Digital PR vs Social Media: A Tale of Two Marketing Paths

An active and skillfully executed social media campaign is an important part of online brand building, but it is not the only ingredient needed for success. Digital PR takes into account the whole convergent communications ecosystem, using the strengths of several different approaches to complement each other and create a unified, distinctive, and memorable voice for the brand.

As perhaps the most significant public-facing symbol of your business, a corporate social media profile should be the product of a sustained effort that offers a professional and well-rounded look at what you do. With much of the world on social media – and Thailand punching well above its weight in terms of internet and social media use – businesses are indeed correct to invest in this type of content.

Yet social media effectiveness is often measured by click-through rate, among other metrics. An over-emphasis on quality Facebook posts, to the detriment of a company’s own website, can be self-defeating. By bringing large crowds of visitors to a site that is infrequently updated or poorly thought out, businesses without a coherent Digital PR strategy may be painting themselves into a corner.

A Brand is More Than a Marketing Campaign

An effective brand-building strategy involves market and audience research, a style guide including clear tone of voice instructions, consistency of content and messaging, and promotion of thought leaders within the company. It means telling the right story to the right audience, placing that story on the media you own – including social media, but also on your own website and any apps you may have – and then extending this messaging effort to paid and earned media, both on and offline.

Social media is a very powerful weapon in your arsenal, but its effectiveness only increases when it is used in conjunction with other forms of messaging. Moreover, with a good storytelling-focused strategy, you don’t need to be limited to any one channel, and you’ll find yourself well positioned to use the most effective medium for each type of message you want to deliver.

Digital PR also lets businesses easily take advantage of whatever marketing platform innovation comes next, as it is grounded in strategy, has a strong over-arching vision as its foundation, and can adapt to whatever platform is needed in a given situation. The content from a well-written article can easily be adapted into a great podcast, explainer video, animation, infographic or keynote speech.

By presenting a coordinated, full-spectrum communications and marketing strategy that incorporates clear strategic goals, businesses can project an image of competence and professionalism that can establish themselves, even if only subliminally, as well-organized and reputable entities in the eyes of their target audience. By contrast, an excessively imbalanced or disjointed approach can have the opposite effect, disorienting the target audience or leaving them with an unsatisfying impression.

It is worth stressing that social media marketing is a tool in service of a strategy, not a strategy itself. Digital PR is all about stepping back and planning a comprehensive approach to marketing and brand building – of which social media excellence is an effective and important part. By using social media within a broader brand-building context, businesses can get maximum benefit from the digital marketing tools at their disposal, ultimately leading to greater audience satisfaction and a vastly improved reputation.


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