Is social media creating competition for PR professionals?

May 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Whilst the possibilities for forms of PR stretch far and wide, social media is becoming a huge part of PR due to the amount of time and the number of people on social media websites. Because social media is a fairly new concept it has allowed a huge amount of people to learn the workings of sites like Facebook and Twitter and offer themselves as ‘social media experts’.

Whilst some of these social media experts come from a PR background and know how both PR and social media work, others are simply comfortable with the ins and outs of social media sites yet have no real idea of how PR works.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube offer great information on how to get started, add this to the huge number of social media for business guides on the internet and it’s clear why so many people think they are able to offer something to businesses.

The reality is however that they need to know how PR works to really effectively work an online campaign as chances are they will approach customers in the wrong way. There is nothing stopping these people from learning about PR though and then they will be able to compete with existing PR professionals.

There is a big difference between what a PR professional does and what someone who purely works on the internet does. There is still no substitute for speaking face to face and this is what will be missed. Whilst ‘social media experts’ can possibly offer a fair level of PR online, you pay for what you get as they say and you really will get a lot more from someone who is experienced in both areas and not just slightly knowledgeable in one.

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PR for Businesses using Twitter

May 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Twitter is a great social media platform for such a wide range of people. I’ve talked about how relevant it is for PR students and how they can benefit from it but businesses can also massively benefit from using Twitter for PR purposes.

Twitter is the first real platform for businesses to communicate with their customers on more than a one to one basis. It makes it much easier for them to communicate events and offers to the people who will be interested in them and it’s also much less intrusive than emailing.

Another advantage of using Twitter is that it is of course free. Businesses without a PR department have the option of outsourcing their Twitter activity or the better option is to learn how to do it themselves through one of the many social media courses on offer or online. The quick, simple nature of Twitter means that small businesses can make updates regularly and easily to keep people informed.

Another great advantage of Twitter is that it isn’t one way. Whilst businesses can communicate with their customers and other contacts for that matter, they can also communicate back with them through Twitter too. This lets customers give feedback on products, events and offers.

This can also act as a disadvantage though as people can make comments which are negative as well as positive. There is no moderation for businesses on the comments made about them and their services or products so it is important that they are truthful with customers and don’t keep things hidden.

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Media Student’s Media Use

May 2, 2011 Leave a comment

In looking at our use of media I interviewed my fellow student Jamie on what media he watched/read etc each week. Before this Jamie interviewed me and not surprisingly we found we looked at similar things.

Jamie’s TV viewing time wasn’t particularly high with him watching almost the same programmes each week with only slight variations. This is probably due to a combination of things which a lot of current students will share.

Jamie’s TV viewing included Top Gear, football and cricket which at least one of the three would remain consistent across 18-30 year old males. He also watches Coronation Street whilst I watch Eastenders. This type of programme is more down to parenting than gender and most people of our generation were brought up on one of the two main soaps.

Our radio and newspaper consumption were almost identical with both of us listening to BBC Radio 1 and reading The Sun, The Guardian and our respective local newspapers. Again this is down to our generation being brought up on BBC Radio 1 and our variation of newspapers is more down to our media studies degree.

Like most people of our generation we both spend a considerable amount of time per day on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube as well as getting most of our news from the BBC website.

Both me and Jamie could only remember a few TV adverts but unsurprisingly they were both male aimed adverts in Fosters and John Smiths.

It was really interesting to see how our media use was so similar and as we spoke about it, it became clear the reasons why it was so similar. We both mentioned how we were brought up on certain soaps and other programmes and how they stuck with us. We also both mentioned how our social media and newspaper use was much greater than it would be because we were both media students.

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Using Facebook as a business

May 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Facebook has become the most visited social networking site on the internet bar none and is only second in the overall website rankings to Google. This makes Facebook a very appealing platform for PR to be used by businesses and organisations.

As a brand or organisation though, using Facebook can be really damaging if it isn’t used properly. What the groups need to do is keep the people who follow them interested in between their purchase, visit or whatever it might be. what too many businesses do is flood their fans with endless streams of information.

When the fans are constantly flooded with useless information they will either unlike the page or hide it from their news feed which means when the business does have something useful it won’t be seen by a lot of interested people.

When businesses and organisations use Facebook for PR purposes they should apply a quality and not quantity approach. This approach should be with both the content they publish but also with the followers they have.

Content should be limited to things which will directly interest or benefit the followers and not just semi related releases which have little relevance to the brand.

The number of followers for a page is often something which businesses become overly concerned with. Offering free items is not likely to increase sales or interest in the page or business, it is more likely to attract more followers who are just there to get something for nothing.

