Wednesday night, I co-hosted a book signing event with Brian Solis and Tara Hunt, author of the Whuffie Factor. We attracted over 70 people at our meetup and it was a great night. I met so many smart and interesting people. The conversations were dynamic and each one taught me something new. One conversation in particular stands out in my mind because it focuses on what I think may restrict some PR professionals from getting the most out of socialized media and PR 2.0.
The discussion began with a simple question: How does Social Media change PR? I immediately discussed how the approach to communication changes and how Social Media allows us to have conversations directly with consumers and other important stakeholders. It’s really the human conversations and connections that are so important (a one-to-one strategy rather than the broadcast messaging of the past). It was very interesting to hear the reaction from my new friend who said, “I can tell you are a PR person because you have very ‘thoughtful’ answers.” We discussed how social media and conversations are raw. The blogosphere is filled with passionate dialog and flows with information. I laughed and said, “Yes, I know, I’m working on my raw.”
The statement is so true! As PR professionals, we are trained to think, be concise and thoughtful and give the “appropriate” answer. Social media is the exact opposite. It can be very raw, which is representative of human nature and interaction. It’s a challenge to work in an industry for 20 + years and to one day realize that the approach you took for so long has completely changed, as a result of the social media landscape.
But, in order for PR professionals to stay in tune with the marketplace, help their brands to achieve growth and to be successful in their own industry, they have to embrace Social Media. It’s time to explore different approaches and get out of our comfort zones. Now, I completely understand that there is a happy medium between the “thoughtful” PR answers and the Social Media “raw” of today. We just need to find that balance and, then, Social Media will help us to truly connect and develop the kind of relationships with our influencers that we have touted for years.
Here are some photos from the book signing event. There was no shortage of laughter and/or great conversations:
I leave you with a couple of questions to ponder: Are you getting the most out of Social Media and are you working on your “raw?”