Today our series is featuring Łukasz Wilczyński of Planet PR, GlobalCom PR Network’s partner agency in Poland, who provided us with some insights regarding their local PR practices and regional trends.*
1. What status do social and digital media have in your daily PR work?
Social media is becoming increasingly popular. It didn’t replace traditional media, such as newspaper, radio or television, but to some extent displaced them. In 2011, over 99.1% of Polish internet users have been actively accessing social networking sites.  One of the main players on the market is Facebook, which is experiencing rapid growth over the last couple of years. At the end of January 2012, the site had 7.8 million Polish active users. 
Individuals and companies have quickly understood what a powerful source of information it is. By the end of 2010 over 81% of Polish brands were using social media in marketing and PR communications. The research showed that over 94% of PR managers and marketers declared Facebook as the best social networking site to carry out promotional activities and to increase brand awareness.  One of the main characteristics is that this website offers profiles of the companies that are completely different from conventional business websites.
Unfortunately, many brands have no idea how to use social media and how to measure their effectiveness. This is the point where PR agencies take action. The approach is that every Internet user is a potential fan and a potential customer. Users dedicate plenty of time to social networking sites which are free and commonly accessible. What matters the most in PR through social media is the quality, timing and consistency of actions taken. Facebook is the place, where the ‘wall’ is virtually a ‘recorded conversation with a customer advisor in a call center’. However, the main difference is that every user can access it, read it, and give his opinion.
In the Polish social media industry, Twitter is slowly gaining popularity. Especially IT companies use it commonly. Everywhere around the world, Twitter is expanding its popularity and brands can take advantage of this trend. At first, the ‘online society’ looks for information in the web. Using smart phones, they are connected to the Internet all the time. Automatically, we extend the concept of social media for everything that is Web 2.0. Any form of sharing knowledge, experiences, and emotions makes us social.
Social media can really help the process of gap bridging, where there are no limits in obtaining information, quickly and efficiently: the Internet. Rapid flow of information and the amount of time spent in social media also encourage PR and marketing communications to sustain and use social media actively.
A PR specialist has to strive to send specific messages to users who then pass it on. That creates a snowball effect. What has to be remembered is that the whole process should be fair and engaging the community.
There also should be a community manager. This profession is beginning to develop in Poland. As a main responsibility, the manager has to create an efficient communication between the online community and the brand, based on a reasoned PR strategy.
2. Do you use social networking in your PR and communications work?
In Planet PR we integrated social media into self-promotional activities and promotion for our customers. Activities in social media should be closely linked to the overall PR strategy. Each activity should be planned, nothing should be accidental. We must define the purpose, the expected image and strive for it, always remembering that quality counts, not quantity. We should forget the days when we only counted how many fans we had. Nowadays, attention has to be paid to their activities, how many of them participate in discussions and how many of them react to what happens on a particular fan page.
Using social media on a business level requires permanent commitment. Social media is with us almost every minute of our life and work. Social networking sites play an important role in establishing new and maintaining existing social relations, foster self-promotion and the sense of belonging to a larger group, and finally meet the need to be up to date, be social.
3. What would you see as most recent innovation in the field of PR?
Actually, there is no clear answer. Over the past years, PR in Poland has expanded considerably. Obviously, social media are added to press releases sent by regular mail.
The amount of information and increased consumption of social media offer new possibilities but at the same time also increases the risk of attention deficit. PR strategies need to follow these changes. Messages must be concise, short, and the knowledge has to be accumulated. Everything has to be customized and usable. Therefore, the future of PR is video and all kinds of applications on smart phones. They reduce transmission, so the consumer can focus all of their attention. Solutions are being simplified, and the message can be based on emotions. Another development that could change many things in Poland is the Polish-language version of LinkedIn, which has a huge potential for people and businesses around the world.
All of these elements have led to the conscious sharing of knowledge and valuable content in order to avoid ‘ad blindness’. What we see today is only the beginning of a new way of PR.
*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.
 Net Track Millward Browns SMG/KRC 2012, Megapanel
 Social media Brand Index 2012, Think Kong
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