Unlike what you may read online, PR is not dead, it just has a new set of tools. Social Media builds on the skills of PR practitioners, allowing them to leverage those skills for success in the social arena.
This is how most people at Syracuse know me. I’ve been on twitter since February 2009 and I have tweeted A LOT – although I don’t tweet nearly as much as I used to. My twitter bio is designed to show two sides of me. The professional side – and a bit of the personal side. I hope that by reading this bio you will have some idea of what you’re going to get by following me.You know from the 160 characters allowed here: What I do, Who I work for, What I’m involved with on twitter; a brief description of my personality. I also include my location, and a link to the blog that I run. My avatar has me wearing Google Glass. That’s my nod to being a techie. Banner photo is of a beautiful race horse that I’m part owner of, and my background photo shows one of mydogs. You get a prettywell-roundedpicture of who I amjust by lookingatmytwitter profile page.
Who are you on twitter? Are you even on twitter? I looked up all of you, by name, and only found 4 of you who I could easily identify.Of those 4, none were using twitter in a professional manner; and by that I mean, none were using twitter to share information on the industry, connect with other industry professionals, build community or build a personal brand.So I’d like to get to know you a little better so I know who I’m speaking with, and so we may be able to connect afterwards.I’m going to ask each of you to quickly jot down a 140 character or less bio that will tell me some of the same kind of information my bio tells you.I’ll give you a minute to do that – this is not a test – but you are aspiring PR professionals – so give me your 140 character pitch.Ok – let’s start. Anybody want to go first?
These are the areas I will cover today…please save Qs until the end. Unfortunately, I have to be back at my office at 2pm to do #CMGRchat.
So last year, PRSA led a crowdsourcing campaign to modernize the definition of public relations.If I read this definition, it is no different than what I do as Director of Social Media. I hope to build mutually beneficial relationships between the iSchool and our ‘publics’ which would be our students, alumni, donors, partners, parents, etc.This definition of Public Relations is essentially the reason we use social media. Social Media is just a modern communication tool in your PR toolkit, but one that is essential for you to master and growing in importance.Q for you: Do any of you foresee a career for yourselves in PR where you are NOT using social media?In my opinion, and I’m by no means a PR professional – but PR professionals currently seeking jobs would be hard-pressed to find employment without social media skills. So when you’re a student, how do you make that happen? That’s just something for you to think about as we go throughout this presentation today.
PR professionals know how to tell a story. That’s what you’re taught. How to pitch stories, how to write press releases.With the increasingly greater reliance on social media to get your message out, you need to rely on what is now called ‘brand journalism’ or ‘content marketing.’This is nothing more than creating the stories that you will share with the public about your brand. The difference between social PR and traditional PR is, you used to tell your story to a limited audience of executives, media professionals and maybe shareholders. Now you tell your story to your community, to your brand advocates, to the public at large…everyone that is consuming social media.You relied on the media to tell the stories for you. Now – you can tell those stories yourself via social media.The stories have changed too. They have to be more transparent, more honest, more written for an informed public than the C-suite. Corporate speak doesn’t work in social media. You have to respect your audience and talk to them in their own language.Social and Visual content needs to be compelling. It will be wise for you to develop skills outside of writing. These are some of the skills you might want to add to your storytelling toolkit. In your 1-year intensive PR masters program, it might not be possible to take all of the classes you would like to, so At the bottom I’ve listed two pretty good video training sites that are fairly inexpensive and stream content live and on demand. GA has a 14-day free trial where you can access everything. It’s worth taking a look at.
I’ll be you all can write. What a plus that is. It has been my experience that many, many students lack writing skills, and that is going to hurt them in the job search and beyond. But you guys don’t have to worry about that.Writing skills are the basic, most essential skill of social media professionals. If you can’t write, you will not be successful.
PR aims to be relevant and timely, targeting their pitches to specific audiences. This is exactly what social media will help you do.By immersing yourself in social media, by LISTENING to your public (I can’t stress enough how important LISTENING is) you get to know what your customers want, what they love and what they’re complaining about. If you’re not listening you’re missing out. The conversations are going on whether or not you are there to listen. Smart PR Professionals will listen in, create relationships and build bridges and communities for their brands and for themselves. There are excellent tools at all price points for listening, and it would be wise of you to have a handle on what those tools are, and be familiar with how to use them. Most social media and community management professionals I know use either Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Enterprise level users may have a tool like Radian 6. There are tools that match every level of expertise and size of brand ~ but they all allow you to listen into the conversations that are taking place around your brand.
