Driving transparency: Chartered Institute of Public Relations looks to the future of industry at annual Social Media Conference
Earlier this month the Chartered Institute of Public Relations hosted its annual Social Media Conference in London, UK. The conference featured twenty five expert speakers all covering themes from the CIPR's best-selling business book, Share This: The social media handbook for PR, published by Wiley, in July 2012.
To begin the day Jane Wilson CIPR CEO pointed out that in many ways social media has revolutionised the profession that we’re working in. Never have we had to be so responsive, so engaged with those we work with or work for, and we are expected to do it all in an instant.
Throughout the day there were several important points that were repeatedly mentioned. The first is that social media can help us to be more responsive and more engaged. It allows us to track trends, to ‘friend’, ‘follow’ and ‘like’ our consumers, clients and the general public in a way that it is not possible without technology. That means that you can be responsive, flexible and accommodating – all in public.
The second point is that social media can drive greater transparency. Fergus Bell from the Associated Press shared his thoughts on the use of social media to find and feature news stories. It is good for research; following trends and finding breaking news, but the informality of the channel should not mean that we lack in contextualisation, accurate research and sourcing. Social media is good, but it’s not always right, so be sure to prioritise transparency and accountability.
Social media builds communities, online and off. Laura Oliver, community manager from the Guardian, gave some great insight into how the Guardian works with their readers so that stories, blogs and content become interactive. Readers are now involved in content curation and creation, and the journalists and staff continue to engage with their audience even after a story has gone to print. News is social, no getting away from it.
The day’s afternoon sessions were all about planning, strategy, measurement and evaluation. This was the meaty stuff, and leads us to topic number three; social media can be measured and therefore evaluated. We shouldn’t forget that. The means to measure social media are closer to hand than many people realise, and real-time social media analysis can enable brands and organisations to adjust and tailor its products and services in accordance with what people want.
The final take away point was that with social media the possibilities for innovation are endless. New ideas can be implemented at the click of a button, all for a relatively low cost. Social media is accessible, easy to use and can be moulded by those that use it to best meet their needs. That makes it priceless for public relations.
Policy and Public Relations Officer
Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Interviews with speakers from the Social Media Conference can be viewed on the CIPR YouTube channel: CIPR TV
About the CIPR
The CIPR is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 9,500 members involved in all aspects of public relations, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the public relations profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.