Social media is many things, but social media is not PR. It’s no more PR than PR is social media, and here’s why, for those who don’t appreciate the difference.
PR is a practice which helps private and public sector organisations, and individuals, create and build awareness.
Awareness of a brand, a product, a service, a point of view; a place to visit, a means of getting there; something to do or eat which is good for your health; a means to deliver a warning on things that can harm you.
PR works in many ways, utilising all available communication channels to create awareness - print media, broadcast media, sponsorships, speaking platforms, white papers, and social media.
The biggest difference between social media and traditional media is that it puts complete control over content into different hands.
No need for PR professionals to spend hours, sometimes days, trying to find ways to persuade editors and other journalists, programme controllers and producers, to give space or time to a client’s story.
They set up and manage Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts, build up their own circulation, and deliver messages in images and words.
The other big difference between PR and social media is that you don’t have to work in PR, and you don’t have to have any real PR knowhow or experience, to be active on social media and reach big audiences.
Reaching an audience is one thing. Sending the right message and having the desired impact is another.
Social media campaigns handled by those without good PR skills can go wrong. When that happens, the fallout on social media can spread quickly to traditional media.
Knowing what to do in situations like this is part of PR, and this is something to think of before choosing who controls your social media campaigns.
PR agencies hate it when they’re asked to enter a pitch and find out after submitting a proposal that they were just making up the numbers.
It happens a lot, especially if you’ve been in business more than 26 years, as we have.
Scrolling through Facebook while I was on holiday last week, I came across a post by a member of the media berating another ‘rubbish PR’ who wasn’t doing their job and apparently deserved a public flogging.
In the digital age, the fundamentals of traditional PR are just as important as they always were, and professionals who have and hold on to them will always possess a competitive advantage.
A good PR agency offers a wide range of services well above and beyond media relations, press release writing and everything in between.
In the digital age, we have adapted to the changing media landscape and embraced social platforms and the growing role of influencers.
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Take a dip and you might find yourself drowning in ideas about why your business needs to follow this route, and what you can expect to get out of it.
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