Who Owns Social Media?By Meghan McGarrigle

When I received a master’s degree in social media in 2010, it was a pretty unique degree to obtain.

Today, everyone is a social media expert (degree or not). Which begs the question, “who owns social in an organization?” Is it advertising agencies? Marketing departments? PR firms? SEO shops? 

To be effective, your social strategy should include insight from all of the above. But there should be only one “lead” to ensure the message is communicated seamlessly, and that job most naturally falls to public relations firms.

As PR professionals, we are brand storytellers. We’ve spent years perfecting the art of crafting client’s stories in a way that is compelling to target audiences. And, with the growth of social media, we have more vehicles than ever to share those stories.

As traditional media continues to shrink, PR firms have adapted, reworking our approach to help clients connect directly with target audiences, without the filter of the press.

Today social media platforms are the most powerful vehicle PR professionals have.

PR Owns Social Media

Here are just a few of the reasons your PR firm owns social.

  1. Social media is a megaphone for your brand’s voice. The most successful social media campaigns present content in one clear voice that represents your company’s brand. It takes an experienced professional to craft content that falls in line with your brand voice, while at the same time drawing interest, engagement, and audience targeting. Your PR firm is well versed in receiving many, sometimes varied company messages and crafting those into one thoughtful voice.   
  2. Crisis communications isn’t limited to the news room. Who do you call when a reporter gets a hold of a story that’s going to cause you grief? Your PR firm. Why should it be any different when you’re faced with keyboard warriors determined to drag your company’s reputation through the mud? PR professionals are trained to diffuse situations and we can step in to clear up any miscommunications, respond to concerns and shift the conversation quickly while keeping the brand’s voice on message.
  3. PR professionals know how to effectively develop relationships. The very definition of public relations is creating and maintaining relationships with a company’s target audiences, both online and off. A large part of social media is creating online relationships that lead to offline interactions. Just like “real life” interactions, the key is to create a social media persona that doesn’t inundate your community with sales messages, yet subtly shares the benefits of your product or services.
  4. Media relations and digital strategies go hand-in-hand. Social media plays a large role in securing media opportunities. Today many media outlets want to see client’s social media accounts knowing that large networks benefit all parties. As we all know, link clicks = ad revenue for publications. On the flipside of that, when your PR team has ownership of your social media accounts they can create a campaign that creates an echo effect for all of your media placements, driving additional traffic to the publication’s website and social media assets, and increasing the chances for future coverage.

In many ways, social media is simply the evolution of traditional public relations into the online world. And there is none better to help your company relate to the public than your PR firm. 

image credit: Shutterstock

Meghan McGarrigle

Meghan McGarrigle is an account director of digital strategies with Maven Communications where she oversees the digital team and leads many strategic planning and media relations initiatives. Specializing in social media and content marketing, Meghan works closely with clients to develop and implement their digital strategy. Meghan works with B2B and B2C clients in a variety of industries, including real estate, technology and nonprofit.

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