Let’s think about this kind of situation: you are a PR manager of a big food company which have lots of stores in Australia. One day, two employees posted videos of adulterated food online and estimated 1 million people viewed after two days later. Then, the relevant law enforcement departments wants to investigate your company. BUT, the worse thing is, you NEVER know about this situation!
How horrible! That is what happened with Domino’s in 2009. PR practitioners never know what will happen on social media. Praise is perfect, but negative feedback is inevitable for any organisation. PR practitioners should understand the importance of searching and monitoring what their target audience says about them in the online environment.
At the beginning, PR practitioners should understand that PR is about anticipation and interpretation of public opinion. A good PR need to know how to use the social media monitoring to avoid the issues that might turn into a crisis, which means online searching and monitoring can impact the future of an organisation.
For a organisation, online searching and monitoring will help them turing negative feedback and complaints into positive publicity.
There has two way that Murray Brian (2003, pp. 171) provided to PR practitioners to find out the how a brand is being used online:
Well, customer services in every organisation will receive lots of complaints from their customers. Some times the reason of complaints are unreasonable, but it shows the problems that a organisation may have.
Find the questions as soon as possible and fix it before anyone find it. Obviously the first method for PR practitioners is a failure, and might to be deadly for organisations.
If PR practitioners wants to search every area and detail online, then they might be die because of overworking. PR practitioners has to scope the potential issues and investigate where to focus on. A organisation must consider their brands and their digital assets to determine the activities which are most likely to affect them. Once identified, then just start searching!
Well, but the problem is, where to search? Of course, the Internet! The websites, google; the social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or others; and the video website, such as Youtube.
When a PR practitioners are planning PR campaigns, monitoring on social media is crucial. The several stages including: market research, the sentiment of the target audience, competitor analysis, and getting the information about their target audience (location, preferences and online habits).
You ask me why thorough online searching and monitoring is crucial for PR, these are the reasons WHY!!