As social media gains popularity and becomes a necessary place for businesses to be, the duties associated with making that happen are often falling into the laps of the local public relations professionals. As this is happening, a divide is emerging between those who have successfully practiced traditional public relations for many years and those who are drooling over the opportunity to turn a company into a social business. Here are some ways that this divide can be bridged and we can have the best of both worlds (and who doesn’t want that?):
1) Recognize the strengths of each: Traditional public relations has worked for many years and is grounded in strong and highly researched principles. PR professionals are familiar with the best way to communicate a specific message to a specific audience. And they still have some unique ideas to make a splash. Digital strategists, on the other hand, are pros when it comes to reaching a large audience, the specific uses for each medium, and how to engage the public in conversations with your brand. Once these are recognized, it becomes clear that integrated marketing and communication is the way to go.
2) Realize that the game hasn’t completely changed: Yes, social media has created a wave. It has given organizations many more tools to promote their company and the unique ability to communicate with large percentages of their audiences. However, that doesn’t mean we must reinvent the wheel. How to communicate with a large audience has been researched for years (mass communication studies), how people interact with media has also been studied (media studies), as have public relations. This research still applies and a social media presence can only be enhanced by understanding these. It is like starting a step or two up from all the rest!
3) Not everyone is online:
…and even if they are, they may not be where you are. But that doesn’t mean those people need to miss out on interacting with your company. When considering a social media strategy, consider how that same personality and interaction can continue beyond the computer screen. Can the interactions taking place become a compelling magazine story? Can the images you collected via Instagram be part of your new commercial? Be creative!
There are many reasons social media and public relations should continue hand in hand. Can you think of other ways to integrate the two?