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Continental drift in modern PR? – Insight Spain

Today our series is featuring Josep Iglesias of IT Comunicacion, GlobalCom PR Network’s partner agency in Spain, who provided us with some insights regarding their local PR practices and regional trends.

1. What status do social and digital media have in your daily PR work?

No doubt, for those of us dedicated to PR, social media has (and will) become central to our work. In fact, according to the national Observatory of Social Networks, 93% of Internet users in Spain have joined Facebook. Of these, 85% still active and updated permanently. In the case of Twitter, 32% of Internet users operate with it. It is not a child’s play: the average age of social networks users in Spain is 30. Analyzing this data, you may come to believe that a message on Facebook or Twitter could have much more audience than a news item published in a conventional media.

It is in this context that journalists and PR have to change to some extent their professional routines, incorporating communication in the 2.0 mix of communications of any brand or company.

The reason to do it is clear: first, because many Twitter users are journalists who, before writing the piece of information, are already advancing it through their social profile. And second, because now anyone is able to produce and send information. We all know that the credibility that has a newspaper and a journalist is not the same for an anonymous user; however, the news they post on social networks may spread rapidly, affecting positively or negatively the company. Therefore, the reputation and the visibility of the brand, which is the job for PR, not only depend on the traditional media or the conventional PR working methods.

We are still in a moment of confusion, in which each agent (professional journalists, opinion leaders, editors, media and PR agencies…) will have to clear its positioning to take its role in the new communication scenario and set up a new way of communicating in this new reality.

2. Do you use social networking in your PR and communications work?

At present, from our perspective, social networks have still a relative importance in some industries. Clients from certain sectors still have a high degree of reliance on traditional media and the conventional PR.

It is also true that we have incorporated into our services specific 2.0 communication strategies and tools for our clients, using social media techniques to enhance the effectiveness of PR activities.

Moreover, in the current context, society is increasingly confident in social networks as a source of information, not only for the media and professional journalists who communicate using these ways, but also for anonymous users that use social networks.

This transformation has also caused another change: a reorientation of the communications strategy of every company and institution. Messages and institutional communications must adapt to this in order not no to lose credibility or visibility. It is essential to professionally manage 2.0 communication networks, although there are still those who do not believe in it. Conventional public and media relations are needed, but these must be complemented by strategies and measures that ensure a proper 2.0 communication.

Regarding the management of corporate communication, trust is essential. And if we can not generate it directly, we may have to take advantage from this situation, with the objective that others speak well of us: being our ambassadors, our speakers.

3. What would you see as most recent innovation in the field of PR?

In our opinion, the two major changes that social networks bring to the field of public relations are: immediacy and credibility. The latter has already been seen before: people trust what other users say, everyone. And their messages about a brand, positive or not, may have more strength and credibility than the opinion signed by a newspaper or a journalist.

On the other hand, immediacy is also a key factor. The traditional press has to understand and develop its repositioning, as the radio did when TV was born, to ensure its survival. Currently, news come before on Twitter than trough traditional media. It is especially clear in the case of events, when guests upload information and their own pictures taken during a happening. This factor affects our routines – which now will be further accelerated- but won’t change the values of PR work, such as strategy and professionalism.

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