It is crucial for any business to run a public relations campaign in order to keep a positive image in the public eye. However, the traditional modes of running such a campaign are slowly becoming obsolete. That is why it is necessary for businesses to update their public relations campaigns for the 21st century, and tackle the new methodologies & tools, which include blogging and social media.

Businesses and individuals increasingly see the value in online social media for industry connections or introductions and clearly for employment opportunities. Beyond these are company branding, business reputation management, and professional business networking. It is true that online networking can degenerate into the kind of networking event where you show up and everyone else is there to sell you what they have. But most online social networking can be contained to the important kind, not just a virtual room of vulturous vendors. "Old Style" professional connections are not dead, they've just met up with the latest technology tools.

Social Media allows companies to open up and establish a more transparent, personal and sincere communication with their audience. Welcome to public relations in the 21st century, where the move from relations with the PUBLIC to relations with INDIVIDUALS has established a horizontal multi-way model for public relations. This model is more evolved and social than the original symmetrical model presented in 1984 by the father of the contemporary public relations, Jim Grünig.

The model is horizontal in concept and multidirectional in execution.

Social Media has accelerated the understanding and development of this model. Traditionally, organizations have barely paid attention to the opinions of their public, but the speed, quantity and quality of the information issued, nowadays, is causing companies to fully adopt “horizontal” dialogue. We are seeing how “Unity (of individuals) makes strength.” This is leading large companies to undergo a radical shift in their thinking and abandon their one-way asymmetrical policies. They are beginning to truly “listen” to individuals (people), their public, seeking a sincere dialogue, promoting conversations, and valuing their active participation.

The establishment of this horizontal relationship implies that there is a balanced distribution of power among or between the participants and the organization and vice versa.

Connect To Audiences Via Social Networks

These tools, such as LinkedIn (very B2B), Facebook (evolving to more B2B from a college-oriented service at it's start), and MySpace (very B2C and younger) let your firm have an online page or presence with it's own fans. These connections are individuals connecting to the business. Some list current and former employees. They are increasingly tied to other feeds, maybe your great press coverage. In any case, a forum where your firm and customer experiences are discussed. Beginning to see the value in monitoring and participating? The better-known online social media services enable personal or professional, 1-to-1 connections. These services provide access and information on you and your firm.

Here is a minimal plan for a social media presence for you and the company:

• Customer-facing employees should be on LinkedIn and Facebook, and participate
• The company should have it's own page on LinkedIn and Facebook
• Employees should have a photograph on their LinkedIn page - 1/3 do not
• Press releases and news should be aggregated on the company Website and probably via online services, such as (also now at,,, or
• News and events can be posted on Twitter. Direct messages or replies on Twitter should be monitored, so you may respond - engaging with the audience for your firm.

There it is, a straightforward way to implement social media at your company. Remember that these tools represent are an innovation - just like any new tool that you might adopt for the business - so think of Social Media tools as part of the company's continual improvement program.

Author's Bio: 

Becky Boyd is VP of Marketing Services at boutique PR firm, MediaFirst PR. She is responsible for account management and tactical deployment of strategic public relations and marketing campaigns. Her industry expertise includes supply chain, logistics, transportation, Internet, IT, manufacturing, health care, and telecom. For more than ten years, MediaFirst has helped power clients to successful acquisition and exit. These include Gideon Technologies(acquired by Symantec 2010), Optiant (acquired by Logility 2010), LeanLogistics (acquired 2008), Optimus Solutions (acquired 2008), Eircom (IPO 2004), ExtremeLogic (acquired by HP 2003), and many more.

MediaFirst combines innovation and tech to deliver great strategy, positioning, writing, and guidance. We get you more press coverage by better serving reporters and editors.

Awareness of your successes increases the valuation of your firm and generates sales leads, investor interest, and competitive advantage. Beyond PR, MediaFirst services win speaking opportunities, gain industry analyst praise, draw consistently better media coverage, garner significant industry awards, and engage via social media.