United We Stand: How PR & Marketing Can Play in the Social Media Sandbox Together

Marisa Sharkey

By Marisa Sharkey, APR

In many musings, public relations has claimed ownership of social media sites, and understandably so. Social media is a communications tool, and it is right for the discipline that best understands two-way communication and key messaging and response to step up.

But is there room for anyone else at the computer? IMHO, yes. While IT is needed for technical function, and advertising can support and direct customers to social media sites, through both online and traditional means, marketing can play a significant role in an organization’s social media strategy.

Here’s why: Even though social media outlets are communications channels, most appropriately facilitated by PR, they are also extensions of an organization’s brand. And, since in most organizations, Marketing oversees branding, having Marketing as a social media partner can help ensure brand consistency and optimization.

Marketing can use its long-standing and current market research tools and findings, including web analytics, to ID key topics, and share these topics with PR. Marketing should share its organization’s Big Ticket Items with public relations to better equip PR to guide topics. PR should ask Fans and Followers about these key products and services.  And marketing should incorporate feedback into its own market research studies.

Marketing also can help measure. In this new decade, social media metrics need to be more sophisticated than numbers of followers, impressions or even re-tweets. Yes, PR can measure, and is often very skilled in ranking and interpreting messaging. However, in many organizations, marketing measures impact on bottom line. It’s vital to know if social media efforts motivated customers to act.

The Social Media Sandbox can be a place where both PR and marketing can play together, and achieve success together. But they both need to respect each other’s strengths, talents and skills, as both will become increasingly imperative in the social media stratosphere.


1 Comment

  1. Kaymi Malave on February 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for differentiating between PR and marketing in the social media realm. Not many know the difference to begin with or how they can work together. Social media is not going away and, with articles like these, it’s a wonderful way to learn how we can co-exist with this platform.