Social media or Traditional media? You can have the best of both worlds BY LIESL SIMPSON, Managing Director at Evolution PR 14 July 2020

In our fast-paced and digitally driven world, where do our loyalties lie? Are you a social media guru or traditional media whizz? It's time to realise that we should not choose sides, but rather join forces to make the dream work.

The traditional media whizz
The traditional media whizz will tell you how print (although declining), online and broadcast exposure has worked for years and years, so why change the way we do things? While traditional media still has a large audience today and is still used by companies to meet their marketing and PR goals, the world is changing, and the focus of our stakeholders is being redirected. Social media has burst onto the scene as a dominant player in communicating messages to audiences.

Unlocking new potential
Social media has unlocked a wide variety of previously closed doors and enabled organisations to get in touch with audiences they never dreamed of connecting with. From having the opportunity to promote the company on Facebook or Twitter to connecting with individuals from all over the world via LinkedIn, social media has changed the way that organisations communicate with their stakeholders. However, companies need to be on point when it comes to sharing content on social media and ensure that they are posting the right messages, at the right time, on the right platform to get their message across to the right audience. Furthermore, to enhance organic growth on social media platforms, companies need to combine the benefits of advertising spend by promoting their posts and reaching the desired target audience that can lie 'hidden' within millions of followers.

While social media has its many added benefits, traditional media has not lost its touch in the PR world and is sometimes seen as more reputable publicity. Companies continuously seek out space in magazines, newspapers, and radio or TV slots to get their messages to their stakeholders. As mentioned earlier, there is still a large audience of traditional media and it should not be counted out in any firm's marketing or PR strategies.

Merging media approaches
Rather than focussing on one or the other, social media and traditional media should be used in conjunction to achieve the PR goals of any organisation. A continuum with traditional media at one end and social media at the other end can truly highlight how the middle ground is where organisations want to place themselves in their communication efforts with stakeholders. Having a balance between traditional and social media allows companies to benefit from both platforms and ultimately reach larger and wider audiences, as well as being able to leverage social media to obtain feedback on the messages that companies send out.

The war within PR departments needs to come to an end. Take a look at how your PR department is utilising its traditional and social media resources to make the most of your communication opportunities.

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