Social Media is not the Same as PR

Marketing Tools PR and Social Media have Different Benefits and Challenges

There has been such an recent wave toward social media by many who are looking for answers to improving their marketing. Since it is so easy to do things like instantly get more instagram followers, this really is no surprise at all. It seems now that Facebook and Twitter are so popular that it is almost too tempting to focus your marketing communications on just social media. I think this would be a big mistake.

[pullquote]There are differences and the similarities in the strategy and the results…[/pullquote]I used to have organizations calling me to speak about how to use PR to improve marketing and sales results. Now most of the speaking requests that I receive are to present how to strategically use social media for marketing your business or how to integrate social media into an existing marketing campaign.

Social media is a powerful tool for some businesses, but I don’t think that by itself social media replaces a PR program or advertising campaign. If your company is looking for a social media management agency, it may be worth you checking out something like CommsLab for more information. Similarly, businesses or individuals may be looking for a dedicated account manager for their content output on Instagram. Companies like Upleap can help grow instagram followers and drive more sales.

There are differences and the similarities in the strategy and the results from using public relations and using social media in your marketing program.

Social Media:

  • For a good social media campaign, there has to be discussion and conversation.
  • The best social media programs use the format (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Digg etc) that most of the customers like to use.

Public Relations:

  • You can control the content of a press release, but you can’t control what social media comments or even the news stories that are developed as a result of your release.
  • Press releases can help tell the full story, something that is difficult to do in 140 characters.
  • I see using social media as a distribution channel for press releases (as well as PR photos and promoting events as well)

Do you find that social media trying to take over your PR efforts? And do you view this as a good thing? Or are you just running out of time in your marketing communications so you’ve cut back on traditional PR and substituted social media. I like this article from Social Media Examiner that compares and contracts Social Media And Public Relations.

(I wonder if social media will ever reach the point where it’s an abbreviation, like PR? I’ve had people ask me if PR stands for press release or public relations… But if we just call it SM, people might that SM is short for Sales & Marketing. )

Use Effective PR Methods to Promote Your Product Instead of Expensive Advertising

PR's ability to tell your story makes it an effective marketing and branding tool for your business

Public relations efforts have five advantages over advertising methods:

  1. PR can tell the full story of your brand, company or product’s advantages
  2. People read and listen to PR as opposed to ignoring the ads
  3. Implied endorsement from the publication or media that contains your information
  4. Less expensive to execute than PR, you’ll pay only for the creative/production but not for the placement
  5. PR has more “legs” than advertising: Use the same event 2 or 3 ways: promote the event and post it at your website, take photos during the event and promote those on your website, promote the media that you received to further validate your company, product or brand.

Are you considering a PR program this spring for marketing your product or brand?

A PowerPoint slide from Marketri suggests handling your feature story placement this way:

If you have story idea, write a letter that pitches and summarizes your story (don’t write the story!). Include the following information:

  • Tell the editor that you are offering an idea for a feature story
  • Summarize the idea in one paragraph
  • Explain why the editor’s audience would be interested
  • Emphasize the scope and importance of the story
  • Give a few interesting details
  • Describe photograph possibilities

For those PR beginners who aren’t sure how to write a release these sample press release formating tips will help.

Have you used PR successfully to promote your business or product? Leave a comment and let me know!

Related articles from Branding & Marketing:

Disclosure: I own and operate a marketing firm that helps companies brand and market their products and services with many marketing tactics, including public relations and press releases. For more information, see my marketing agency’s PR on our website, particularly if you’re looking at Cleveland Ohio marketing companies.

Market Your Brand with Events and Promote on Social Media

These are my live blogging notes of Crystal Olig @sparklegem on Twitter from the PodCamp Columbus #pco09 seminar on The Ohio State University campus. Read more from her at her blog, whY genY.

Using Social Media to Market Your Events

Event marketing keys:
Get a GREAT photographer. Capture the event.
Hold events to help to strengthen your career, personal brand and organization because it’s tangible.

Use Facebook to Strengthen your Events:

  • Invite friends
  • Post & tag Photos. It’s a great way to promote
  • Post video
  • Create discussions abou tproducts, speakers content
  • Set a date, ask for help, develop marketing plan as you go
  • Set up a fan page and an album with an event.
  • Discuss topics after the event, maintain brand engagement. is a search engine for photos. Be mindful of how you tag. Post and tag on FaceBook and Flickr because it gives the feeling of your event and is a great way to promote the event next time.

