Marketing, advertising, new business, customer service, human resources and others have important business reasons for using social media. But when it comes to mapping agency or corporate strategy, I believe that public relations is the discipline best equipped for leading the social media charge.
Here’s why PR is naturally suited for this role:
- PR people are storytellers who create content that is targeted, relevant and valuable
- They are trained to converse with a variety of audiences
- They are responsible for managing an organization’s image
- They help an organization speak with one voice through clear and consistent communication
- They know how to engage audiences and talk with (not at) them
The hallmark of good public relations has always been two-way communication, which is vital for social media success.
Social media allows us to start or participate in conversations with individuals we might otherwise not reach. We can communicate directly with our marketplace and answer questions, solve problems, have constructive debates and gain a better understanding of issues and concerns from the other person’s perspective.
- But beware: a post from any department in an organization is seen as representing the entire organization.
Unfortunately, some entities operate in aimless social media silos instead of having a synergistic plan for search engine optimization, reputation management and business impact.
As a result, there is no unified message or purpose, and “Likes” and “Shares” are considered barometers of success rather than attracting and cultivating targeted leads and converting them into sales.
The real strength of social media is its interactive nature, which enables us to build relationships and enhance trust in ways that other mediums can’t match. Social media gives agencies, businesses and nonprofits unparalleled ways of communicating one-on-one with customers, donors, prospects, influencers and other interested parties.
It’s what PR professionals do every day.