Main Article Content
The research aimed to study the use of social media as an innovation for strategic PR of the private sector in Thailand as well as its operations and its patterns. Then the patterns collected were assessed for the validity by PR scholars and PR practitioners.
The research combined qualitative and quantitative approaches into 3 steps as follows: (1) Qualitative research (2) Quantitative research (3) Qualitative research. The following were the research findings: Online social media has been used as an innovation of strategic PR of the private sector in Thailand with the specific directions of the impacts, the objectives, the components and the processes to get the expected results. The private sector has employed change management and the policy of the use of online social media as PR innovation. It found out that they have specifically determined the tasks and PR practitioners’ roles and PR strategies for social media uses.
For strategic PR operations through online social media of the private sector in Thailand, it found that most of the respondents were PR practitioners, aged 26-30 years with Bachelors’ Degree. They have more than 10 years of work experiences and their income ranged from 20,001-40,000 baht. They used online social media as information technology for PR. Facebook was ranked most frequently used. PR tasks on social media were announcements, issue management, PR and media production. PR daily operations were: updating the information, the company news, and announcements, following up on news and issues related to the company, disseminating news and information related to the company’s products and services. PR practitioners’ roles and duties included: corporate communication,change management, crisis management, and facilitation of interactions and relationships.
The analysis of the relationship between qualitative and quantitative research findings revealed the research variables and factors that form the patterns of an innovative PR strategy through online social media of the private sector in Thailand. They were: context, situation analysis, corporate business plan, communication strategy, PR daily operations, online social media strategy, PR content strategy, engagement strategy, and measurement strategy.