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Social Media is Here to Stay; Embrace It

Social media is blurring the lines between PR, branding, advertising, marketing and social media. Don’t resist it

New Media on Ulitzer

The message from The Utah Technology Council’s (UTC) annual PR breakfast is clear: Social media is blurring the lines between PR, branding, advertising, marketing and social media. Don’t resist it. Harness its power.

“People need to stop thinking in terms of social media marketing and PR vs. traditional marketing and PR,” said event co-chair and presenter Jack Hadley, CEO of Lava 7. Hadley was one of three social media experts, together with Rachel Herrscher of Today’s Mama and Brian Watkins of Adobe, who presented to PR and marketing executives last week. UTC member Neumont University hosted this year’s annual PR breakfast event which was sponsored by Business Wire.

Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter allow public relations and marketing professionals to pull information from customers as opposed to the traditional methods of pushing information on them, Hadley noted.

For example, Facebook has now surpassed 350 million users. Many businesses are leveraging this community to create new avenues to engage and interact with potential customers, Hadley said. Old Navy, for example, uses Facebook to create fan pages, conduct online customer polls, customer discussions, product reviews and gather analytics about current customers.

“Facebook is no longer ‘Wanna go to a movie?’ or ‘Here’s my vacation photos,’ but it’s also becoming a powerful business tool that lets clients know who you are,” Hadley said. “We do business with the people we know and trust. Facebook has replaced the old business methods of taking a client golfing and the three martini lunch.”

“Social media shouldn’t be a specialty in PR but a standard,” said Rachel Herrscher, Co-Founder, CEO & Publisher of Today’s Mama. “People view social media and PR in different brackets and, in some instances, different agencies. It’s time for social media to be considered mainstream media and integrated into every marketing and PR tactic.”

The presenters agreed that a good social media strategy provides a strong mixture of business-related content, responses to other people’s posts and personal updates. A good ratio would be a mixture of about 70-20-and 10. Additional best practices for harnessing the power of these social networking sites includes:

  • Be transparent
  • Start by listening to what others are saying
  • Share insights and trends
  • Find others who “get” social media
  • Get executive sponsorship
  • Establish a social media framework
  • Encourage your best customers to tell your story online
  • Be brief

“You’re going to make mistakes with social media,” said presenter Brian Watkins, Social media expert at Adobe. “Don’t let mistakes stop you. The key is to find people who understand social media, want to do it and then empower them to do it.”

“One of the most common questions we get asked is if we think social media is going to last and if so, what do you do with it and how do you get started,” said Richard R. Nelson, president and CEO of UTC. “Social media is essential in all effective marketing strategies going forward, and today’s discussion provided expertise and advice every business needs to consider when putting together and implementing an effective social media strategy.”

More Stories By Carmen Gonzalez

Carmen Gonzalez is the co-founder, president, and CEO of SYS-CON Media, Cloud Expo, Inc. and Ulitzer, Inc.

Carmen has been in charge of SYS-CON's sales and marketing functions since 1994. Under her leadership, the company was named by Inc 500, among the fastest growing 500 privately held companies in North America three years in a row.