Is Social Media Marketing Becoming and Innovation or a Hindrance for Public Relations?

The 21st century can, with little argument, be defined by the rise of cellular devices. The vastness of our interconnectedness is astounding. Social media has created a channel for anyone with a cellular device to speak his or her voice. With one touch of a button or screen we can share our personal lives with millions of individuals across the globe. In addition to using social media to share personal experiences, businesses have now taken social media by storm

With the rise of social media at it’s peak, entrepreneurship has also blown up. This leads me to my point — are unqualified individuals using social media to launch large scale campaigns and businesses that are doomed to fail; are traditional pr practices dying; or will pr develop into a completely new entity?

College students, recent college graduates, house spouses, entrepreneurs, etc. etc. have one, and possibly more, thing in common: they think that they can launch a successful business campaign solely utilizing social media. Now, if, god forbid, they hope to use social media to start a viral meme, challenge (think that moronic ice bucket challenge), or other campaign that has no relevant use in the world outside of entertainment, then this strategy may just work. However, if you’re hoping to start a business similar to other businesses in your area, then you must be revolutionary. What problem are you solving that others are not? How are you different? How will you angle yourself to appeal to the most amount of people? If you haven’t thought about or discussed any of those questions, then how will you launch your business solely using social media? Public relations firms can help you answer all of these questions and more, as well as get your name and business out to the public utilizing various channels of media.

Traditional public relations practices provide proven results. But, will social media evolve enough to include detailed analytics or will you still need to hire the certified Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Full Stack Developer to create a seamless website that includes those detailed analytic programs? On this, time will tell. The average social media user wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of the information provided to them by the social media analytics, leading to a dead end because users don’t know how to utilize this data. Trained professionals, however, can analyze and make use of this data to tailor your business to attract your specific audience. Scoff as you will about traditional public relations practices, call us schmoozers, and know-nothings, but persuasion can go far, and we’ve perfected it.

However, media is constantly changing and evolving. The newest app, website, or social trend is always in production that could potentially have us reexamining our perception of the media, what lens we can view it through, and how we can effectively use that channel to create revolutionary things. Was Marshall McLuhan, the father of communications and media studies, right? Is the medium the message? Mediums speak louder than messages, and will pr have to adapt to the messages that mediums send? That’s to be determined.

The rise of social media as a tool for launching marketing and public relations campaign is a new convention that public relations professionals will have to monitor and adapt to. Our profession is ever evolving and we need to realize that change is inevitable. However, we should stay true to our practices. We know how to angle individuals, businesses, etc. to their specified audience, a skill that not everyone can master. Do you think social media is hindering traditional public relations or is it an innovation that will aid us even more?