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The Rspca And The Use Of Social Media For Public Relations Purposes

1927 words - 8 pages

The use of Social Media channels for public relations purposes has become increasingly popular in recent years; organisations use a variety of channels in order to effectively communicate with their publics. The NSW RSPCA demonstrates how a not-for-profit organisation can utilise several social media channels to successfully enhance and maintain their reputation as well as relating with their publics. The methods in which the NSW RSPCA uses social media to connect with their publics can be correlated with several public relations theories; Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, two of Grunig’s four Public Relations models – Public Information and Two-Way Symmetrical models, the Diffusion of Innovation ...view middle of the document...

Findings from a three year long survey have indicated that the emergence of social media has changed the communication channels between organisation and publics for the better (Wright DK, Hinson MD, 2008) The use of social media, whether for personal or business use has grown rapidly in the previous years, the table shown in Appendix A indicates the Australian social media usage statistics between February 2012 and February 2013 (, 2013 [2])

Armstrong, et al (2012, p.6) suggests that a need is a state of felt deprivation, Maslow developed a hierarchy of five needs that exist within every individual, the highest level of the hierarchy cannot be achieved until an individual fulfils the needs of the lower levels. Maslow’s needs hierarchy can be viewed in Appendix B. The NSW RSPCA uses a variety of empathetic words, images and videos across a variety of social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to appeal to the publics’ needs in an attempt to evoke emotion, and draw attention to needs that an individual is required to fulfil. The needs of the NSW RSPCA’s public’s can be fulfilled by a variety of means; including pet adoption, donations, or participation in fundraising activities, when an individual pursues one of these options, they are also ensuring that the needs of the animal(s) they are assisting are met. Images used to evoke these emotions are evident on the NSW RSPCA’s Facebook and Twitter pages, with daily posts and tweets with information about upcoming fundraisers, and images of current pets that are available for adoption (NSW RSPCA Facebook, nd. NSW RSPCA Twitter, nd).

In 1984 James E Grunig developed a new standard of Public Relation Theories. This standard encompasses Four Models that defines four different methods of Public Relation strategies undertaken by a business (Harrison K, 2011, p86); 1. Press Agentry/Publicity, 2. Public Information, 3. Two-way asymmetrical, 4. Two-way symmetrical. Through the use of social media channels, the NSW RSPCA demonstrates characteristics from two out of the four models; the Public Information model and the Two-way Symmetrical model.
The Public Information model places an emphasis on enhancing and maintaining the image of an organisation through the means of press, news and video release, or any other recorded information (, nd). Many companies, government agencies, associations, not-for-profit organisations and educational institutions utilise the public information model in order to provide the public with desired information about products and/or services (Harrison K, 2011, p89). The public information model revolves around one way communication with the information essentially flowing from the organisation to the public. The information communicated is often the thoughts of the organisation transformed into words designed to evoke emotions in their publics (, nd).
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