Social Media Expert Vs PR Professional

While the boundary between social media handling and digital PR mandate has almost diminished and people are jumping over the fence from one side to the other the question is who is good to recruit? Is an expert of social media good to recruit for public relations or is it the other way round?

While every individual may have a different opinion on the issue, I personally believe that a PR professional can well handle social media accounts and communication. Doubts are for a fruitful transition from social media to PR.

The Right Direction

A PR professional comes with an array of experience and knowledge. His or her grip on the messaging, communication, campaign planning and targeted pitching can be expected to be much better than a pure social media person any given day. For a PR person social media is nothing more than another tool to learn and use. On the other hand, for a social media person who may be technically better equipped and updated as compared to PR person but the disciplines expected from him to be learned may not come quickly.

A PR person who is open to learning and enthusiastic to evolve can easily pick the technical nuances of social media and some bit of training and guidance can soon make him an expert.

Against The Wind

On the outset, a social media person may appear to be the right candidate for social media PR as he is well versed in handling those accounts, knows how to increase followership and understands the science of hashtag. But another important aspect is the understanding of the strategic use of social media, right targeting, and correct messaging. That’s where the expertise of a PR person comes in handy.

A social media person is better suited for a more specialised responsibility that would include analytics, measurement, understanding of data, trends, etc.

The Balancing Act

It’s like drawing parallels between an SEO expert and a writer. The SEO person cannot be expected to write great stories whereas a writer can learn to better optimize his content for internet. But that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t need an SEO person. He’s required to enhance the reach even further and is irreplaceable by a writer at least.

Both, the social media person and the PR person are important and required for different and separate roles. None of them are replaceable with each other. Just that if one chooses to switch court the shift from PR to social media should be seen as a growth trajectory while a move from social media to PR may not be that great an idea both for the candidate and the recruiter.

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Lovejeet Alexander
Lovejeet Alexander is a communications professional with over 12 years of work experience in the field of journalism and corporate communications. His specialization being business and politics, he is an independent political communication advisor and has been providing consultancy to a few leading PR consultancies.
Alex is also the executive editor for Reputation Today – India’s only magazine for PR & Corporate Communications professionals.

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