Advances in social platforms move at breakneck speed. It is impossible to keep up with them all. But as aspiring public relations professionals, we must do our best. The more knowledgable we are of new social networks and trends, the more we can use that knowledge to predict how the public will react. That will give you the upper hand in campaign development.
While you might not use all of these mostly undiscovered social networks, it is still important to look at them from a different perspective.
This iPhone and Android app is by far the most successful anti-Facebook social network. After floundering for about a year as a photo sharing app, Path redesigned into a beautiful journal to share moments with close family, friends and colleagues. How do they define close? Simple — a limit of 150 friends based on Dunbar’s number, which says you can only hold about 150 social relationships at any given time. With all the anger over Facebook Timeline, I wouldn’t be surprised if people starting searching for real alternatives to Facebook and not just this app. Public relations people might start to worry about Facebook’s diminishing influence, which probably won’t happen soon – but you never know.
An awesome community for slide presentations on whatever subject your heart desires. Despite being nearly six years old, Slideshare continues to be a thriving educational space. We can even use it to improve our skills as public relations practitioners, as large agencies like Edelman and Burson-Marsteller regularly post presentations relative to current industry topics. Even the White House posts important policy information with the platform. Many public relations people use it as a means to post informational content for clients. It is also great for embedding presentations in personal blogs.
If you haven’t been to a Meetup recently, you should. These local gatherings of myriad interests happen in nearly 45,000 cities across the country, thanks to this social network. The company loves to emphasize how great they are at promoting local events. Because we know effective local marketing with tailored messages to different audiences is vital, Meetup should be an indispensable tool for every pubic relations professional. A perfect use is nurturing brand advocates. Find people who love your product or company and make it easy for them to tell others with Meetups. The popular location-based service foursquare is a great case study because Meetup enables foursquare users to get together and discuss in over 1,640 locations. That would be extremely difficult for a relatively small start-up if it weren’t for Meetup.
The music industry has always been prone to disruption after the emergence of iTunes, internet radio and now product mixtures like Spotify. While SoundCloud is not like these products, it is a social network just for music. You can create and upload original mixes, share them and connect with other music lovers. This has potential for the future as a better means of promoting independent music because of its bottom-up implications. Why distribute your client’s original and revolutionary new album through traditional and bloated record industries when you could create a ravenous demand through social media, thereby driving digital sales? Seems like a no-brainer anyone doing music public relations.
What other networks do you think should be included in this list? How are you using new, less-known networks personally or professionally?
MikeDeFilippis is a junior in the CollegeofCommunication at BostonUniversity and Events Coordinator for the EdwardL. BernaysPRSSAChapter. He recently studied abroad in Paris, France. Mike is currently a press intern for SenatePresidentThereseMurray at the Massachusetts State House. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.