I’m not a public relations professional, but lots of PR people read this blog for ideas on how social software and social networks are changing the business. I want to offer some thoughts for 2011: small bites but a larger meal. Let’s get into it.
Platform Fatigue is Upon Us
We don’t want to update our status on FB/Twitter/Foursquare/LinkedIn/ThirdTribe/OWN/etc. We want to connect on maybe two or three networks tops. One or two of these will remain the “commons” services like Facebook or Twitter. The rest of people’s interactions are going to fall into smaller communities, often private or self-selected in some way.
As a PR professional, your role is to help get attention, to get the story out there, to get people interested via your efforts. The small bites approach to this will be to reach them at the commons, and/or to possibly create some of these self-selected communities. The difference, however, is that it won’t be okay to create the “AXE Shampoo community.” Even though I use their shampoo, I don’t want to talk about washing my hair.
Instead, smarter PR companies will create communities that fit the demographic of people who buy AXE (I guess men 18-45 or similar), and will create an opportunity for AXE to participate that’s potentially interchangeable with some other properties over time. The PR company will maintain the space. It’s theirs. And thus, a community who is drawn together becomes a valuable asset for the PR organization.
The number will never be a fraction of the population of Facebook or Twitter. Small bites.
Content Does, Indeed, Rule
We stick around for interesting stuff. C.C. Chapman and Ann Handley released Content Rules (affiliate link), your guide to creating decent content. Pick up a copy and brush up on what has to happen with your group. PR has moved into a role that used to be squarely in marketing’s court: content creation. PR used to be responsible for getting out the story, for making events happen, that kind of thing. But with the way the Internet works today, content is the coin of the realm. I disagree with the old “content is king” adage. Instead, you’re looking for more coin. In this case: coins=attention. And content gets the attention that you need to build your relationships with your client’s would-be buyers. (Oh, and if you think public relations isn’t now part of the sales process, it’s not so directly, but the PR agency or department that helps drive sales into the business are the ones who flourish in 2011.) Give them interesting small bites of content.
Sexy Data and Technical Abilities Are Par
If you’re just a pretty face who helps people get their free gift bag, it’s time to level up. 2011 is about looking at all the wealth of data the social web brings you about your clients’ activities, and it’s about giving them informed decisions on what to do next. Technical skills beyond learning how to put up a blog post are a must. You need to understand Google Analytics. You need to understand the basics of how APIs work, at least enough so that you can instruct developers better in how to build data mashup tools to help your clients. Yes, it’s no longer about having a nice booth presence in 2011. Learn in small bites and you’ll get there.
The Shifts Are Already Upon Us
People explored some social media in 2010. They had a “okay, we’re in. Now what?” attitude. They are over that. Now they’re into “what have you done for me lately?” Take some small bites, put together a bigger meal for your clients, and you’ll see the rewards.
Other quick bites: mobile (get onto tablets, if that makes sense for your buyer), saying no (if they don’t need a facebook community, explain that and get off of it), and education (teach them how to fish: clients want to run the show now).
What’s your take?