Public relations team members should take the lead on social media communication across the spectrum of enterprise and corporations.
The research says PR practitioners need to be social media communication ready, and since best practices are still evolving, PR could probably benefit from adopting a growth mindset and a social media policy that encourages coworkers to engage with company posts on their personal social media accounts, since reach is a factor of engagement.
To get their employees up to speed on the 140 character form of communication known as the tweet, some organizations are using free online training courses so everyone can learn Twitter which happens mostly on a mobile app because the news cycle is 24 hours and we’re only at our desk for a fraction of that time.
But enough of that. Let’s get into the social media communication readiness research results.
Social Media Presence
I don’t believe a smart marketing strategy should regulate social media communication exclusively to PR.
But the grassroots communications aspect — where corporate spokespeople speak in an official capacity with a target audience on behalf of a brand on popular social networks — should be handled by professionals who understand the long term impact a brand’s social media presence has on reputation.
And according to a study I conducted on social media marketing readiness in collaboration with TrendStream, Korn/Ferry International and PRSA, I’m not alone.
Our Digital Readiness Report: Essential Online Public Relations and Marketing Skills showed public relations is seen as owning responsibility for an organization’s official social media accounts on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and, to a lesser extent, web content management on a brands own website.
The research also underscores the importance of social media in communication strategy, since measuring success often comes down to building relationships in real time with your most influential user base.
Social networks host conversations in public forums so the byproduct is a public record. Private online conversations (aka DMs) should be the domain of customer service.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Compared to marketing, IT, HR and Executive Management, PR owns corporate social media strategy.
In contrast, the use social media as a marketing tool to share content based on psychographic advertising is the domain of marketing.
Unlike social media communication, email marketing and search engine optimization are owned by marketing, but SEO is up for grabs. Rightly so, since writing for search is a skill everyone in the organization should have basic skills around.
You can watch video tutorials and learn SEO here for free if you’re interested.
Organizations we interviewed included corporations (22%), public relations agencies (44%), non-profits (14%), government agencies (6%) and higher ed (7%).
Respondents were made up of 278 public relations, marketing and human resource specialists hand selected to identify trends regarding their approach to social media communication.
Online Communication Strategy
The overall conclusion of the study was that public relations and marketing professionals had better be equipped to handle real time social media communication.
In addition to providing social media channel rankings by adoption rate, the study also indicates the broader trends concerning which branch of the organization has earned the right to lead in the use of digital communication in the workplace.”
PR has taken on an entirely new role in the organization. It’s the most dramatic shift in the industry since the invention of email.
According to the study, PR professionals are now being placed in charge of online community management, social media policy development, social media management and are a close second in being held responsible for natural search optimization.
The public relations industry continues to change.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that corporate communications professionals are social media communication ready.
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