The public relations industry has long lamented the lack of a seat at the marketing strategy table. The value of public relations was challenging to prove empirically, marketing didn’t understand the value, and the benefits of improving or maintaining a reputation were often only observable in the long run — while marketing was focused on leads for the next quarter.
In traditional business environments — especially in the B2B space — sales owned the customer relationship, and efforts to obtain story ideas, interviews, case studies and other sources of third-party validation were passed through that filter. The challenge was that sales would rather save a favor from a customer — a reference — to help them close a new deal rather than spend that chip on a media interview.
To a large degree social media has changed this paradigm — changed it to the extent that some industry watchers have indicated signs PR is taking over marketing. Experience with earned media has left public relations professionals well positioned to champion social media efforts, in large part because social communities tend to reject the commercialization more closely affiliated with marketing than with public relations. The change is astounding: When a customer becomes a “fan” on Facebook, they are inviting an organization to participate in their lives in a way never before possible.
If the past is prologue, then there’s a lesson for the present: Measure the impact of social media. Social media is still relatively new, and as the application of social media is, well, socialized in business, leaders, especially marketing leaders, will begin to question methods, techniques and practices with increasing scrutiny. Public relations professionals need to create solid, quantifiable metrics today in order to evaluate the effectiveness of social media efforts tomorrow.
I’ll be delivering a presentation on this subject titled “Measuring the Impact of Social Media on Your PR Campaigns” at the PRSA 2009 International Conference, and invite you to join me.
Kye Strance, director of product management, Vocus, a provider of on-demand software for public relations management, including media relations, news distribution and news monitoring. Vocus is used by over 3,700 organizations worldwide and is available in five languages. In his 10 years at Vocus, Inc., Kye has held a variety of positions including account executive and a member of the consulting team. Connect with Kye on LinkedIn and on Twitter.
Join Kye for his Conference session, “Measuring the Impact of Social Media on Your PR Campaigns,” at the PRSA 2009 International Conference: Delivering Value, November 7–10 in San Diego, CA!