PR Job Descriptions: Professional Social Media Experience Now Necessary?

There have been abundant ramblings on how the emergence of social media has changed PR, for better or worse. Whether you are a social media guru or a non-believer, the requirements of the public relations profession has undoubtedly become more “social.” Here is a sample pulled from a PR coordinator job posting in 2005, and an almost analogous job description posting pulled from this year.

[Example, 2005] PR Coordinator Job Description

You will work with the ________ Public Relations team where you will be responsible for drafting press releases, pitching story ideas to media and serving as the company spokesperson. In addition to this you will also be responsible for:

  • Coordinating formal outreach efforts
  • Find appropriate channels for engagement of executives
  • Management of the press center, while updating company information
  • In addition to this, you will be required to assist our team in a wide variety of PR activities

[Example 2011] PR Coordinator Job Description

  • Provide tactical input on message creation and delivery
  • Oversee web development, maintenance and the employment of other new technologies
  • Create a strategic communication plan and external communication schedule
  • Manage overall chapter strategic social media plan and implementation
  • Produce a newsletter and promotional materials.
  • Write web copy as well as copy for articles, print advertisements, radio and TV advertisement scripts, social media updates, brochures and direct mail letters,
  • Be responsible for attaining media assignments, impressions and sponsorships
  • Develop branding strategy for new proposals
  • Be the liaison to the marketing team for maintaining integrity of our branding and social media efforts

Even though these positions may have been leveraged differently within the company, it is blatant that the current PR coordinator job places more emphasis on social media engagement. In 2005 there were little to no social media opportunities in the business world, however in the 2011 job description, social media elements were featured on almost every three job duties.

It seems social media has fallen under the PR umbrella for many companies. According to eMarketer, “often, PR agencies are considered better at communicating to and having a dialogue with consumers than their advertising counterparts, and those skills translate well to social media. Yet, while both industries give public relations the upper hand, they also see a need to work together and integrate social media into all marketing communications campaigns.” This information is useful because, social media was once unclaimed grounds, and it seems PR has taken control.

Whether you are a job seeker, a business, or a PR service company you should acknowledge the fact that social media is inherently your job. If you are looking for a career in PR it may be a good idea to verse yourself on social media channels, increasing your Twitter followers or getting those valuable LinkedIn Recommendations. If you are a business that is trying to establish a social media presence, it seems natural to integrate it with your public relations strategy and business unit. For PR professionals, you already know to go social, so developing new ways to innovate and engage with people is important for your strategy.

An social entrepreneur and writer on all things fresh, Matt Krautstrunk focuses on topics ranging from social media marketing to postage meters for Resource Nation; a service that provides expert advice on everything from SEO to postage machines purchasing decisions.


Share on Tumblr

  • I was hired for my current position because I’ve been on Facebook since I was 18 (I’m now 25). Since so many jobs now require social media knowledge, it seems like all the professional development webinars, panels, etc., are all focused on social media. I was talking to a few PR professionals last night and about this and they said there’s so much more to PR than social media and, quite frankly, they’re tired of everything being so heavily focused on it While it’s significant tool, we need to step back and realize there’s more to the industry.

    • Great point, Ahsley. In the past I would have never said that personal social media experience trumped tactical/business experience. However, if you were on social media at 18 and you’re now 25, you’ve seen a variety of changes take place and have learned to adapt to them. To be successful in the future, we must learn from the past.

    • Good point! It is interesting to hear that PR professionals are tired of everything being so social media heavy. PR at its core is “managing the communications between a company and the end user;” as more and more users use social media, its only fitting we shape our strategy to engage with them. Good point though, there is much more to the industry than social media.

    • Anonymous

      Most PR university programs have a social media component. But it has been my personal experience that learning first hand through your own profiles is far better. Afterall, how much can social media can you really learn about how to communicate online in a classroom?

  • I believe that as social media grows and the need for social media strategists within companies becomes stronger, a PR specialist and social media specialist will be two different things. While the qualities are definitely needed for any PR professional today, I wonder how long it will be before we realize that it’s difficult to tackle two giants (PR and SM) under one job description.

  • Amerante

    This has been a thorn in me for the last few months! I am not the biggest fan of the social media craze. I know I am young and should be up-to-date with everything, but I am not and am having trouble getting into that groove. I know Twitter, and Foursquare are huge right now and something I need to become one with but I don’t like it. I know this is where media relations and PR is moving and I am going to move with it, its just hard to think that clients are picked up through Twitter and companies are being graded on their LinkedIn sites.

  • Pingback: Being A Spokesperson In A Truman Show World()