Facebook Reaches Out To Public Relations Industry

Facebook is well known as an advertising platform but an event last week could signify a closer relationship with another branch of marketing – public relations.

The event, reportedly attended by representatives from the likes of Electronic Arts and eBay as well as big PR agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, was designed to showcase Facebook’s strengths as a PR platform. A report on the Reuters Mediafile blog says Facebook officials including Randi Zuckerberg explained how tools such as live-streaming special events or finely targeting marketing pitches could help PR campaigns, with the formal presentation followed by canapes and drinks on the roof.

The social networking site has also set up a page for PR professionals with information such as how to “like” any article online, using a Firefox plug-in, or tips on live-streaming. The page, set up at the end of last week, has 258 fans so far.

Facebook has long played a prominent role in public relations. As consumers’ media usage changes and the power of mainstream news organizations declined, PR professionals have followed their audiences onto social networks. And with Facebook’s 500 million users worldwide, the site is front and center for any social media marketing or PR campaign.

It is typically the PR team from any given company that runs the corporate Facebook page, a key tool in engaging consumers. However, it’s not always about push marketing – sometimes the PR team is forced to be reactive rather than proactive, for example several months ago environmental activists used the NestlĂ© Facebook page to vent their anger over unsustainable palm oil in chocolate.