Social media and online PR- specialist or not

In a post about Bell Pottinger’s launch of a new Search Relations service, Flipper has an interesting take on the spat between Rainier/Custard and Weber Shandwick. The spat started with a letter to PR Week from Custard’s Gareth Davies, in which he argued that Weber Shandwick’s launch of a dedicated social media team was unnecessary.

I deliberately didn’t comment on it at the time as rather embarrassingly Gareth also said “Apart from perhaps a handful of people in Silicon Valley and potentially Stuart Bruce’s new social media focused agency, there are not a lot of companies that can honestly say they know exactly what they are doing across all social media.”

The reason that I’ve picked up on it now is that Flipper draws the parallel between publishers hiring ‘specialists’ to work on online news, before they realised that it actually made more sense to integrate the two and get traditional teams to learn the new skills.

My belief is that for public relations it will be much the same. At the moment social media and online PR does require specialists, because so few PR people have the required skills. But it is such as a core, fundamental part of public relations that everyone needs to get on board.

The role of specialists is more in the application of the skills, so we will always need analyst relations, CSR, issues management, financial etc specialists, but they too will need social media and online PR as part of their core skill set.

XP: Wolfstar Pack Blog


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.