We’ve long discussed social media’s role in PR, but for the first time, we polled the industry with the help of PR News to hear YOUR experiences. In doing so, we created the State of Social Media for PR Pros survey—designed to give a look into how PR and marketing pros view the social media landscape.
One of the top findings that jumped out is 88 percent of respondents said their businesses or clients regularly engage on Facebook—more than any other social media platform. While Twitter came in a close second at 85 percent, this statistic supports a Pew Research Center study that “despite recent growth by services such as Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook remains the dominant social networking platform.” What makes this interesting is that over the past year Facebook has fallen under some criticism from businesses that feel their posts on the site are not getting as many views due to algorithm changes. Yet criticism is not being reflected in usage as companies continue to use the platform.
Case in point, when it comes to paid promotions on social media, PR pros are sticking to the platform they use the most: Facebook. Thirty-six percent said they promote on Facebook more often than any other social network. However, over 56 percent of respondents said they do not use any form of paid promotions on social media, which shows there are still many brands out there that are yet to embrace the sponsored side of social media.
While social media is inarguably valuable to the public relations industry, it seems to come in second to traditional PR strategies, and perhaps for good reason. While many journalists have said they would like PR pros to contact them via social media, less than half of our survey respondents have successfully pitched a journalist or outlet via social. This tells us that while engaging on social is a great add-on for PR pros, traditional methods such as using a media database to target specific beats remains ever-important.
Furthermore, when asked which media sources they trust the most when reading an article, PR professionals say print publications and online articles from print publications come ahead of social media posts, online-only pubs, and blog posts. Why? One theory is that while blogs and online-only outlets have higher entertainment value, traditional print outlets such as The Washington Post or TIME are still held in higher esteem and seen as purer forms of earned media.
Lastly, how are PR pros measuring their social media success? Sixty-four percent of respondents said increased site traffic was the number one metric they use, which shows the importance of incorporating social media in order to bring in more clicks and exposure. Notably, sales leads and revenue had the lowest number of responses from those surveyed, while other non ROI-based metrics, such as increased engagement and increased followers on social media, rounded out the top three. These statistics tell us there is much more room to grow when it comes to social media and measurement. While feel-good numbers like Twitter followers may be nice, the bottom line for any company is conversions. Figuring out the connection between social media exposure and ROI is key.
View our infographic below for more study findings!