Pros & Cons of Applying Social Media to Traditional PR Campaigns

January 21st, 2010   •   6 comments   

  In my last blog post, I emphasized what a PR firm should be doing for its clients.  I got some great comments that led me to think about some tangible examples of the pros and cons of applying social media strategies to traditional PR and marketing campaigns.  As I will continue to “preach,” I believe that social media DOES NOT REPLACE traditional PR and marketing, but IT IS A WAY TO LEVERAGE what already works.  So here are–from the trenches–some SPECIFIC pro and con examples of applying social media strategies in a traditional business environment:



* PRO: Twitter gives us a great way to leverage PR.  When we help clients generate news in the traditional news publications–both print and online–we will use Twitter to post links to those stories and give our clients a “shout out.”  And, in compliance with FTC rules, we now always add the word “Client” when posting on Twitter to disclose that they are paying us to promote them.

* CON: It takes time to post all client news, especially when you have multiple clients in the news with the frequency that we do.  It’s worth the extra time and effort and adds extra value on top of what’s already successful.



* PRO: Posting traditional news through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. increases SEO for clients, and there is nothing wrong with that! No cons for this one!!



* PRO: We are using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to promote events for our clients.  A few weeks ago a client had an event, and we were able to cut back on costs related to traditional means of promoting by eliminating the production of post cards and instead using e-mail and social media to promote the event. The client saves money and promotes events electronically. 

* CON: A total departure from traditional can mean missed opportunities.  I think the optimal results are obtained from using social media and also spending a bit more to produce a post card and mail it to certain segments of the target audience. Not everybody is using social media and total reliance on it could result in missing key people.



* PRO: We are building strong relationships through social networks online.  The people I have met through Twitter have resulted in REAL LIFE opportunities. Twitter for business is about relationships.  Those relationships lead to engagement, which leads to revenue realized.  Our firm has two new clients due to my involvement on Twitter.  I am going to Hershey, PA to attend a dinner with my Twitter friend @AnneDGallaher where the CEO of Ford, Alan Mulally, will be speaking.  I have had the great pleasure of getting to know @TrendTracker (Glen Gilmore) who has become a valuable consultant on social media issues for clients.  He will be in Memphis next month helping me facilitate a client meeting bringing meaningful information and strategy to our client discussion.  I have a client meeting in Knoxville, TN next month, and–thanks to Twitter–I will be meeting @markwschaefer in real life. He has offered to assist me with key contacts in Knoxville, which will benefit my clients.  His {GROW} blog is one of the best, and I always read it.

* CON:  If I have a CON here, it’s this: Don’t get so focused online that you miss seeing people face to face.  Networking and talking in person in your own business community is how relationships are formed, and social networking online cannot replace that.



* PRO: Content available now online is massive! I did a post last year on “Twitter is like having your own “Chief Information Officer,” and it truly is!  The key is finding an organized way to keep up with the information so you can find it when you need it.  There is probably not a CON to this point, but a challenge would be to prioritize what’s important and not be intimidated by the sheer volume of information available.


* PRO: Publishing ability increases online.  Once again,–mainly through Twitter–I have had the opportunity to publish my blogs on other people’s blogs.  Thanks to Twitter friends like @B2Bbloggers, @TheSocialCMO, @SocialNetDaily, I have had my work posted to their blogs which is good for a number of reasons including the personal satisfaction of knowing what I have to say matters to some.  It also helps with my SEO and my “digital footprint” in growth, which means a small shop like mine has equal opportunity to broadcast information.  You don’t have to be big to get heard. You just have to be STRATEGIC and know your stuff. 

* CON: Blogging is time consuming. So, you have to be proficient at time management.  I usually blog on weekends or nights and try to use my waking hours for client production, which is also why you’ll see me on Twitter usually early a.m. and night.  My days are full of meetings and work!! Another CON: If you don’t know what you are doing, you will get corrected!  Paul Gillin wrote in his book (I did a blog review) that you can’t have thin skin if you plan on blogging.  If you put yourself “out there,” prepare for feedback!  You can never please everyone. So, you just have to know that going into it. 



These are just a few examples of the pros and cons of blending social media with traditional strategies.  Thanks for reading and comments are always appreciated as they lead to new ideas!


  1. Great subject! I agree with Amy’s points about the advantages of applying social media strategies to traditional PR and marketing campaigns. Indeed, in my view, there is a unique opportunity to leverage what already works. ROI, notwithstanding, there are many positive reasons in support of leveraging the worlds of traditional and social media. Blending both overtime can lead to a perspective that says: may the most efficient and effective vehicle win. Companies that choose not to pursue social media will never see the advantages (doomed to stagnate in the traditional business as usual rut). A basic principle of marketing is the importance of understanding your customer’s needs and their media consumption habits. Since social media is not about interrupting your audience to get their attention, B2B brands need to speak to customers when and where it is most convenient for them to listen.

  2. Bob Budlong (@bbudlong) says:

    I wish all SM practitioners shared your appreciation of traditional marketing and public relations program elements. Sometimes we dinosaurs got things right. We work with a client where the CEO writes out notes longhand and hands them to a secretary who types an email for him. An extreme example – certainly. This is difficult for 20-somethings to understand, but there are still a lot of people who are important to our companies and our clients who use their cell phones for nothing but phone conversations. If we are to efficiently serve our clients, we need to invest the time to investigate all possible ways to connect to stakeholders.

    They pay us good money and deserve open minds and truly integrated programs in exchange.

  3. Diane Meyer says:

    I, too, find it an incredible opportunity to connect with some of the best in the nation. A bonus is when we can actually meet IRL. I will do just that on February 5th at The Second Mile event in Hershey, PA where Alan Mulally, CEO, Ford Motor Company will be speaking. I will meet up with @Howell Marketing, @trendtracker, @ProfS, @AnneDGallaher and others. There are no cons to that for sure. Have had the pleasure of great conversations with @CragerInc (Jamie Crager) and @MarkWSchaefer among others. These relationships have either been valuable for my own personal development or strethening my value to my clients. If I am encouraging my clients to develop their marketing plans to include SM, I must lead by example. My goal is to lead them to a more successful year than before and before that because I want them to view me as I were an employee invested in the success of their company. If I perform as a leader with tangible results then I have achieved "retention" of my client….#1 goal!!

  4. Jaques says:

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  5. Amy Howell says:

    Thanks for all the comments!

  6. PRITUERCE says: is the most effective blog site. . Cheers Glenn Prolonoff!

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