erinism: #socialmedia and other explorations

Who owns the social media real estate?

Posted in marketing,public relations,social media by Erin on October 19, 2009

It seems that everyone is a self-proclaimed “social media expert.”  (Nevermind that the field is far too premature to be dubbing experts or gurus, especially those who are self-proclaimed. Did you major in it? Did you go to graduate school for it? This is an entirely different topic, I digress.)  Where do these “experts” come from?  That is, are they marketers, or do they have a public relations background?

It seems that both marketing and PR pros fancy themselves the owners of the social media real estate.  Though, in reality, who should win the social media debate?

Marketing Wisdom from

Marketing Wisdom from

Marketers are in charge of making sure individuals (and communities) are informed (persuaded) that their needs and wants can be satisfied by their employers’ or clients’ products.  Social media, yes, in fact involves communities and informing (persuading) their members.

Meanwhile, public relations professionals manage the communication between an organization and its publics. Surprise, surprise, social media does that, too.

Ultimately, both marketing and public relations exist to increase exposure of a company, and therefore, increase sales.  I think we can all agree that social media increases exposure (all while cutting out the middle man—the media).

Instead of looking at it as a marketing versus PR contest, perhaps we should first look at social



media and move outward.

At its core (and my favorite aspect of it) social media blurs the lines between marketing, public relations, and customer service.  It forces companies to be transparent, while giving consumers a voice.  This makes it necessary for each part to have a hand in social media and the strategy thereof.

Social media cannot merely be marketing; consumers are smart enough now to see through the fluff.

Social media cannot just encompass messaging and media hits; it needs more one-on-one interaction.

Social media cannot only reply to consumer complaints (or questions); there needs to be more motivation to partake in their social community.

If social media must encompass all of these aspects, then who are the right people to run it?  Well, until there are fully integrated social media education programs training actual experts, ideally, there would be a separate social media department linking marketing and public relations.

Social media needs to be considered in both the marketing and PR strategies.  The people within the social media department would not only run the social media communities, but also consult for and with marketing and PR on their strategies.  Ideally, a social media department would be a mix of both marketing and PR pros, and the right mix, of course, highly depends on the organization, the clients they serve, their goals, etc.

Do you agree?  Disagree?  I would love to hear other viewpoints.


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