4 Reasons Why PR Agencies Are Taking Over Social Media

with 69 Comments

PR agencies will inevitably own the social media space for big brands. They simply have the right skill set and the right billing model. They have the ability to buy the social media talent needed. And they have something that other social media agencies do not – bigger, more time tested resources for relationship building and research.

1. PR Does Story Telling

At the most basic of levels, writing and story telling is the heart of public relations. It is important to be able to spin an angle, develop a company’s story in a news worthy format, or simply compose a narrative through press releases and conversations.

2. PR Does Relationship Building

Maintaining connections with journalists is old PR (and still important). Today companies need to maintain relationships with influencers. This is a larger scale. These influencers are more numerous and more varied than their journalist counterparts. There are A, B, and C list bloggers, Twitterati, Youtube Stars and the list goes on. Other marketing segments have a lot to learn in this arena.

3. PR Does Crisis Management

The publicity game works both ways, for better or worse. They are out there to push the good, but even more importantly sometimes is having a team to react quickly when bad press hits. This is even more important within social media, where the bad can spread at a blistering pace. No other segment of the marketing community is built well to deal with this exact situation.

4. PR Has the Right Billing Model

All marketing companies share an hourly billing model, but PR bills for ongoing work, not an end product. PR agencies are prepared for a constant effort to get earned media to the right audience, to book event publicity, to leverage partnerships, to cultivate longer term relationships with stakeholders and media.

What PR agencies do you think are leading the way in taking over social media for big brands?

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69 Responses

  1. Rob Berman

    The reasons articulated make sense but only if the PR firms can be fast followers to those in the vanguard of Social Media. They need to learn and then assume the leadership positions you espouse. Can the old dogs learn new tricks? We will see…


  2. lisamercer

    brpr group in Miami is doing fantastic work for Univision. Also Edleman Digital seems to have it right…but then they always do…..

  3. […] his 4 reasons PR agencies are taking over social media, I’d like to list 4 reasons PR agencies are failing in social […]

  4. Jon Burg's Future Visions

    10 reasons why nearly everyone struggles with social (brands, pr, media, creative, niche etc.)…

    Social cannot be bought, but it isn’t free. Social is not about your staff or your agency, but both are very much needed. Social is about the collective, not just the loudest voices. Social isn’t an island. Few have the……

  5. David

    “Nerds are rarely good communicators”

    If you'll pardon the cliche having a good grasp of a whole bunch of tech tools does not make a social media expert.

    I really think that the term “Social Media Expert” is redundant. If you look at the sea of youngsters who are savvy self promoters creating the most successful viral content you will see that social media success falls back to the time old Hollywood syndrome, which is far beyond what most so called experts are capable. I would more likely be asking this capable group to come up with my social media strategy than a tech user who has been using the “tools” for many years, as most in the industry indeed have and you rarely see these types as social media glitterati.

    As a current student in the Masters in Media Psychology these comments are not mere rhetoric, but after thoroughly reviewing the scientific data and communication paradigms, I've come back to square one, its all about popularity and if I need a lesson in that, I'll ask the popular kids.

  6. […] relations is entitled to be the ring leader for social media activities, as Jason Falls, Jason Keath and other social media pundits have observed. It’s already happening—because public relations […]

  7. […] Four Reasons Why PR Agencies Are Taking Over Social Media versus 4 Reasons Why PR Agencies Are Failing in Social Media. My previous two jobs were at agencies and I agree with points in both these blog posts. Both posts have merit and are worth a read. […]

  8. […] an epic battle for which flavor of agency will “own” social media in the future (Jason Keath’s post is a great example in favor of PR; to which Valeria Maltoni has a well argued counterpoint. The […]

  9. Palabra PR

    I just started my own public relations company, and I made a point to include social media management as half of what I do. Perhaps social media management is something to be left for the newer firms to handle..some well-established PR firms are too set in their ways to take on the responsibility of social media. All in all, I completely agree that public relations is the responsibility of the PR professional. (http://www.palabrapr.com)

  10. Ryan @ SmartBug Media

    Great post. I think there are some PR firms that get, but there are many that do not, and have struggled to keep up. I smiled when you read your title, because we recently published an article entitled “3 Reasons Traditional PR Agencies Are Becoming Hard to Justify”. Should spur some interesting debate.


  11. […] PR is taking over social media–get ready for the big brands. […]

  12. Five Friday Links | Devries PR

    […] PR is taking over social media A great look at why it is important to have PR in charge of brands social media. The conversation happening in the comments section gives a lot of insight into the role PR agencies are playing in social media. They are discussing the overall strengths and weaknesses Cassie Boorn […]

  13. […] Experts say that this should unequivocally be one person and one person only: your public relations professional. For one of the clearest, cut-to-the-chase explanations, read social media expert Jason Keath’s blog post, “4 Reasons Why PR Agencies Are Taking Over Social Media.” […]

  14. Laurie Pehar Borsh

    Jason, I just had to post this back up on Twitter this week (got a good handful of RTs too)… so tired of all the so-called “gurus” trying to take over the role veteran media/pr people play. Social media belongs to and MUST be handled by PR -sorry just does.

  15. jakrose

    Thanks Laurie. Took me a little while to come to that conclusion but I agree. Thanks for sharing. rnrnrnJason [http://socialfresh.com]

  16. Taggio

    I’m not sure I agree with this. My company did the exact opposite by creating new roles within the company and now have social media specialists in each country monitoring and engaging the social networks. It works so much better now in terms of working with marketing, internal staff and external contributors. (Not to mention the networks are being monitored 24-7 with the different time zones) nnAs long as that company is making an effort to ‘get it’ and put themselves out there by meeting their community offline as well, it can be quite successful.nnPR might work for some smaller businesses- but for the larger brands I really feel the opposite is happening going forward. They have the resources internally to build their own Facebook apps etc.

  17. Laura Grant

    Thanks for the awesome article. I really like reading it!Excellent post, thanks a lot for sharing.

  18. […] PR is taking over social media–get ready for the big brands. […]

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