• Welcome to my Observations

    Online observations of public relations, marketing, advertising and social media; the occasional frivolity; and The Rundown show notes. Jump in, the water's fine.

    Please Note: Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its constituents.

  • My Pinterest

  • LinkedIn

    View Luke Armour's profile on LinkedIn
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Rundown Podcast Live

    The Rundown

  • RSS Media Bullseye

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • Creative Commons

  • The Show Player

  • Pages

  • April 2023
    S M T W T F S
  • Meta

Social Media is NOT a Free for All

For too long I feel we’ve had folks on both sides of the issue of social media. One side blindly pushing for the adoption of new media tools as tactics and even as the new order. On the other side – and it’s interesting since we don’t see them much out here – are those who flat our refuse to accept that social media and all it apparently represents has no business in, well, business.

I am oversimplifying the issue quite a bit, but you can draw a line in the sand and form sides around much of the blogosphere and certainly around business lunches, professional groups and in the C-Suites. The divide gets worse when you move geographically around our country and into certain industries.

The truth is, social media is not a free for all. Business is business. And you can’t join the two all willy nilly. So it’s nice when you see a strong advocate of social media who puts on his business hat and reframes the picture for you.

Shel Holtz wrote a strong post called Business adoption of social media: It’s not about employee rights that I will share with any communicator who will listen, social media fan or not. Business is not a democracy and organizational leaders do what is best for the company. As communicators, our jobs are to provide counsel that allows them to do that. Sometimes that advice employs tactics like social media, sometimes it doesn’t. One thing I have learned about Public Relations is that there are more publics out there than most people realize – and you have to relate to them all. What are you saying to all of your publics? Even if it’s nothing?

Shel writes:

My position on employee engagement in social media is based on my belief that doing so will produce far greater benefit—in the form of enhanced constituent relations—than risk, particularly when it is managed strategically. There are many dimensions to these benefits, some of the most important of which include the following:

  • Recruiting and retention
    • Employee engagement
    • Increased customer satisfaction
    • Improved brand experiences

      And he goes into great detail. Shel also writes “There’s probably a whole book in this topic…” and he’s right. And I hope he writes it, cause I’ll buy it. I come from the academic side of Public Relations and this is not the first time Shel has echoed my thoughts and put them into words in a way that I wish I could. But I can’t, or at least didn’t, so read the post.


      For Immediate Release Goes LIVE

      FIRReaders of this blog will know that one of my favorite podcasts is “For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report.” If you’re reading this blog and not listening to FIR, stop reading right now, go to ForImmediateRelease.biz and sign up for the blog and podcast feed. Or, as an introduction you can check out this Saturday’s live episode on BlogTalkRadio.

      This Saturday, February 9, at 10am PT/1pm ET/ 6pm GMT, hosts Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz will host a special live call-in edition of “For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report” on BlogTalkRadio.

      The call-in episode will focus on the blurring of the lines between internal and external communications. If you work in external PR, how do employees of your (or your client’s) company affect your communication efforts? If you work in internal communications, how does your role change in order to prepare employees for their growing role as points of contact and brand experiences in the social media sites where they participate?

      It works just like my show, The Rundown. Visit the FIR BlogTalkRadio profile page to listen or call 347.324.3723 to join in the conversation, (you may also listen via phone, pressing ‘1’ to be put in the talking queue).

      If you miss the live show, the audio will still come through the podcast feed, so no worries. Should be great show and I hope to hear you there.

      (as per usual, I tell you that I work for BlogTalkRadio)

      Wait, I thought internal comm WAS PR

      cafe.jpegI listened to a great interview with Peter Vogt from eBay about internal communications hosted by the (in)famous Lee Hopkins pushed through the Comms Cafe podcast recently. I know that Lee is huge on internal communications and I appreciate his passion for proper communications. The interview was excellent, Peter having some great things to say about his experiences with Microsoft and eBay. Fascinating stuff. You should all check it out.

      There was, however, one thing I took issue with. Now, I’m not sure how people define public relations in general, but I have my own thoughts and ideas. In fact, I’m rather passionate about my views of PR. I tend to look at PR as a parent phrase for all kinds of communication. I’ve felt this way for many, many years. The one thing that does shake my beliefs a little bit is how few of the broad spectrum of PR colors one gets to use on a daily, or even, job-related basis.

      I mean, if you pitch products 50 hours a week to consumer rags, chances of you viewing issues management as part of your PR job are slim. If you comb through the minutae of details of investor relations tactics 5.5 days a week, you’re not going to understand how media training really fits into your job description. And it might not. And you shouldn’t expect it to. But just because I don’t do something often or ever doesn’t make it foreign to my field. If I’m a chef, just because I only boiled lobster and roasted chicken today doesn’t mean that suddenly grilling steaks is no longer cooking. Follow me? So I don’t frequently handle crises, but I would expect to know more about what to do if a client were to call with an issue then he would. Because I was trained, you see, as a public relations professional.

      So imagine my surprise when, while wrapping up this delightful interview, Vogt said something that confused me and left me wondering if I should go back and relisten to the entire interview.

      Peter, who has a degree in public relations, said, “I actually did quite a bit of PR work with my internal communications here and there… but I always found that internal communications actually had the opportunity to really make a difference in many ways, and that when done well it can be the true leader, it can lead the change rather than PR leading the change.”

      Oh, internal comms can lead corporate change differently, and sometimes better than having PR lead the change? Excuse me while I ask this one simple question: what are you talking about?

      When he said it, I nearly drove off the road (incidentally, I was actually driving when I listened to this podcast). To me, that phrase is akin to saying “I would never let my sister say that, but certainly one of my siblings could” or “I really hate roses, but I enjoy flowers of all kinds.” Internal communications is a subset of public relations!

      Let’s break it down. Employees are internal audiences. Internal audiences are a public of an organization. Public relations is the management function that builds two-way relationships with various publics. Internal communications would be public relations to – gasp – internal audiences!

      There, now while I hop down off my soap box, will someone explain to me what he meant?