I am a PR guy, who uses Social Media as a tool to make people aware of what my client deals in – product or service. Having said that, I use Social Media extensively to get an up to date handle of what is new and what is not in the industry. I also use Social Media to listen to the consumer and capture feedback about the product / service my client deals in. Its a powerful news / networking tool. It is NOT a marketing tool. Social Media Marketing is a heading that is misleading.
I understand what the difference between PR and Social Media.
Having interacted with a LOT of people in the Social Media space and the PR space, I have to say that a LOT of PR people in the Social Media space just don’t get what Social Media is all about. They interpret Social Media as yet another news channel for their Press Release. They interpret Social Media as another cog in their machine to spread their word. Sad, but true.
Social Media is more than just a marketing angle. While there are tools ont he internet that offer this as an option, the basics of twitter/facebook/youtube and so on are purely created to share “information”, gather “feedback”. The reason i have ‘ ” ” ‘ those 2 words is because those are wrongly associated with news and testimonials.
One day, these PR folk will understand the power of Social Media, but by then it will be too late since their reputation will already be made and their impression – already set.
So to answer your question – yes Social Media is being lost to PR since most PR Agencies fail to see the difference between conversation and marketing online. It is being lost to them since they just take on the responsibility of managing the online presence of the company without understanding the repercussions or the method/reasoning behind it.
Social Media is a tool that has a lot of power. Understand the objectives well in advance before jumping on board and learning to swim with the sharks!