What is PR and What Does it Have to Do with Social Media?

The discussion about the connection between PR and social media is always interesting to me. At AHA, we believe that social media provides an opportunity to share information, learn, educate and connect – and that has always been a part of what we do as public relations professionals. However, we also work with some great marketing and advertising agencies and there are areas and opportunities in their world for social media as well. We often partner with them on campaigns and we’ve never had an issue understanding where each component or initiative lives or how it fits together in the bigger picture.

I think that it’s important to remember that social media provides an opportunity to connect and engage. It also offers people the ability for interactivity, giving them the chance to put their voice forward to an organization, brand or initiative. Sometimes an organization’s social media initiative is through a contest or a marketing campaign; other times it is through what we would consider a more PR-related approach. Some examples are short video segments that showcase the people behind the scenes of a company; Q&As with industry experts, the CEO or other senior executive; thought leadership pieces such as white papers and Twitter conferences or “meetups” (tweetups).

With our clients, we work with them to develop the objectives of the initiative or campaign. We then define the strategy and build the plan. It is there that we begin to identify how we will share information, create engagement and interest, and make sure that the relevant stakeholder group has the opportunity to participate in a way that makes sense to them. And during this process, we bring everyone involved to the table and focus on creating a team effort, rather than a territorial battle. However, we have had projects where there were some challenges in this area and this is where it is important to already have clearly defined objectives, strategy and the roles and responsibilities that you can look back on.

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