PR still doesn't get social media

Nearly 60% of PR agencies and departments that monitor social media spend no more than two hours a week doing so, despite its perceived importance.
These findings form part of a research project carried out by Daryl Willcox Publishing into the social media habits of the PR industry. The publication of the research coincides with the launch of a new whitepaper examining tools to monitor social media.
Of 376 PR departments and agencies surveyed, 85% said they monitored social media, including blogs and forums, for coverage and conversations.
Thirty one per cent of these said they dedicated an hour or less each week monitoring social media, while 26% spent between one and two hours. More than a third (36%) spent between three and six hours monitoring with 7% putting aside at least a day each week.
Ninety per cent of departments and agencies monitoring social media said they did so because it was an important element of their media monitoring.
Sixty eight per cent of respondents said they used free online tools and search engines to monitor, while 42% said they visited each social platform individually.
“The consensus now in the PR industry is that social media is of real importance and our survey findings support that,” said Daryl Willcox, chairman and founder of Daryl Willcox Publishing. “Our research also suggests there could be room for greater emphasis on monitoring social media despite the many online tools, free and paid-for, now available to help PR professionals pick up online conversation.”
The research also discovered reluctance among PR professionals to join in with online conversations. Almost half (49%) of departments and agencies only joined in when people were getting things factually wrong while 17% did not get involved at all.
Twenty six per cent of respondents said they did engage and declared their PR role while 8% hid who they were representing in online conversations.
Of the 15% which did not monitor social media, 51% cited a lack of resource, 29% said a lack of knowledge stopped them and 11% felt there was no value in it.

Well all of this is from a DWP press release. But bloody hell! It’s not that difficult to monitor social media 24/7 given all the tools available to PR professionals.
At GREEN, I would hope that we know exactly what is being said about our clients all the time and that we engage with those people who are talking about the brands that matter to us most. The point is with social media it’s not just about listening and monitoring. It’s about getting involved and sharing views – whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

1 comment:

Brendan Cooper said...

I totally agree. I truly believe that every organisation should be monitoring what people are saying about them online even if they don't want to take the next step to engage.

This includes the issues they're involved with, reactions to their comms campaigns, what people are saying about their competitors, even locking onto new business opportunities for them. It's an immensely valuable research opportunity that they're just passing up.

There really is no excuse for not doing it. There are seriously useful tools out there that take hardly any resource to set up, such as Netvibes, that can give a very good picture in a concise dashboard. Combine RSS with widgets, bookmarking and persistent search, and you're there.

And as for PR still not getting social media, well, I posted something very much along those lines only yesterday so yes, sadly, I have to agree on that point too. I wish I didn't. PR has had long enough to 'get it'. Most social media people I talk to 'get' PR. For this reason I do wonder whether in the future social media is going to be the umbrella discipline that consumes PR, and not the other way round.