Social Media & Public Relations: A Delectable Tango

UNESCO's 2009 Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Opinion: the public has it, social media states it, public relations works with it and propaganda spins it.

Acknowledged, not only do people have opinions, but with the advancements of technology and the emergence of social media, they can and will share it.

Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, Orkut, FlickR, YouTube, USTREAM, LinkedIN, Yelp, Viemo, Posterous, TumblR…

The list can go on and on. In fact, it does. Brian Solis could tell you all about it.

These platforms encompass all aspects of social media and not only allow people to share opinions, but share news and information as well. This is where public relations comes in.

PR agencies have a widespread and often in-depth set of resources at their disposable. Thus, allowing them to, not only, leverage social media, but fully integrate themselves and their clients into it as well from a strategic point-of-view.

Often labeled, as the ‘middle-man’ between a company and its target audiences, PR professionals are well-versed in gauging opinions, crisis communication, strategic marketing, social psychologies and most of all managing relationships.

In social media, companies (and most times the agencies that represent them) have direct contact with their target audiences via outlets like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube where timely comments, seeds of information and other news can be published instantaneously.

Herein lies the main difference between the two: social media affords sharing public opinion directly to a brand, while, public relations manages the relationship and reports back to the brand.

Social media is a style of communications that encourages and is based upon interactions; public relations is a style of communication that listens to feedback and strategically places it into a stream to target more accurately the next set of messaging that is released.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith, film

If the two were to dance a romantic dance – sweat together, rub against each other, keep their distance when the moves call for it and simply… tango, per se, the possibilities would be endless.

Public relations agencies that are utilizing and leveraging social media are already shaping and changing the future of the industry and are key players in the continuing evolution that is emerging media.

Where public relations embraces the bigger picture, social media can tackle the finite details of any situation, product or cause. Where public relations can filter messaging in the appropriate light, social media can give PR some of the inherently necessary tools to do it.

Both are the future, are not interchangeable and should be a part of any new communications program as of yesterday.

After all, both fields are relationship focused.

Therefore, it would only make sense that they dance…tango that is.

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Sasha Muradali runs the Little Pink Book. She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami (’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the Little Pink Book delivered to your Kindle.

Copyright © 2009-2010 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments

  1. Love the tango analogy, Sasha! I agree with you that more and more, social media is becoming a part of PR, so it's encouraging to see synergies where the two can meet. Agencies and corporate communications departments alike are starting to build social media offerings in addition to the traditional ad/marketing/PR mix. I think it's an exciting time to work in PR/marketing as we learn, fine tune, and execute on a variety of tactics, be it traditional or social.

  2. “Opinion: the public has it, social media states it, public relations works with it and propaganda spins it.”

    Beautifully stated, Sasha!

  3. Great analogy, perfect post. As an aspiring public relations specialist I am always finding ways to spread the word about new methodologies in PR. You've hit it right on the spot. Thank goodness for my online media class and integrating social media into my first PR class.

    Thanks Sasha!

  4. What a GREAT analogy … and I wholeheartedly (with a little plie and jete thrown in for good measure) concur! I'm continually pushing out this message on the blog (http://pickettwrites.wordpress.com) and find clients embrace it.

  5. What a GREAT analogy … and I wholeheartedly (with a little plie and jete thrown in for good measure) concur! I'm continually pushing out this message on the blog (http://pickettwrites.wordpress…) and find clients embrace it.

  6. What an amazing way of looking at public relations vs social media. I know the two are often confused with each other or lumped into the same category, when in reality they are counter parts that need the other to strive for their personal best.
    PR uses social media to understand and target better towards their audience, and then in return messages to audiences through social media. It gives a voice to the audience while allowing PR to easily understand and analyze their audience.

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