Twitter and Facebook and Ning, oh my! The world of social media seems to be growing exponentially, leaving even the most tech-savvy of public relations practitioners sometimes scratching their heads in confusion. Luckily, the Publicity Club of Chicago hosted their monthly luncheon program on March 11th featuring a panel discussion titled “Social Media: Updating your PR Toolbox”. I was able to step away from my Twitter page to attend and learned some pretty useful things about how to most effectively utilize social media for our clients.

Ideas and examples from an agency perspective (Dan Skinner from the Zeno Group), corporate perspective (Jud Branam from MS&L Digital) and media perspective (Wailin Wong of the Chicago Tribune) were all discussed at length. A record-breaking crowd was able to listen to real life examples of social media campaigns that have had huge results for clients and address some of the most pressing questions PR people have about the ever-changing social media world.

Although I learned plenty of useful information about how reporters utilize social media to develop their stories or how Pizza Hut used Facebook to grow an online presence 900,000 fans strong, I think the most important lesson I learned is that social media is a tool best used in moderation. PR pros should be strategic in what tools they suggest to their clients. While Facebook and Twitter may be the most effective tools in reaching the audience of your red-hot lifestyle account, an old-fashioned yet highly informative company blog may be best for your traditional B2B client. Social media is not a one-size fits all solution!

Emma Richards
Associate Publicist