Public Relations is a relatively new field in the history of business. Although marketing has been around since the first wheel salesman started peddling the new-fangled round thing, the more specialized public relations field is only about 100 years old. The two have been intertwined for a long time, but now it seems as though they have become one for the most part. In the social media age, every business plays a part in PR.
For whatever definition you want to apply to marketing and public relations in the past, today they break down to essentially this: PR is developing a good hook for your story that will grab attention, marketing is distributing it through channels, social media and otherwise. PR takes over again as a form of customer service, monitoring and responding to comments and questions around the web.
A Good Reputation can't be Bought, but it can be Managed
It's easy to see in this simplified example that the roles of PR and marketing are almost inseparable in today's business climate, and that they are at least partially the responsibility of each company and their social media manager. The best example might be with review sites.
We've talked about how important review sites and reputation management are before. This article serves to clear up any ambiguity about the roles and purposes of marketing, PR, customer service, and social media management. The truth is that they are all very much interrelated, and online they can all be handled by the same person or team.
Review sites can be the ultimate challenge for a good PR or customer service person. These sites added a new dimension to reputation management which puts customers and even paid bystanders in charge of your company's promotional efforts, for better or worse. Individuals can hurt your business by a negative post on a review site, and it's up to you to handle these in a professional and timely manner to avoid any brand damage.
That's a Lot of Lost Sales
As far back as 2011, 80% of shoppers said that they had changed their minds about a purchase based on negative reviews they saw online. 80% is a pretty massive number, and certainly one that can't be ignored. This was two years ago, and those numbers have surely gone up as more people use these review sites today. This is one area where you have to put on your PR hat and do damage control before it gets out of hand.
The bad news is that companies are still moving too slowly in this new task. Many are standing by to see what will happen, not realizing that the "test phase" of this social media experiment has been long over and that they are being left further behind every day.
The good news is that there are tools available to you which make this task much easier than it might be otherwise. Sendible's monitoring feature will make sure that you are aware of every mention of your company's name online, and gives you a centralized location for responding to mentions and quelling potential uprisings from consumers.
If you haven't already, it's time to re-evaluate the roles of marketing, sales, customer service, and public relations in your company. Adjust your company to the new business world, before your customers adjust their business elsewhere.