I have a degree in Advertising and all through college people would mix up Advertising and Public Relations, and with good reason, they are only slightly different from an outsiders view. Thanks to social media, the two are becoming even more intertwined.

 Social media is basically a subset of Public Relations with a bit of Advertising thrown in. The goals are similar and the techniques are somewhat the same but the methods are slightly different.

For example, relationship management is a mutual goal in PR and social media. We try to get as many people talking about a client in as many places as possible that are applicable. The key here is to put the client in a situation or in a network that will set them up to succeed. You wouldn’t, well I wouldn’t, put someone selling  domestic beer in front of a group of hipsters and expect them to succeed. Find the best place for the client to thrive, if their target audience is mostly on LinkedIn, make that your focus. Keep a presence in other general markets like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ but focus on the area where you know the client can win.

Another shared goal is reputation management. In social media it is all about listening and responding to clients. No matter what business you are in, there will be disgruntled customers. Businesses are run by humans and humans aren’t perfect, but for some reason we all expect perfection. When that goal is not met, your business is sent to trial in the merciless court of public opinion. If you cultivate your relationships through social media, you will likely see the fruits of your labor. If you have 99 loyal customers on your page and one angry customer, chances are, some of the 99 will come to your defense against the angry customer. One loyal follower talking to an angry customer will speak volumes and be more trustworthy and soothing than anything the business could say to calm a disgruntled customer.

Task management goals are similar in PR and social media but the methods are slightly different. In social media, the set goals need to be very specific to be able to keep track of the ever-elusive goal that is ROI. Every client comes to a social media consultation with one goal, to increase sales. While that is a fantastic goal, it is too broad for social media. Define that goal and work it into something quantifiable. A good goal might be to get X number of people talking about and interacting with the business on social media thus increasing your word of mouth. To measure this, just ask people when they buy your product or service how they heard about you. To measure social media ROI, you have to think outside the box.

Public Relations, Social Media, and Advertising are all trying to figure out how to work together, because they must to form a cohesive campaign. Getting someone to buy a product from a business has always been about one thing, go where the people are and fill a need for them, simple supply and demand. People are online and on social networks, how will you fill their needs?

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