I’ve seen some suggestion recently that “traditional” PR tactics are being put to death by social media. That news releases and social media releases have no use. That pitching story ideas by Twitter will soon be the norm. I hate to burst the bubble, but social media isn’t the second coming of…well, you know who.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe social media has amazing possibilities for many brands. But social media alone won’t help most brands get the full potential of what great PR can offer. There always can be a few exceptions to a rule, of course, but for most brands, you’d be doing it a great disservice to shift all your communications outreach to social media.
If I’m trying to reach a mass audience of people over the age of, say, 55, social media won’t get me there. It might be a great way to connect with a small percentage who are tech savvy, but I need to put the brunt of my efforts behind media outreach to radio news programs, TV news, national and local newspapers and specific magazines, to name a few.
If I want to get my product in the hands of large numbers of 20-somethings because product research has shown that consumers are more likely to buy X after interacting with it, social media falls short. I need street teams or experiential events or hosted group gatherings or something else that allows people to interact with it.
A lot of other examples come to mind, but I’ll get back to the point.
For the majority of brands, social media efforts are a great strategic complement to a robust PR plan or as part of a larger integrated communications plan. But it doesn’t replace “traditional” PR. Let’s not get so captured by shiny-object syndrome that we take our eyes off the bigger picture, myself included.
Or do I have it all wrong? Did I miss the boat on this one?
*Image by Melanie B.