Byfield hugely enjoyed attending the Gorkana event yesterday entitled ‘Collision Course: advertising, digital and PR new world order’ in the august surroundings of the British Museum.
A distinguished panel of digital PR experts discussed the challenges – and opportunities – that digital media continues to pose to PRs.
The speakers were:
- Stephen Waddington, Ketchum
- Paul Fabretti, Telefónica
- Sarah McGhie, Domino’s Pizza Group
- Neil Kleiner, GolinHarris
- Farhad Koodoruth, Threepipe
The discussion was always going be a lively one and sure enough it was a fascinating exchange of views on the ‘collision’ of advertising, PR and digital. Here are just some of the points that were made.
- Increasingly social and digital PR has a role beyond marketing for businesses. It’s about content sharing and community building and in the age of Google, Twitter and LinkedIn (and, for the more consumer oriented PR agencies, Facebook), PR is emerging as an essential contribution to the mix.
- Social media will soon become so integrated into business that we can’t afford for it to be a specialised thing. It’s likely that in the next couple of years the PR industry will turn against the ‘silo-ing’ of social versus traditional PR.
- Above all clients need problem solvers who can help them navigate the waters of the new PR.
- For clients, ‘paid-for’ digital media can provide measurable KPIs, which is still difficult with ‘organic’ social PR.
- It is however really important to strike a balance between paid for, and automated social media, and more humanised interaction.
- At the moment it’s hard to measure ‘organic’ versus ‘paid-for’ digital media (whether Google, Twitter, Facebook or other). This might be the biggest challenge of the next few months.
- More generally, it is very hard to measure the ‘success’ of social media, in the same way that the value of networking is hard to quantify.
- However, there are tools we can use and a lot of businesses, and agencies are still learning how to maximise their value.
An important point for PRs working with law firms to remember is that developing a social media community is not necessarily going to lead to an increase in sales tomorrow. However, that community will grow as your business does, and could well be the future of your business.
Our report The Law Says Tweet (2013), based on a survey of the top 200 law firms, shows that integrating PR into the wider communications strategy is the next big challenge for law firms. We see social and digital media as an extension of the media relations skills that are so important in the PR mix.
For those working in legal PR, this means having the same level of awareness as to what’s being said about clients and the sector within the social media space, that they would have in regards to traditional media. In fact, without this knowledge, legal PRs cannot be properly managing the reputation of their clients.