In the age of social media, when everything is bloggedtweetedposted and shared online, has traditional public relations become obsolete? Can’t modern businesses forgo traditional media altogether and start using social media exclusively to help build their brands and communicate with their stakeholders?

The short answer to this question is: No. And here’s why…

Both social and traditional media play prominent and very important roles in today’s public relations. However, their roles are quite different. Social media is often hailed for its flexibility, immediacy and the ability to gather feedback. Traditional media, on the other hand offers a higher chance of reaching a larger audience, especially as its content is disseminated widely via social channels.

Unlike traditional media, social media is not an ideal vessel for detailed or complex messages. It is also more unpredictable and prone to sparking controversies and PR crises. In addition, its interactive nature makes it more difficult for organizations to control their message and keep them from being misinterpreted or distorted.

The fact is that the best results are usually achieved when the two media are used in tandem as part of a comprehensive PR strategy.

Social media is a powerful offering, even more so when it is utilized as an amplifier for traditional press coverage that comes with a high degree of authority. The main focus of an organization’s social media strategy should be interacting with people, responding to their concerns, gathering feedback and building relationships. At the same time, traditional media is best used to tell your story to as many people as possible in a credible forum.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these powerful types of media and using them to complement each other will allow your brand to get the best return on your PR and marketing efforts.