Monday, August 2, 2010

Let PR pros handle Social media;It ain't you Strength Marketers


Last week was a challenging week for this young flack.In a bid to win business that we had pitched.I requested the company to let our PR team manage there social media account including the facebook page and their twitter accounts.

The advertising team thought that they were in a better position to manage the sites;their reason being that they spear head campaigns,we in PR only come in to support the campaigns.

All the same, I strong believe that PR should take the lead in social media.Here are my thoughts.

PR’s heritage isn’t selling. It seeks to influence and build relationships. This makes it more suited and better equipped to initiate, engage and hold a conversation.

PR is expert in content creation. They can’t be blamed for trying to get involved with social media but what expertise do media buying agencies have in content creation? Content creation is a central component of marketing and specifically social media.

The PR industry is subtle. The sector gets a lot of flack for spinning but subtlety is at the core of spin. Digital media requires subtlety, including the ability to understand context and respond accordingly.

The PR industry is close to the business leaders. The advertising team will always calls on PR in a crisis and is reliant on PR when the organisation’s reputation is threatened. PR has a central role to play in educating the top management about the benefits of social media and is a trusted advisor on reputation management, unlike other marketing disciplines.

Strategy is at the heart of good PR. It could be argued that PR has a been a little slow to come to the party. There are lots of reasons for this. PR’s approach is always circumspect, it has to add value when your dealing with corporate reputations otherwise its not worth doing. I think, this will play out well for the PR industry in the long term.

The culture of the PR industry is to allow others to create content. i.e. journalists. The industry has been built on this fundamental characteristic. The key message is designed to assert as much control as possible over the process of content creation. The approach changes in the context of social media but I think this is one of the strongest arguments in PRs favour. PR has never had control of the message when it comes to the end result.

Finally I think organisations need to adapt culturally to engage their customers in authentic conversations. I genuinely believe that the businesses that most effectively listen to customers and is able to incorporate their insights into product development and services will be the most successful. This, for me, is PRs biggest opportunity as the function that advises and implements change management strategies. PR has a great opportunity to take the lead in making this change happen – the outbound social media campaigns will become the natural output and realisation of this cultural and organisational change in business.

Over to you mobile telephony companies,FMCG's,banks and insurance companies.

7 comments:

Victor Muchemi said...

Baraza,those are deep thoughts....I like it...One addition..I think marketers will peg there influence on budgets.

kollo Nabiswa said...

Very true...social media has to be handled by "communicators".

Paul Barasa said...

Hahaha Victor you are being so hard on marketers....all the same they are fond of quantifying there results but one thing about social media is that you can never quantify the results bearing in mind that only a 2.5% of social media viewers/participants respond to the call.

bankelele said...

I think PR would do better than advertisers, but they must have authority to interrogate (within the organization) and respond & resolve all queries raised via social media within a reasonable time

Paul Barasa said...

Very much on point Bankelele but then again without being given the authority i doubt my people will hack it...As we speak me and you know very well that most PR teams are mini departments under marketing.The latter remains the sole controller of the budget....

Victor Muchemi said...

I disagree with all the above..Social media is all about the organization everyone should be an ambassador of the brand or the organization....

brandkemistry said...

being a seasoned advertiser my first reaction is to vehemently disagree with all you have said. But then i sat back and pondered, we have seen many agencies locally who dont even know what social media is and have been very slow entering into that space. We have clients who have entered that space but have not been consistent to know what to do, or even why to do it.

I agree with you PR is better placed to handle and engage in Social media than an advertising agency as agencies have been slow in accepting social media as mass media.

I feel however that PR should take the lead with support of advertising so the Strategy is synchronized and leading in one direction. After all it is for the greater good of the clients business, and if the client prospers you both prosper