Has social media replaced PR?


Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jason Howie

One of the many reasons I love social media marketing, is it enables a brand to broadcast its own messages to a target audience. It gives the brand more control, compared to depending solely on, for example, traditional media to tell your story.

I come from a PR background but increasingly focus on social media marketing. I used to always depend on journalists to gain exposure for my clients. Then, along came social media and blogging, and how refreshing to be able to use these channels to broadcast news myself!

Sometimes I meet with prospective clients who are unsure whether to invest a limited budget in PR or social media and my answer is, both play an important role in the marketing sphere.

I have seen social media campaigns generate amazing results for clients – for example, by running a targeted Facebook ad, by sharing engaging organic content that goes viral and by talking directly to their customers.

But never underestimate the power of your brand appearing on a news website that receives millions of unique visitors a month or in a magazine with thousands of subscribers. This type of content looks awesome on your social media channels and website, too.

Social media and PR are so closely connected. Social Media Managers must possess PR skills to do their job responsibly – they need to be ‘on message’ otherwise their activity could be detrimental to a band. Yet PR Managers would be foolish to not embrace the promotional power of social media to do their job as effectively as possible, too. For example, a lot of influential journalists are on Twitter, giving PRs access to them in a way that might not have been possible before.

I still come across companies that are clearly ploughing more of their budgets into traditional PR and almost ignoring or having zero understanding of the potential of social media. Believe me when I say that both are equally as important and brands need to understand that if they want to stay ahead of their competition.

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