Sunday, November 29, 2009

Public Relations and Social Media Expertise
By Ashley Bower

According to a study in Los Angeles (2009) public relations professionals are taking the lead in managing the organization’s use of social media communication channels, and social media skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills when searching for and hiring public relations professionals. New media and social media communication skills are top qualifiers in today’s hiring by decision makers according to Eric Schwartzman.
According to the 2009 Digital Readiness Report, Essential Online Public Relations and Marketing Skills:
· When searching for prospective new hires, social media communications skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills.
· Public relations leads marketing in the management and oversight of all social media communications channels within the organization.
· Marketing leads public relations in the management and oversight of bulk email communications and search engine optimization.
· Social networking, blogging and micro-blogging skills are the three most important social media communications skills for job candidates to have, according to public relations and marketing hiring decision makers.
· Most organizations are considering hiring social media specialist. (registration is required).
With the rise in social media, public relations practicitioners must now be efficient if not on the cutting edge of new social medias. Social media is the newest way to reach an audience or target public. It is especially important when members of the intended public are less than thrilled or satisfied with the product or service. Public relations specialists are now in a position to monitor these sites and social media to discover what improvements can be made as well as what pleases the audience.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Innovative Social Media Ideas for the Small Business

The Digital Information Age is here to stay. When FaceBook and MySpace mania began, many speculated on it’s short shelf life but it has proven itself to be here for the long run. Emerging online medias, online social networks and the influx in recent mobile Internet technologies allow information to be delivered in real time. Consumers can purchase a product or service and immediately comment on their experiences to anyone online through the use of mobile online applications. Blogs, micro-messaging systems (Twitter), chatrooms, social networking websites, and E-zines can all be significant sources of information and should be used as public relations tools for small business.

In Washington D.C., CoCo Sala, a small restaurant, monitors tweets posted that include it’s name. If the Tweet is unsatisfactory, managers contact the sender and attempt to reconcile their relationship.

Creating mobile applications for cellular phones that support those capabilities is another innovative use of social media for the small business. A mobile phone application can include important vital information to potential customers such as directions, business hours and information on product sales.

TGIFridays, a national restaurant chain, aired commercials nationally with a spokesperson named Woody. Commercials called for viewers to go online and become FaceBook friends with Woody. The first 500,000 users to friend Woody received a coupon for a free Jack Daniels Burger. Currently Woody has over 900,000 friends and counting on FaceBook. TGIF is hosting events around the country at local restaurants where Woody will make an appearance.

Social media provides small businesses the chance to be innovative and creative in the new Digital Information Age. Consumers and online users are all vying for the chance to participate and interact online with businesses and other users alike. Jumping on board the social media bandwagon is a surefire way to increase customer loyalty and increase notoriety.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What every Public Relations practitioner should know about social media

What every Public Relations practitioner should know about social media

As a college student, it has always been very important to me to keep up with all of my friends and family. We all know that this task can be challenging with busy schedules, It is also difficult to keep in touch with friends and family back home when you live over 150 miles away. Very few people are going to take the time to text or call all of their acquaintances. This is where social media come in. Thanks to sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter we can let all of our friends and family know what the latest news is with the click of just one button.

With so many social media sites popping up today, users are likely to choose the outlet that is most convenient and fun, as well as the site that all of their acquaintances are using. But what are the most popular social media sites? According to, the top five social media sites for marketing use and popularity are (in order) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, and Digg.

In other big news, it was recently announced by AddToAny (the makers of a widget that allows users to share content in multiple social media sites at one time) that Facebook had jumped substantially ahead of e-mail as the all time most popular way to share content over the web.

What does all of this mean for the public relations practitioner? The most important thing that should be gathered from this information is the at the social media landscape is constantly changing. If you choose to launch a campaign using social media, it can be very affective if properly targeted toward the correct audience. For example, Facebook gives the opportunity for the public relations practitioner to target a specific group of people using fan pages and groups.

An example of my own use of this tool would be my subscription to the Taste of Home magazine. Once I started to subscribe, they suggested that I should be a fan of their page on Facebook. I accepted the offer and now I can interact with the very people who make the magazine. They regularly post different recipes and news content to the magazine fan page. This then shows up on my Facebook news feed every time I log in. Taste of Home's utilization of social media has ensured that I and many subscribers like me, stay connected to the magazine.

For more information about social media, please visit:

"Social Networks: Facebook takes over top spot, Twitter climbs"

Facebook Statistics

Further examples of Public Relations through social media: "Airlines follow passengers onto social media sites"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Like, OMG, LOL...did you read her status this morning?!

What are you doing right now? …How do you feel? …What’s on your mind?

These probes are just a few of the vast array of thought provokers amidst the ever-popular and growing group of social media “status” prompts. 

As defined by Joseph Thornley, social media is:

…online communications in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author. To do this, they use social software that enables anyone without knowledge of coding, to post, comment on, share or mash up content and to form communities around shared interests”.

The leading examples of Social Media nowadays are Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Other Social Media web sites that are often used, yet have not created as much of an impact as these top three are:,,, and

As stated in the above definition, Social Media web sites offer a wide array of possible “things-to-do”. Upon having created an account, these web sites allow a user to create a personal profile, find and add “friends”, upload pictures, comment on friend’s pictures, send an e-mail type message or instant message…and the list just keeps going! Basically, Social Media web sites allow users to communicate (!). Whether it be positive or negative communication is an entire different article to be written…and featured… on the front page of The New York Times.

 For public relations, these Social Media have opened up countless doors for the PR practitioner and her world. Allowing her to keep in contact with several different persons, she can observe her clients target public through their own personal Social Media web site profile, or develop and maintain a profile for her client.

