Shel Israel, one of the co-authors of Naked Conversations, has been invited by Joeseph Thornley, CEO of Thornley Fallis,to run a series of talks for PR and marketing executives in Ottawa and Toronto at the end of this month.
To prepare for this, he interviewed four PR professionals. He said, “I'm asking a few of the PR practitioners I think have done a superior job of integrating social media with PR.”
I was fortunate to be one of those interviewed, which ratchets up the pressure (ha-ha), but more seriously, I think that each of the people interviewed had some interesting perspectives on how social media dovetails with the more traditional practice of public relations.
Shel also is doing the interviews because as he says, “I am working this issue in part, because in Naked Conversations, our chapter on PR depicted the profession in a change or die situation, which was perhaps just a bit harsh.”
- Part 1: David Parmet, was the first interviewed and gave the following advice to agencies and public relations practitioners, “I would also make sure that social media is integrated into every plan – and not viewed as a separate practice.”
- Part 2: Brian Oberkirch, who was the second interviewed, said, “Just as traditional advertising packs less wallop, it makes sense that mass media relations will start to be less central. At the same time, I expect the PR function to increase in importance as analysis, interpretation and timely response to the market will be more needed. I think PR people have a golden opportunity to take a more central role if they don't cling to old-fashioned publicity/gate keeping/messaging models.”
- Part 3: Kami Huyse. I was the third interviewed and sais that I see the role of the PR practitioner as a facilitator, making sure that access is granted to those who need it and that the public gets what it wants from the organization. My vision is that public relations will live up to its definition as a two-way exchange of information between a company and its stakeholders. I believe social media helps make this possible.
- Part 4: Shel Holtz (the other Shel) was the last interviewed and replied with the following when asked if social media is something entirely different or something to be incorporated into the traditional corporate marketing mix, “Both. It should be integrated into the mix, because new media do not kill old media. However, the rules for using social media are entirely different, and companies really do not have a choice but to figure out and embrace social media. That means learning to function and communicate in an entirely altered communication environment.”
What do you think? Is social media something that is entirely different than the current practice of PR, PR 2.0 if you will, or is it something that we can use to practice public relations more effectively?