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Thinking About a Career in Social Media?

December 12, 2010

When I walked down the stage stairs after receiving my diploma thoughts were rushing through my head. What am I going to do next? Do I want to work in-house or at an agency? I had been on tours of both in Boston and New York with my PRSSA chapter, but I still wasn’t sure.

I ended up taking a paid internship starting right after I graduated, about 30 minutes from my school. Turning into a full time social media gig I still have to explain to most people what it is exactly that I do. Positions such as Community Manager, Social Media Engineer, and Social Media Marketing Strategist are becoming more in demand as companies realize they need to have a social media strategy in place as times are changing and the consumer’s opinion is being formed online. The professions of public relations and marketing are slowly but surely being integrated in to the tasks of a social media position. As many bright graduates are studying communications in their last years of college, it is important to start leveraging social media now, before you get out of school, especially if your university does not offer such a course.

Here are five pieces of advice a student who is looking into social media as a career should consider:

  1. Start leveraging social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and LinkedIn, are not just to chat with friends but to start networking. Start learning from following others on the best practices of social media in the workplace are, and what opportunities are out there for up and coming graduates.
  2. Bookmark, read, and read some more. There are so many social media blogs on the internet and many professionals already in the business writing about their ventures. Social media is so new to so many people that reading as much as possible will not only help you learn, but give you ideas.
  3. Intern. Many companies are hiring social media interns part time to help them with promoting their product or business, and connecting with specific communities. You can learn a lot by immersing yourself in a position that calls for you to learn and teach yourself.
  4. Start blogging. Start your own blog. I suggest WordPress but you can use platforms such as Blogger or Tumblr as well. Blogging will help you get experience with back-linking, writing content, and building a community. Also being able to show a blog at an interview or provide the link on your resume shows you have experience already.
  5. Participate in Twitter Chats. There is a list of twitter chats that has all the times and topics. You can listen and join in on conversations about public relations, social media, social media metrics, marketing, and more. Participating in these chats gives you direct access to knowledge and advice being shared about social topics, and gives you the change to ask questions and connect with those already working in the industry.

Why Aren’t More of my Friends on Twitter?

October 5, 2010

Many of my friends have asked me about Twitter. What is it, should I join, and will it help my job search? I have one simple answer, YES.

Social media is growing among older generations, but only 17% of social media users are of my generation. Why is that? Aren’t we suppose to be the technologically savvy age group who grew up with computers in the classroom, at home, and cell phones before we had our licenses?

I am the only one of my friends who actively uses twitter. There is a group of friends who tweet occasionally and are starting to leverage the social medium, and another who have created accounts but tweet about what they are doing, and I have to tell them, you are not Kim Kardashian , no one cares what you are doing.  It sounds harsh but twitter is not Facebook. Unless you are famous no one is going to want to know that you are going to watch a movie or fold laundry, it is about what you can offer others.

I think one of the reasons to blame for this is the fact that social media is very new. I recently graduated and used twitter sparingly in school, but I was always too busy to really sit down and just watch and try to understand. Without the chance to take a class in social media during college, it became a self-taught skill and hobby. This month PR Student Chat (#PRstudchat) is having a panel of educators to discuss social media in the classroom. A lot of chatter has come up recently about the issue of teaching social media. A few colleges are offering courses, but how do you even create a syllabus for something that is changing everyday?

I got a text message from my friend today saying, how did you link that restaurant in your tweet? I had to explain that I checked in on foursquare and it updated on my twitter. I did not want to confuse her and open a can of worms. She also wanted to know how to get followers and I told her she needs to determine what she wants to accomplish with her twitter and how to let her personality shine through.

I explained I tweet about social media, and being a gen-y transitioning from college to the workplace and I tend to tweet mostly about those topics along with a little pop culture. I encourage all of my friends to get on twitter, especially those on the hunt for a job. Twitter is constantly streaming with professional opportunities, and showcasing your resume through twitter is one more way to extend your search.

So if you friends get on twitter tell them a few things to get them started:

1)      Showcase your personality; decide what you want to get out of twitter. Do you want to be funny and make jokes and tweet about the latest reality shows? Or do you want to be professional and network with others in your field? Maybe a little of both.

2)      Start following tweeps based on what you want to get out of your tweeting. A few celebrities is always fun, along with social media gurus such as Chris Brogan and Brian Solis. But if you are networking towards a career in nursing, using twellowhood or searching for some nursing bloggers could help.

