Social media leader reminds us that PR is a face-to-face business

An old friend once told me about his company’s best salesperson who, year after year, earned the award as “Top Producer.” When asked the secret of his success the man simply replied: I see the people, and I tell the story.

Few in business understand F2F communication like sales people. The firm handshake, the eye contact, the smile. There’s simply no better way to build trust and to nurture relationships. You see the people and you tell the story. In the process, you also listen and maybe have a few beers.

In this era of digital media — email, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter — it’s easy to forget that basic lesson of communication. So I was pleased when one my favorite bloggers and social media promoters reminded us of it yesterday.

Jason Falls

Jason Falls

In a post titledĀ  “Why Social Media Wont Get You A Job In A Recession” Jason Falls (aka, Social Media Explorer) says that public relations is fundamentally a face-to-face business. I’ll let him tell the story. That’s what links are for.

Jason has built his reputation, in part, through helping his clients create and maintain online communities centered around brands. Only a few weeks ago he and the CEO of Maker’s Mark presented their case study about community building before the prestigious Conference Board in NYC.

In his summary of that case, Jason insists that online communities most often start as offline communities. Digital media simply help to fuel the passion and extend the community’s reach. It’s part of the mix, but not the magic potion.

Jason earned a place on my blogroll and my feeder a long time ago. Let me suggest you add him to yours.

Update: One of the comments on this post references an old United Airlines commercial that drives home the point about F2F. Thanks to David for the link.

Post Script: Jason was among 7 social media thought leaders Andy and I interviewed for the Sledzik-Curran Social Media Project. We’ll have Jason’s segments up for viewing in the next few weeks. Yeah, we’re old and we’re slow.


8 Responses to Social media leader reminds us that PR is a face-to-face business

  1. Breeze says:

    Old and slow, huh? Maybe it’s all of those alluded-to beers.

    I really enjoyed the Brian Connolly video series; it gave me a new perspective on Strumpette, and on what social media is and is not. Informative stuff; kudos to you and Andy. I look forward to seeing Jason’s series when it’s up.

  2. Jason Falls says:

    Honored, professor. As always, thanks.

  3. David32767 says:

    It reminds me very much of this old commercial:

  4. Bill Sledzik says:

    Perfect, David. I thought of that TV spot, but I couldn’t recall the company. I think I’ll embed in the post.

  5. […] Falls has an interesting post about how there are limits to how far you can go with social media alone.  I found the link […]

  6. Yeah, I follow Jason’s Twitter stream and blog regularly.
    There really is no substiture for F2F and, the piece that social media really encourages, two-way communication. The organization that I worked for previously was entirely centered on improving organizational engagement, and we did case studies on what makes an effective sales person; the number one attribute? The sales person steps into their clients reality.
    What else do F2F and social media have in common? They both foster the most influential kind of promotion- conversation!

  7. marketingsociologist says:

    Only one way to react to this post – W-O-W.

    Thank you,

  8. mediatide says:

    Radio sales is face-to-face, too, albeit not nearly as lucrative as in the past.

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