PR professionals use social media every day to promote clients, to communicate and engage with audiences and to respond to questions or issues. It’s no secret that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites have become important tools in a PR pro’s comprehensive tool box. I like to call this new tool box, PR 2.0.
So what’s the difference between PR 1.0 and PR 2.0? PR 1.0 can be thought of as traditional PR using traditional media (TV, radio, print) to get the word out.
PR 1.0 (traditional)
- Focus on presentation and content dissemination
- Controlled messages
- Feedback is a linear process
- Eloquence is vital
PR 2.0 (social)
- Focus on conversation
- Feedback is 24/7
- Truth and transparency
Social media is the use of technology combined with social interaction to create value and it has permanently transformed the way people connect and share information. Sharing is caring with social media. This many-to-many form of communication welcomes discussion and enhances conversation. It pushes for networking and builds a sense of community in a way that traditional media cannot. As a PR professional, this means that more and more people are participating in the media they consume. The primary audience in PR 2.0 is no longer a handful of journalists. Your audience is more directly the people you want to reach and create connections with.
Social PR is about having a presence online. Many times this includes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, maybe even blogging and YouTube. But social PR can encompass much more. Think about what you see when you’re online. Have you Google searched your own brand or company? Search engine optimization can be considered another facet of social PR.
Social PR has also alerted the rules of pitching. A PR Newswire Study found that:
The prevalence of social and consumer-generated media has led to several changes in the way that PR practitioners view and engage the press. While PR professionals still consider email to be the most effective means for pitching journalists (74%), 43% of journalists report having being pitched through social networks compared to 31% in 2009. Higher success rates may be a reason behind the increase. In both the US and Canada, pitches through a social network resulted in coverage approximately 70% of the time. In contrast, the standard pitch to a US or Canadian journalist rarely leads to coverage, with 66% pegging the success rate at 0-20%.
Source: PR Newswire Study: Journalists Tap Social Media; More Bloggers Associate Work as Journalism; PR Practitioners Increasingly Leverage Online Opportunities. Qualifier: Results based on survey of a total of 1,568 traditional and non-traditional media and, for the first time, 1,670 PR practitioners in 2010.
These stats bring up many questions. Are these results surprising to you? How do you pitch your stories? What have you found successful in the past?
It can seem like the options for social PR are endless. However, it’s important to be careful of creating a lot of noise without receiving results. It’s all about engagement, so build a roadmap and decide what works best for your company.
And in the end, the one thing that seems to remain the same is that the most effective form of advertising is still word of mouth. People trust the people they know and are likely to take their friends’ recommendations to heart. Social PR helps create and drive conversation, so use it to build trust and loyalty with your audience. Engage with consumers to spark this word of mouth advertising.
Jodi Osmond recently graduated summa cum laude from UW-Milwaukee with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and media communication and certification in digital arts and culture. As a social media and community engagement intern at Allée, she is eager to continue growing professionally while embracing her passion for public relations and social media.