PR Firm Offering Social Media Expertise? Buyer Beware.

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Public Relations is an entire industry built on spinning straw into gold, or burnishing the turds some say. So it’s little wonder that virtually every PR firm on the planet nowadays offers their clients “social media services.” Yet how many of ’em have half a clue as to what “social media” is all about if they are not even using social media tools themselves? From Silicon Valley Watcher:

One way to check out if a PR firm understands blogging, etc, is to see if they have a blog of their own. Many don’t, or if they do, they post very infrequently, and usually after meetings abut what they will blog about. Yet nearly every PR firm offers a new/social media practice to clients and claims that they understand this medium. This is BS imho.

To separate those that say they know all about blogging, but don’t do it, I’m going to take a regular look at PR firms and their blogs or lack of them. Also, I’ll be looking to see who blogs in those firms, are they junior or senior?

Full blog post, and interesting comments, here. And here’s a bullshit detector you can easily apply if you’re thinking of using PR services: a PR firm hawking social media services should have been, at the very least, blogging for at least two years before they even can begin to THINK about taking someone’s money for “social media services.” And make sure they’re Twittering like their profession depends on it too. At the very least. The least.

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4 responses »

  1. While I agree that the ubiquitous claims of new or social media expertise on the part of PR firms is generally suspect, I’m not sure if an active blog or Twitter account really works as a fair litmus test. The value of something like twitter is pretty debatable and while any PR/marketing firm worth its salt should have spent some time with these programs, I’m not sure I want to be paying a retainer for some account rep to twitter about their day.

    As for blogging- many firms keep blogs for their clients, but not for themselves. Obviously, ghost-writing blogs is a debatable practice but just to say, the amount of time a PR firm invests in their own blog is not always indicative of their level of blogging experience.

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  2. You just proved my point, Mixed! Obviously you know nothing about how Twitter is being used now. Nor what a powerful tool it has become. How people have used it to market products, break news about earthquakes in China, and even get themselves out of dubious foreign jails.

    You’d have had much more credibility had you posted something about how much value is there really though in a tool that can be maddeningly unreliable.

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  3. Great post!

    I still remember visiting a Big PR firm’s Senior VP’s Blog on Authenticity – let’s be “authentic” and “engage” through some “dialogue.”

    I went to comment on this blog…404 error.

    I was also doing an event — purely offline — at an unnamed location for an unnamed brand (I protect the innocent) and a person who is (in)famous for his/her ability to “authentically engage through dialouge” walked by me. I, being one of the little people, went unnoticed; so I did what any modern ninja-guru-rockstar-wannabe would do: I checked to see if s/he was on Twitter. Nothing.

    So I tweeted casually that said person (again, unnamed) wasn’t on Twitter AT ALL, but was a purported expert. Ditto that their blog was lacking in authentic dialogue, since they had yet to engage the WordPress machine.

    Your Social Media Marketing consultant should eat his or her own dog food.

    Dave

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