By Dan Burdick
In the article, “Social Media’s Function in Organizations,” Amy Reitz examines how social media can facilitate issues management and relationship-building. There are several ways social media works to simplify issues management. First, social media can be used by organizations to analyze public interactions online, allowing organizations to better plan for online crises. In this way, social media can help organizations quickly “manage” online crises or avoid them altogether.
Similarly, social media allows organizations to engage in dialogue with the public, thus giving organizations the ability to garner the public’s opinions and attitudes on certain issues so organizations may then act in accordance with the beliefs of the public. Reitz writes, “Since social media are dialogic in form, as well as instantaneous, organizations can monitor their publics’ attitudes and opinions fairly quickly and adjust and adapt accordingly as appropriate” (Reitz 50). Social media can act as crisis prevention tool for organizations in other ways as well. By allowing for dialogue between organizations and the public, social media can also help to strengthen connections between the two, leading to “stronger bonds within the organization-public relationship system” (Reitz 50).
Along with simplifying issues management, social media can also help facilitate relationship-building. Social media helps build organization-public relationships in a number of ways, most importantly by allowing for dialogue and the sharing of opinions between organizations and the public. Why is dialogue important for improving relationships between organizations and the public? Reitz makes the reasoning clear when she writes, “dialogue helps the organization-public relationship bond because it identifies the needs of both parties and can help resolve the concerns of both parties” (Reitz 49). By allowing for more open dialogue, social media helps build trust, enable collaboration, and create emotional bonds between organizations and the public.
Reitz highlights some of the ways social media helps strengthen the authenticity of organization-public relationships when she writes, “With social media, publics can quickly and efficiently assess their feelings regarding an organization, which can enable them to feel confident about the authenticity of the relationship formed with an organization” (Reitz 49). In many things in life, confidence is the key factor leading to success, and based upon this quote it is safe to assume that social media plays a major role in increasing public confidence in organizations and helps lead to stronger relationships between organizations and the public.
In conclusion, there are several different ways in which social media can help facilitate issues management and relationship-building. By allowing for open dialogue between organizations and the public, social media helps create authentic and emotional bonds between the two groups. In this way, organizations can use social media to prevent crises before they happen by listening to the publics’ opinions, wants and needs and acting upon the publics’ feelings. It is clear that social media currently does and will continue to play a major role in organization-public relations for years to come.
Reitz, Amy. (2012). Social media’s function in organizations: A functional analysis approach.
Global Media Journal --Canadian Edition, 5(2),41-.56