The social media pool, as a topic, tends to conjure up mixed emotions, depending on who you are talking to. Some readily embrace change, new methods, and technology by jumping, with reckless abandon, into the deep end of unknown waters to explore the possibilities with expectancy, and open-minded vim and vigor. On the other hand, others tend to, just as instantly, reject, deplore, and criticize anything new that deviates from the safe haven of the familiar. These reserved folks, from the shore, boldly proclaim their distrust among friends and family, painting a dark picture with negative scenarios and warning of the evils that will surely contaminate us all. Still there is a third group of apathetic individuals who seem to be neutral and engage in social media only as it applies to their lives directly, or as needed; wading hesitantly on the shore and perfectly content to pensively immerse one toe at a time into the waters of change. In all three groups, perception is truth.
The disparate divide in mindsets creates a unique challenge for new public relations specialists entering the job market today. Companies can be as diverse in their mindsets as individuals. Understanding the power and importance of social media today is as misunderstood as the public relations job description itself, often raising as many questions as answers. Commissioned to create a communication bridge between the attitudes of a new employer and their diverse publics will certainly require an extra measure of finesse. As new pioneers creating the bridge over choppy waters, our newly-honed communication skills will surely be put to the test.
As a sales professional, over the years, I have learned that sales is actually a transfer of beliefs. Public relations, as a field, is also about crafting beliefs. As media professionals, it is imperative that we know how to engage different attitudes, beliefs and mindsets. In a sales situation, the best way to be relevant is to tell stories that are relateable. Personal stories are the most effective because you are conveying your own truth—and truth resonates supernaturally through all forms of communication. Deep down, all people, whether they admit it or not, want to be persuaded and convinced. Deep down, the more they resist, the more they want you to push back.
If put in the position of presenting a social media campaign to a hesitant manager, being prepared with statistics would be important, especially when dealing with an analytic personality type. When demonstrating to a more emotional person or group, personal stories relative to the audience you are attempting to reach, along with an attractive visual presentation will reverberate. Knowing the audience, determines the message and delivery. Mirror the the attitude of the audience to earn trust and influence them with their own logic and emotion. Public relations professionals prepared with a strong personal conviction, statistics, and stories will be equipped to entice even the most reserved to swim confidently in the deep end of the social media pool.