This article originally appeared on CommPro.biz
Posted by commproadmin in featured, social media marketing | 1 comment
By Rodger Roeser, President/Owner, The Eisen Agency
The social media discipline should be handled by PR. No, wait! It should be handled by advertising. Well, on third thought, perhaps HR should handle the Twitter or the Facebook or whatever the heck it is. We need to set up a new department just to handle the linked in, right? We need a PR firm. No, we need an ad agency. Really, we need one that specializes in social media! I don’t really care who handles it, but I read in a magazine from some so-called “expert” that we should be doing it, too. After we’ve discussed in committee, no one should handle social media – we’re not going to do it – it’s better that way because we don’t have to worry about it.
It’s a new marketing communications argument for the teen decade – which “discipline” should manage the new medium of social media. Agencies are springing up that “specialize” in “social media management” and any manner of blogging, tweeting, facebooking and the like. It’s become a verb. We need more friends, more likes, more this and more that, so clearly it must be public relations. Or, wait, it’s obviously the ad team. No, no, it needs to go through legal and internal so it’s HR or even operations – but wait, they can’t write, that’s advertising. No! that’s PR, they can spin it. But how about the marketing and sales guys? What’s the ROI on social media?
“Who” is managing your social media is far less important than “what” is being attempted to manage. You are trying to engage, to enlighten, to share. You are NOT trying to sell, although long term and softly that will be the ultimate reward. Everyone reading this understands that social media, by its very definition, is controlled by those that are engaged and those that are sharing their thoughts and their views on any manner of issues or challenges we face as consumers or as businesses. So why the fight as to who “controls” it?
Certainly, advertising agencies believe “they” should manage the discipline, after all, it must be creative and part of your overall marketing mix of clever hooks and fresh ideas. Clearly, your PR agency believes “they” should manage this as they are masters of sharing a story and providing clarity to your consumers in the written word. [As a side, be mindful that most public relations firms are comfortable and confident with an uncontrolled and earned media, and in developing ideas that should “theoretically” foster some discussion, while most advertising agencies are more adept at working to control, place and be creative with the design]. Both will invoice you fairly for their time and effort and strategy. Either, as you’ve chosen the right firm, will provide good ideas and fresh thinking that will drive traffic and perhaps even the coveted engagement that hang on your tweets and updates and so forth.
I own an agency. Call my firm a public relations agency or ad agency, regardless – I want your money. And, if you give me X I can likely triple your “likes” on Facebook and tweet each and every day about any manner of so forth and whatnot.
What you need is insight, and the confidence and ability to trust in yourself or “that so called expert.” Who really “controls” social media? If you’re smart – it’s the 3Cs – your clients, your customers, your constituents. YOU control your social media, whether you’re hiring a firm or you attempt to manage it “in house.” A good agency, regardless of being so-called PR or advertising or whatever they label themselves as will advise you to, in the beginning, craft a solid brand and brand communications strategy, then from that, utilize the virtually unlimited universe of social media and its many outlets (trust me, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging are merely the tip of the social media iceberg) to share that brand and tell your story, then, engage your publics to some desired form of action or activity – to vote, to hire you, to believe a certain thing, to buy a product.
If you look at “PR Firms” as publicity agencies, some are – most are not. The good ones are designed to, as the name suggests, “relate to your publics” that is, your target audiences. Um, target audiences = clients, customers, constituents. You must look holistically at your public relations in a broader and more literal sense and ask the question “how are we relating to our publics?” And, just as those publics are varied, i.e. internal, shareholders, current clients, potential clients, and so forth, how are we relating to each of them? Can we “relate” to them efficiently via certain social media outlets? Which ones and what is each designed to accomplish? What are we saying and how does it further our brand conversation?
Managing social media is, by my definition, attempting to manage the infinite. Rather, you must discuss what your end goal is and how that particular social media tactic will fit into, support, and drive content from your overall marketing communications objective. It is not the answer, it is an option. Should your business, regardless of what that business is, “do” social media – of course! The question and the strategy is “why” are we doing social media and what exactly are we trying to achieve. How does it support our branding initiatives? How does it help our sales team? How does it make our candidate or our issue more accessible?
Will some people say bad things? Yes, and get over it. By the very essence and definition it allows you fulfill the most basic and sacred tenant of public relations – the ability to have open, ongoing and one to one communications directly with your publics in an attempt to foster a shared conversation and engagement. You want to hear from an unhappy customer so you can fix it, not spin it. You want to offer ideas and specials and promotions to those that value it most. You want your (insert your business here) to be the very best it can be so you value the ideas and conversations and suggestions of your target publics and foster that.
Or bury your head in the sand. Stop worrying about “who” manages your social media. If you’re reading this far, most likely it’s you. Rather, address what the communication is that is fostered.
If you are “the boss,” like it or not, you manage your social media. It is your choice to do or not do, to engage or let others talk about your business without your response. Or, leave it to amateurs with little to no expertise in business communications (notice, I didn’t say “social media” – anyone can tweet). Social media happens regardless of whether you want it to or not.
If you report to anyone – if you lack a plan or a social media strategy, it’s time to manage up and get a social media plan of action (POA).
Pssst! I know a good firm if you need any help.
Rodger Roeser is the owner and president of Greater Cincinnati’s premier investor and public relations firm, The Eisen Agency. A 2011 Smart Business Pillar Award winner, twice named a Business Courier Fast55 and NKY Chamber Emerging 30 Business as one of the fastest growing businesses of any kind in the region, and honored with numerous industry awards, The Eisen Agency is the most award winning public relations firm in Greater Cincinnati. Roeser is the current Cincinnati PRSA PR Professional of the Year, and served as Cincinnati Chapter president in 2005 and is the founder of the chapter’s Blacksmith Awards. He is the national chairman of the Public Relations Agency Owners Association, and the host of national online radio show “That Marketing Show.”