Social media effect: people laughing and pointing at laptop screen

Well, if you’re working in advertising, the answer may be quite different than if you’re working in PR. According to a joint study by the Worldcom Public Relations Group and the Transworld Advertising Agency Network, public relations is taking the lead in social media, even according to ad execs themselves!

When evaluating work in the social media arena, 20% of PR respondents said their profession was “innovative” and 64% said the profession was “keeping pace.” By contrast, only 12% of advertising pros said their profession was “innovative” and 40% said it was “keeping pace.” And, while an astonishing 40% of advertisers said that their own industry is “falling behind” on the social media scene, 67% of advertising respondents praised PR professionals as either “innovative” or “keeping pace” with social media.

All in all, this shouldn’t be too surprising. Even though PR respondents gave advertisers a 68% positive rating as either “innovative” or “keeping pace,” social media really supports the core of public relations itself, so is a natural fit for innovation in this industry. Since PR is all about conversations and engaging with people, social media is a natural fit, fueling the PR fire.

That being said, I think the greatest social media content and campaigns could be created if public relations and advertising work together. This would help maximize each’s creativity through social channels and truly generate some worthwhile conversations. After all, two brains are better than one!

What’s most important though is being willing to take a chance. Social media is a new endeavor for most (PR and advertising professionals included!), and having the guts to push the envelope and try something new is the only way to get noticed amidst the noise. So, while the conversation and content side of social media may be a more direct fit for the public relations industry, the greatest results may have yet to be seen.


This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.