The death of social media is upon us

November 17, 2014
The Future of Financial Services Communications Summit

Gregory FCA Vice President Kim Harmsen and I speaking at The Future of Financial Services Communications Summit


The Singularity is Near. The often promised mind meld in public relations is now here. For the past few years, my colleague Mike Lizun here at Gregory FCA has promised a time when we stop talking about social media as something unique unto itself and simply refer to it for what it is: communications.

For me, it’s here and now. My epiphany came this month during a round-robin of speaking engagements. The obvious and tactical elements of social media have become so commoditized that they are no longer an island unto themselves. Rather, they have collided with the super continent of Pangaea, the land mass known as integrated communications. That’s good news for communicators. The merger opens our world to even broader horizons and to higher-value strategic services that were once beyond our grasp. Consider:

The power of owned channels. They now radiate out our message and drive it deep into highly segmented micro audiences. Strategically integrating these channels — rather than simply having a presence measured by likes or follows — is the next great PR frontier!

Where only publishers once trod. Entire components of the PR industry are being transformed into news bureaus that can build and sustain a narrative over time and respond instantly as threats and opportunities arise.

The unique ability of content to educate, promote, and light a digital path to purchase. Buyers, stakeholders, investors. They now research and evaluate an option six times before they buy. The ability of content to connect, cajole, and convince is now the lynchpin of an effective PR campaign.

The interplay of paid, earned, and owned. Integration allows for leverage, where a blog post provides content that can be amplified through paid and owned channels, as well as any derivation thereof. Nothing is now linear.

The value of PR has just increased! Now communicators can go beyond tactical, and explore new levels of strategy by offering clients comprehensive communications platforms that can be tapped at will to build reputation, change perception, drive a narrative, promote a product, and win loyalty. But only if it’s multidimensional and integrated.

Please note: The term social media was used sparingly throughout this post. Is it dead? Nah. Rather, like the Neanderthal, its DNA is simply being incorporated into some greater gene pool, and it still walks among us in powerful and unexpected ways.

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