Benefits received by a public relations practitioner from using these web sites are as follows:

  •      Easily and readily accessible in the case that any edits and/or updates need to be administered
  •      Highly interactive, thus allowing her to involve her clients target public and be able to quickly respond to whatever input they give
  •      Option to mix one certain media with another - say mixing your clients web site with videos of their accomplishments, pictures of their employees and audio of a speech given by the CEO at an awards ceremony
  •      The ease with which a public relations practitioner can publish a piece of collateral for her client…without having to plead with a reporter for just bare-minimal coverage
  •      Ability to provide as much information as desired…since there is no space or surface area capacities, the sky really is the limit when it comes to Social Media web site design and layout.

From a personal standpoint, I too use these Social Media web sites. Although I only have two main accounts (Facebook and MySpace) within the realm of thousands of web site profile possibilities, I spend enough time just maintaining these two. In a sense, I do use my profiles for personal “public relations” matters; however, I keep all exported information balanced, appropriate, beneficial and positive upon my personal image…err…brand!



 For more information on the leading Social Media networking web sites and/or the benefits to using these web sites, visit:


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Social Media Trends: What’s Ahead for Public Relations?

Social Media Trends: What’s Ahead for Public Relations?

By Lauren Floyd

If you want to be included in the social media phenomena all that is required of you is to get out of bed in the morning. Our world, be it professional or personal, is inundated with the ever-booming social media trend. Be it Twitter ‘tweets,’ or Facebook posts, our communication is becoming more reliant on social media tools by the hour.

So what’s this mean for public relations professionals? David Armano of has predicted six social media trends for 2010, and how these trends will affect corporate life. Let’s look these trends in the context of public relations, and see how public relation professionals should consider the future of social media.

  1. The first trend addressed by Armano is that as the popularity of groups within social media tools and the ability to filter information grows, the very foundation of “social” media becomes more exclusive. Social media technology is allowing people to become more discerning in the information they let in. PR professionals should be sensitive of this. As social media technology expands, so should our creativity in engaging our audience. They can turn us off faster than we can say “tweet.”
  2. The second trend is broad utilization of social media as a way of effectively managing customer service. PR professionals can use social media as a way of effectively managing public service or awareness. Find out what people are saying about your company or client and be proactive. Features in social media tools allow you to search key words, allowing you find out what people are saying and then personally respond.
  3. Third, there is a growing trend in incentive-based participation, primarily with virtual incentives. This could be a great way for PR professionals to more actively engage its audience.
  4. More businesses are implementing social media policies, including those relating to conduct. PR professionals should absolutely have set policy guideline in place if using social media. We thrive on strategy, and developing guidelines for social media use is essential for effective utilization.
  5. Expanding technology is allowing mobile access to social media sites. The iPhone, for example, has applications for many social sites, including Facebook and Twitter, that allows quick access to these sites. Armano sites that 70 percent of organizations are banning participation in social media sites while at work, so more people are relying on mobile access to these sites. He thus predicts that mobile access will increase in use and sophistication. I infer from this information that people are consistent in their social media use… and quick about it too if such use isn’t allowed. If trying to engage publics, especially during the day, keep in mind that postings and other information should be quickly consumable.
  6. Finally, sharing is on the rise. Sharing is basically just passing information along, such as news articles, and is a function added by businesses or organizations that makes it easier to for publics to do. This is a pretty obvious application to public relations. Encourage ‘sharing’ of information by adding this function to social media endeavors.

If you have to pick just one, I recommend at least using social media to find out what people are saying about you or your client. I’ve witnessed this kind of social media use, specifically with Twitter, and being able to respond personally to a member of your public is beyond valuable. It puts the personal touch on “social” media.

For more details on Armano’s Six Social Media Trends for 2010, visit

Here are some more great resources for recent social media information.

Photo retrieved from s

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reaching Millions in One Act: The relevance of social media in public relations.

Social media is rapidly becoming one of the fastest, easiest and most convenient ways for businesses or any type of organization to reach its target publics, audiences and stakeholders. The variety and availability of numerous social media outlets can make maintaining and keeping various social media accounts up-to-date a menial task for public relations practitioners. Social media can be defined as any media outlet that allows interaction, response, or flexibility in the sharing of information. Social media is the beginning of a shift in how people discover, share or read news, information and content.

The effort of maintaining complex social media relationships is well worth the hard work and time in exchange for the rewarding contacts and networking it provides. Companies like Comcast and Jet Blue Airways have actually created new positions within their company, social media specialists, to accommodate consumer’s demands for contact through social media outlets (

Social media provides a way for consumers to have a dialog with one another and allows organizations to have one with consumers as well.

Social media include social networking websites such as FaceBook, MySpace and Linkedin. Twitter, a micro-messaging system, and blogging forums are also well known social media outlets. Companies such as BF Goodrich have created applications for mobile devices as a part of social media campaigns ( Regardless of platform, social media has the same serious implications as any other form. Libel and slander are two real serious situations facing any media outlet, regardless of its initial purpose (

Personal use of social media is as diverse as the availability of social media outlets. Personal use could be based towards work-related contexts, romantic relationship contexts, connecting over shared interests or worldviews, or school relation contexts. I personally do not use any social media outlets unless required by my academic classes. I don’t have the time to keep up to date with existing social networks much less the time to keep up with virtual or online social networks ( I do, however, understand the importance of social media and the implications of it in the public relations field. All forms of social media provides an unique and engaging way of communicating with consumers and stakeholders, yet, there are a few things social media cannot do. Check out this list of 10 things Social Media Can’t Do, (, to remind yourself that no matter what, nothing beats a good old fashioned strong marketing strategy.