Social Media is the New PR

I know this has been evangelized by every other new/social media strategist out there, including myself.  I actually vocalized it today.  Not because it’s a buzz phrase, but because I really believe it.

Sure, good old fashioned PR – through media placement, marketing, and other traditional methods are not going to go away anytime soon.  Online PR – through blogs, social networking sites, and “micromedia” – is quickly growing momentum.  But where to start?  What to use?

Take as a successful case study for using social media to collect feedback, engage with customers, and providing top notch customer service in the process.  They jumped on the social web tools bandwagon pretty early.  They blog, have an RSS enabled website, and interact with customers and stakeholders via Twitter.

This use of new/social media has put a human face on a large retail company.  In fact, to date, 445 Zappos employees are using Twitter to increase brand awareness, promote special offers, and otherwise just be available to customers 24/7.  Twitter CEO Tony Hsieh has 12,504 followers!  That may not seem like a lot, but think about it – that’s 12,504 people he can reach immediately wherever they are.

Being available to customers, in good and bad times, is critical.  By leveraging these new tools, they have nailed online PR.

They also make it easy for you to spread the Zappos love.  (See badge below…)

Groovy, huh?  They know that being “viral” is also key to online PR.  I’ll save that for another post, though.

I haven’t yet purchased shoes on-line (I need to try shoes on before I buy them), but IF I did I’d know where to go. 🙂

Other companies using social media and community engagement for online PR:

Corporate Blogs:


Brands who Twitter:

Jet Blue

I commend these companies for taking the plunge and learning how to use social media to their advantage. Not only are they communicating their brand’s value proposition, but they are working to ensure customer loyalty through building community around the brand.  Now that is smart Online PR.