Are we in a battle? You bet. And PR must win.

A recent KPMG survey found that fewer than 30% of ad agencies have a plan in place to leverage social media for their clients....

A recent KPMG survey found that fewer than 30% of ad agencies have a plan in place to leverage social media for their clients. This gap represents a critical competitive advantage that PR firms can’t afford to cede to ad agencies or digital marketers—especially not when we have the stronger claim and the more relevant skill sets.

Social media is all about two-way conversations, not marketing. Conversations—sharing information, developing relationships, and influencing actions—is our mission as PR professionals. For example, one of our clients had been using an ad agency to write its online content. The copy was promotional—fine for advertising, but totally inappropriate for the social media. “Your constituencies have the power of life and death over your company,” we told the client. “You should be talking to them, not at them. It’s not about marketing. It’s about cultivating a dialogue—the province of PR.” The upshot? The client moved the assignment from its advertising agency to us.

Social media management is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing sectors for PR. Sometimes we sell it separately; sometimes we embed it in a larger program. But there really are no barriers between traditional PR and the social media. We must view them as one seamless communications platform—and convince our clients—or risk losing the war.

Ken Makovsky, CEO, Makovsky & Company

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