By Kimberly Exford
For this case study, I was able to interview two young women, one that previously worked in radio and broadcasting, and another who currently works at public relations agency. Both women were able to give thorough details and insight into the changing media landscape within each of their media respective organizations.
Candace Ledbetter (former Promotions PR Manager for V-103, a local radio station in Atlanta, GA)
Candace held this role from 2008-2014. As such, she was responsible for overseeing all media outlets that her company used, including social media. Not only was she in charge of giving the company a “voice” throughout the city and other surrounding areas, but she would also provide platforms for others seeking to spread the word about themselves. When I asked Candace what she felt the biggest impact or change was on this company, she immediately said social media.
Though she is a member of several social media sites in her personal life (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), her company was not so willing to join. This was a problem for Candace initially because she knew how much the Internet and social media impacted the way people received information, and it was crucial that V-103 “catch up” to everyone else that was rapidly joining these sites. For example, the social site Twitter gives users a way to quickly share their thoughts with others.
For companies, she said that “it allows them to be everywhere!”
According to a social networking study conducted by Pew Research Center, as of January 2014, 19% of all online adults use Twitter.
Another benefit is radio stations can get more personal with their listeners and bring about brand loyalty. Though this company was slow to make the change over to more digital media outlets, Candace doesn’t feel that there were any missed opportunities.
She said, “I know that we were late to the show so to speak, but we still got there in enough time and didn’t miss too much.”
Another role that Candace held was the director of operations and senior publisher for 135th Street Agency. According to their company Facebook page, “founded in 2005, the 135th Street Agency is an experiential marketing and communications company based in New York City and Atlanta that specializes in campaigns targeting Youth Consumers and Business Professionals.” Candace mentioned that her role with this agency was virtually identical to the one at the radio station.
When asked about social media’s impact on newspapers, radio, and other forms of media overall, Candace specifically mentioned newspapers, and the fact that readers sometimes used to have to spend money to get the information they desired. However, with the Internet (i.e. social media) there is no cost. A Twitter follower of a FOX news station can get the basically the same information that someone who purchases a newspaper gets, she argued.
Social media and the Internet took over from some forms of traditional media because of their convenience. Though the radio is easily available in the car and also, at times, online, someone with access to a social media site (i.e. via their phone) might be able to access this information even faster. And, they can do it from the middle of the mall while shopping or while standing in line purchasing groceries. Also, with the radio, you may have to sit through boring advertisements and commercials before getting to listen to your desired news. Though there are some ads found on the internet and social media, unlike the radio, typically you can click through them and get to what you are looking for much quicker.
Eugenia Johnson (PR Director at Garner Circle PR in Atlanta, GA)
Eugenia describes her employer as a “boutique PR firm,” one that offers media outreach and planning or marketing or special communications services for a variety of businesses. According to this article, “public relations boutiques specialize in raising the overall awareness of a brand, product or image of a company or person.”
Eugenia mentioned that though her company currently uses a variety of media outlets, the digital ones account for about 80% of their pitches. Some of the most popular digital outlets they use are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By joining these networks, her company hopes to “build relationships and use ‘promotional stalkers’ to help gain additional information. Promotional stalkers are people whose job is to join various social media networks and develop a relationship with as many of their followers and friends on a particular site as possible. This helps to put users at ease before springing a pitch on them.
More specifically, one of her responsibilities is to look for bloggers with higher response rates and number of followers to hopefully help influence other people. Eugenia mentions a few pros to using this form of media. She can build relationships with her followers and, and she can also see what their competitors are doing. As far as opportunities are concerned, she doesn’t feel that any opportunities have been missed since her firm is very active on social media.
Though each of these women work for different companies, they both provided me with the same key take-away items when I talked to them: A company must be able to adapt to the changing media environment and they have to be willing to make changes as needed to help keep up with their users.