Social Media Marketing and Public Relations Department

In my third and fourth articles of the Marcom department series, I discussed digital marketing department and interviewed a digital marketer. So, going back to the structure of our fictitious marketing communications department, it’s time to take a look at the public relations and social media marketing department. Since social media and public relations are distinct fields, I will describe them in different sections.

Social Media

Social media encompasses all sites that may provide radically different social media actions. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube and more do not require any formal introduction. It is safe to say that all these sites are now household terms and have a lot of dedicated followers/members. The concept of social media became popular a little over 10 years back. This industry emerged from a casual social networking culture into serious corporate level marketing methodologies within a decade.

Corporate-level social media strategy employs a sophisticated approach to engage its audience. For instance, if a company creates a Facebook page, a successful company-level social media strategist would find ways to engage audience routinely. A lot depends on the nature of business. For instance, a café, whose primary target audience is high school student population, would benefit with a social media campaign that encourages all customers to post Instagram pictures posing with a café product. All of this requires a lot of careful planning and execution. The picture below is a quick snapshot of a social media calendar that shows the complexity of the social media marketing. 

Image Source: https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-marketing-plan/

Companies may hire social media marketers under varying titles. Social Media Marketers could be Social Media Specialists, Social Media Managers, Social Media Strategists, Social Media Coordinator and more. One of the key aspects of such roles is to manage vendor relations, since it is essential for companies to depend on some scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial etc. In addition to that, social media marketers are sometimes responsible for blogging for the company. Last, but not least, they have to monitor the effects of the company’s social media activity and adjust their strategies. If you would like to read more on how to create a social media marketing plan, here’s a step by step guide by Hootsuite.

Public Relations

Companies maintain a professional image in the public eye through their public relations department, this is a more traditional approach in comparison to social media. Public Relations departments are also involved in crisis communications and community outreach. Ignoring a company’s public relations department can prove to be detrimental. Case in point, BP had to suffer consequences of its oil spill disaster. However, their mistakes in public relations made the situation worse

Its own bumbling public-relations efforts are making a big mess worse.

… it made a series of gaffes — none greater than the CEO's complaint that "I'd like my life back" —

If you would like to read more on the public relations mistake made by BP, visit NBC news link. Now that I have made the case for public relations and its importance, I would like to list some of the public relations roles in an enterprise—Communications and Media Specialist, Public Relations Manager, Community Relations Specialist, Community Relations Director etc. Some of the job functions (Indeed.com) include developing and executing public relations programs for companies, create newsworthy promotions and pitch story ideas, work on community relations events, responsible for media relations in an event of crisis at the company and of course maintain a solid relation with local, regional and national journalists (as applicable). 

Public Relations & Social Media

As social media marketing becomes more relevant and traditional media adjusts rapidly, companies are modifying their public relations and social media departments accordingly. Since public relations and social media go hand in hand, companies are combining these two roles into one. Some of the recent job postings have combined both roles. So if you are interested in a career in social media and public relations, it is important to understand how both departments work. In my next article, I will discuss CRM strategies department, this will conclude my Marcom article series.


Rinki Mukherjee

Rinki is a marketing professional with over 10 years of corporate and freelance experience.

She currently works on marketing contracts with Houston area businesses. She has served in non-profit, healthcare, oil and gas, real estate, technology, education and consumer goods industries.

She recently earned her MBA from the University of Houston, BAUER School of Business with a focus in Marketing Analysis and Business Consulting. She also has her Associates in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Houston and Masters in English Literature from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India.

She currently serves on two non-profit boards. She is Membership Officer with Prospanica-Houston chapter and Director of Special Events-Marketing with American Marketing Association-Houston chapter. Though Rinki is a now a committed Houstonian, she was born and raised in India. 

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