They move fast. They don’t follow patterns. Right when you think you’ve caught one, it slips away for a better lure. Welcome to the world of PR with 21st century audiences.

One of the great privileges of my job is having the opportunity to sit on the boards of forward-thinking organizations like the Council of Public Relations Firms.

For me, it is such a rare chance to take a step back and dive into the big things that give us all insomnia – and do so with some of the leading minds in our industry.

A few weeks ago, our group approved a new white paper designed to address one of these hotly debated subjects – how to build better social media campaigns.

Inspired by many of the same philosophies found in the excellent book, Groundswell: Winning in A World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, the white paper presents a new strategic framework on how to build better (i.e., smarter) social media campaigns.

The report cites a diverse selection of recent campaigns as real-world examples for how to best craft the next memorable social media campaign.

The real “a-ha” for me, however, was the importance placed on better understanding online behaviors and audience personas – the unique roles people play online, how they use social media, etc. – and how this often overlooked factor influences results.

The encouraging thing for PR professionals looking for big social media wins is that, in many cases, the real difference maker involves taking the conventional PR strategies of audience segmentation and applying them to our campaigns. 

Success in the social space isn’t about the latest trend or utilizing the hottest app, it still comes down to basic PR and marketing principles of understanding audiences and then delivering a great and relevant experience. 

Because when you’re fishing, it does help to use the right kind of bait.

— Janet Tyler