Should PR or social media come first?

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Which is better, getting a headline in the newspaper or having a post that goes viral? In the age where news and social media are intermingling and competing for attention, you have to wonder if one is indeed better than the other.

For entrepreneurs, it’s important to have their businesses in the spotlight and create brand awareness. So, often they tend to lean towards starting their social media campaigns rather than working on their public relations(PR) strategies.

However, what should come first? Is it best to first launch a PR campaign or a social media campaign?

Consider PR as an investment:

It all really depends on what the business needs. If you’re building a brand and want to gain credibility, it’s best to go with a PR strategy. PR should be considered a long-term investment for the future.

Realistically, PR strategies should be developed as a soon as your organisation starts branding itself. The role of PR is to develop and deliver key messages to the public to boost your brand’s awareness and appeal. If you don’t control your key messages at the beginning, there’s a risk someone else will.

The rise of social media:

In the last decade, social media has become a major player in the world of communications. Not only does it offer new opportunities to connect and engage with target audiences, it’s instant feature allows organisations to be timely in their conversations with the public.

Now, all news outlets use social media to report breaking news and companies use it for crisis communication, product launches, upcoming events and to update and respondto their customers. It’s important for businesses to leverage social media, as it’s a vital tool for building brand awareness and creating a sense of community.

It’s all about balance:

PR and social media have individual roles but these influence and complement each other which is why it’s important to integrate both into your business plan. Successful PR leads to news stories, for example, which can be shared across social media channels, boosting a company’s credibility. Similarly, a poll might be used on social media which can then provide data for a media story. Consider how both tools can be used to leverage the way you communicate your brand’s story.

Social media has changed PR:

It’s hard to ignore how social media has changed PR. It offers an outlet to speak directly to audiencesand almost all companies now have a social presence. As a result, there is now a constant demand for engaging content, and for near immediate communication between companies and their customers.

Social media has also allowed organisations to appear more approachable and easier to communicate with, regardless what type of business they are. It’s a new outlet to promote key messages behind businesses.

So, it’s not really deciding if PR or social media is better – both play vital roles in expanding your company’s appeal and awareness, and both should be integrated to leverage communication with not only your target audience but potential customers as well.

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