😕 – feeling thoughtful?
Facebook has recently sent me a number of reminders celebrating the fact that I have been a user of the site for 10 years, and to be honest I am not sure which emoji I should use to express how I feel about this.
I have a clear memory of setting up my account shortly after graduating university and my brother logging in under my name to find out what it was all about – very soon after, he and all my friends, had accounts of their own and we no longer logged into Myspace (which if you are under the age of 30 you might need to Google). But, while I was busy talking to my friends and posting pictures on Facebook, I certainly didn’t use it, or any other social media platform, as a tool in my job in PR.
Fast forward ten years. It’s 2017 and Facebook has over one billion users (whhhhhat!!!) and is arguably one of the most powerful PR tools on the internet. But why?
Using Facebook as an online PR tool allows clients to increase their reach exponentially; messages can be presented to people who you know are interested in your topic and they are more likely to engage with your content – you even know when and where they are receptive to your messages.
Earlier this week the BBC’s latest Panorama asked whether it’s time to regulate Mark Zuckerberg’s empire; a vast topic which they were never going to usefully conclude during a short documentary. The programme highlighted the unanswered, but much discussed question about who owns the content posted on Facebook (and yes at this point I did double check my privacy settings). It also explored the social media spend received by the company from campaigns involved in the EU referendum and US election and the recent accusations made around the site hosting fake news; all topics that Facebook’s policy director confirms they take VERY SERIOUSLY – we know that because he repeated it about 10 times; hats off to his media training team.
So how does any of this impact on us well-meaning PR folk?
To me the answer centres on ethics, a topic which sits at the heart of our industry’s professional body the CIPR – regardless of what PR tool you choose and which social media platform or media channel you use to find your audience, a true PR professional understands the importance of generating ONLY ethical content and using sound technical and strategic tools to deliver this content.
Facebook isn’t going away, nor should it – it is a reflection of the digital world we live in – and if you don’t believe me ask the nearest millennial. It really is the new normal and any PR campaign that doesn’t consider social? Well I guess that is what the confused emoji is for.