Good Public Relations and Social Media Come From the Same Place
Relevant, Insightful and Actionable Content
By Cass Bailey President & CEO, Slice Communications, LLC | February 08, 2015
The truth is that Good public relations and social media come from the same place: relevant, insightful and actionable content.
What does that really mean though? Simply put, both are about talking WITH people, not at them. Think about the best conversations you've had in your life. Chances are that you were talking with someone that listened to you and also offered something worth your time. It was likely about something that mattered to you, that you were curious about, or that benefited you in some way.
You probably learned something from the conversation, whether about the topic itself, the people influencing the topic, or the person with whom you were having the conversation. It also most likely stuck with you in such a way that you told someone else about it, you changed something in your life as a result, or you pursued more information. Those characteristics, the ones that make for great conversations, are the same that form great marketing communications.
For some very good reasons, social media has become a must-do for most businesses, particularly those in the hotel and hospitality industry. While Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have all been in our lives for years now, there is still uncertainty expressed by some about how they will help grow businesses. For that reason, it all too often falls under the governance of the advertising team, or worse, an entry level employee or intern.
These approaches are flawed in some common sense ways. First, advertising is very rarely about creating and sustaining conversations WITH people. Sure, some ad campaigns can do it well, but those are few and far between. Most ads are simply broadcasted messages; when the same people develop the social media strategy, you experience the same result. Social media is inherently social, which means that it's about creating meaningful interactions with real, living, breathing human beings. Second, interns and new hires, while fluent in all the social media buzzwords, typically do not comprehend the business goals that make social media a strategic investment. It's not their fault - just their lack of experience.
Public relations is also in the midst of a major transformation due to the changing media landscape that extends to print and broadcast, as well as digital. PR professionals are responsible for doing more and more as competition increases and editorial budgets decline. In the U.S., the ratio of PR professionals to journalists currently sits at 4.6 to one. That means that relationships are more important than ever, and to break through, a PR person needs to really understand what will resonate with a reporter or editor's audience.