PR exec: Social media is not your savior

Three things to consider when your client or boss tells you to build a Facebook page or launch a Twitter account.

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With my mind on the approaching start of spring training, here’s an analogy: The pitcher is one of the most important members of a baseball team, but pitching alone can’t carry a team to the World Series. The same is true for social media. Marketing is a team sport, and social media is just one player.

Yes, I understand—and I advocate daily—that social media can be a powerful communication tool and that it has prompted a sea change in how we communicate. So did the printing press, the radio, the TV, the Internet. There will always be game changers.

A winning marketing program is integrated; it includes the best combination of channels and tactics, and although social media may be the newest kid on the communications block, the basics of good marketing still apply.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Social media is not a strategy.

Clients often ask, “What’s our social media strategy?” Though I understand what they’re asking, the preface to the response is that we don’t consider social media a strategy in and of itself. Social media comprises channels that need their own best practices applied to them. Ours is a marketing strategy. How and why we use social media (or other PR tactics) all play into meeting the overall strategic framework.

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