Social media is driving change in the way we consume news and information and has forced many public relations professionals to reevaluate how best to embrace this new “teenage upstart” into an overall communication strategy.
Many companies that operate in the B2B sector, outside the “consumer” world, recognise the positive impact social media could have on their overall PR program but are struggling with how to effectively “engage on the web”. There is no doubt that social media has the benefit of stimulating a two-way dialogue directly with a company’s chosen audience, but how does it fit into an existing strategic communications plan?
Understanding the relationship between traditional and digital PR, and leveraging the respective benefits of each “channel” is the key to success. Companies in the B2B sector often fail to realise that social media is fundamentally a two-way communication. Audience dialogue can provide a valuable insight into the success, or otherwise, of a communications plan.
The formula for success is a simple one: provide targeted, timely, topical content with real-time feedback. PR in traditional media provides the backdrop for success by originating application stories, technical articles and thought leadership pieces all of which are then highlighted and given a broader audience through social media such as blogs, LinkedIn or Twitter. The above overview outlines the channels of communication, traditional and digital, that can be used together to deliver a well-rounded and impressive B2B communications plan.
This extension to traditional PR requires executive sponsorship, coupled with adequate financial and human resource if a company is to benefit from the tangible and demonstrable benefits that social media brings.