The last three weeks, we’ve discussed the different aspects of social media. We started exploring social media as marketing, which is usually what non-communications professionals want social media to be used for. Then, we evaluated social media as communications, which many nonprofit organizations tend to focus on.

Today, we discuss the most important aspect of social media: public relations. Organizations that are the best at leveraging their brand on social media do so because they know that 60% of their job is public relations. (20% is marketing and 20% is communications).

Social media is the front page of your organization. Social media is where your customers turn to for breaking news, to voice their appreciation or concerns, and to get an idea about what your organization is about. Even more important than that though, is that social media gives you the opportunity to personify your organization. No longer is your organization a faceless, amorphous, monolith, now it is almost a living, breathing entity with a personality. A strong social media presence gives your organization life.

You can set the entire tone for how your organization is viewed on a Facebook page. Are you trying to portray your organization as witty, funny, and laid back? Your tone can accomplish that. Looking to rebrand your organization as “the authority” on something? Speak with purpose and post strong content. Want to work on transparency? Respond to as many comments as you can, even the negative ones. Want to appear fun? Post pictures of people having fun. And the list goes on and on.

While a strong digital PR campaign cannot completely cover for a bad product or bad business practices, it can start to change the conversation. Armed with a good product and good business practices, and the sky is the limit.