Social Media And Public Relations: Compare and Contrast

Social Media Does Not Equal PR

BY STEPHANIE SCHWAB ·

 DECEMBER 7, 2010 · VIEW COMMENTS

Lately I’ve gotten involved in a number of discussions with public relations people who are trying to leverage social for their clients’ needs.  Some of these people are socially active, but not entirely socially savvy; I feel like I sound like a broken record when I use the words “engagement” and “sustained” and “slow build” over and over again to try and describe how social media works.  So I’ve put together a comparison to show some of the ways in which PR and social media are different … because they are.  Really different.

PR: A single “hit” can make a difference
Social: Typically need a sustained effort to generate enough results to satisfy a client
Explanation: It’s rare that a single hit in social, even if it’s coverage by an influential blogger, will move the needle for a company or campaign.  Social media is a slow build that requites ongoing, daily effort to make an impact.  This is a hard concept for a lot of clients (and PR people) to understand.  Because one link from the main New York Times site or an appearance on Oprah (holy grails in the PR world, mind you) will almost certainly drive attention and traffic and likely sales for a company, and will undoubtedly make you a hero to the client.

Sent from my iPad

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