Businesses who start their social media campaign with a thought out plan which will benefit their fans and keep them interested in between purchases/visits etc are more likely to see beneficial results.

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Five things I learnt this week from reading PR blogs

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I previously looked at how useful Twitter is for PR students and personally I found that it could provide a great way of building an online presence and connecting with possible future employers. After finding how useful Twitter can be I decided to look at other PR blogs to see what else I might learn.

1. I first read a post by Stuart Bruce who offered a wake up call to PR professionals. With this new generation so caught up on the use of social media and other online activities, we begin to neglect what we do or used to do offline. Stuart’s main message is that to be a PR professional you can’t concentrate solely on online or social media activities. To offer clients the best possible service you have to be able to work across the whole spectrum of communications and not be a specialist in one area.

Becoming a social media expert might offer a few good career prospects but today there will be a huge number of fresh graduates labelling themselves as social media experts so what seperates them all? Going back to basics and learning PR techniques from 20 or 30 years back to add to their social media ‘expertise’ can put a graduate one step ahead of the rest.

You can visit Stuart’s blog here

2. RSS, did i miss the boat? Having only recently found out how great RSS feeds and readers are I’m now reading a blog post referencing another blog post which is talking about the death of RSS. Phil Gomes comments on Dave Winer’s outburst where Winer claims ‘RSS is dead’

In Gomes’ opinion though this is quite the opposite. RSS feeds and readers are doing exactly what they what they were designed to do. They collate posts and releases you’re interested in and save them for when you’re ready. If you choose not to read them that doesn’t mean they aren’t there!

I recently spent a good few hours building my feed for another blog I’m starting and I’m sure its going to be a priceless asset and take hours out of trawling the internet looking for that diamond in the dirt.

So whilst I might have been late to the party I’m still well and truly on the boat. Read Phil’s post here

3. Ian Green speaks about PechaKucha which I have come across before. PechaKucha is the idea of showing 20 slides each for 20 seconds as this is seen as the way to maximise the attention of the people you are presenting too.

Thinking about the principle of PechaKucha I was wandering what else it might be applied too. At point three of this blog post (block of text) well done if you’re still here. Whilst I’ve broken it up into bite sized chunks it’s still a lot to read and I think this is what has helped make Twitter such a success. I’m sure PechaKucha can be applied to blogs and going with quality rather than quantity is much more likely to keep readers happy.

4. Richard Bailey finds that despite the huge impact of social media and other online PR activities, a large number of PR clients still want to be represented in the printed  media. A lot of PR practitioners therefore still concentrate largely on working within the printed media as well as the very effective social media platform. Richard Bailey also says though that whether using traditional PR methods or social media, the underlying techniques used should remain consistent.

5. The importance of comments on blog posts. I’m sure a lot of people like me often overlook the comments on a blog post. I’ve learnt though that I may be missing out on a great bit of information which might help me. The people who read blog posts are usually people who are interested in or work in the area the post is referring too and so are quite well informed themselves. Because of this, the comments people make are not usually just a show of appreciation but can be an expansion on the blog post, pointing out things which might have been missed or correcting points which might be incorrect.

So next time there are comments below a post, have a skim and see if there’s anything which might help you out.

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The possible relevance of Twitter for PR students

March 24, 2011 1 comment

Twitter has become a hugely powerful social network tool for individuals using it for both personal and business purposes. Twitter’s most valuable attribute is its simplicity and the way in which people can follow different areas of interest through lists.

For a PR student Twitter is an extremely relevant platform for a number of reasons. The majority of companies which use Twitter use it for PR purposes and some of these are multi million pound businesses. This provides an excellent insight into the way companies of all sizes conduct their public relations.

Twitter also provides a great way for students to network and whether they want to go into public relations after graduating or not. Much like Linkedin, Twitter lets students follow the activities of important people in PR as well as the agencies and campaigns which are active on the site. Twitter is much less formal than Linkedin though and so it is easier to make connections with important people.

By following the activities of the above parties, an aspiring PR consultant can learn good practices whilst staying up to date with what is going on in the field of public relations. With the methods used for effective PR changing constantly Twitter can help a student learn new techniques from people working in PR already.

Almost all journalists are on Twitter and the connection between a PR consultant and journalists is extremely important. By following  journalists a PR student can learn how the two parties communicate with each other and at the same time once again make important contacts for the future.

As well as a student using Twitter to learn more about PR and the people already in it, they can use it to market themselves too. Relevant comments on other peoples tweets can help to establish a student and provide them with the evidence to demonstrate their skills to prospective employers.

Categories: Twitter