As social media becomes more of an integral part of a brand’s marketing activities, it is interesting to see the impact on public relations.
For years, PR has been a corporate staple as a way to deliver announcements, campaigns and messages. But social media has had a major impact on PR because it has given brands new and different ways to distribute content and stories and, as important, engage with consumers.
So where does this leave PR?
According to a recent study by Adobe, the most important area for U.S. marketers is social media marketing, while PR ranks last along with events.
How should this survey be taken?
First, it says brands are still excited about social media and its potential to drive two-way communications. It’s a key angle given most brands have embraced social media as table stakes.
Now, the focus is starting to evolve as brands looking for ways to drive return on investment by actively exploring areas such as conversion optimization, content marketing and social commerce.
In other words, social media is still the belle of the digital ball.
For PR, however, it suggests a long-time marketing tool has lost some of its lustre. Perhaps it is because social media is seen as more authentic and transparent.
By no means should this suggest PR is going to disappear, but it will be different.
Rather than being about shaping and broadcasting messages, PR has to change and adapt to remain relevant and a strong part of the communications ecosystems.
Many PR agencies have enthusiastically embraced social media as an important strategic and tactical service, while a growing number are now offering digital and content services.
In other words, they’ve become one-stop destinations for brands that want to communicate in different ways.
So while marketers may love social media, the reality is PR agencies are delivering many of those services.
This is a natural evolution given PR has always been about creating and distributing stories. In some respects, the PR industry is simply going back to its roots.
While the Adobe survey suggests PR may not be top of mind for markets, it doesn’t mean PR agencies are going away.
Instead, the services being offered will have to reflect what brands want.