This is such a good question.
PR is a function that uses a multitude of strategies to position and elevate a brand, build awareness and ultimately increase sales. PR strategies are usually centred around content creation that help to facilitate sharing a brand’s story.
One way the function of PR does this is though publicity via the media. Another way that PR does this is via social media.
So be sure not to bundle the meaning of PR into what is actually publicity.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up…
Publicity and social media are the same, same but different.
One of the reasons raraPR was born was out of frustration that PR agencies at the time were not moving quickly enough in the digital space. They weren’t taking influencers seriously and social media as one of the most powerful tools you can wield in an effective PR strategy.
They’ve definitely caught up in recent times and now most PR agencies offer social media management and influencer engagement as services. This is good. It’s a must in building consumer awareness (engagement and trust) for your brand.
How is PR different to social media? Creating content and sharing your story on social media IS a form PR and reputation management. It’s a powerful publicity tool that you can use to speak directly to your audience.
Traditional publicity is built on accessibility to the media via a PR representative only. It’s primarily a B2B strategy where the PR consultant influences (errm suggests) that the media share a story idea because it’s valuable, newsworthy and is in the best interests of the community or readership of that media outlet.
The media play a gatekeeper role and publish what they deem as worthy. Third party editorial/publicity is valuable, not easy to achieve and is secured through the skill of unearthing credible story angles and ideas.
The ability to secure editorial is also amplified via long-standing relationships with journalists who PR people access directly because they’ve earned trust; the journalist knows the consultant’s ability (or not) to pitch something valuable and well researched.
Social media however allows you to take on a B2C approach whereby you can go directly to your audience. This type of publicity is as equally important as third-party endorsement.
To execute well on social media with a PR mind your content needs to be;
All of these elements make up a good piece of editorial. Social media is not just about pretty pictures. It’s a platform that empowers you to share why your business is important and special. It allows you to control your customer messaging and you’re able to get feedback from your audience in real time. It also opens up the opportunity to connect with audiences well beyond your geo location.
Social media is a form of direct-to-your-customer PR. One could argue that third party media coverage is more valuable than social media coverage because the media provide third-party validation. Media help to reaffirm that ‘this is important’.
At raraPR however, we see social media as important as traditional media coverage and social media as an essential tool to good PR.
To chalk this chat up, let’s just say that media coverage is what others say about you and your business. Social media is what you say about yourself. And when I’m making a choice to buy; I want to hear from both the media and the business.
Words by Jade Roberts
raraPR Founder and Director
raraPR is above all the sum of people who together help build brands and share stories. We are present in our determination to make a positive difference to the world by representing individuals and businesses that are doing good. We are an extension of the personal stories within us, those that we exist for and those within you that need to be heard.