News Column

Social Media Is for Building Relationships, Not 'Pitching'

May 31, 2012

More than 80 percent of PR pros polled in a new survey by Cision and PR News said they use social media primarily to develop relationships with media and influencers, build trust and maintain transparency, share current news, or solicit feedback on products and services.

Only 13 percent said they use social media to proactively pitch story ideas to journalists and bloggers. Instead, the survey found that email is still the primary way PR professionals send press releases and story ideas to the news media. More than 90 percent of the nearly 300 respondents indicated they will distribute the same or a greater number of news releases via email in the coming year.

The survey also found that more than 85 percent of PR professionals currently prefer one of the three dominant social media networks as their preferred means of connecting with the media: Twitter (34.4 percent), Facebook (29.3 percent) and LinkedIn (23.2 percent). Only 13.1 percent named Google+ (4.8 percent), blogs or other social platforms as their principal vehicle.

The survey also discovered that more than 65 percent of the PR professionals surveyed carve out dedicated time each week to identifying influencers in their markets and social networks, with 12.6 percent spending four or more hours, 30.5 percent 2 to 3 hours, and 23.3 percent at least one hour.

Krall said the results document the change under way in the methods professional communicators use to interact with the media, noting that the most effective PR pros today "collaborate and converse" with the media and key market influencers, rather than trying to "pitch" the media on a particular story. Krall noted this shift toward relationship-based engagement was behind Cision's decision to launch a new social community, Seek or Shout, where journalists, professional communicators, bloggers and other influencers gather to share knowledge and ideas about stories, news and market trends.

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