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.