PR's 'Birth right' to Social Media.
Hi Guys. Great episode to round off 2012. One of the items and discussions that I really enjoyed was the section about Peter Himler's piece on the digital footprint & PR. The phrase 'Birth right' was used in relation to PR and ownership of Social Media. It is a topic I have discussed numerous times with colleagues and I thought I would share my thoughts here.
I do think that the PR industry could own or be responsible for Social Media however I think for 4 reasons this has not happened.
1. The Birth Right to Social Media. I believe that too many people in PR feel that they do have a birth right to own/run/operate Social Media activity either for their clients or internally for those PR professionals who work in-house. However they have never demonstrated a strong desire to take ownership and lead. The economic downturn coincided with the evolution of Social Media for brands. Companies have been turning the screw on PR & Marketing agencies & Professionals and saying "times are tough - show me why I employ you". I believe that Marketing & Advertising agencies as well as internal marketing professionals used this challenge to grab control of Social Media and show what they can do with it. They didnt sit back and assume they would have control, they took the initiative and started executing Social Media campaigns. Which leads me onto my second point.
2. Integrated Campaigns. There are numerous examples of how social media has been successful when integrated with other activities and marketing is generally (again this is what I believe) stronger at integrating multi-channel campaigns and therefore it saw how it could build Social Media into existing and new campaigns. Generally marketing has been running more and more campaigns digitally in the last decade and obviously that is where Social Media lives. Which sets me up for my third point.
3. Engagement. Because marketing professional and brand leaders have been driving so much activity online, they are very focused on engagement. They have moved beyond the click and think about what happens when someone clicks on my banner ad or lands on my website. This philosophy is also key for social media and the marketing teams who have been executing Social Media campaigns successfully think about the engagement that will occur - what will happen when a potential customers reads my tweet or sees my post in their timeline. I think some PR professionals (I am saying some, there are great PR pros who really get social media) still view social media as another publishing outlet rather than changing their behaviour to maximise Social Media. Which (there is a pattern as you can see) sets me up for my last point.
4. Experience. The evolution and development of the online advertising, SEO and Mobile Marketing channels over the last ten years have provided Marketing professionals with an often unrecognised skill - the ability to adapt. Each of the examples I just mentioned went through numerous changes, developments, re-births and so on over the last 10 years and marketing professionals had to respond and adapt on the fly. Social Media is obviously evolving with Twitter, Facebook, G+ etc adding new features, killing features on a regular basis and marketers now take these in their stride and tend to be less phased to these than they were with SEO, online advertising etc.
Anyway, these are my (very long) thoughts to why marketing agencies and not PR tend to own PR.
Just to add some context I used to be part of a large marketing & communications agency where as a leader of the marketing account teams I had to wrestle control of social media campaigns for clients from the PR team. My points above are based on my experience there and observations from the industry etc.
To sign off, I love the podcasts and look forward to downloading them each Monday. Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing your own views, opinions and articles that you uncover. All the best for 2013. Kevin.