Today, Meg Roberts Posted a Follow Up Piece “Are We Forcing Social Media Tunnel Vision on Young PR Pros?”
In it, she wonders”
“are young PR professionals being set up for failure because they aren’t being given enough opportunities to investigate and learn traditional tactics and strategies?
As companies continue to look at younger staff members for social media expertise, senior employees, recent graduates, and interns should work together to ensure young professionals have well-rounded task lists that include a variety of skills necessary for communication campaigns – both online and offline.”
I think she’s really hit the nail on the head. I’ve heard many stories, including my own, of young PR pros who have become the de facto social media experts at their firms, purely predicated on age.
Personally, I’ve embraced this role, as I’m passionate about social media and I do have a background in traditional PR as well, so I don’t feel as if I’m missing out on crucial work experience (yet). But this isn’t usually the case and I fear that she is correct – people in our generation are almost obligated to focus on social media, precluding them the necessary experience of traditional PR and media relations.
Not only that, but despite the popularity of social media and digital campaign, the actual ROI of social media is still very much disputed, and if things continue to move in this direction, we may very well be setting ourselves up, not just for failure, but for lesser value in the workforce.
I think this is indicative of a larger problem as well – the idea that social media campaigns are inherently, or should be, independent entities, intentionally disparate from traditional media endeavors. This is a MAJOR problem IMHO. I won’t knock Social Media, I can’t seeing as it’s probably my future and is my passion. However, even the best social/digital strategy must be integrated into a larger PR or Marketing approach. SM on it’s own can only do so much and go so far. Traditional marketing & PR tactics must be used in congruence with an online approach in order to capitalize on any successful social engagement on behalf of the brand or company.
These problems are intertwined. Social Media isn’t something that one person should be tasked with, nor is it a campaign in and of itself. A firm, properly employing social/digital strategy, would do so by training all employees to complement their traditional PR/Marketing with the added benefits of social media outreach…something that many are hesitant to accept.