A key part of the public relations field is not only keeping relationships organizations already have, but building new ones as well. It is easy to say that we have relationships with people with all of the social media outlets available to us, but something many people might forget is that it is important to have face-to-face relationships-not just quickly-typed sentence relationships.
ComPRhension blog talks about how holding events is still a good way to build relationships in their post “Community Organizing” And Public Relations: Hot To Build Face-To-Face Communications. They used President Barack Obama as an example because he came out of college and immediately started holding events, town hall meetings, rallies and more to get the community involved and make face-to-face relationships. The grassroots community organization techniques he used helped him build platforms to work off of and have engaged communities.
Today with all of the social media being used, people tend to lose their face-to-face communication skills. It started to become an issue when people who weren’t in the communications business could no longer be comfortable holding a conversation. It has now reached a point where PR professionals would rather send an email than make a phone call simply to avoid the conversation. This is a huge problem. We are supposed to be the PUBLIC RELATIONS professionals, who can talk about anything, bring up good points, communicate well, hold a good presence, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It is our job to have in-person, live relationships- am I the only one noticing this problem?!
So, I suggest that those PR professionals who find themselves in this position, or slowly moving toward this way of communication, admit it to yourself and take action. Plan an event! If you plan something that your organization and its stakeholders will attend, you will be forced to meet the people you know as “@_____.” Another good way to talk face-to-face, ComPRehension suggests, is being part of a “meet-up group” for associations or like-minded individuals.
If you simply cannot stay away from the tweets and Facebooking, use them as a tool to set up an event. Hold a “tweet-up” or “twestival,” gatherings of Twitter followers. Make an event on Facebook for a gathering. Find some way to use the social media offered to us to enhance our communication skills, don’t use it as an easy way out.