Could Facebook and LinkedIn’s New Features Help PR Pros?

Two of social media’s leading lights have debuted new or slightly different features this week. First, via our sister site AllFacebook, Zuckerberg and company appear to be toying with new names for the “promote” button. Alternatives include “boost post”, “advertise post” and “get more reach.”

At first glance this appears to be a simple tweaking of the language, because the function of these buttons remains the same. But we appreciate the psychology behind the change: Facebook is simply adopting more appropriate marketing jargon to re-emphasize the purpose and potential benefits of these expenses in users’ minds. Will it lead more brands and PR folks to “optimize” their sponsored content (there’s another one)? Facebook certainly hopes so — and we all know how powerful a few choice words can be, don’t we?

On the other side of the social pond, LinkedIn debuted “mentions“, which are the equivalent of Facebook tags. We’re a little more interested in this development — and here’s why:

The idea is that users can “mention” connections or companies (who will then receive automated notices that will annoy the hell out of them if they haven’t set their phones to “silent”) in order to draw them into public conversations and direct them toward content.

It’s all about boosting buzz, so this feature might double as a promotional tool, right? It certainly could be useful for a particularly resourceful PR pro who has connections to journalists or colleagues with bigger contact lists.

Say you have an article you want a journalist to read so you can better pitch him or her on a related client’s project. Just post the piece and “mention” the journalists who might be interested. They might get a little annoyed, but at least they have to pay attention to you, right?

What do we think?

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.