Social Media, Out Of A Small Vancouver PR Agency? …Really?


I find it interesting that social media is still such a big, overwhelming topic for many people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good for business. I think that as much as it has revolutionized how we communicate – and for those of us who are professional communicators, it has changed how we do our work – it is still just a tool. A very interesting, challenging and addictive tool, but a tool nonetheless.

I think that the perception of how complex, complicated and vast social media is – is a challenge. When I present to groups or lead brainstorming and planning sessions with clients, I hear how overwhelming it feels to them. Now, we’re a PR firm that provides social media services, so I think we have a different perspective on it than a social media marketer or an online community developer might, but at the core of it, social media is only a component of your communications plan or your overall marketing plan. When you take a step back and see that you need to develop a strategy first, it takes a bit of the stress off. Once you understand your strategy, then you can research which tools – whether traditional or social media focused – are the right ones.

We are often asked to come and speak to fairly large organizations to lead them through PR and social media planning. I think sometimes they are surprised to learn that we are just a small Vancouver PR agency with a specific approach to the use of social media.

Personally, I think social media is the best thing to happen to PR in a long time. It moves forward into a business (and personal) world of transparency, showcasing doing the right thing and owning up to mistakes if/when they are made.

Oh, did I mention we’re a Vancouver PR agency… I am still on the search engine optimization experiment. For putting up with my experiment, here’s a great resource from – 15 great graphs that will help you explain the value of participation in social media.

2 Comments, RSS

  1. Sandra Garcia June 18, 2010 @ 8:13 PM

    I agree… I don’t get how people don’t consider social media public relations, because you can form relationships with customers/the public through it. Many PR firms still won’t touch it, others offer different branches or experts to handle it. In the end, it’s still basic communications. Will be interesting whether or not future Marketing textbooks will include this phenomenon under PR, and if not, where?

  2. Ruth Atherley

    Ruth Atherley June 21, 2010 @ 4:59 AM

    Thanks for the comment, Sandra. It will be very interesting to see where social media lands. I think there is a shift and that PR, Marketing and Operations are finding opportunities to work more closely together. That’s a great move, in my opinion. The biggest challenge is that within organizations, we need to communicate better. Marketing shouldn’t be left in the dark and great PR impacts operations … so we should all be at the table when developing the strategic and working out how to execute well.


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