Date: 26 October, 2017

Subject: Social media for public relations: Lessons from four effective cases

MLA Citation: Allagui, I., & Breslow, H. Social media for public relations: Lessons from four effective cases. Public Relations Review (2015),


Research Assessment #6

This article is different from the others that I have analyzed so far, as this one was written by college students (at Northwestern University) as research. This provides a great perspective on social media’s implications in public relations (PR) for me, as it is extremely recent information that analyzes trends and uses today as opposed to a few years ago, which would be old news and not of much use to me. This article, written by young adults (Millennials, in fact, which provides a strange kind of insight into myself), was able to teach me about the symbiotic relationship between public relations and social media.

A funny observation I made—last year, I wrote a research assessment about the symbiotic relationship between social media and journalism. When I chose PR as my topic this year, I expected there to be a few parallels here and there, but I never expected the two to be so closely related! This is proving to be fantastic news for me, as I still plan on studying journalism in college, so my studies in PR this year will be of great help to me in my college studies.

Social media is incredibly effective in connecting vast audiences, and a company’s social media following is a particularly crucial audience to appeal to. Their social media following is connected to millions of others, and anything shared by the company’s followers can make its way around the world in mere hours. Its PR implications are fairly obvious; “both social media and PR exist to foster relationships with, and to promote interaction between, members of a target audience and the firm, and among members of the target audience” according to the article.

One particular lesson that I found interesting from this article is that the best joint social media and PR campaigns focus on digital storytelling at the center of their strategy. Digital storytelling describes the telling of a story within the company in order to reach a certain goal with target audiences, as opposed to simply creating a marketing campaign for the sake of a marketing campaign. Digital storytelling allows audiences to better engage and take part in telling their own story as a part of a larger story. If audiences are given something they can invest in and relate to, then the audience’s response will be exponentially better. One way this response is measured is called a “social sentiment score,” or a score that reflects whether the terms, verbatim, or collection of verbatim on the social web are positive, negative, or neutral.

Essentially, as a PR professional, I need to communicate with my audience instead of to them.

As I continue into a PR career, social media, undoubtedly, will be of great use to me. In order to optimize results, social media campaigns must lead to some kind of offline engagement of the target audience; in other words, the social media should not be the end-all be-all. The social media marketing should lead audiences to follow and support the company/brand in other ways. Additionally, PR specialists can tailor social media campaigns to appeal to certain audiences by focusing on certain media outlets (for example, Generation X focuses on text-based outlets such as Twitter, while Generation Z is very visual and focuses on visual social media such as Instagram and YouTube) and designing graphics that appeal to different age groups. Overall, social media campaigns are incredibly impactful in PR because they create a web of interconnected consumers, allowing content to spread at an exponentially greater rate than on any other platform.

Annotated Article: