PR – The Biggest Piece in the Social Media Puzzle – But Not The Only One

Posted: June 1, 2009 in Business, PR, Public Relations, Social Media
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This Morning, Lauren Fernandez Posted a Great Piece Entitled PR: Not the final puzzle piece in Social Media

Lauren – Great Post, As Always – You Have A Knack For Posting Content That Incites Conversation and Discussion – THE Crucial Element For Successful blogging & Social Engagement

I’m was actually in the middle of writing a post on a similar topic – namely, that the social media explosion is forcing the overlapping but discrete disciplines of marketing, pr, customer relations, and advertising into one new industry – or at the very least – engendering the development of a ’social media’ field that must take lessons from each of its aforementioned predecessors in order to succeed.

Social media isn’t an isolated bubble. There are many reasons, some of which you state (like negating a potential crisis) that would lead us to think PR is the right fit for social media. Another might be that PR is essentially the practice of feeding a brand’s biased message through an unbiased (or at least perceived so) medium). Social media works the same way – taking a brands message, principals, personality, philosophy, and articulating it to the masses, making it digestible and consumable so it fosters a relationship between the brand and its user base.

Yes – Interaction is essential, as is transparency – the importance of these qualities should NOT be underestimated. But I think there are those of us in the PR industry who have embraced social media in a way that we can apply and adapt our traditional media outreach practices to these new and evolving forums – so long as we keep up to speed on what that entails.

With traditional media – PR people have to concern themselves with what the reporters, editors, and journalists want. Social media changes all that – Now we must consider what the individual reader wants, and the power that the individual reader has to propagate that message or conversely – to damage a brands reputation…


Of Course, PR alone is not enough… effective SEO & SEM is vital to the ROI and Longevity of any social media campaign – Not Every PR Pro has that training or savvy, though we should be tackling that obstacle.


Twitter Clients, Integrated Videos, Facebook Apps, Mobile Apps…etc – Social Media requires an indefinite, unyielding omnipresence. Brands must ‘own’ space and ideas on each social network in order to establish themselves there. Programmers & developers are vital members to supplement and execute whatever Publicity stunts, campaigns, and creative strategies are deemed appropriate.


Again – Social Media isn’t a bubble – so you’ve got a campaign up and running – but if it remaims isolated and insulated within the online realm, you’re limiting the reach of the endeavor, never making it to those who rely on other forms of media. To Capitalize on the Social Media & PR – Marketing and Advertising must bring the work, and the success, from the niche to the mainstream. In “Social Media” there is very little to differentiate consumer from producer…but whatever the end result may be – it still needs to be presented – marketed & advertised – to the masses who still which to consume rather than produce.

All in all…Who The F*** Knows. Every Day is an experiment. We can only hope that by exchanging information, sharing our success & failures, learning vicariously, and these open discussions…We can find a way that works. And there may not be one ‘best’ practice. The right person to lead the Social Media charge for your brand may very well be a case by case decision – dependant on the size of your business, your goals  – do you want to generate sales, raise awareness, boost your image, keep your current client/customer/consumer base happy…? The right person for the job depends on what the ‘job’ really is – Social Media is just your tool, your vehicle, to get there.

  1. Amanda Beals says:


    Well said. The melting of the various disciplines into a larger more evolved discipline is quite the dialectic. I would prefer to see SM and PR evolve, than merely find a way to coexist in a mutually beneficial manner (which means an uptick in economics). The reality is that PR and SM are far less important than how the internet how democratized individual citizens to dictate the climate of brands and ultimately what is worth their time and money.

  2. J Keith says:

    The last paragraph I think was the best one. You’re right, who does really know, and what ARE the best practices. Let’s face it, PR as a profession has been crafted over a period of many decades. Social Media is just starting, so we’re at the start of the learning curve. Anyone who tells you they have it all figured out is lying, or just flat out wrong. But the beauty of social media is that we can all share experiences, learn, and educate one another, so the process won’t be nearly as difficult. But as usual, what works for one might not for another. But the best ideas are usually the ones that are copied and tweaked, so the most creative, as usual, will come out on top.

  3. ckarol10 says:

    Interesting post.
    Transparency is very important, because you cant change what you said?published in the past. Social media really changes the rules of the game. Which is good.
    Interaction is the other big pro. PR/ marketing people can benefit from it if the listen to what is being demanded from their target audience (or what the trends are).

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