1. What status do social and digital media have in your daily PR work?
They have an increasing relevance. We are in the second phase of social media adoption in Italy. In the first phase, companies were pretty skeptical and tried to understand the real benefits of having a social media strategy. The first companies who understood that social media needed to be adopted were the B2C ones. Consumers were using social media in their private life and setting up a direct conversation with them was easy for big consumer brands. In this second phase, B2B brands are starting to understand the value of social media and therefore they are looking for the right tools to reach their audiences. We were pretty lucky being focused on the ICT market so that we could “live” the evolution of the Web, observe what was going on and get ready to use social media tools even before our clients realized that social media were becoming more and more relevant.
2. Do you use social networking in your PR and communications work?
Of course we do, and we use it in several ways. We have our own blog where we post news about all our clients, and we are on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. But we also use more traditional tools to stay in contact with journalists and opinion makers because many of them still prefer to receive press releases information through email. Except from the tools you already use to reach the media, the old, traditional phone call is still an excellent way to communicate with journalists. It is also imperative to create social media releases, so that journalists can access videos and materials and share the links with their online readers. We also manage the twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts on behalf of some of our clients, posting news and monitoring conversations. We have learned from experience that if you do PR, it is pretty easy to manage a blog as you get access to plenty of information and materials that are very useful for writing posts.
3. What would you see as most recent innovation in the field of PR?
The PR work has changed a lot since social media has been bringing new practices, languages and processes that must be considered in developing a PR strategy. They are influencing traditional PR positively. Listening to your audience, even before talking about your company, is a must in the world of web 2.0. This is something that traditional PR wouldn’t care about in the past. On a wider perspective, we all need to start considering whether talking about B2B or B2C communication strategies may be a little “old style”. We live in a connected world and the web 2.0 developments allow us to reach millions of people out there. It is time to start thinking – and communicating – in terms of B2P, Business to Person. Even if we are a B2B company and our products or services will be sold to another company, we must never forget that behind the walls of that company, there are people who take decisions. We need to talk to them, establish a conversation with them and engage in conversations that can take place everywhere – online.
*The series is based on phone or face-to-face interviews and written input, therefore please excuse language mistakes which might reflect foreign language influences.
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