As PR pros we all have our coveted contacts - people we have stellar relationships with that know we're passionate about the brands or clients we represent. I believe it is through these relationships that we can help propel social media into mainstream adoption.
If you've begun to experiment with social media in your PR efforts, take the necessary steps to educate your media contacts one by one. Don't talk over their heads with whiz-bang urls and flashy widgets that make no sense to the average journalist. Like my friend Chris Brogan pointed out in his recent newsletter, think back to when you first experienced social media tools like Twitter. Did it make immediate sense? Now, put yourself in the shoes of a pressed-for-time, budget-strapped newspaper reporter or magazine editor juggling several stories at once. It's just not top of mind, or bottom for that matter. That's where you come in.
You can be the one that introduces a journalist to the value of social media. Get them set up with a Twitter account, or show them how to filter an RSS feed using Google Reader. Don't assume everyone who has a computer is using social media, in fact I'm pretty sure most people still use the Google search page as an entrance point (and exit point) of the web. Show them just as you would show a friend and spread the social media love around as if you owned it- because you kind of do.
Traditional media's hesitation to adopt social media isn't all about ad revenue, I think it's part fear of the unknown. Those of us who have been hooked by social media understand its relevance in society and importance to the future of media. That's why we have to be the ones to share the experience with them. Not only will we open up a new channel for conversation between our media contact and our agency, we'll also make it easier for them to pitch social media to their peers and within their newsrooms. It's like the 'viral loop' promoting itself (Wow, that's a little confusing).
It seems like everyone is an expert on social media these days, especially bloggers. My favorites are the people who discount social media as "trendy" or a "new widget" as if they don't believe it's a new dynamic of communications. Maybe we should set them up with a FriendFeed account?
Of all the "PR Secrets" out there, I think this may just be one to rally around. At the risk of sounding like a Jerry McGuire mission statement, let's all come together as social media enthusiasts and PR It Forward.
Original post on PitchEngine | The Social Media PR Revolution