Social Tools Aren’t All There is to Marketing and PR: How They Help

Listen to any marketing meeting at pretty much any mid-sized to large corporation and you’ll hear a conversation that circles the topics of “Should we have a Snapchat? What’s our Instagram strategy?” And so on. To me, it’s a bit terrifying. But there’s something worth considering, too.

What’s With all the Social Media Hype?

I’ve spent the last five or six years trying to scrape the “social media” label off the public’s understanding of what I do. The reason is simple: I think the tools that we call “social media” are useful, but they’re not everything. Meanwhile, most people preaching tools like Snapchat and Pinterest tend to talk about them as if they’re the Messiah and that if you take the right selfie at the right time, the money will roll in.

The promise of these social tools it that they are far more “interactive” and that you can “connect authentically” with people. Okay, that’s true. But in any decent marketing and PR plan, these tools must be looked at as the condiments, and not the entree.

Integrating Tools Like Snapchat and Facebook Live into Your Communications

The much better way to work through this process is to look holistically at your entire marketing and communications plan. Start simply with understanding what you’re trying to convey, who you’re hoping to encourage into the marketplace, and walk through how and where these tools can play a role.

Let’s say you’re a restaurant promoting your all day breakfast menu. On the one hand, you’ll want to buy advertising on radio, TV, movies, etc. The big mainstream stuff. Beyond that, you might get creative with some of the social tools.

You could pay for an influencer marketing campaign where five different categories of bloggers and podcasters experience the all-day breakfast from their point of view. Maybe there’s a mom blogger who promotes getting good meals at value prices. Maybe there’s a tech blogger talking about the new deals app and how to entice more people to grab a 5pm breakfast via the technology. One might use Snapchat stories to talk through her experience. The other might do a Facebook Live video stream of the process, start to finish, including using the app to pick up coupons, etc.

There are Some Reasons Why These Tools Are Useful

Never forget that there’s a reason people feel these social tools are worth it. It’s always either cheap or free to produce simple content. Lots of these tools are very trackable via digital analytics programs, giving far more granular reporting on whether or not an online effort is effective (try getting that from radio or billboard “analytics.”)

The other reason is that because you can work with people to create simple content via their own mobile devices or otherwise, it’s immediately more personal and thus more personable. It’s a chance to connect with “real” people as opposed to the paid talent who act their way through appreciating your products and services.

It’s in the Blending

Don’t throw out the mainstream marketing and communications avenues. Don’t dismiss the social tools. Blend them. And have a great team to help with the analysis of the impact and value these efforts deliver. That’s what will see you through to the success you’re hoping to have from these efforts.

Chris Brogan
CEO, Owner Media Group


Chris Brogan is a business advisor and CEO of Owner Media Group, as well as a professional speaker and New York Times bestselling author of 8 books and counting. Learn more about him at

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