Where we are with Social Media and What the Future May Hold

Social Media Webinar

On Tuesday, the Marketing Works team attended the Cision webinar, “State of Social Media in PR: Everything You Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask” led by Matthew Schwartz and Brandon Andersen. Five topics in social media were discussed during the webinar. The first being the inevitable downsides of social media, next we moved into the upsides, then how to use social media for pitching ideas and finally what would be the next big thing. Here are some things we learned:

  1. Downsides of social media. Social media is everywhere. It’s great to have it on our phones, computers and even televisions, but with that ubiquity comes chaos and clutter. Being fully immersed in social media can become overwhelming, especially with all the advertising and spam that can make the clutter even greater. Another problem that arises in social media is that anyone can be an “expert,” even if they’re not. Social media can offer little accountability for posts online but at the same time, what you post on social media never dies.  
  1. Upsides of social media. On the other hand, the upsides of social media can definitely outweigh the downsides. When growing your audience, social media offers a reach that was not available 10 years ago. By using social media strategically you can grow and target new audiences. Another bonus is the immediacy of the response. Social media has made building relationships with your audience on a one-on-one level more efficient. It offers a free or cheap way to communicate a message to a wide audience and receive feedback almost instantly. Public Relations is about “earned media.” While you can buy ads to reach your audience, your content needs to engage them and encourage them to interact by sharing your content to their followers. Social media is an excellent way to test out what works in order to guide Public Relations campaigns.   
  1. Pitching via social media. Phone and email pitches appear to still be the more popular approach. Why is that? Because it’s all about telling your story. If you use social media to pitch your ideas, think of it as a way to enhance, rather than spark, relationships with the media. Reaching out through social media can help you work towards stronger relationships with your audience. But if you decide to use social media for pitching ideas, direct messages on Twitter or LinkedIn are your best course of action.  
  1. Measuring social media success. When determining the success of your social channel or campaign, follower count is not enough.  The number of followers can easily be tampered with by sites that offer x amount of followers for y amount of dollars. Those aren’t the kind of followers you want, it’s more about the interaction and conversation that takes place between you and your audience. The best way to measure your success is through seeing an increase in site traffic, audience engagement and reach especially if it generates revenue or leads.   
  1. So what’s next? Social media is always changing, but here’s where it appears to be heading. Have you noticed the “Buy” button in the corner of posts? Social media channels are beginning to tie back to revenue in an effort to be able to provide ROI. Facebook is already starting to push paid ads for further reach which can benefit growing campaigns. Another way social media is changing is that instead of having Public Relations departments, we’re going to start seeing more social ambassadors from all employees to drive content. Finally, video marketing is evolving as we’re going to see YouTube start to be driven by regular narrative content while television is going to start being more interactive than previously.


Have other thoughts about the state of social media? Let us know in the comments!

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