Public Relations manages the spread of information between an individual/organization and the public to persuade them to maintain a certain point of view about it, its leadership, products, or of political decisions. Marketing is communication about the value of a product or service in order to sell the product or service.
Even though they are very different, both methods are used to shape the public’s perception of brands and individuals alike. “In fact,” Marc Cowlin says, “there are more parralels than differences.” He highlights 5 of these similarities in his blog:
- Storytelling: engaging narratives that draw people in
- Distribution: information come through a channel: press releases, news outlets, blogs, social media
- Writers: the individuals creating content and communicating the story
- Earned Media: minimal exposure growing into larger respect through
- End Goals: driving traffic and gaining exposure
Like I mentioned before, the purpose of marketing is to create attention and value for a product or service that people will buy. PR is used to develop and maintain good relationships. While marketing tends to be more proactive and engaging, PR tends to be more reactive and flexible. Simply, PR boils down to building relationships and marketing is all about provoking action. It’s easy to think of PR as a person to person (P2P) interaction and marketing as a mainly business to customer (B2C) interaction, but it’s not that cut and dry anymore.
Social Media Effects:
The world of social media wasn’t created with PR or marketing in mind. It was created so that each individual user could control their social environment and the conversations happening within that environment. Traditional PR/marketing was used to control the conversation, but social media now gives the users that control. Everyone has an opinion and wants to be heard. Now, specialists have to embrace dialogues and customers as they are. These conversations may be possitive for your brand or negative, but that is the space where each brand manager must learn to operate. The key is to influence and guide the conversation from where they already exist to positives about your brand.
Using the Merger:
Let’s go back to the similarities that Cowlin pointed out in his blog to find out how we can use this merger to benefit our brand on social platforms.
1. Storytelling: Brands must tell a story that adds value to stories that are already going on. No matter what your brand is about, you have to attract people in within the context of those stories. Suzy just got accepted to her favorite college, her parents surprised her with a new car for graduation and she is enjoying her summer. Even though they aren’t telling the story, space organizing and decorating brands sure as heck better be ready to tell a story that makes life easier in the “packing for college” phase. Actively listening and reacting to stories is as important as telling them.
2. Distribution: Every platform has different ways of doing things. The “social norms” for Facebook are not the same as for LinkedIn or Instagram. Even though your basic story may be the same, it’s all about presentation. Preparing a 45 min speech for a 30 min Q/A session would be silly. Take time to research which social platform you target audience is most active on, tailor your posts for each individual platform and consistently provide content that creates context for when you push your products.
3. Writers: Although social is a primarily digital and it may be hard for most small/medium businesses to have a dedicated social media manager, the need for consistent strategy and voice is paramount. Start small and build upon your strategy within each platform, but becoming a customer service champion is a great way to add personality and show you are invested. Never miss an opportunity to display how well you take care of customer service issues or negative feedback.
4. Earned Media: When the social movement started, most exposure for businesses on social platforms was earned media. In other words, you couldn’t pay to have your ads in front of people- it was completely organic. Word of mouth has reached epic proportions. A person isn’t confined to one conversation anymore. If they love your brand, they can share it with all their connections at once. Delighted customers are the best promotion. They tell your story to people they have relationships with. This saves your brand time and effort. A little extra effort or customer service success can lead to free, exponential exposure for your brand.
5. End Goals: We’ve discussed the who, how, what, and where. Now we need to figure out why we are using social platforms. Brand exposure seems to be the obvious choice, but conversions are an easily traceable goal in the realm of social media. Make sure that your social media posts vary in nature, but build to the greater strategic goal. Some posts should inform and educate your audience, some should highlight your brand and some should sell them something. Timing is everything, but do far more educating and highlighting than you do selling.
While marketing and public relations have major differences, there are also various similarities that we can use to help us thrive in an increasingly connected world. The customers are now in charge of the conversation, but if we optimize the way we integrate our story on various social platforms, the customer service capabilities and brand reach on social media will produce a positive ROI. Nektur Marketing has a team of individuals committed to communicating your story in an optimal way from start to finish. If you want to know how a consistent social media strategy can yield, or you aren’t seeing as much traffic as you think you should, click on the link below. We are offering a Free Social Media Consultation. Take advantage of this special offer now and get your brand into the conversation.