A survey conducted last year by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) found that ‘mastering social media skills’ was one of the top three issues for public relations practitioners for the next two years.
This survey indicates how important it is for public relations practitioners to have the knowledge and skills on how to use social media EFFECTIVELY.
This is even more important, considering the fact that social media is driving the news agenda of the mainstream media and having a considerable impact on organisational and brand reputation management.
A recent study by PR firm Burson-Marsteller also found that 79 percent of the 100 largest companies in the Fortune 500 list use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or corporate blogs to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.
Even though social media is not appropriate for use by all organisations, such as the military, police departments and defence ministries, they nonetheless need to keep a check on what is being said about them on social media and video sharing sites.
To do this, PR practitioners need to have the necessary know-how to monitor public opinion on the internet.
Employers are also looking for graduates with social media skills.
For this reason, I call on the module ‘Digital Media and PR’ to be made compulsory for all PR students at the University of Stirling as well as all other higher institutions of learning.
We cannot afford a skills gap in PR graduates.
Image from New Media