A lot has changed since I started my career in public relations. I’ve seen the transition from a mass media world to the hyper targeting available via social media. But one thing has not changed: relationships are still between people and the skill of the PR person is still needed to help organizations nurture connections.
As professionals that often work among people from different professions, it is important that we remind our clients and employers of this basic truism: companies don’t have relationships, people do.
It is easy to get distracted by all of the tools out there. Tools are helpful in the task of relationship building and engagement, but our use of tools needs to be at the bidding of a human-created strategic communication plan. Tools help us work more efficiently and effectively, but the tools won’t create relationships.
Today’s communication professional needs to help organizations to use tools to look for the social signals that can lead to engagement while never losing sight of the importance of people-to-people connections. Is that tweet the words of an established customer or someone who is seeking a connection? Is that Facebook post from someone who is entrenched with a negative opinion or someone who needs more information to make an informed choice?
Tools are great facilitators of our work, but we will always need people for relationship building.