3rd October 2017 | Ben

Public Relations, Social Media

When Social Media Becomes PR

Some may argue that social media is not PR and that PR is not social media, but recent events have taught us that the lines between are becoming increasingly blurred.

Let me give you an example. A client comes to us for PR support and as usual we create target press lists for them. Within that list we further refine it down to identify the top target press titles – those sector or national publications that fit with the client’s customer profile or which help put the client at the top of their specific industry tree. Now, let’s take the readership of the top title on that list and say it is 200,000. Coverage in that title will still be hard fought but everything is possible.

Now let’s look at the ‘bloggersphere’ and identify the key bloggers in that sector. And here’s the rub. Some of the top bloggers and influencers have a following of more than 20 million across their various platforms and that excludes further shares, likes and retweets. It’s clear that the reach of their influence is far beyond that of any publication.

Many in the PR sector are guilty of still putting the print media on a pedestal and not making the most of the opportunity presented by social media and the increasing number of influencers using this platform. Yes, we all (clients and agencies alike) still get a little bit excited to see our brands featured in the mainstream press but what we have to realise is that they represent VHS videos in a world of Netflix. One enjoys declining sales and vastly reduce readership and the other is creating the new media moguls and millionaires of tomorrow. And when you consider that major brands are now turning their focus to key influencers and are no longer chasing the mainstream media, you quickly realise that social media and PR are becoming one, very closely aligned means of getting your brand noticed.

The traditional media still has its place – as we all know third party endorsement of a products or service by an editorial team, rather than an individual, remains a powerful message. On the flip side bloggers who only share information about a brand or service through payment (and we have been approached by many of these) fail to understand the impact on their long-term credibility. Although perhaps this doesn’t matter given that some followers are just that – purchasing a product just because someone told them too…

Ultimately balance is the watchword here – intelligent PR takes assesses the right print media, online outlets, bloggers and influencers and ties together a cohesive programme of activity which works.

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