Friday, November 6, 2015

Socializing 101--Navigating Social Media Never Never Land (Part 1)

It seems like every time I turn around, a new form of social media pops up. Whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Vine—oh my goodness the list could go on for days. It can easily become overwhelming to keep up with what’s going on where, how frequently to check what, and where to post your message. It’d be nice if a Social Media fairy was available to take whatever content you had and drop it off at the door of the most appropriate platform, with the right tone, at the right time. I wish! Unfortunately, none of us are any type of modern day Cinderella (bummer, I know) and there is no Social Media Fairy God Mother. So what’s a public relations professional to do?

Social media is constantly evolving. However, there are a few tips and tricks I have discovered that I believe could help any communications professional navigate through Social Media Never Never Land. Since there are so many different platforms, let’s start with the big 3 and if you’re lucky (you will be), we can cover a couple more less prevalent ones in another post.

  •  LinkedIn is a professional networking site. Here you will find people in all stages of their career from college students to CEOs looking to connect with other professionals. It’s a great place to post any company or client news that you may have. It’s also a good place to post articles related to your professional industry. LinkedIn has tons of groups that are dedicated to any and every industry/topic that you can think of. I would suggest that you find groups that relate to your profession and your client’s industries and join those. It’s a great place to find out industry news, contribute content, interact with like-minded professionals and get your client in front of the right people. LinkedIn also recently rolled out LinkedIn Pulse—a new professional blog element to the platform. Here you can post your own original content, follow other professionals in addition to Influencers (this would be the equivalent of being “verified” on Twitter.) When it comes to what and how you post on this networking site, err on the side of professional. Keep it career focused and not too casual. This is essentially the boardroom of social media platforms.

  •   Twitter is so multi-dimensional. It’s funny, it’s serious, it’s coy, it’s playful, it’s mean. Twitter has Multiple Personality Disorder. There, I said it. Any and everybody is on Twitter, saying any and everything, which makes it difficult to navigate, while at the same time, difficult to really mess up. In my previous blog we covered how to interact with reporters on Twitter and make yourself stand out to get your client’s message received. Obviously, all of those things still reign true here. Twitter is very relaxed and conversational. It updates by the second so there really is no such thing as tweeting too much. Unless of course it’s all you ever do. In that case, back away from the blue bird. While Twitter does have an “anything goes” type of feel, it’s important to remain civil. I see so many reporters and other professionals ranting and posting inappropriate and snide things, and in the end, it can taint your professional persona. When it comes to tweeting, keep it casual, but keep it civilized. 

  •  Facebook is a tricky beast. Especially since your Grandma and first grade teacher are on there. While it originated as a networking site for college students, everyone can attest to the fact that it’s become an overcrowded party where no one is willing to leave early due to a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Unless your company is focused on B2C, looking to hire or needs some assistance from outside of the professional world, I’d suggest limiting the professional content you post on Facebook. Mainly because not only will you probably not see much result from your efforts, but also not many people would care…other than your Grandma, of course.

In theory, social media in the PR world should be as simple as being social. I mean, we are trained communicators after all! Unfortunately for us, even Cinderella’s Fairy God Mother couldn’t save her from losing that designer shoe. When it comes to PR knowing the who, what, when, where and why of social media just comes with jumping right in. And of course, a blog or two…

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