Trademark Productions is known for specializing in social media campaigns and they are dedicated to bringing businesses social media success. But today we are going to focus on someone who is calling out PR professionals’ social media practices. Recently, an article was brought to my attention titled “How PR People are Destroying Social Media,” by FanReach CEO Brian Carter. This immediately sparked my interest because I studied public relations in college and I work on social media campaigns.

Carter believes that PR people are destroying the social media industry and that they are just a bunch of “ignorant opportunists.” Since the decline of the need of public relations over the years, Carter believes that PR professionals are switching tech jobs with little or no experience. The first thing I noticed here, though, is that he presents absolutely zero research or information to back up the thought that PR jobs are on the decline. We only have Carter’s word, so you decide.

Next, Carter states “[PR people] are blocking the growth and effectiveness of Social Media, and they"re confusing both the people who need to be using it and and and the people who are paying for it.” Do you notice anything wrong with that quote? Take a good hard work at the word double “and.” Now you see it! It’s pretty hilarious to read something by a self-proclaimed social media expert, battering PR professionals, but he can’t even fix the typos in his blogs. Petty? Maybe, but blogs are part of social media too, so strike one Mr. Carter.

Carter then goes into great detail about “Why PR People Think They’re The Best People For The Social Media Job, and Why They Aren’t.” His main premise is that PR professionals work constantly to be involved with the communication being broadcasted to the public. He finally arrives at the statement that “public relations has always been involved with communicating to the public, so it would make sense for them to do so through Social Media. But in the same breath, they’ll tell you that Social Media is all about conversation and listening.”

What is Carter trying to say? Is he saying that social media can only be used to communicate to the public? Or that social media is only about the conversation and listening? Did he ever stop and think that social media has the ability to engage in conversations with the public and also give you the ability manage conversations and listen to your consumers opinions? In my opinion, social media is able to do all of those things and more. It seems like Carter truly doesn’t understand all the great ways social media can be utilized.

I want to highlight some additional points Carter mentions in his article:

  • “PR has not historically been involved in listening more than marketers have. Ever heard of market research? Marketing surveys?”
  • “PR has not traditionally been involved in conversation, especially personalized intimate conversation. In fact, pushing press releases is exactly the kind of 1.0 push that they strongly recommend against.”
  • “PR has not been interested in another way that digital marketers listen to and understand customers: web analytics”

Let’s break down each one of these points. First Carter states that PR professionals have been historically “involved in listening more than marketers have.” He then asks if PR people have ever heard of market research or marketing surveys. To answer Carter’s question, yes I have heard of market research and marketing surveys. Just because the word “market” is in the title of something doesn’t mean that only marketing professionals conduct that work. The truth is that PR practitioners are taught a great deal about marketing and advertising in college. Then, once they start a job, many PR people are the ones conducting this research. How do I know this is all true? Because I have conducted numerous amounts marketing research reports, primarily because of my familiarly with the market and the public’s perception. So, believe it or not, PR people do a lot more than just listen to people.

Carter’s next point states that PR professionals have not normally been involved in conversations. Where is his research coming from? Anyone who professes to know anything about public relations knows that one of the main focuses of PR is maintaining the conversation between an organization’s interior and exterior stakeholders. So, if the PR people are managing the communication between an organization’s employees’ and their customers, how are they not involved in the conversation?

His final point states that people in public relations are unwilling to conduct web analytic research. Again, this is absolutely untrue. I personally review web analytics for our social media pages on a daily basis, normally a few times throughout the work day. These points might actually be offensive, only there’s no merit behind them and that simply diminishes their impact.

The entire article is located here. I would love to cover the rest of Carter’s rant, but to be honest, this guy is basically talking out his derriere throughout the rest of the article. I sincerely hope public relations professionals didn’t read his article and start to think lower of themselves. People need to understand that there will always be someone upset with another person’s profession. Don’t knock yourself after reading it; just remember he’s just one person with one opinion and no research to back it up.

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