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Facebook as a public relations tool

Professionals in public relations have begun to take notice of Facebook as a social media tool that can be used to their advantage.

 

TAMPA – Public relations professionals are now using Facebook as a tool to promote their businesses and engage with clients on a personal level.

 

The traditional form of public relations is soon to be a trend of the past because of the expansion of technology throughout the industry.

With technology come social networks. An understanding of a social network platform is necessary for professionals planning to continue working in the industry.

John Suhler, president and co-founder of Veronis Suhler Stevenson thinks that there is a new opportunity for public relations professionals to use digital tools, such as Facebook, to make public relations more important to communications.

Facebook is a social networking website with over 500 million active users. It started out as a website for college students but has evolved into much more since its start up date in 2004.

The Executive Director of Florida Technical College, Lisa Velarde, has just recently decided to use Facebook to promote her school. She realized that her students liked to keep track of the things that go on at the school and like to share that information with their friends.

“It’s one way to market the school to the community,” Velarde said.

Velarde uses Facebook to promote the school to audiences that she wouldn’t normally reach. The students can become fans, which allows other people to see what the school has to offer.

“Facebook has allowed us to open our doors to more audiences out there who are interested in school,” Velarde said.

Rebecca Thompson, public relations and marketing intern for WNC Magazine in Asheville, N.C., said she uses Facebook as a promotional tool to target different media outlets and promote upcoming campaigns.

“Overall I think Facebook is a very useful tool and it is impacting the field of public relations for the better,” Thompson said.

Public relations students at the University of South Florida have also been exposed to this new change in the industry. The Public Relations Student Society of America at USF has stressed the use of social media in the field.

At a recent meeting of the PRSSA, there were many instances where social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter were mentioned.

Joey Destefano, a senior at USF double majoring in public relations and religious studies talked about his experiences with Facebook.

“Facebook has grown to become not only a place to interact with my friends, but a tool to interact with other professionals and organizations,” Destefano said.

Social media is a new tool in the shed for professionals and businesses alike. In less than five years it has changed the way public relations professionals conduct business.

[By ASHLEY CALLENDER and BRAD WALKER]

Nov. 20, 2010

Keywords: Facebook, public relations, WNC Magazine, Florida Technical College, Veronis Suhler Stevenson, Public Relations Student Society of America, University of South Florida, Joey Destefano

 

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