People often ask Ann Marie and me how public relations and traditional communications fit into a world where social media seems to be taking the forefront of how people obtain information and converse with each other. My answer is “very easily” because in our view, social media is an extension of traditional “earned” media. Earned media can be defined as placements, quotes or expert commentary which appear in traditional print and broadcast formats. The world still reads newspapers, magazines, and listens to the radio and TV, and social media is an excellent way of supplementing this exposure.
Communications and conversations tend to be the same no matter what the medium; its just that social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn discussions are more immediate. Instead of waiting for a Letter to the Editor or rebutting a comment on broadcast media, a person can post her reply immediately. In fact, social media can make publicizing a print media placement more targeted as different networks of followers might be interested in different things, so not all placements need to be sent to all networks. This is much different than advertising or brand marketing, where the brand is placed for millions to see but only a few that are really consumers; social media can make this process more targets.
Public relations is about managing the image of a person or a company and social media is a great medium for “getting the word out.” This is why Ann Marie and I operate 4 Twitter accounts (stlpr, stl_pr, ammayuga, elmayuga ), 2 LinkedIn (ammayuga and elmayuga) and Facebook (Ann Marie and Ed) profiles for each of us, and a Facebook Fan Page. This allows us to select which networks receive updates about our clients and also allows us to show a little of our personalities on our personal accounts. So if you are a small business or entrepreneur handling your own public relations and marketing, we highly encourage you to sign up for multiple social networks and start building a following! 9GDSK8SE7TW