3)      Sit back and watch. Learn from others how to utilize twitter and what certain people tweet about. Building relationships on twitter starts from understanding how to connect with others.

What Makes a Social Media Pro?

September 30, 2010

The other day I participated in #sm79 a twitter chat about social media. The topic was professionalism in the social media industry, which lead to the question, what makes a social media pro? It got me thinking.

The dictionary.com definitions of a professional are:

“following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain: a professional builder.

and

“a person who is expert at his or her work: You can tell by hercomments that this editor is a real professional.

But can that be applied to every profession? Through the hour long chat a consensus came about of what makes a social media professional. Chris Heuer, the founder of the Social Media Club and a creative media technologist defined a social media pro as:

“being a professional is about your conduct, your honesty, your ability to say ‘i don’t know’ & by a willingness to learn”

Chris was guest moderating the chat posing questions such as does the term social need to be broken down more into specific areas such as social SEO, social advertising, and social business? Also taking us back to think about what we can learn from books and traditional media that we apply in our social and online endeavors today.

Many chatters believed being a professional in social media meant you knew what you were doing by blogging, using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, as well as being knowledgeable about SEO and being able to integrate the art of communications into this newly popular way of sharing information.

Social media is evolving everyday and we need to fail a few times before fully understanding the spectrum. Calling yourself a social media pro, expert, guru, or ninja sounds cool, but rarely those who call themselves such highly ranked names are really at that level of knowledge. I believe it is impossible to know everything about social media, because technology moves so fast, and word of mouth even faster.

Which Fall TV Premiere Should You Tune Into? Check Twitter…

September 27, 2010

This week has been filled with new television premieres. I have to admit I am not the one to be addicted to a show. Since the best show ever LOST ended I have not found a new show. But I realized the reviews of new shows were right at my finger tips. Searching twitter for the tweets about a new show made me want to tune in. Looking at live tweets during a telecast helped explain things I did not understand, and even gave me a few laughs.

NBC has created a twitter account (@NBCtheevent) for the new thriller “The Event”, tweeting about following a real-time timeline of the show to help undestand the new drama that is said to be half LOST half 24. So how is the account doing? A little under 2500 followers, which is nothing monumental, but is having an account for a show good for marketing and promotion? I guess only time will tell. 

Detroit 1-8-7

The new cop show takes place in Detriot, is it just another show like all others? They have an account @dtown187 which is “from the writers room” as the bio says. The tweets so far have only annouced the time of the show and a few retweets from @sebastiangibbs who I am assuming is one of the actors. Thought the lack of tweets it had great reviews and had 12.7 million viewers the first epsidoe, but as for tweeting, they need to work on that…

The Undercovers 

For  a show by J.J. Abrahams I was expecting a new favorite. I was slightly disapointed when the Mr. and Mrs. Smith like show about a couple working as undercover agents seemed to border between comedy and drama. The action was followed by a laid back attitude, so that “edge of your seat” feeling was never there and I certainly did not jump out of my seat. But on Twitter the reviews are not so bad, the ones I could read atleast since many of the tweets about the show were from other countries. So will I tune in again? I wil give it one more try.

So has twitter become the new review guide? Not yet… but the potential for a new show to leverage twitter? I think more series should get on it.

7 Benefits of Twitter for Non-Believers

August 31, 2010

I have been tweeting for a little over a year now. I admit at first it was a few tweets here and there and I did not understand the point. Now as a social media manager I can say I understand Twitter and believe it is underutilized by many businesses.

Twitter has brought me more than I have even asked for in the past year and a half. From advice, to gifts, to friends, to jobs, tweeting IS beneficial for those non-believers out there.

Credit: Inventor Spot

1. My IPad: Yes, it is true, I won an ipad from using twitter. I participated in an all day webinar by Vocus and filled out a survey and was entered to win. The next day I was STUNNED when I saw an email saying I was one of three winners. When I tell people that I won it, some still do not believe me and look amazed.

2.A travel kit: I was browsing my tweets one day and came across a blog post by a flight attendant @heather_poole. It was an interesting post about how dried cherries can help jetlag. Heather and @choosecherries were running a contest where if you commented on the post you would be entered to win and I did! Being very afraid of flying this made me excited and eager for my next flight. I won a cashmere blanket and socks, an eye-mask, dried cherries, and a tory burch makeup case! I will be very comfortable on my next flight!

