Over on PR moment, Angela Casey suggests that you don’t need a ‘social media expert’:
I have lost count of how many times recently I have been asked “who is your social media expert?” and I have said, again and again, that in my view we should all be social media experts, just as much as we are broadcast, print media or public engagement specialists. It is our job to know how to communicate as widely as possible in the most effective way. And if that includes social media as well as the other channels, then we just do it and do it well. We do not need the bespectacled expert to drop in at the last minute and tell us how to do that one element of the programme. However, where there are people with particular expertise, we need them to be ensuring relevant training is the highest standard possible.
Give me a second while I adjust my spectacles (and no, I don’t claim to really be an expert!)
The post focuses on how agencies should respond to this issue, stating that having an expert in any particular area of PR may be a tempting way of marketing your services, but all practitioners need to be able to do, well, everything.
In the case of in-house PRs, there isn’t the need to market your services (as such) but the need for broad skills still remains. Angela’s point – one I completely agree with – counts for both in-house and agencies.
Perhaps more than any other area of PR, social media is practised everyday by those in the sector in an entirely personal capacity, be it updating Facebook, watching YouTube and so on. It’s not an alien technology, but a familiar landscape to all. Those just entering the PR sector are likely to come to it with a fairly comprehensive understanding, as they’ll have used these platforms for years already.
But with limited time and resources, how realistic is it to ensure your whole team is trained up in all areas? We may all be using social media, but digital is another area, even as the technology becomes more accessible.