Big data: Transforming the public relations landscape

Defining Big Data The Big Data phenomenon is rapidly gaining traction on a global level, especially with technology now enabling the storage and analysis of humongous volumes of data, both structured and unstructured. Here we are talking about extremely valuable business intelligence and millions of pictures and materials shared across the internet that, when organized and understood properly, can also significantly influence and advance the interests of businesses, as well as that of society. The world is evolving around two directions and growing continuously from the way we interact and how businesses perform. Jojo Cheung, director of marketing & communications, IBM ASEAN, categorized this attributes as data and social. In 2014, she pointed out that we have nearly 1 trillion connected devices, which, combined, can collectively produce approximately 667 Exabyte of data traffic over the internet. Has your mind collapsed internally from trying to visualize that amount of data? In this little blog post, I’d like to explore ways in which PR agencies can embrace Big Data to generate effective campaigns for their clients, using hugely popular social media platforms such as twitter.   1     Real-time data analysis It is really no big surprise that real time data analysis has become a fast-rising trend with a relevance that is universally acknowledged. Having a targeted focus on specific social media platforms supports PR professionals as they drive successful campaigns. Engaging target audiences with tailored and consistent messages and via the right media platforms is a catalyst for audience engagement. Jojo Cheung shared that up to 277,000 tweets and 216,000 Instagram photos could be uploaded inside of one minute. Engagement is important, but there is much more involved. We are talking about how a carefully crafted message is being delivered to the target audience. PR professionals using Twitter can effectively create a constant buzz through the repetition of a message.  Content that is delivered frequently and consistently builds the foundation of an identity, which will prove to be a very handy tool for the PR professionals who are pushing their campaigns. This in turn becomes a recognizable trademark, and enhances the effectiveness of the campaign through positioning. Of course this idea could be debatable and open to different methods and interpretations. The transformation in the landscape, as it turns increasingly digital, has nudged PR professionals into acclimatizing themselves with the new tools that will push the boundaries of their craft. For example, a particular #(hashtag) that is trending has the ability populate interest from the audience. Due to the real-time nature of trending phrases, a skilled PR professional would know how to ride on the momentum of the trending hashtag, and align it with his/her campaigns. 2     Don’t forget your tools PR professionals have access to a vast amount of analytic tools that will accelerate their access to, and understanding of data. Social media mentions create a ‘buzz’ online, which in turn can lead to enhanced public awareness of a certain product, event or idea. Furthermore, for any PR professionals to successfully run their campaign, they would need the ability to stay ahead of the incoming information, whether it is in statistics, survey research data, or unique page views. 3 Quantitative and qualitative analysis of data to measure the effectiveness of the campaign is part and parcel of an entire PR campaign. There are many tools currently available on the internet that can help measure your PR outcomes. For example, SurveyMonkey and Google Analytics offer in-depth analysis of whom the campaign has successfully reached out to. There are growing numbers of analytical tools developed and developing in the years to come. These are but a few of the data management tools that will come in handy as you devise and evaluate you approach your next PR campaign. Now there is no need to fear Big Data anymore. Help is on its way!.

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