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Will PR ‘Own’ Social Media in 2013?

Pope Benedict sends his first tweetWho should be in charge of social media campaigns: marketing or PR? Where should that line lie–and why? We found ourselves fascinated by a couple of year-end PR Daily posts exploring these questions.

The first post predicted that, as more businesses begin to understand the risks and rewards of social media campaigns and the importance of maintaining a direct dialogue with the public, they will specifically request PR firms and departments to manage related accounts–and that PR pros will “emerge as trendsetters” in the social space.

Today’s follow-up post elaborates on that point as firm founder Summer Goodwin explains why she believes that PR will be the go-to discipline for future social media efforts. Her arguments, in a nutshell (or five):

  • It’s all about the content: We specialize in narrating with words, and even the best infographic can’t beat a well-told story.
  • We know how to edit our own work and avoid the embarrassment of errors or typos in social media posts.
  • Our natural affinity for pop culture keeps our content relevant and helps us tailor messages to very different audiences.
  • We specialize in managing crises—and the fast-paced, often unforgiving nature of social media makes this skill more valuable than ever.
  • We know feedback. PR is the art of managing public perceptions, so we’re often paid to figure out what works and use data and public input to design a better mousetrap the second (or third, or fourteenth) time around.

As much as we enjoyed reading this post and the complimentary points within it, we wonder: Are most PR pros currently equipped to handle social media duties on their own? Does the distance between PR and customer service, for example, require a new training regimen before clients trust PR to “own” social media?

We have a feeling there’s no real solution to the PR vs. marketing “conflict” and that we would all be better served by working together to make the most of our unique skills instead of trying to lay claim to one discipline or another. But what do we know?

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