Social Media Marketing Vs. Social Media PR

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Regular readers know I’ve been a huge proponent of social media for marketing your brand. The reason I’ve felt so strongly about it was because I was one of the early users of social media for marketing my own company.  I quickly saw the incredible opportunities it offered to build my company brand as well as my personal brand.  And, because we are a publicity agency that was also delivering social media services to our clients, it was natural for us to incorporate PR components into our social media activities.

We developed this niche of social media PR without realizing we were doing anything that different, but before long other marketing companies came to us for help because they understood that social media PR was unfamiliar territory for them.

That’s something not everyone realizes.

Certainly, both social media marketing and social media PR try to influence the conversation that’s happening on social media and both want to spread the message about a brand; just in different ways.

Social media marketing is more about trying to elicit some sort of instant action by a customer or potential client. For example, you can buy advertising on social media platforms, or promote a sale or sweepstakes event, and then measure success by how many people buy your product or sign on as a client as a direct result.

Social media PR, on the other hand, is more about using social proof for brand building and managing communication with potential clients and customers in a positive way. Its goal is long-term brand building rather than instant sales.

Social media PR also allows you to focus on growing your personal brand as much as the company’s brand. These days, it’s a good idea for the CEO or the business owner to have a personal brand as well.  It speaks to your credibility as a CEO which reflects on the credibility of your company.

People like to know who it is they are supporting, so using social media to influence the public’s perception of you is important. But it reaches another level when you combine social media PR with your efforts to gain publicity through traditional media. Developing an engaged and growing audience on social media, matched with coverage in print or being interviewed on radio and TV, helps establish you in the minds of the public as an authority or expert in your field.

As you make use of social media PR, here are a few points worth remembering about why it can be so effective:

  • Social media PR capitalizes on current events.Often, social media marketers schedule their content far out in advance. They may decide on Nov. 1 what their tweets for the entire month will say, and lock in those messages to post automatically as each day arrives. While that may be efficient – and isn’t necessarily a bad thing – such posts contain fairly generic content about the company’s message. But when you get in the habit of scheduling posts, you risk putting your social media campaign on auto-pilot, missing out on opportunities to connect with followers on what’s happening in their world at the moment. A well-run social media PR effort aims to be relevant, tying the message to news, trends or other things people are talking about right now.
  • Social media PR helps build relationships with the media. Since social media marketers are more intent on driving sales, they aren’t likely to engage in much interaction with news reporters. But social media PR is a great way to engage with journalists and bloggers who routinely write about your area of expertise. You can comment on things they post or you can ask them questions. That interaction can increase the odds that they will turn to you when they need a source for an article. But you’ll never get to establish that sort of interaction if you are simply paying for social media advertising or posting preordained content.
  • Social media PR gives you opportunities to test media outreach.It provides a great forum for launching new ideas. If your feedback from your followers is positive, you could then, for example, pitch that idea to the media to get mainstream coverage, or use it in your advertising campaigns. For example, we helped one client establish a good level of social media engagement with her content about blockchain. We were able to turn that into pitches to send to print media which led to coverage in top-tier publications. Then we linked to those print articles on her social media, so it came full circle.

If there’s a disconnect between the social media side of your business and the PR side, you could be missing out on some extraordinary opportunities to increase your brand’s visibility and build your reputation.

With so many social media platforms out there these days, there are lot of conversations happening, thoughts being exchanged and relationships being built. You want to be part of them!

Socially yours,


P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, and being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 28 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 0. We’d love to hear from you!

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