Social media management has become a profession in and of itself, but as a recent post on LinkedIn states, it is not the whole of public relations. Since the social phenomenon began, Trylon SMR has held that social media is a useful PR tool, but only one of many that practitioners can use to generate positive publicity, credibility and exposure for companies.

Media and PR strategies should be established before engaging in social media. Once a strategy has been determined, social can be used to effectively reinforce and expand the core messages of the brand in concert with other tactics such as earned media and even advertising.

As the post points out, failure to adopt a strong strategy can result in social media messages that are at best conflicting and convoluted and at worst detrimental to a campaign. Several examples of this are cited, demonstrating that the incorrect use of this tool can undermine a company’s brand reputation.

Marketing executives who understand the role and limitations of social media realize that it’s not the number of “likes” or “retweets” that determine a successful PR campaign. The final arbiter of success is whether the core objectives of the company’s brand strategy are achieved, leading to greater recognition and sales.