There can’t be a PR agency in the UK that doesn’t have clients who remain snow blinded by social media. They know the internet offers a world of new opportunities for the creation and sustenance of positive influence and engagement, yet they don’t know where to start or where the best routes to value lie.
Social media doesn’t change the way in which human beings communicate. If anything it offers the potential to simplify communication by cutting out ‘the middle man.’ You can see social networks in action around the bar in a pub every day. And in this context the person with the most influence and the greatest reputation is not a Facebook geek, but landlady stood behind the bar.
The conventional approach of media relations no longer works alone. The media required to engage with an audience is now diverse: print media, social media, all kinds of media. And all of this is not only confusing, it’s bloody difficult.
We’ve seen the rise of specialist social media or word-of-mouth agencies to address this emerging opportunity. They have a role, but it is just one piece of the new jigsaw. More traditional firms have attempted to drag their antiquated techniques into online environment creating confusion in their wake.
PR agencies have taken three distinct approaches to social media:
- The creation of a team to focus exclusively on social media programmes. Potentially short term, not inclusive and creates a silo of expertise
- Hiring a high profile individual or small team to handle digital assignments. Likewise not inclusive and silos expertise
- Building skills throughout the organisation and integrating digital into a client’s campaign where it’s appropriate – Speed’s gig
The PR industry is undergoing a radical modernisation. If you work in the PR industry and want to continue working in the industry you need to equip yourself with digital skills in order to help clients integrate digital PR into their broader communication effort.