Most Think Marketing Should Manage Social Media, We Think It's PR

Ad_Age_Digital_Marketing_Conference_Logo.jpg

Attending Advertising Age's Digital Marketing Conference, Steve Rubel reports attendee sentiment regarding "management" of social media, tweets, "Where should social media lie? Audience poll: 53% in marketing, 5% say in PR, 9% say customer service and 33% say some new division."

We think the figure for PR is very low. In my opinion, the function of public relations is best equipped to handle the world of social media. Or at least they should be. They are the folks who, in the past were charged with disseminating and "controlling" what's said about a given brand in the press. With a fews tweaks to the practice, they are the ones who should help enable and encourage "conversations" which occur about a given brand in the press and on the multitude off social networks.

Far more than marketing (assumed to be mostly advertising) which is charged with delivering a brand's message through commercial channels, public relations has and will continue to be charged with guiding and influencing a brand's message in "unpaid" editorial spaces...including the explosion of social media spaces. To us, it just seems a more natural transition from what they already do versus asking ad makers to suddenly stop making ads and start "joining the conversation."

by Steve Hall    Mar-19-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion, Social   

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Comments



Comments

Popincquitious occurrances abound! Ijust gotoff the phone with the Director of BD at one of the largest PR firms south of DC.

We searched together and found 26% of the top advertising brands have a duly titled PR person on staff and very few have actual outside PR firms that the they will admit to employing. ;)

Recently WOM,viral*,and social networking have been added to our searchable options. All and even some OOH activity also falls into this whispered and served with a wink menu of essential PR/Branding options.

Thanks for the post,Steve.
* I objected to using viral,to no avail.;P

Posted by: arthur barbato on March 19, 2008 1:21 PM

I think those numbers must reflect the way people don't know the difference between PR and marketing or the fact that many companies have a marketing department or director who does their PR. I would probably classify most of what I do with social media as marketing because it falls into an overall marketing campaign, even if the actual uses would qualify as PR when taken out of context.

Posted by: Leona on March 19, 2008 3:26 PM

I agree 100% that Social Media belongs with the PR people. The more I get involved with Social media, the more strongly I believe it. I see Social Media as a logical extension of Media Relations, Employee Relations and every other kind of professional relations. In my blog, www.maineprmaven.com, I chronicle my career as a PR Agency owner in Maine. I link to the sites of the people I meet at conferences, meetings, shows and workshops. I provide photos of places I go. It's all part of my agency's new focus on PR and Social Media, which I find very exciting and stimulating. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to post to my blog. I guess it's become an obsession.

Posted by: NancyMarshall on March 19, 2008 4:17 PM

Let me think about this... most of the MARKETERS attending the Digital MARKETING Conference thought the MARKETING Department should be responsible for social media. Hmmm, I never saw that coming.

Posted by: Augie Ray on March 19, 2008 8:37 PM

While I completely agree that social media falls within the remit of PR (I'm biased of course) it scares me that most of the practioners within this field still fail to grasp what is being demanded of them.

When the industry finally realises it wants to take ownership, PR could face a challenge from 'some new division' which appears to be popping up in the middleground in the form of new start-up agencies claiming to be experts in this field. Usually from a technology / web design background, it scares me that brands would entrust their online reputation to such agencies.

It's always been the role of PR to manage reputation wherever that may be. The world is moving online along with the conversation and the PR industry needs to step up..and quickly otherwise we won't realise what we've lost until it's far too late.

Posted by: Michael Cooper on March 19, 2008 9:50 PM

While I completely agree that social media falls within the remit of PR (I'm biased of course) it scares me that most of the practioners within this field still fail to grasp what is being demanded of them.

When the industry finally realises it wants to take ownership, PR could face a challenge from 'some new division' which appears to be popping up in the middleground in the form of new start-up agencies claiming to be experts in this field. Usually from a technology / web design background, it scares me that brands would entrust their online reputation to such agencies.

It's always been the role of PR to manage reputation wherever that may be. The world is moving online along with the conversation and the PR industry needs to step up..and quickly otherwise we won't realise what we've lost until it's far too late.

Posted by: Michael Cooper on March 19, 2008 9:51 PM

Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

It doesn't belong in marketing or PR. Doing so results in blog comments that are written by a flack, read like a PR quote or marketing brochure, go through 3 layers of approval, after which the client (internal or external) decides they don't have the balls to post.

NEW media is NEW media because it's, eh, NEW, and so it works best when it's practiced by a NEW group that doesn't have 10/20/30/etc. years of OLD media inertia to overcome.

Posted by: RBL on March 19, 2008 10:56 PM

Oh dear, not the PR folks! All they know is how to do is spin.

This job should belong to the person most passionate about the brand. Trying to parse all these functions by job description ignores the fact that everything an enterprise does is a branding activity. Community management is simply another tool for this purpose.

Ultimately, everyone in the company plays a role in social media aka Word-of-Mouth.

Posted by: TourPro on March 19, 2008 11:06 PM

RBL,

Not sure who you're calling a flack but in a nod to your notion a new group should handle this, I completely agree and said so way back in 2004. In fact, it was so long ago, I forgot I said it and forgot to mention it here so here it is:

http://www.adrants.com/2004/06/brands-need-consumer-conversation.php

Posted by: Steve Hall on March 19, 2008 11:30 PM

This PR guy says bring it on! We may not be charged with writing the posts, because that would be a flog, but we can sure as heck help clients develop a voice, understand that transparency is key, and content is king. We are definitely best equipped to help clients understand this new media and how best to get in on the conversation, promote yourself and your company, and get some eyeballs on the blog.

Posted by: ML on March 20, 2008 10:33 AM

Vast majority of PR people can't even send out simple releases to ad blogs, all of a sudden they’re now going to explain social media to brands?

Posted by: bg on March 22, 2008 5:04 PM







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