Brands are constantly trying to put a happy face on their products and services. Appealing to the public in a pleasant fashion can boost any brand to the top, and this is why so much attention is paid to public relations and marketing. However, a savvy businessperson realizes that these two things are not the same. While PR and marketing—especially social media marketing—share much in common, you will find that they’re still quite different.
Social network advertising and public relations maneuvers to soften a brand’s image are sometimes indistinguishable to an outside party. As the business owner, it’s your job to recognize the differences so that you can properly approach each genre.
Explaining the PR and Marketing Separation
First up, let’s have a quick look at how each is defined.
Marketing: Promoting, selling or distributing a product/service. Moving goods through promotional methods such as circulars, ads, etc.
Public Relations: Bolstering a brand’s public image through goodwill measures; encouraging a positive response and public understanding.
As you can see, one strictly deals with promoting the goods and/or services offered by a company, whereas the other deals specifically with relaying a positive image to the public. Even in a short blurb describing both methods, you can easily see the difference. But once these measures are put into practice, the lines become blurred. So to ensure there’s no confusion, let’s take a closer look at what really separates PR from social media marketing.
The Cost of Doing Business
Marketing costs money to pull off correctly. Even if you have a thorough list of Facebook business tips to help you keep costs down, an effective marketing campaign is still going to be a costly venture in the long run. This is due to the fact that advertisements need to be specifically crafted to a narrow focus group.
With public relations, these costs are usually much lower or nonexistent. Pushing a positive brand image via press releases and positive posts on a site like Facebook costs you nothing at all, save the time it takes to create the material.
What You’re Really After
With social media marketing, you’re after value – the proverbial bang for your buck, your ROI. Marketing in any fashion is done with the explicit purpose of receiving repeat customers and making sales.
Public relations, on the other hand, deals strictly with image rather than with value. What you’re really after with PR is positive reception; and while it can be used as general marketing, it’s promoting nothing more than your image.
Level of Perception Control
With a marketing measure, you have a lot of control over what you’re releasing, to whom you’re marketing, and even how traffic will be driven to its ultimate destination. You have control over the pricing features and every other crucial aspect of the campaign.
Public relations doesn’t give you much control at all. After the positive material is released, it’s up to the public to perceive that image however they so choose. You cannot measure how effective this will be; there are no parameters to toy with which ensure success.
The idea here isn’t to choose between PR and social marketing. The idea is to understand the differences so that you can use both. Target your market effectively while simultaneously putting a positive spin on your brand.
Eric Taylor is a freelance writer from a facebook ad campaign tool - Qwaya, here he blogs, review and writes about happenings within the social media industry. Qwaya is a technology company focused on building high quality tools for social media marketing. The company aims to build a sophisticated tool, which will help social media marketers’ world wide.