What Will Happen to PR and Marketing in the Social Media Onslaught?

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Michiko Morales

I recently read a blog that talked about the biggest PR/marketing trends for 2012. High on the list was the decentralization of social media oversight within enterprises. The holistic “honeycomb” model, which first appeared in Jeremiah Owyang’s Frameworks for Social Analytics, makes everyone at a given company a brand ambassador who is socially enabled, with access to the company’s social networks and private accounts. Social media becomes a tool for conversation–not just a marketing, PR or client services channel, the blogger concluded.

Some wonder if trends like these will leave PR and Marketing in the dust. If everyone in the company can interact with stakeholders, what is PR’s role? And if all employees are brand ambassadors, what does Marketing do?

Simply put, PR and Marketing need to manage and massage the message, and measure the results.

PR and Marketing get employees on board with a messaging strategy, handle social media efficiently and then measure the results of social media interactions. PR needs to ensure that employees understand the brand story and convey a consistent message by actively reaching out to internal stakeholders (employees) and consistently driving home key messages. While PR can’t control what people say, it can strive to draw employees into in the spirit of the company culture.

Marketing’s job is more important than ever as it needs to help build a protocol for dealing with social media. For example, if sales people are talking with customers on Twitter, Marketing needs to be on hand when problems arise. And Marketing also has to be involved with data and analysis of feedback coming through social media.  Is the conversation resulting in happier customers and higher sales?

While it’s true that PR and Marketing need to adapt to fast-moving trends in social media, their role is far from diminished – in fact, they’ve got more work to do than ever to help clients capture the many opportunities enabled by social media and achieve the best results from those opportunities.

Read about PR, Marketing and Communications Trends, 2012 here.

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Leah Nurik