It’s about engagement.
Talking to people, encouraging them to think and say positive things about your company, your product, your brand.
It’s about monitoring.
Listening to what is being said, deciding whether it’s positive, negative or neutral. Watching the trends, recording the patterns, preparing answers and responding appropriately.
It’s about crafting a message, steering opinion. Promoting, but subtly. Recognising the individual voices the audience you’re influencing has and working with them, as opposed to attempting to bulldoze them with propaganda.
Is that social media? Or is it public relations?
My background is this world of marketing and media was in journalism and PR. I was gamekeeper turned poacher. So working ‘with’ an audience, as opposed to broadcasting ‘at’ them is nothing new to me.
In old money, that meant working with journalists and editors; hoping they’d see enough worth in the message you wished to promote that they’d do so on your behalf. In our brave new world where everybody can be a journalist or a broadcaster – with Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and YouTube publication a few clicks away – what’s changed, other than the number of editors?
Social media is just public relations, with a 21st century twist.
* For the PR professionals, technically I’ve only really covered media relations here but the points remain valid.
Except where indicated, all content © Ross Brown 2007-2013