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Pr - How's It Looking In 2011

It takes a long time for people to accept change. This is even more true for big companies. It has taken years for those who handle the PR in our world to understand that the internet is fueling the future of marketing and PR. It is not just changing WHAT needs to be done, but is also changing HOW it needs to be applied. The problem is that the future is now; there is no time to waste. These new technologies need to be applied today to be successful.

Many in the PR world are stuck doing the traditional activities that in the past were mainstays of the industry, such as event management, public affairs activities or conventional media relations. A lot of people still think of the internet and social media as a domain for the marketing part of their company, and not a realm that needs to be addressed by PR. It is very easy to keep doing what PR people have been doing for the last 100 years; getting your feet stuck in the mud is very common.

This being said, at least most companies are finally on board with at least using some sort of social platform to reach out to customers. SNCR did a study that states that 97% of nonprofits and 60% of companies are using social media. The problem seems to still be in the way these companies are using the tools; just having a presence in the various social media outlets is not enough.

The goal of all these companies should be to engage their potential customers in conversation, to listen to what they have to say, and to respond accordingly. Studies have been done that show that the companies that are meaningfully studying the social media data are growing 18% a year, even in this bad economy. Know what your customers need and want is mor3e important now than ever, and without analyzing this data there is no way to know.

The future is going to consist of finding the best tools to gather and analyse social media conversations to figure out how, as a company, to respond for the best results. These tools will become a PR individual's best friend in a time when social media is becoming the most used and most important mode of conversation on the planet. Whereas in the past PR consisted of gathering and analyzing this type of data outside of the internet, now is the time to make the painful but necessary transition to doing this with the internet.

It has taken years, but a lot of companies are finally getting the hint. To be successful, listening to what people say via social media, and responding in an appropriate manner will equal success. A good PR agency will know that PR has everything to do with social media, no matter what you hear others in the industry say. The way we do PR is changing rapidly, and not jumping on the social media bandwagon could spell doom. Listening, learning and reacting to the new modes of communication will be the key to a bright future for companies everywhere.