Todd Defren’s PR Squared blog is usually a good read, and a couple of days ago he wrote a particularly interesting post. He talked about how every agency is jumping on the social media bandwagon, and the way they describe their social media quals are sounding awfully similar. He compared his own description against those of two other agencies, Powered and Rosetta. Here’s the link to his post.
Strategic Communications Group doesn’t do B2C PR while these agencies do, but this post really resonated with me. We’ve gone through a major transformation in the last two years, with approximately 75% of our revenue coming from social media work, not traditional PR. That’s one of my big takeaways from this post — the decline of traditional PR in importance.
Powered and Rosetta flat out tell prospects (at least in this post) to look elsewhere if that’s what they want from their agency. Defren doesn’t go that far, but he doesn’t stress it as a strength of his agency either. We tell the same thing to prospects. While a certain amount of PR is needed for market awareness and visibility, traditional media continues to grow smaller as it wrestles with finding a new business model in the Internet age. Its importance in an integrated PR strategy continues to recede accordingly.
My other takeaway is that too many agencies make social media sound so mysterious and complicated. At least in the b2b and b2g worlds, you’ve got to start simple. Social media is nothing more or less than real-world behavior ported online. People tend to spend time with those of like backgrounds and interests — that’s what social media is, with the added element that these groups self-identify.
It’s the power of the Internet and SEO that makes this potentially revolutionary, plus the ability to bypass the media and address individuals directly. (Check out comments to this post where I go back and forth with Government 2.0 guru Mark Drapeau on whether social media is better understood as a set of tools, or as online human behavior). But it’s pretty straight-forward to get started:
- Have a strategy for social media that supports your business goals — “we’ve got to get in because our competitors are” doesn’t cut it
- Integrate the sales team from the beginning — Strategic helps its clients meet revenue goals, and if the sales team perceives social media as just another marketing campaign, they won’t buy in
- Produce good content, repurpose existing content and focus SEO efforts around a small set of keywords
So the next time you hear the same social media pitch from a PR firm, an online marketing specialist and an advertising agency, just remember those steps. Or drop me a comment and we’ll talk more!
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