Last week marked 10 years since I’ve had a Twitter account. I’d like to say I was an early adopter but the move was more motivated by curiosity than any kind of foresight about how technology was about to reshape the PR industry.
Back then keeping track of changes across each social network was relatively straightforward. Yes there were loads of networks and sites aiming to ‘connect’ people but each had relatively few features. Most were slight various of each other. This coupled with the fact the ‘twitterati’ was a small club of people all trying to ‘work it out’, you only had to follow a few people to get the skinny on what was new, interesting and relevant to your job.
Not so much these days. While the number of relevant social networks isn’t as many (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and maybe one or two more), keeping track of all their new features and how they impact the day to day workings of a PR pro can be a full time job in itself.
Against this backdrop, I’m going to provide regular updates (how regular remains to be seen) on what new and interesting features are coming out from the social networks and what implications they have for the PR/comms professional.
So here goes.
It was very controversial when introduced and was arguably the catalyst for what we now know as ‘fake news’ but Facebook has making some significant changes to the Trending topics feature.
What this means for PR people? Well removing the personalisation aspect will make the trends more like the Twitter trends which are more a representation of what people are discussing. This should mean PR pros can get more of an intuitive handle on what’s on the minds of the Facebookers of the world (all 1.6 billion of them)
Hot on the heels of the Instagram (which launched its version of Snapchat’s popular Stores feature) Facebook has got in on the act. Here’s a video that explains how it works.
What this means for PR people? I’ve long held the view that PR folks punch below their weight when it comes to telling a brand story. Yes brand marketers do storytelling across most mass media channels (including Facebook ads) but when it comes to getting under the skin of an organisation (not just the brand) using Facebook stories could be the place PR pros can add a richer context to the brand story.
For as long as I can remember (and bearing in mind I’m a lot older than I look), PR pros have struggled with the concept of measurement and evaluating the outcomes of their work. It turns out Facebook has been facing a similar struggle. To this end, Facebook have announced several updates that focuse on giving greater transparency especially with the various measurement partners who work them.
What this means for PR people? If it does nothing at all, it should re-iterate the need within the PR community to focus on verifiable and valuable outcomes. And in the age of fake news, a move that should be welcomed with open arms.
Eb Adeyeri is a digital strategy consultant.
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