Social media is woefully underutilized in the PR world as a research tool for building media relations contacts, according to findings from a global survey of PR professionals by Belgium-based PR software company Prezly.

According to the survey, 80 percent of PR pros still rely primarily on manual research to find new contacts. Events came in second as a media contacts source, at 52 percent. Only about two in five (38 percent) use LinkedIn to research media outreach, and less than a quarter (23 percent) use Twitter to find media contacts. For-sale media lists bottomed out the list, at 10 percent.

A majority of respondents said that the most painful task in the contact management process is keeping their databases current (61 percent). Nearly half the PR pros surveyed (45 percent) consider this task the single most frustrating part of their job, and nearly a quarter more (23 percent) said it’s in the top three.

Prezly: PR pros were asked: what do you use to source new contacts?PR pros were asked: what do you use to source new contacts?

Other pain-points include following up with unresponsive contacts (43 percent), building contact databases from scratch (30 percent) and establishing relationships (23 percent).

Prezly’s survey also discovered that a majority of PR pros (61 percent) believe they have fewer “good relationships” with their contacts than they should, while a little more than a third (39 percent) feel they meet or exceed their expectations in this regard.

Nearly all the PR pros surveyed (92 percent) believe they get the best media outreach results from contacts with whom they’ve nurtured a good relationship.

Prezly’s “Global PR Survey 2020” study surveyed more than 400 PR professionals from around the world. All respondents were either part of an in-house PR team, a PR agency or were employed as PR consultant/freelancer.