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Social Media Offline?

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?


2 responses »

  1. You make some great points and debates like this can create friction for companies and agencies. I think social media maintenance is a collaborative effort between three-four different sections within a company:

    1) Advertising – In order to make consumers aware of a brand/product/service, it has to be advertised which can be extremely effective through social media (if done right)
    2) Public Relations – Brand image and company news can fly faster than the speed of light with social media. Posting news stories and releases on social media sites can create an incredible amount of exposure, especially on Twitter, where people are searching for virtually anything and everything
    3) Customer Service – We hear about this in #ADPR4300 (always hashtagged) all the time. Less and less people are calling the 1-800 numbers to get insight on products/services and more are turning to Facebook and Twitter. As we heard from Dennis about Medela and that lady who posted that her baby was sick, it’s apparent that customer service is becoming more important in the social media effort for companies.

    So how do companies moderate this so there isn’t a cluster of people trying to maintain a one or two social media sites? – Invest in a Social Media section for a business

    4) Social Media Sectors – They take all the requests, clutter and ideas from the 3 sections mentioned above and communicate what is and is not consistent and relevant with the brand’s image as well as what they are trying to promote (it doesn’t make send posting a video about Kobe Bryant, if your client is a music company). Assigning a single sector to maintain social media can result in one type of message being passed to followers, whereas having a middle-man to oversee it all can incorporate all these insights for a smoother effort.

    Great post. Your move. #HomeworkGames

  2. Great post and follow-up reply from Matt. You both get it. Traditional marketing and communication theories still apply, just to new networks and services. We need to embrace this change as professionals and continue to apply what we’ve learned in school, and in the real world, to best leverage these new opportunities.

    Integrated marketing isn’t just having a campaign that looks good in all mediums, but should be about teams successfully working together in the planning phases to ensure that we are using each channel to their fullest potential.

    Great conversation here, and surprised more students didn’t hop into this thread.


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