As a college student, I have come across many different styles of textbooks throughout my educational career. For my Social Media for Public Relations course, we were assigned David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR. This textbook is not the typical just the facts kind, but instead tips and advice on how to properly market and create public relations for your company or client online. This latest edition gives insight to some of the latest and most useful tips for marketing or public relations.
Maybe it is because I recently upgraded to a smart phone, the HTC One, but I find myself using my phone for everything. I am on social media, blogging, taking pictures, comparing prices of products or items I may soon purchase. One important feature discussed in Scott’s textbook is the importance of social media presence. It is a habit to follow and constantly check what our favorite brands and companies are posting on social media. Scott explains social media’s purpose as, “The best way to think about social media is not in terms of the different technologies and tools but, rather, how those technologies and tools allow you to communicate directly with your buyers in places they are congregating right now” (54). It has become a social norm for almost every company to be present on social media platforms because they promote where their buyers go.
Social media is increasing in popularity as well as new and diverse platforms are continuously being created to fit every need of their users. With every target audience imaginable on social media, it makes sense for a company to be present where their audience is. This topic I found to be the most important because it truly is the most cost-effective way to market products. It is virtually free to create accounts on social media platforms and millions may follow the account. This is an easier and quicker way to also reach buyers than print or television ads. The news is current, and may go viral as individuals share and like the images, tweets or posts. Scott explains throughout Chapter 5 how important it is to include social media as part of a marketing or public relations plan.
Jean Folger wrote an article on Investopedia about the importance of social media for small businesses. For smaller companies social media is an ideal solution for promoting their products or services because they may not have a budget to advertise or promote. For instance, my part-time job throughout college has been at a tanning salon. My work uses Facebook to let customers know when sales are happening, if we are closed because of a holiday or weather issues and what our hours and address is. Folger explained a company needs to select a platform that is best for their use and purpose. It would not be necessary for my work to have an Instagram account for instance because we do not have a product or service that is constantly new and changing, or in my opinion very photographic. If we were a larger company with it’s own tanning lotion line or something that was novel, then additional social networking accounts would be advisable.
This textbook also included a few ideas I do not agree with. Scott thinks a company should not be present on every social media platform. “There are literally thousands of social networking sites out there, and it is simply impossible to be active in all of them” (269). Yes, I agree that smaller companies should not spread themselves too thin and focus on a particular network and designate all time and effort into perfecting that account. But the large conglomerate companies that have thousands of employees and a large audience should be present everywhere. If they have many different types of buyers, they should try to be everywhere possible on the Internet. I think of the large companies such as Target, McDonald’s, Disney to name a few who would thrive well on all social media platforms.
In the Brandwatch blog Gina Horton analyzes why brands have multiple Twitter accounts. Their company conducted a study and found that 63% of companies have multiple Twitter accounts. This is a rising trend. Companies should beware though and not let it negatively affect customer service. With multiple accounts there is the possibility that it complicates things and customers don’t know where to make complaints or send questions.
My favorite chapter of this book was chapter 16, Social Networking Sites and Marketing. Eye opening statistics can be found as well as in-depth information and advice about different social media platforms are discussed. Scott continually stresses how important it is to have social media presence for a company in this chapter. Overall I believe this textbook is exactly what the public relations and marketing field needs. It is useful for students who are just entering the professional field of public relations. It is also useful for anyone who is already a professional and needs a refresher about how business is being done now. The new rules of marketing and public relations is essential to know. I recommend this to anyone in either field.