I’m reading an advance copy of the book, “Rethinking Reputation: How PR Trumps Marketing and Advertising in the New Media World” by Fraser Seitel and John Doorley. Early in the book, the authors state, “PR is an ancient art form.” They trace public relations back to the days of Moses. Since the beginning, PR is at the heart of a company’s communications and builds relationships to foster goodwill and confidence with the public. However, a major difference in practicing PR today is the ability to build a meaningful relationship with stakeholders by using technology to deepen and strategically grow relationships for the long term.
There are new responsibilities for PR professionals who want to move from simple connections with audiences to meaningful, one-on-one engagement that leads to more valuable outcomes. The Relationship Analyzer is PR Practice #6 in my new book, Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional, which discusses how you can take your relationships to a new level. To continue with my “edited” or what I’m calling the “cut chart series,” today’s post discusses the Relationships Analyzer’s Chart of Responsibilities. There are many new roles PR professionals undertake, as they move from creating connections to strategic relationships that benefit their brands.
As I mentioned in my book, “When you move from relationship building to relationship examining, a new practice for public relations surfaces … The Relationship Analyzer is a strategic practice that digs into the psychographics of people based on like-mindedness and common critical issues, and the study of behavioral actions of the people in your communities, as the key to higher-level interactions.” The wheel visual below depicts several new roles and responsibilities for you to learn. As a Relationship Analyzer you will continue to uncover information and learn about the people you want to meet in various web communities.
© PR 2.0 Strategies
A Relationship Analyzer’s responsibilities include a three-part process, which will guide your approach to connections and deepening relationships. This three-part process includes developing detailed audience profiles, using technology to analyze direction and growth of your relationship and creating strategies based on a web community’s culture. Several technology tools will help you to actually see and make these connections in your social media outreach.
Here’s how the responsibilities break down in your new practice:
Develop an Audience Profile
An Audience Profile is a helpful resource to identify the needs of each audience segment, to pinpoint exactly where groups are congregating, to distinguish what issues/topics interest them, and to allow you to discover the best ways to communicate directly. By identifying specific needs and interests, you will be able to provide customized and meaningful information, all in an effort to build stronger, more mutually beneficial relationships.
Analyze Growth Relationships
The Relationship Analyzer’s job is a direct response to the depth of relationships and the participation required to keep close connections. You can use technology tools and resources to monitor the direction, growth and strength of the relationship, during all phases of your communications. Technology reveals the weak connections between you and a friend/follower, or between your brand and its stakeholders, so that you can continually apply new strategies to strengthen and/or build those bonds.
Define Position on Relationship Staircase
As you participate in social communities, you quickly learn your friendships appear to fall into different buckets. Remember, these buckets may change depending on the community. However, you can group friends/followers into classifications, from the Casual Friend all the way up the Relationship Staircase to The Trusted Confidant/Brand Champion. Understanding the position of the relationship helps to you to create additional opportunities to advance and further your climb to the top of the staircase.
Use Technology to Visualize
You can capitalize on the great connections by using technology to visualize the nature of your relationship and its intensity at any given time. Technology tools in the various social platforms help you to see weak ties, as well as your strong connections to customers and to your influencers. These tools help you to figure out a better strategy to cultivating stronger relationships, not only quickly but also through like connections. Visualizing (through maps or graphing technology) where your connections are the greatest and where you need help with your engagement enables you to move from awareness and the Casual Friend to a Trusted Confidant/Brand Champion.
Devise Your Strategy to Grow
Once you identify where your audience, or your influencers congregate you can answer specific questions to devise your relationship growth strategy. These questions include: How do you think your friends/followers view you or your brand on the Relationship Stairway? Have you taken the initiative to climb the steps a little higher, with some or most of your friends/followers? How do you figure out which friends/followers you want to move up the steps quickly, and have you analyzed these friends or their friendships lately?
Breakdown the Landscape
You must observe and identify the differences between communities and be able to apply cultural norms and group behavior to rally a community on your behalf. You also have to investigate your own participation to know how to engage differently in networks. Your job is to uncover how culture and best practice engagement plays a part of a relationship’s growth. The culture in your Facebook groups may be very different than the what’s expected from those who participates with you on your brand’s main Twitter feed. Knowing the landscape and the needs of different communities will help to cultivate the relationship.
Create Experiences for Channels
You will quickly learn that people don’t want to see and hear the same stories, and receive the same information or share identical content in all of your communities. You will come to find how social channels breakdown with different strategic purposes. Facebook may be used more for crowdsourcing and contests, or customer service and consumer research. Twitter may become a channel for update to the moment news and information, exciting events and activities as well as reputation management. Google+ may be your opportunity to have video hangouts for closer interaction with stakeholders and idea generating sessions with your customers.
The Relationship Analyzer is a new and evolving role and one of the most important PR practices. Relationship building is at the heart of public relations. Your ability to grow relationships and measure the outcomes through technology and visualization is an excellent way to expand the depth of your insight and to achieve your communications goals. Your new knowledge and skills will help you to connect, engage and find mutually beneficial relationships with people who will further your brand’s mission and become loyal advocates.