PR is all about building relationships with people – people who can help tell your story. In the past, these relationships were often built using telephone and email – and a lot of that has now been replaced by social media. But you can reach a MUCH wider audience and buid many, many more relationships than would ever before have been possible.Here’s an example. I pride myself on building relationships with people in my field and people at companies where my students might want to work. And sometimes those two overlap. I do this through my personal account. Today I heard from a recent grad who had just applied to a job that sounds like it was made for her. She emailed me to see if I knew anyone at the company (a major broadcast network) and would be willing to reach out to them for her.I did know one person, albeit vaguely, but we are aware of each other on twitter. So I tweeted at this person who had share the open position, said I’ve got someone perfect for the job, can I email you? He said yes and my student is now on his radar. This is how social media works. Unless you’re dealing with Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, people want to connect, they generally want to help each other. You just have to be willing to reach out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with gold just because I tried.Building relationships is natural for PR professionals, and social media just gives you a wider network within which to build those relationships.IN THE END, IT’S ALL ABOUT TRUST. BY BEING RELIABLE, HONEST AND GENEROUS ON SOCIAL MEDIA – YOU CAN BECOME A TRUSTED INDUSTRY RESOURCE.
THIS IS A POSITION YOU HOPE YOU’RE NEVER IN, BUT AS A COMMUNICATIONS PROFESSIONAL – YOU CAN COUNT ON IT.I REMEMBER thinking in my first year running the social media for Syracuse Univesity – ITS ALWAYS SOMETHING!!UNLIKE YOU, I WASN’T TRAINED IN PR – I LEARNED THE HARD WAY HOW THESE THINGS WORK.PRESS RELEASES DON’T WORK FOR SOCIAL MEDIA CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS.RESPONSES NEED TO BE SWIFT – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT NEEDS TO BE EVEN SWIFTER - RESPONSES NEED TO BE MADE ON THE SAME CHANNEL WHERE THE CRISIS IS OCCURRING (IE IT DOES NO GOOD TO INFLAME A FB GROUP THAT ISN’T TALKING ABOUT THE ‘CRISIS’ HAPPENING ON TWITTER BY POSTING A RESPONSE THERE). AND POSTING A PRESS RELEASE ON YOUR WEBSITE TO A CRISIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING YOU CAN DO.THIS IS ANOTHER REASON WHY PR PROFESSIONALS SHOUD BE RUNNING SOCIAL MEDIA – OR AT THE VERY LEAST, TRAINING THOSE WHO ARE ON THE FRONT LINES.
PR has always been about finding out what the consumer is thinking. In the past, it relied a lot on focus groups…a tedious, sometimes costly, lengthy process of gathering data from real people, usually in person.Now – Twitter can be your focus group. Facebook can be a focus group. 24/7 you can ask questions, engage in conversations, gather data and really put your finger on the pulse of what your ‘public’ is thinking and feeling.
If you’re doing social media for a brand, you need to plan in advance…know what’s on the horizon. What are the events that people talk about on social media that your brand could engage on? Awards shows? Conferences? Product launches?Planning and scheduling in advance are crucial. You can get in on an existing hashtag, of if you’re a big enough brand you can create your own. It’s a judgement call.Don’t just share links to your own content or products. Share content from others – that’s how you add value – that’s how you become a trusted source of information.Don’t just push out information either – ask and answer questions, engage in conversations, provide feedback and commentary. Be an active participant.
I often have people ask me to share information from an email that is a page and half long. That doesn’t work.Let everyone you work with know that content must be shareable on the web. I’m a big fan of landing pages, they’re easy to create. If you don’t have the resources to create lots of landing pages, try checkthis.com – where you can create socially shareable posters – great for events of all kinds.Press Releases should be crafted with the understanding that they will get the most views – not on your website – but by being shared via social media.To that end – Make sure your titles are tweetable – include photos and/or video. Make it more story-telling than announcing ~ use a less formal voice.Press releases have gotten a bad name because of their formal nature. They are still relevant, but their usefulness lies in how well they can be shared around the web.
