I’ll begin this article by casting my mind back to early 2010. As part of a second year University assignment (overseen by the observant Richard Bailey) we had to deliver a PR presentation to Gloucestershire Police. The brief instructed us to build a campaign to curb the amount of binge drinking locally over the festive season. The class was split into groups.
In my group we decided that in order to fulfil the client’s objectives we should arrange a number of publicity stunts and thought provoking materials which could be distributed to drinking establishments. We came second place. The winning team won because they were brilliant (all the group members are good friends of mine) but also because they mentioned FACEBOOK.
Why didn’t my team mention Facebook? It wasn’t relevant for our campaign. This invokes me to make an important point.
Facebook isn’t always necessary
On a number of occasions client work has resulted in a conversation concerning Facebook. Every PR campaign is different but most of the time I find myself asking:
- Will Facebook effectively raise awareness?
- Will Facebook effectively raise sales?
- Will Facebook cause any user conversions (outside of sales)?
In my experience Facebook’s effectiveness surrounding raising awareness is good but difficult to measure. One cannot consider ‘likes’ alone which makes ‘mentions’ the only worthwhile factor. In terms of conversions and sales I have found other websites which work much better in comparison to Facebook.
The most important factor isn’t so much the tactics which a campaign uses but instead…
What is your narrative?
PR is primarily concerned with finding a narrative, a story behind a product/service. This is in direct contrast with advertising (in all forms) which shamelessly shouts features and benefits in order to charm consumers to part with their money.
The number of organisations who are on Facebook shamelessly promoting themselves is staggering and this indicates a poor PR strategy. Your narrative has to be believable, cross channel and targeted towards specific publics.
If you are a client then consider what benefits using Facebook has for your product, service or organisation.
Man cannot live on social media alone
Stop using the term “social media”, it is limiting. Instead talk about Digital PR, talk about blogger engagement, talk about forum discussions – in fact stop talking and instead listen. If you are talking about Facebook then also discuss measurement methods.