowledge by finding out the impacts of social media on public relation in organisations within the Nigeria context. Public relations at the State Agency level today are confronted with an astounding array of new communications channels. Internet-based social media tools like blogs, podcasts, and online video. Social networks are giving voice to the opinions of millions of consumers. While mainstream media continues to play a vital role in the propagation of information, even these traditional channels are increasingly being influenced by online conversations. The new influencers are therefore beginning to tear at the fabric of marketing as it has existed for 100 years, giving rise to a new style of management, communication and marketing that is characterized by conversation and community.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will be limited to a telecom giant Glo but with specific focus to the impacts of social media on its public relations quarter. It will also be limited to specific social media mechanisms embraced by the Corporation. Moreover, this paper will also analyze impacts within the context of management of information sent to or received by the management. Other modes of social media will be from time to time to draw analogy and for comparison.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Dury (2008) define organizational public relations as a central binding force that permits coordination among people and thus allows for organized behavior.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
Effective public relations are a prerequisite for implementing agencies strategies as well as for managing day-to-day activities through people. Social media is a shift in how people discover, read, and share news and information and content. Social media is a channel through which a company publicly relates to the interest of its customers. From the literature review, it is notable that the effects of social media on public relation in State Agencies are a subject that has drawn significant scholarly interest. A number of existing theories also support the view that social media can have both negative and positive effects on the public relation in State Agencies like Global Communication Limited and most of these have been explored here: Social Cognitive Theory, the Theory of Social Presence and the Media Richness Theory. The study uses qualitative research methodology because it seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the effects of social media on public relation in Global Communication Limited. Within the methodology, semi-structured interviews were administered to six participants while secondary information was obtained from the print media. The objective of the study advances research and knowledge by finding out the impacts of social media on public relation in State Agencies with bias to the GLO. Since studies on effects of social media on public relation in State Agencies in Nigerian context are extremely limited, it is from this objective that four research questions were formulated in bridging this gap. Reliability and validity of data as well as ethical considerations ensured that the research was successful amid study limitations.
Effective social media is a channel through which a company publicly relates to the interest of its customers. The study was guided by four research questions that elicited responses and are helpful in bridging the gap in the literature within the Nigerian GLO concept. The corporation majorly uses three social media platforms: e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. The management, staff and customers affiliated to the company have adopted and appreciated the use of social media in enhancing public relation. Generally, the social media has contributed positively to the PR of GLO though one participant lamented on the laziness it comes with. Being customer responsive and tracking of sites visited by GLO’s staff are just a few ways in which social media can be harnessed in enhancing PR at GLO.
Some of the recommendations elicited by the research question four are important for this study. They include:
- Being customer friendly and responsive by the GLO in responding to their complaints and queries hence full and effective use of social media in enhancing public relations between the parastatals and customers.
- The GLO staff should efficiently and productively use the social media hence eradication of unnecessary laziness.
- Tracking the online sites visited by the employees hence making them accountable on the choice of their activities.
- Incorporation of message adverts on GLO’s social media platforms to inform non-subscribers and thus they join these pages and able to connect with the corporation.
5.4 Further Study
The future study should focus on how to effectively implement social media, as the platforms and the technologies are so dynamic and there has not been a clear guideline for companies as to how to utilize them. Mostly business use their own experimental approach to achieve a better result and this has somehow made the task more challenging.
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