From an online PR perspective, social networking sites can be valuable in these ways:
- They can be used to assess the ‘Zeitgeist’ i.e. what current trends and opinions are being discussed which can be built into PR campaigns.
- They can assists in recommendations about brands and products. For example, Hitwise research suggests that a high proportion of visits to fashion retail stores such as Top Shop were preceded by usage of social networks, suggesting that some visits are prompted by discussions.
- They can be used to solicit feedback about product experiences and brand perception, either by explicit request or observing what is discussed.
It is also important to monitor comments and respond as appropriate.
Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice (Vol. 5). Harlow: Pearson.