Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Social Media Revolution and Public Relations

In our PR Central and PRSSA meetings tonight we had the privilege to hear recent Central Michigan graduate Rachel Esterline, Social Media Specialist for AGP & Associates, Inc. and founder of the Great Lakes Bay Region Social Media Club, talk about how important of a tool social media is becoming to run a successful campaign for any kind of client. Whether it be starting a Facebook page or opening a Twitter account, clients need to become involved in the conversation.

One aspect that she touched on, which really resonated with me because of personal experience, is having to convince clients to make the leap into the social media world. Many of the clients we, as young PR professionals, work with are from a generation that didn't grow up with the Internet like we did. Some might have a social media account but aren't engaging with it because they don't fully understand the concept of it, some might have heard of social media but don't understand what it can do for them and their company, and others might not have even heard of the social media concept at all. What we need to do for our clients, wherever they are on the social media understanding scale, is educate them on the benefits of social media and encourage them to make the leap.

The thought of losing control over what is being said, Rachel explained, was one of the biggest fears companies have about transitioning into social media. However, if we can show our clients that a conversation about them is being had on various social media platforms whether they are involved in it or not, we can convince them that it is in their best interest to get in there and start engaging in this conversation.

Rachel also shared some advice that she collected from some of her PR professional contacts, and I'd like to pass that advice along:

Top Advice for Young PR Professionals

  • "Question everything. Don't just consume information. You will learn more by asking questions than researching and people will respect you more for asking the right questions. If you understand what it is you are trying to communicate you will be a better communicator and more valuable to your organization." - Allen Schoenberg, Director of Corporate Communications at CME Group

  • "Be memorable. There are so many great, talented PR pros out there - to be successful you really have to find your niche and stand out. Figure out what makes you different and memorable, and own it - really excel at it. This could be a particular affinity for social media, a knack for graphic design, or a flair for fashion PR - anything you're passionate about. Be memorable or you'll blend in with the crowd and be forgettable." - Lara Kretler, Vice President and Social Media Lead at Fahlgren Mortine

  • "PR is a profession of relentless change, so it favors the relentlessly curious. Tweet. Blog. Dabble in HTML. Speak in front of a group - any group - especially if it terrifies you. If you lean to the left, watch Fox News from time to time. If you lean to the right, try MSNBC. If you're apathetic, fix that." - Mike Pilarz, Senior Associate in Burson-Marsteller Chicago's Technology Practice

  • "Don't burn bridges. While the world of PR may seem quite large, it is actually fairly small - social media has played a huge role in that. Stay positive ans stay connected." - Erin Pope, Media Relations Specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital
And one last note to end this post on: Rachel also shared this video with us. If you're just getting into social media or if you've been involved for a while, it's interesting to watch. These facts will blow you away and reiterate how important it is to get involved in the conversation. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Melissa - I'm glad to see that you gained some insight on social media through my presentation. I hope you can make it to the next Social Media Club meeting. Since you are a blogger too, I think you will enjoy it.