Sunday, October 19, 2008

Social Marketing (Blog 5)

"My mom thinks I am cool" has officially been replaced by "I know I'm cool I have over 500 friends on Facebook". Virtual popularity is but one of many facets that social networking websites have to offer. But how do these applications apply to organizations and the PR practitioner? The answer is simple; like most new social media tools it can be beneficial, harmful, or in some situations - both.

Social networking websites, such as Facebook or Myspace, have become an Internet phenomenon over the last four years. Their uses have expanded and organizations are starting to realize that it is possible to use them in order to contact , maintain, and target potential or existing customers. In fact, professionals have even begun to understand the virutal social networking possibilities and new websites such as Linkedin have been created for more specific purposes such as "professional networking".

These websites allow PR practitioners to establish and maintain better relationships with their organization's public(s). However, there are certain precautions that must be taken. It is important that organizations don't solely rely on social networking websites as a main form of communication. Not all members of their public(s) may use social networking websites, and those that do may not check them frequently. They do, however, allow an organization access to a more "personal" side both of their own image and of their customer's likes and dislikes. Subsequently, it is possible for PR professionals to identify with the public(s) of the organizations they represent more accurately and efficiently.

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