Have you heard of social PR? If you haven’t, what would you guess it is? When most people hear of social public relations, they think of digital integrated marketing. Social PR is all about using social media content and tools to connect with potential customers and nurture leads with brand ambassadors. It’s all about integrating outputs (content, messaging, strategy, and omni-channel marketing) into one marketing plan.

Social PR utilizes citizen journalism, influencer marketing, and digital TV channels, as well as celebrities and other online personalities to spread a certain PR message. Social PR depends on non-traditional media channels such as Facebook Live, podcasts, Twitter, and YouTube. This is a type of integrated marketing that relies on digital platforms and the viral spread of information online to amplify a brand’s campaign. But: it’s critical to acknowledge that likes do not equal sales.

On a basic level, any marketing project has the same endgame: sales. Your marketing strategy’s purpose may be gaining likes and followers, but at the end of the day, these likes and followers mean nothing if they don’t translate into sales and revenue.

In this day and age, there are numerous ways to communicate with an audience online. Historically, PR professionals relied on traditional media outlets to spread their brand message. Social media marketing is one way a PR professional can start to communicate a specific campaign; yet social media marketing must focus on conversions, rather than eyeballs.

If “getting likes” isn’t a sound social media strategy, neither is “having influencers.” Influencer marketing is only successful if it’s backed by a good social PR plan. Social PR depends on creative marketing strategies and using influencers to amplify a specific message. Integrated marketing plans need authentic and engaged likes, as well as an active online community. But, brands must always remember that sales are the inevitable goal of all marketing plans. A project must be evaluated on its potential to meet a sales goal. The benchmarks for success in a social PR campaign need to tie directly to revenue, conversion, and other hard metrics related to sales.

A company’s capacity to execute a marketing project must also be clear from the get-go. Any company, no matter the size, has limitations in terms of what resources can be dedicated to a marketing campaign. It is critical to first know how much a company can allot in terms of budget, talent, and hours.

A strong PR and marketing plan must have a strong and creative foundation in the first place, with influencers, an online community, and great content to amplify the message.