Choose to Lead in Social Media

Bonin Bough wants to scare you.

In a Q&A on PR News Online, the global head of digital for PepsiCo makes it clear the window of opportunity for PR pros to stake their claim as social media leaders is narrow, and closing fast.

“The core skills of communicators—storytelling, authentic communications and the art of persuasion—are critically important,” says Bough, who is keynoting PR News’ Aug. 9 Facebook Conference in San Francisco. “At the same time, I often feel communications agencies and teams confine themselves to a specific segment within social…PR agencies are not adapting quickly enough, they are not thinking broadly enough, they do not understand the stakes. If communicators don’t seize the moment, the fastest growing piece of communications’ budgets is going to slip out of reach.”

It’s up to PR pros to smash the notion of the “social media guru” and demystify the use of social networking for their organizations and clients. Trepidation about measuring ROI should be cast aside as they forcibly make the case that it’s about communications first, and the platform second.

So while PR pros should be spending time now learning about emerging platforms like Google+ so, for instance, they can take the lead when brands are able to launch fully on that network, they need to act as if it’s simply dangerous to let other internal corporate functions or digital agencies take over the task of engaging with stakeholders. In fact, for the sake of one’s career, it’s dangerous not to act that way.

—Steve Goldstein

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