Don’t just talk about the event. Talk about what the event is about. Create a video and post it on YouTube. How much fun, who was involved. A little about each person. Figure out how to break down every little part and post about it.

Write consistently and add content — but don’t do too much email (it’s annoying) but if you have something legit to say every day, okay, do it.

Stick with YouTube for distributing your video content. They are the leader and it’s easy to use. However, don’t get all hung up on just YouTube, there are also other platforms that you can post your videos too that could garner many views as of right now. As an example TikTok, a video-sharing social media hybrid platform is exploding with users and video views. Making use of TikTok and similar applications becoming hugely popular, to increase the number of eyes that could see your videos could be essential to modern business. Especially if you are to think a business could also use the services provided by a website similar to TokUpgrade that can increase account engagement and more!

Use Twitter to Promote & Market Before,
During & After the Event

  • Ask prospective attendees for input
  • get attendees connected for free
  • PR promote your event before and after
  • Instant message out information and materials
  • Obtain real time feedback from attendees
  • Twitter about the awards ceremony
  • Pre and post event polling and surveys
  • Find Twitter feeds of your local media and figure out how to provide value to them.
  • Research the journalists:Three to one… Value, value, value. Favor. Value, value, value. Favor.

Other Twitter tips:
Use your speaker’s @ Twitter handle when you promote the speakers at your event.
Twitter reduces check-in wait time significantly (according to people surveyed… but I’m not sure how… I need to follow up with Crystal on this.)

Make sure you’re the one to establish the hash tag (like #pco09) and promote it so the group can find each other.
Used Twitter to do a poll.
Set up a time and used Tweet chat to discuss.
Set up a Wiki and post content afterwards.

Thanks Crystal — Awesome job. She was an impromptu speaker today after someone else had to cancel. WOW. Thank you!

5 Ways to Add Power to Your Press Release Distribution

When you use press releases in your marketing and branding program, are you making full use of the power of electronic press releases?

  1. Use key words phrases in the text with anchor tags in the release. Include keyword tags and categories. If you’re using some of the same keywords you have on your website, this will boost your SEO. SEO will make your website more visible on web pages and make your site more relevant. To learn more about SEO and what it means for a business, you might want to consult with Best SEO Hamilton.
  2. Include the city of origin to improve local search
  3. Have a photo or several photos? Consider embedding the photos or create a account and place the photos in your “slide show” with text.
  4. Upload to distribution sites.
  5. Turn it into a video news report. Consider including non traditional press release distribution on sites like YouTube. Why not? Do you have a friend who can act like a TV anchor and read your press release like they do on TV? Depending on the subject and tone of your release, it could be a fun project that may get much better viewing than you would have expected! With YouTube, anyone can be on the TV news.

Thanks to Christine Kelly from Online PR News for inspiring today’s post.

She uses slide share for distributing press releases as well as photos from a release. Here is her slide share for optimizing a press release:

If you aren’t even writing press releases, why not? You should get started today. They are less expensive and more effective than using advertising.

Need help writing the information section in a journalistic style? Here are several good sites with press release writing tips:

What other non-traditional ways do you use press releases to build your business?

PR Photography: Make Your Photo Say a 1000 Words

Early on in my career I learned the value of a good public relations photo.  Since people look at photos in a newsletter or local newpaper before they read all the stories, it’s a great way for a non profit organization or a small business to get exposure without too much effort.

Some of the key elements:

  1. A logo visible or other recognizable symbol, name, face etc
  2. Only 3 or 4 people in the photo
  3. Have the people interacting (not staring into the camera). Doing something.
  4. Get all the names of the individuals with correct spelling and ask them for permission to use the photo.
  5. Write the caption in your head, then set up the photo to shoot it. Don’t expect it to just happen

If you are a speaker, a PR photo is a great way to extend the reach of your presentation. 

How would you use the photo after it is taken?

Perhaps you spoke at the local chamber of commerce.  Maybe they would like a photo along with a short summary of your speech for their next newsletter?

Or maybe you spoke at a conference. Your PR photo could appear on the association’s website as a visual to help attract attendees to the next one.  Promoting the next event can be very difficult visually for a newsletter editors with any photos.  Have a good low res photo to send in an email newsletter that demonstrates something about an event is a relief to many who are trying to promote the organization’s events through email newsletters. High resolutions photos are a must for printed newsletters,

You may want to add the photo to websites with a caption. Again, this is a low resolution situation. High resolution takes too long to load.

Other links to articles about PR photos that may help: