PR has changed at the… thumbs… of social media.  Our target audience is one arena that’s been fundamentally disrupted.

4 Social PR Effects | 1

Social technology has changed the way people communicate: sharing a message with a friend doesn’t take a mail carrier, a phone or a tin can anymore – nor does it have to be a one:one conversation.

These days, sharing with an entire community of friends is as easy as clicking a button. The power of social media lies in the social networks that make the everyman a media outlet, and it’s those social networks that carry the conversations that we as marketers care about.

Those conversations can:

  • Start anywhere
  • Be started by anyone
  • Die anywhere
  • Change and grow
  • Be amplified ad infinitum


What this means for marketing and PR is that social media technology has fundamentally changed the way that successful communications programs work. With that in mind, there are four main social disruptors of our traditional communications programs.  We’ll round out 2014 with a quick 4-part overview of these disruptors, and explore what it means for our campaigns.

We used to broadcast a message at a pre-defined (and sometimes pre-purchased) audience; we’re now aiming to get our message amplified by a social community.

So, what’s the difference?

An audience, by definition, is a group of people who witness something. A community, by contrast, is an interconnected group of people who participate in something together. They are intentionally connected in some way, whether they be friends, colleagues, or members of the same online neighborhood group.

This is where we clearly see the social PR transition: a traditional messaging campaign aims to influence individual viewers directly, whereas a socially-minded marketing campaign aims to influence community members collectively by sparking conversation.

All impressions are not created equal…

What this means for PR is that our job isn’t just getting our message out there and heard: it’s getting our message out there and shared.  (For more on this, check out our 2014 PRSA takeaways from this year.)  The great news is that earned social media is incredibly powerful for PR, because people in a community are highly attuned to the content from one another.  We’re simply more likely to pay attention to content from a trusted personal source (even if that content is advertising content) than we are from a brand.  This is one of the reasons that influencer marketing has become so critical in today’s interconnected communications landscape.

Stay tuned for the second social disruptor of PR, coming soon to this blog near you.