There is no doubt that the social media phenomenon can cause some people, even future PR practitioners, to feel apprehensive. It may seem that though there is a lot happening online, it has no correlation to your career interest. Actually, you could not be any farther from the truth.
The profession of public relations is ever evolving. Staying abreast of fresh, innovative communication practices is vital to your success. As you may know, networking is to public relations as candy is to a child — you can never have too much. Well, consider social media your new favorite candy bar.
Building an online reputation could prove beneficial for several things like gaining contacts with other students, reaching out to professionals, building clientele and expanding your portfolio. When used properly, experience with social media can be the additional skill set that makes you more marketable as a practitioner.
However, there can be some down falls to using social media when proper etiquette is not applied. Whether you are inviting others to your space on MySpace, Tweeting on Twitter, or befriending someone on Facebook, make sure you put your best foot forward. Below are some basic tips for social media:
- Separate business from pleasure. You want to make sure your business contacts are not seeing the pictures from your drunken weekend trip in Las Vegas. You could either have two accounts, one for professional networking and one for close friends and family. Alternatively, you could alter your privacy settings so only your friends and family can access certain photo albums.
- Engage yourself in conversations. Whether it’s making a comment on Facebook or re-tweeting a tweet on Twitter, participation in the conversations and notes of PR professionals and other PRSSA members will get you noticed. Being noticed is the first step to great networking.
- Follow company and professionals’ blogs & comment. This will allow you to keep abreast of industry related topics and it gives an opportunity to interact and become involved in conversations with professionals.
- Offer good information to your networks. If you get in the habit of offering tips and feedback on hot topics, ideas, conversations, you will be preparing yourself to do this for clients in the near future. You will also be showing off your skills to the professionals in your network, which could lead to great job opportunities. Practice makes perfect.
If you keep these tips in mind, you should be on way to attaining success utilizing the new world of social media.
— Renita Smith, VP of Public Relations