“AR has a great opportunity” to close the social media loop, Jonny Bentwood told us this week. As the strategy guru at Edelman responsible for social media and analyst relations, he has a powerful insight into the discussion on AR’s future.
“As influence becomes more important and traditional stakeholder models become less focussed, AR can show how to leverage different tenants like Influencer Relations (focussing on social media) to increase their presence.
I have seen far more AR people incorporate social media as part of their expertise, and become Influencer leads, whilst PR tried to stay current.
AR is at a tipping point where they have the opportunity to show they have leadership in new models of communication when other activites are struggling to stay alive. Because of what we do, we are used to influencer work.”
The fact that AR is more open to social media than PR perhaps explains not only why AR is growing faster than PR (not only at the moment also generally over the last few years) but also by AR salaries are 29% higher than PR salaries. However, not all AR managers are taking the lead with social media: either they are using social media for AR without offering leadership in the organisation as a whole, or they are still unconvinced about the value of social media.
Certainly, there are reasons to be unconvinced about whether or not social media is a personal priority: perhaps it’s already well managed; perhaps social media has little impact on your market at the moment; perhaps you have other priorities which deliver more value. However, in many organisations social media is still at a very early stage. In particular, engagement and measurement are very weak.
AR managers are excellently positions to take the leadership of social media initiatives on a corporate basis because they understand the conversational and relational nature of the influence process. AR plans are, compared to PR and IR programmes, stronger on the key weaknesses for most social media campaigns: objectives, approach and measurement.
How can AR make that transition? That’s the topic we discuss in our next post.