According to the latest Communication and Public Relations GAP Study (Generally Accepted Practices), conducted every other year by Strategic and Public Relations Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, public relations departments at companies and corporations seem to be gaining ascendancy in controlling and managing social media for organizations. Of course, the competition is generally between marketing and public relations. (See the full report at GAP.)
While this may well be early in “the fight,” it is a good sign that organizations are understanding, correctly, that social media is more about dialogue and relationships than it is about selling. This is an excellent sign, but we must not assume it will be the final answer.
First, we are early in the game here. As everyone continues to explore social media — including customers and constituencies — the competition for control will continue as well. As our understanding of this new set of media grows, and as customers and consumers sophistication continues to increase, this dynamic might shift. So…
Moreover, social media is an ever-moving target. It is an incredibly changing arena of dialogue and communication and will only continue to morph as we move deeper into the 21st Century.
Yesterday Twitter was the rage. Now, Foursquare and geolocation enter the fray to change the relational sets yet again. And this dynamic environment will certainly continue.
Lesson? We in public relations must not only be masters of this new realm of relationship creation and maintenance, we must continue to monitor developments and be the “experts” ( if such can be said to exist) on this new arena.
It is not enough to master Facebook and blogging and Twitter to your heart’s content. How are you using FourSquare and other geolocation tools? What internal tools are you using to enhance productivity? Have you effective policies in place to guide organizational use of social media? Are you using tools to measure your ROI or relationship development?
And finally, are you keeping your eyes and ears attuned to new developments so public relations is there at the forefront of adoption?
We are, indeed, living in interesting times. And exponential times. Stay with it. Stay on top. The fight will continue!