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What’s the Difference between PR and Social Media Management?

October 2, 2014

We all do our best to make our social media campaigns and posts reach as far as possible. Whether it’s business or personal, we sometimes blur the line between PR and social media management, so what’s the difference?

For those who are trained in the sector they would know that PR is all about managing a brand identity; keeping it healthy and trustworthy so that customers associate well with it. Social media can be used by PR experts to help assist in reassuring customers that they are dealing with a legitimate company, so why is it that you can sometimes purchase ‘social media management’ as a separate service to PR? But most PR services will now offer help with social media as well.

As anyone will tell you, it doesn’t take statistics to see that social media use is on the rise, so it’s important for businesses to get involved. Social media management services can help companies who are unsure on how to use social media in general, how to use it specifically for their business or how it can develop their brand outreach.

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Social media may tie in well with PR but it has become it’s own profession as effective social media management can be used for a number of things; customer relations, PR, marketing, promotions and so on. However, social media also has it’s own system that, if not understood properly, you won’t get the full benefits of the digital platform. Processes such as learning to hashtag properly, when to post content, where to post content and much more is all key to effective social media management.

PR uses social media in this way but not necessarily in quite so much details. Some PR agencies may boast of their social media capabilities, but they aren’t usually as well equipped. Public relations is also about building a rapour  with journalists – the slightly more ‘old-fashioned’ way to distribute news relating to a brands identity. PR becomes more broad with it’s own journalism flavour: Working on copy, press releases, online content, intranet content and so on.

In Summary

PR and social media closely adopt aspects of one another, but they can also differ in the specifics, the real knotty gritty stuff that make the people in each of these fields such experts. There are always words that social media could one day fizzle out, so keeping in touch with your other marketing and PR strategies is always a good idea, but keeping up-to-date with how social media is used and how your company can use it is also a must.

So what’s the difference between PR and social media management? In the grand scheme of things the two areas of expertise can work harmoniesly, hand-in-hand, being a pro in one or the other is a choice, but not a neccessity.

Tweet me your thoughts and opinions or any questions you may have on this post, I’d love to hear them! – @astrid_hall

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