Since your blog is generally your only ‘owned’ social property – make it your home base.Many companies have gotten rid of the newsroom full of press releases in favor of a blog full of stories. This solves many problems in one fell swoop.A blog is generally less formal, getting rid of the notion of the hyper formal press release. A blog is likely to come up higher in search results because it is updated often.The most important reason to make your blog your home base is that you have control over it, unlike social channels like twitter, facebook, tumblr and all the rest who can change the rules, settings and even disappear altogether. Blogs are social sharing engines. Make sure all the relevant sharing buttons are available to your readers.Look for blog content to be picked up in search and by subscribers and shared out on other media channels.
One of my favorite ways to find content is through the app Zite. Flipboard is similar, and Pulse News as well.Theses sites are fully customizable in terms of topics and sources, and they feed you more news based on your interests ~ they get to know you better over time and become a really great way of curating content.Now that Google Reader is gone, Feedly is the best way to track your RSS Feeds. Does everyone know what Google Reader was?Again – curating great content from others is a way to Get Noticed, Add Value, and become a trusted resource. This goes for personal as well as branded accounts.
LinkedIn has grown from approximately 25 million users when I joined in 2008 to 238 Million in the last quarter. That is amazing growth.How many have complete LinkedIn profiles?How many have 100 connections? 500? More?You should all have a presence on LinkedIn and be creating keyword rich profiles that increase your chances of being found in a search. LinkedIn is not just for jobseekers – it is the biggest professional networking site in the world.It is also one of the worlds biggest social sharing platforms. Grow your network and increase relevance on LinkedIn by sharing great content, engaging in conversations in LinkedIn groups, providing recommendations (not endorsements) for great people you have worked with or for (they are likely to return the favor).Your alumni network is a great place to start – the SU Alumni Network on LinkedIn now has more than 30,000 members. A great place to start growing your network.
Community is a big buzzword today. While online communities have been in existence a long time – they have evolved from forums and message boards to custom community platforms and social media groups/fans/followers/friends.For BRANDS: Building community is important because you need a group of loyal fans to help you spread your messages, provide you with feedback and have your back when something goes wrong. How you treat your community will be noticed. And rewarded or criticized.Let’s take two examples from twitter.. Jet Blue. Just awarded Best in Customer Service on Social Media. They are absolutely fantastic. Of course, they have a team of 26 people working on social media. But they allow their social media people to do everything that their call center does – booking and cancelling flights – providing information on flight status. They tweet like real people talk – they will reach out to you if you mention them – whether negatively or positively. They’re fun and upbeat and they have a huge following of loyal fans – almost 2 million of them on twitter – compared to a much larger airline like Delta that has 505,000 followers.Then there’s Time Warner Cable – a company that everyone loves to hate, especially on social media. While they try to help, they clearly don’t have enough people to handle all the complaints, and you end up being sent to their call center, which is no one’s idea of a good time. There is no loyal fan base for Time Warner Cable ~ and that hurts their public relations.For your own brand – you can follow the same kinds of tips I have shared for brands. But for PR professionals, creating relationships with journalists is KEY – and those journalists are mining twitter for stories ~ so it’s a match made in heaven.Create twitter lists of journalists and build relationships with them over time. TIME IS KEY – A Community is NOT Built overnight. It’s built one relationship at a time. And the ROI may not be apparent at first. But if you stick with it and are seen as a generous, trusted, reliable source – you, your brand, company or agency will be rewarded.
PR and Social Media: Two Things That Go Great Together
Questions to be answered
Why are PR and Social Media Inseperable?
How can PR Professionals can use SM Wisely?
Why build a community around yourself or your
How can I build community on social channels?
“Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds
mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their
Develop Skills in Social and
Writing skills are necessary for:
• Blog posts
• Status Updates
• Video scripts
• Tag Lines
• LI Company Page copy
LISTENING in Social Media is of
• Sprout Social
• Radian 6
Get to know what your
customers need and want from
you via social media. Get
involved in the conversation.
PR PROFESSIONALS ARE
TRAINED IN CRISIS
• Clear Message
• Continued Updates
• Audience & Platform Specific
Twitter is your new
Using social media wisely
Get in on the conversation
Using social media wisely
Make Everything You Create Shareable
Craft press releases with social sharing in mind
Using social media wisely
Make your blog your home base
Using social media wisely
Use news aggregation sites and apps for relevant
Using social media wisely
LinkedIn is HUGE
Growing a Community
For your Brand
Combining the two
Connect with me
LinkedIn,Twitter, Google+, Instagram,
Check out InfoSpace.