Find Your Peeps. These are Your New Influencers

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When you ask someone who is the greatest influence in their life, he or she often names family members, friends, celebrities or athletes, just to name a few. But what companies and public relations professionals must realize is that anyone can be of influence to them. According to an article on the Mashable Business website, the internet and digital media make it possible for people to showcase themselves, their abilities, beliefs and passions. Yes, companies, advertisements and mainstream media still have an effect on society, but one person can make a difference also.

Many organizations and PR personnel are worried about gaining follower and likes, but did they ever think about following or liking other people’s pages or posts? Social and digital media is a two way relationship.  What PR professionals should do is find digital media users who are talking about things that are relevant to their client or organization. Public relations professionals do not have to create the trends, they just have to find them and then use those to reach out to the people in the digital media world.

I know that this has been said over and over, but social media is nothing but an ongoing conversation.  The organizations that realize that will be the most successful. A company’s social media outlets cannot be an ongoing advertisement or consumers will ignore it, like they do T.V. commercial and internet ads. Organizations need to do their research; see what people in the industry are talking about. What do consumers want to know? What is trending right now and how can it be incorporated into our personal brand? These are just a few questions that an organization should ask itself before publishing on social media. Then use the information they find to start up a conversation on sites like Twitter or Facebook. Ask a question in status update or a tweet, instead of just sharing information or ask for feedback.

Another tactic to consider is to give consumers a reason to talk about your organization or client. For example, social media users are more likely to say something about a product if they are given free samples. An organization may have a great product, but the idea of the product must be accepted first. Victoria Secret realized this and used Pinterest to reach out to fans. The company is running a contest that calls for anyone to pin pictures of themselves in PINK summer apparel. The lady with the best photo gets a $500 shopping spree. This has two advantages; one, it is free modeling. Victoria’s Secret does not have to pay these girls to model their clothes and two; the interactivity between Victoria’s secret and their customers is always a solid foundation for customer service.

In today’s society anyone can be an influence. We just have to be open-minded and use our imagination. An organization should use what their “peeps” are talking about to reach out to consumers. By doing this they will create a more personal an interactive relationship with consumers.

Source: 5 key trends supercharging today’s digital PR

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Need a vacation from social media?

Social media is not just a trend. It is here to stay and for a long time. Social media has changed communication all around the world. For many people social media is a part of their daily lives. Social media has become a part of journalism, advertising, politics and even every day conversation. It has evolved rapidly and before we even knew it, we were consumed. Many people think that our society is too caught up in technology and social media gets caught up in that assumption. Social media does not necessarily have a negative effect on people or organizations, but social media is a full-time job. Now the question is:  how do you get away from social media? It is not like other jobs where you can take a weeklong vacation, that’s for sure.  But there is hope! According to PR Daily, there are four things you can do to make taking time off and managing social media possible.

First, let’s start with a no-brainer; multiple people should have access to all of an organization’s accounts. This means that you should not be the only one with the Login ID and passwords. This sounds like common sense, but some people may not think of this when only one person manages a social media account or even all social media accounts. The article suggested that the head of social media should make a chart listing each social media outlet; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, just to name a few, and then specify the Login ID and password for each. It is a very simple idea, but it will be very useful.

Next, PR Daily suggests that we “Set Expectations.” The article simply states that whether you are going on vacation or only going to be out of town for long weekend you should let the social media followers know. Followers and fans are human too so they will understand. Everyone needs to get away every once in a while. Compose a tweet or create a status stating when you leave, when you return and if you will be replying at all while you are away. Details are not necessary. You’re followers and fans will respect the fact that you took the time to notify them of your absence. This tip is probably my favorite of the four because I believe that it is truly effective. Social media is all about conversation and the reason social media is so effective is because it gives organizations the opportunity to interact with fans and customers on a new personal level. You will tell the people in your office that you are going to be on vacation, so why not tell the fans and followers on social media? You interact with these people on a daily basis so they deserve to know what is going on. And it keeps the conversation going at a somewhat personal level.

“Find a backup” is the third tip. The title is self-explanatory; find someone to do your job while you are gone. This is probably what most organizations will do and it is a good idea because it is not really a vacation if you have to check your smartphone or laptop the entire time you are on vacation. Personally, I would not like this because I am a bit of a control freak. It would have to be someone that I really trusted and I knew was capable of representing the organization in the same way that I would.

PR Daily’s last tip is “Have a plan for monitoring.” You can let people know that you will be gone for a few days, but what happens if a crisis occurs? You have to be able to communicate with fans and followers yourself or allow someone else in the organization to do that job. This is a great idea because you never know what is going to happen and in the case of a crisis people want a response and answers immediately.

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Source: How to take a vacation in the age of social media

PR is Not Always Glamorous!

On Facebook I posted an article from PR Daily about how Public Relations is a one of the most stressful jobs there is. I believe this article because right now I am stressed just with school. And the scary part is: we are not even in the “real world” yet. I am not second guessing my career choice or changing my mind, but I will say that it is a little intimidating after reading this article. The article even says that one study named it the seventh most stressful job.  Out of all of the possible career choices, doctor, lawyer, police, etc. public relations is seventh. Wow. It amazes me and frightens me at the same time.

Fortunately, I work well under pressure. I am very good at not procrastinating, like many other college students, but I will not have control over everything when I start my career. Part of public relations is reacting. A lot of the work public relations professionals do is repairing damages and reconstructing plans in the aftermath of an unfortunate event. Public relations professionals do just clean up messes all the time, but that is the kind of stuff that you need to prepare yourself for. Everyone loves being surprised with good new, but no one wants to suddenly find out bad news and then have to go into crisis mode to fix whatever the damages were done.

That is the “real world,” of public relations, but what about the students that aspire to be public relations professionals? I know that I am stressed and I know that many students would agree with me. We have your typical homework; papers and projects, but we also have to worry about finding internships or jobs, keeping up with social media, networking and much more. In the end, it will all be great experience for us, but right now we are on overload and reading an article like this is not very optimistic. Although, personally, I want to know the truth. If this is my chosen career path, I want to have an idea of what I am getting myself into. I do not want to find out that public relations is not for me after I spend four years in college studying for it. If it is a stressful job, I need to know so this article was a reality check for me. Like I said, I am not considering changing my major or career path, but this article gave me and idea of what to expect from the field.

There are many of great things about the field so don’t get me wrong. I know that it will be overwhelming at times, but I believe that it can also be very rewarding. Public relations professionals put a lot of time and effort into their projects and tasks and seeing the results is a tremendously rewarding thing.

Source: 6 Reason PR is so Stressful