I’ve been browsing around the web searching for insightful research on social media and it’s relationship to public relations. The results have been lacking. While browsing and reading I have been thinking more about what strategies have been successful for other companies. I came up with one company which has succeeded by keeping all of their advertising to the web, and much of their PR focus on social media: Google. Google spends a large amount of time monitoring the blogosphere to get user’s input on what they like and dislike. Additionally, all their press releases are simply published on their website.
While reflecting more on Google’s strategy, I began to wonder if it would be possible for other companies to adopt such a radical strategy to their PR and advertising. I determined that it is possible, but it also requires adopting other policies not related to the marketing and pr departments. The majority of Google employees are ambassadors of their company, speaking positively about their experiences within the organization. Additionally, within each department, employees are encouraged to blog about newly released products. As a result, there is less of a need for targeting mainstream media since Google has made anything they do a news worthy story. Is it possible for companies to embrace social media so much that all of their PR is done through it?
I believe so but there are a few requirements for companies that can adopt such a radical strategy.
- Must be a “Good Company” - The company must have high ethical and moral standards that it abides by. Additionally, they must go beyond the call of duty to provide employees with a safe and comfortable work environment, and ultimately spoil the employees. If your employees are going to be one of the primary sources of public relations and marketing then you better treat them like kings and queens. If the company has poor health insurance policy or pays employees poorly then a radical strategy to PR will not work.
- The company must be a large corporation - Adopting a radical strategy to PR will not work if nobody has heard of your company. Your company must be so large that anything it does is news worthy. An example company would be Microsoft or Yahoo.
- Employees must be tech saavy - If your employees are going to be blogging, they better know what blogging is. Good luck succeeding with a radical PR strategy if your employees aren’t part of the plan. The radical strategy requires a large portion of the company to begin blogging and monitoring social media.
I guess in writing these requirements I have narrowed down the range of possible participants significantly. I can come up with only a few companies that could adopt this strategy: Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft. Can you think of any others?