Social Media Now a Must For Public Relations Employees

Social Media at Work

I rarely say “I told you so,” but in this case I just have to say it.

The importance of social media for successful marketing has been one of my soapbox issues for a while now. Finally, a new marketing study confirms exactly what I’ve been saying about social media all along: if you want to conduct a successful public relations and advertising campaign, then you had better understand and use online social media.

Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and others, are here to stay and PR and marketing firms need to recognize that fact. (And even when these particular tools decline in popularity, there will be new online tools to take their places.)

It seems that PR professionals are starting to get an inkling of the promise that social media shows for successfully promoting products and building brands.

According to a study from iPressroom as outlined at Marketing Vox, hiring managers at PR firms are now making social media savvy a must for new hires. Blogging, RSS, podcasting, and Twitter knowledge top the list of desired skills for new PR employees.

The fact that PR firms are now making social media savvy part of the required “PR toolkit” for new hires is great news and very important if PR agencies want to maintain their effectiveness, but does it guarantee PR success?

I’d say “no.” The key lesson here is not just that PR agencies should adopt social media techniques (although they should), but that effective online tools and PR methods are changing rapidlyalmost too quickly for agencies to keep up with.

If they don’t watch out, PR agencies could tie themselves to yesterday’s popular online tools just as, in the recent past, PR agencies have relied too much on traditional media. The effects of such a mistake would be just as devastating for PR agencies (and for their clients).

Are you a PR or advertising agency? If so, share your criteria for new hires here.

What traditional media knowledge would you expect a new PR to know?

What online media would you expect a new PR to be familiar with?

Share your answers here, in the comments.


  1. says

    Great observation Tim!

    However, those companies who use interns to handle their social media PR are demonstrating that they don’t really understand the importance of social media.

    It’s kind of like handing your biggest account to the inexperienced new guy. . . (That’s not to say that interns don’t come up with some great ideas.)

  2. Tim Otis says

    Hi Laura,
    Social media: It’s either being required for new hires or being concocted with the help of unpaid interns. I keep hearing corporations say ‘we’ll just throw it to the interns’ but there is a lot of complexity with social networks. It’s not as black and white as many claim it is, especially creating leveraging strategies for specific platforms. That takes experience. I won’t go into further detail as this is not what your post is about, but I will say that you are spot on with this being a ‘qualification’ more than a ‘preferred’.

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