Wedding Traditional PR Channels to Social Platforms Nets More Effective Campaigns

Ryan Bowling

PR pros can be forgiven if they’re having a tough time convincing C-level managers about the value of social channels. Business decision-makers are still grappling with how to wrap some hard numbers around social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Communicators might have an easier time of it if they can demonstrate the interdependence between social platforms and traditional PR channels, according to Ryan Bowling, director of press office and digital communications at Mars Inc., who will be a featured speaker at PR News’ Media Relations Next Practices Conference.

Bowling shared a few tips on how communicators can make a better case for social media vis-à-vis media relations and media campaigns.

PR News: When it comes to measuring the impact of your social media campaigns, do PR execs need to move beyond “fans” and “likes” and start focusing more on outcomes?

Ryan Bowling: Absolutely, particularly also to think about what is the sentiment of the discussion behind your company/brand and how do you compare with your competitors. Though first, when it comes to measurement, it’s critical to establish your objective for using social media and what business challenge you’re trying to overcome—whether it be promoting a new campaign and/or fostering a community to answer consumer questions/issues as examples.

There is so much rich data from social media that can aid business challenges, which provides valuable insights into your community’s behavior and likes and dislikes; from understanding product quality/experience and how to better connect with your consumers/fans and more.

PR News: What are some of the most salient elements that PR execs need to include in order to “map” all the factors in a social media campaign?

Bowling: First is developing your strategy and identifying your key stakeholders you’re trying to reach. Second is understanding, listening and analyzing your stakeholders’ community; what do they find valuable, where do they interact most and what type of mutual experience will you bring to the community? Third is to select the most appropriate channels to connect with them (microblogs, social network, video-sharing site, etc.) authentically. Fourth is to select and train a community manager who will both monitor and proactively/reactively communicate with the community. Lastly, is to measure results, learn and continue to adapt.

PR News: In light of how fluid the social media marketplace is, what are some of the most effective ways to present social media metrics to the C-level?

Bowling: It’s important to ground your presentation in what greater business challenge the use of social media can support and show the interdependencies with other traditional communication vehicles and where they can help grow each other to achieve business results.

Ryan Bowling will discuss ROI Essentials: How to Measure The Impact of Your Media Campaigns at PR News’ Media Relations Next Practices  Conference, which takes place on Dec. 12 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Follow Ryan: @rjracer

Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1