By Janette Leon-Speyer, Web Success Team
The advent of Social Media Marketing has radically changed the world of PR. Traditionally, Public Relations is used to build rapport with customers and the general public using media to promote their brand message through broadcast, radio, print and online engines.
In contrast, Wikipedia denotes: “Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it is coming from a trusted source, as opposed to the brand or company itself.”
A Partnership of Results
Now more than ever public relations is relying on Social Media Marketing to communicate its message. This can present a big challenge to small PR firms that rely on using traditional media to get their message across.
Their bread and butter has been sending communications to the press and using outside marketing services and advertising agencies to coordinate their efforts. Now the PR agencies need to put considerable resources into online networking and social media. PR agencies are finding that they are the ones having to pull in the extra manpower and resources to complete their tasks online as well as offline.
Here are a few suggestions on how to maximize the effectiveness of your PR and Social Media efforts:
• Outsource: Social Media Marketing is a specialized skill set that requires experience, expertise and extensive knowledge of the new media. If you don’t have a qualified staff, don’t attempt to take on the task of managing your whole Social Media program with an intern. Although Internet savvy, they are still “green” in terms of corporate marketing. Sometimes it’s best to hire a SMM company or consultant that can manage and oversee the whole SMM campaign.
• Coordination: Coordinate your PR campaigns with your SMM agency. I have seen plenty of cases where PR agencies send out media without informing their social media agency. When there is newsworthy items and promotions it is essential to roll out the messages together. Otherwise the efforts on your customer’s Blogs, Twitter and Facebook profiles lag behind. All your promos should be consistent. One message, one voice.
• Maximize Effectiveness: Look at SMM as an essential part of your PR program. With a combination of the two elements you have a better chance of helping your customers go viral. One case in point is our client BodyRock Sport, whose fashion sports bra went viral with a strong coordinated effort from PR and SMM. It made the national news and literally went round the planet. The added exposure helped put the client “on the map.”
• The New “Press Release”: Traditional PR would send out a press release. However, while a press release is newsworthy, it isn’t instant and can take time to reach the target audience. In contrast, online press releases are instantaneous and can reach a wider audience through the social media networks of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Blogging, not to mention the sharing that occurs.
Conclusion: PR and Social Media Marketing are natural allies, not adversaries. In the end of the day it is what is best for the client. Today, no one media is sufficient to promote a brand and deliver its message. People react differently to each media. Some turn off from traditional advertising hype and rely more on the recommendations or comments of the general public. Used in concert, PR and SMM is a powerful one-two marketing punch.