This week in #bufferchat, we discussed the differences between PR and social media marketing and how they can work together. Hailley Griffis, Buffer’s very own PR Crafter, stopped by the chat to share her experiences as a PR professional working alongside a social media team! We discussed how social media has impacted traditional PR, strategies for building relationships with the press on social media, and much more.

Read on to discover all of the awesome ideas and thoughts that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

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Bufferchat on Oct 19, 2016: How PR and social media work together

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 95 participants; 230 tweets; reach of 1,750,028
2nd Bufferchat: 309 participants; 1,989 tweets; reach of 2,652,771

Q1: How do PR and social media marketing differ?

From Hailley:

  • Both about sharing a message & building relationships. is focused on the media, through your own platform.
  • There is so much overlap though, I feel like the differences definitely depend on the company and the person.

From the community:

  • “PR tells a story and social media marketing amplifies.” @selbelina
  • “PR is customer relations and creating feel good moments with the brand, while marketing is outreach for selling.” @M2Franz
  • “I find PR is more of a monologue while Social is a dialogue – you get to/have to listen & respond rather than telling.” @nickieva
  • “PR crafts your presence for the general public. marketing is designed for your target audience!” @HeyOrca
  • “PR is about guiding the image of one’s company … social media is where we listen to what others think that image is.” @optimizemybrand

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: How has social media changed traditional PR?

From Hailley:

  • Social Media has changed the way that PR is done, now we all have access to a wider audience through social networks.
  • With social media it’s possible for reporters, companies and other sources to connect through Twitter and social networks.

From the community:

  • “Social media adds another layer of urgency to an inquiry or a crisis for a PR professional. Gotta act swiftly!” @nancycasanova
  • “Social media has forced (successful) PR to change and become more engaging. Less one sided.” @radkejen
  • “Social media hasn’t changed PR – it has enhanced it, in fact made the process easier & cost effective.” @thinkdesignvis
  • “Social media has allowed customers/fans to be signifcant part of company/brand’s PR ‘story” which is amazing.” @Aboundlessworld
  • “It’s shifted the focus from “pitching to media” to influencer engagement + influencer marketing.” @dshiao

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: When would a public relationist use social media, and for what?

From Hailley:

  • I use social media a lot for research, following news trends and most notably, building relationships with reporters.
  • Social media is also an amazing place to share big news and link back to a press release or post.
  • Social media has made it easier to connect with and build real relationships with reporters and news outlets.

From the community:

  • “To monitor the real-time convo about their brand so they can try to get ahead of any issues that may come up.” @GeoffTBlosat
  • “No reason one can’t complement the other! Use social media to share your PR, so your customers can get involved.” @hirenoah
  • “Can be a tool for PRs, used to liaise & build relationships with journalists and influencers as part of a larger campaign.” @M2Bespoke
  • “There is always potential to use to engage with audiences directly, tell stories and cement brand awareness!” @sallygreider
  • “Social listening can provide PR pros with lots of context as to how consumers perceive the brand. Helps with research!” @webthemesplus

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: What might a great relationship between a PR manager and social media marketer look like? How would they work together?

From Hailley:

  • At Buffer and I work super closely on launches, announcements and campaigns.
  • We also work together when we get press mentions to make sure that they’re shared on our channels.
  • All in all, super important for lots of communications between and for overall messaging.
  • Also totally normal that sometimes PR & Social Media are the same person. 😉

From the community:

  • “It needs to be close & consultative. A good social media marketer knows the brand’s audience better than anyone.” @Robinsonpost
  • “A PR manager & social media marketer should share social feedback & address any issues together on all platforms.” @judekahn
  • “Use to launch a strategic campaign and social media to evaluate. This is an ongoing relationship.” @martaaw93
  • “They have to establish the same goals and messages, but enjoy their different ways of getting there.” @_lblake
  • “SM manager has a feel for the audience, knows what will connect. PR manager knows what the message needs to be & result in.” @NicoleBlack414

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: What are strategies for building media/press relationships on Twitter?

From Hailley:

  • Reaching out with very genuine questions, interests and useful information is a great start.

From the community:

  • “Twitter lists will be your BEST friend — segment away and make your life easier upfront.” @GregRokisky
  • “Tweet interesting stories from case studies – people like news that’s personal about a person they connect with in some way.” @lin_cwaves
  • “Engage! Talk to influencers, journalists, etc. Create lists and share content/tips, invest in the relationship.” @hellobrittnee
  • “You have to be fast. If you stay on top of things, you can catch HARO (Help a Reporter Out) requests.” @DerekReimherr
  • “Tweet info to them you think they might find interesting *for their* audiences. Help them with their goals. Give 1st.” @allennieman

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: What are 1 or 2 of the best social media tools that help with PR, and why?

From Hailley:

  • I am totally addicted to , they deliver a daily email that rounds up relevant tweet pr requests.
  • Curious if anyone is using ? 🙂
  • is another amazing tool and resource.

From the community:

  • “I love . It helps create branded visuals so easily and helps maintain the consistency with brand design.” @gayane_virabyan
  • “Journalists use Twitter and increasingly want UGC. Be a good member of community and share good things.” @martinlieberman
  • “Use google alerts + to get you pr pickups you might have missed.” @nevinct
  • tops the list for sure! it is the epitome of social listening.” @alolliecake
  • “Another option: Google Analytics. Measuring social referrals is incredibly valuable. ‘What news performed well on social?'” @MetisComm

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: Any great examples of PR campaigns on social media that you’ve seen? What made them memorable?

From Hailley:

  • All of the campaigns are always crazy well coordinated and beautifully done. Highly recommend checking them out!
  • I recently saw the jump in on words used at the debate, they got quite a bit of press for it. So smart
  • When did their rebranding they had a huge social media and PR campaign and it was so stunning and coordinated!

From the community:

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to Hailley for taking the time to share so many awesome insights, and to everyone who participated in this chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am PT (San Francisco time)  OR at 4 pm AEDT (Sydney time). Join our Slack community with over 2,000 members to continue these awesome conversations all week long!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!