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PUBLICRELATIONSOCIALMEDIA – The perfect blend

As PR and social media continue to overlap at a rapid pace, what next? Today, the boundaries between advertising, marketing and PR are becoming more blurred than ever. While PR is all about making announcements that you hope will grab editors’ attention and result in increased coverage and exposure, the goal of social media for business is to gain that loyal list of “followers” whom you must converse with, create dialogue with and hopefully …convert into customers.

As PR and social media continue to overlap at a rapid pace, what next? Today, the boundaries between advertising, marketing and PR are becoming more blurred than ever. While PR is all about making announcements that you hope will grab editors’ attention and result in increased coverage and exposure, the goal of social media for business is to gain that loyal list of “followers” whom you must converse with, create dialogue with and hopefully …convert into customers.

Recently, we’ve all seen endless debates about who should “control” social media in ad agencies. And that “someone” should be the PR professional – often the eyes and ears of the agency.

PR and Social Media – “Both About the Relationship”

The social space is about quick connections, as well as real and strong relationships. We can no longer isolate social media from public relations – it just can’t be avoided. Savvy journalists and bloggers use Facebook and Twitter like their own personal newswire services and constantly search online for stories and trends. Any way you look at it, the social aspect represents just one more way to get a journalist’s attention.

After all, PR and social media share the same qualifications:

1)         Who is your audience?

2)         What do they care about?

3)         How will your “announcement” impact their lives and help enhance your client’s’ message?

PR Pros – Time to Go Where the Action Is!

PR practitioners cannot expect audiences to come to them; rather – they must go to where their audiences are. So if these targets are online, the PR pro must be online too. This is where the PR/social convergence begins. Think about it: social media goes perfectly with PR – it allows PR pros to engage with audiences and target markets like never before! But yes, there are those in the PR world who consider this imminent change to be one giant annoyance because – it requires that they learn new techniques, while abandoning some old ones.

To many, this overlap presents tremendous opportunity – new technologies and communication channels are available and have changed the PR profession. Yes, PR practitioners must change the way they write, and responding and thinking must be done in real -time. Yes folks, it’s time to know your way around the social world as well as a newsroom! It’s about immersing yourself in the social culture as a way of better understanding its inherent advantages. It’s about participating, interacting and sharing.

PR and social media are now completely intertwined. Both feed on public interest, and neither means making that “sell” right then and there. Both are catalysts for eventual business and should go arm in arm. PR professionals are now realizing that the traditional PR skills that they’ve used so long are perfectly suited to our new social world, they just need some 2011 modifications. Any PR pro that who isn’t becoming a social media expert should get on board…quickly.

Do you agree that the line between PR and social media is now too fine of a line to separate? Should the PR person on your staff take the lead in social media? Please share your thoughts and join our discussion. Thank you.

Lynette Byrnes is a Senior Account Manager at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at betty.tuppeny@domusinc.com or 215-772-2805

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