Why You Shouldn’t Hire a PR Agency for Social Media

February 1, 2015

If you ever, even in your weirdest dream thought that a PR activity is nothing more than social media or they are almost same, I request you not to read this article. While working on social media for various clients over years, I have seen few businesses who were working with a PR agency to handle their social media.

pr agency social media

This article isn’t about pointing fingers on any of the PR agencies (they obviously have their own importance) but it is about realising why you shouldn’t mix these two different functions.

As Gary Vaynerchuk said-

There’s a big difference between those two things. However, it doesn’t answer the question of whether they should at all. Some of the bigger PR companies have built out social media departments and they’ve done a great job to varying degrees.

There are some great things about PR on social: being able to handle pressure and speed. But the big difference really stems from the fact that PR is very B2B. When you’re doing social, it’s much more B2C. You’re dealing with the fans, not the press or the “public” at large.

I couldn’t really agree more to this, he is bang on! To take this forward, I have listed down some of the differences that would help you understand why it’s a bad idea to hire a PR agency for your social media management.

1. Diverse Audience

The way both these field communicate with their audiences and the amount of people they need to connect with are very different. PR is all about broadcasting to your audience while social media is engaging with them. With PR you are only informing your audiences about your latest developments and news you want to share, whereas social media empowers you to build relationships with your existing/potential network. There is an attitude attached to both these activities and it can’t be changed overnight.

2. Control v/s lack of Control

In social media there is absolutely no control when it comes to your audiences reactions, you may never know when one of your posts receives flak. But social media provides the unique opportunity to gain invaluable insights from those who you are communicating with. Whereas with PR, it’s a more controlled approach in terms of the messages you’re trying to convey.

3. PR is an activity, Social Media a tool

PR is all about creating a positive and healthy environment for your company through means of sending out press release, schedule events, appearances and so on and work within the B2B community. Whereas social media is an effective marketing tool, which helps amplifying your brand reach through a set strategy in-turn helping you earn goodwill and trust within your network.

4. Different Operational tactics

They both have very different ways to execute their strategies, PR is more passive and Social Media is more active. By using social media you can reach your consumer at all times, and most importantly connects with those users that may be interested to buy your product or service. Thus, through means of your posts, articles, and tips you can push your products without being too salesly.

Quoting again from Gary’s article

If you tweet, or post a status, it won’t be heard or seen unless you have sought out and engaged with people who are going to be interested in your content. Those one way announcements won’t work any more. It’s a two way street, and it involves you getting out there, joining conversations on Twitter, finding the hashtag communities on Instagram, and understanding Facebook dark posts till you’re an expert.

With PR it’s a complete different tactic, where you have to wait for your audiences to notice your article or watch the press release to become interested in your company. Here you have to sit back and wait for action to happen!

Both PR and social media have their own purpose. You can ask your PR agency to do email marketing, that is another way to broadcast things. You can ask them for a bloggers outreach program but in my opinion they shouldn’t be handling your social media activities (unless they are aware of the new rules).

Would love to hear what you think about this? Would it matter to you as a business/marketer that the social media agency you are hiring is a PR firm from it’s core or not?

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