3.Customer Service: I have the worst luck with customer service, I always get the person who is rude and taking there bad day out on me. For my senior commencement ball last May my university chose the Westin in Providence as the host. The event was amazing and the rooms were top notch. The one person that ruined it was the manager. The woman on duty that night was VERY rude, and decided to slam the door in my face when I asked a question. It is one thing if you are dealing with annoying college kids, but isn’t part of being a manager, having some managerial skills that do not include slamming doors?

I contacted the Westin three times through different mediums trying to get an apology. I did not get one. After explaining my story to 4 different people and going weeks without a response I decided to tweet about it. Within seconds @starwoodbuzz contacted me asking if they could help. Finally I thought, someone is going to help.

They forwarded on the request, and a week later I got a very insincere apology. Point of the story, great use of twitter by their social media person, terrible hotel customer service.

4. I won a book: It doesn’t sound that exciting but after joining a #prstudchat one day I ended up winning a copy of Jeffrey Hayzlett’s ,”A Mirror Test”. I am excited to read the book and will probably follow up with a blog post.

5. Making friends: I probably speak to some GEN-Y tweeps more than I do my close friends. I have made great connections with many millennials in the PR field. It is always great to share insights, especially with people your age.

6.JOBS: If this does not change the skeptics mind to believing I am not sure what will. There are so many tweeters out there that only tweet jobs. I have found many jobs I am interested in through twitter, and even had an offer based on a connection I had made. Many businesses now use social media as a form of recruitment, so if you know someone who isn’t engaging tell them to hop on!

7. Twitter Chats: I mentioned before that I am a frequent attendee of #prstudchat, but I also regularly check into #smmchat, #u30pro, #genychat, and #pr20chat. Each one different, all allowing me to make great connections. Where else will I be able to speak directly with PR executives that run the chats, or learn a new blogging tip? The first step is engaging in social media, the second part is acutally being SOCIAL.

So as the days go by I convince more of my friends to hop on twitter. The benefits are endless and the networking is plentiful. If there is one thing I have learned over the past year and a half, it is that social media (when used correctly) can only make your life better.

The Chanler Cliff Walk in Newport

July 26, 2010

Recently I attended a book signing at the Chanler Cliffwalk Hotel in Newport, RI. The book was by Grace Ormonde, who is the editor of Wedding Style Magazine, a wedding magazine designed to assist prospective brides with choosing wedding services and offer informative, practical editorial content on topics ranging from wedding planning to home decorating and women’s health issues.

Signing Table

The event was for her book “being in love never goes out of style.” A hardcover coffee table like book with pictures and stories of weddings from around the globe. The book was filled with colorful photos with weddings of every kind. The event was planned and designed by Newport’s renown event planner and Grace’s brother Tony of Ormonde Productions.

There were multi-color lights and wipe drapery, with white decadent furnitture to match. Over 100 guests attened to purchase the book and get it signed from Grace herself, and enjoyed hors ‘d oeuvres from the Spiced Pear Restaurant which is located inside the Chanler.

The venue looks over the Newport beaches and would be a glamorous spot for any New England Wedding. My friend works for Ormonde Productions, so hopefully I can attend another event. Event public relations seems enticing and always interesting.

Liz and I with Patio Background

Extravagant Candy Table

You Graduated and Your Still an Intern?

July 14, 2010

I recently graduated in May and decided to take an internship this summer.

Many people ask why would you not look for a real job?. Well there are many reasons why  choose another internship rather than jumping into the work force.

1) I do not know where I want to live.

I have family all over the country and being a summer intern gives me the opportunity to look around at different places to live and different jobs, but have the ability to leave at the end of the 3 month period. As an intern on my resume it will not look bad as it would if I took a real job for only 3 months.

2) You do not know what you want to do.

Internships are the time for experience. You can try out different niches within your industry and realize what you really want to do before you sign a year contract to work somewhere you might end up hating.

3) It is still paid.

As a graduate I know I needed a paid internship. I got them to raise to hourly rate two dollars an hour before I started stating that I was a graduate and thought I deserved a little more. They agreed and now I am making more money than I would as a college intern at this position.

4) You can never stop learning.

They say to have as many internships as possible, and it could not be more TRUE! This is my fourth and I have learned so much from each one. I also can apply to some non-entry level jobs because having four internship translates into experience. Once you get the interview, prove what you know!

5) It may lead to full-time.

I was offered full-time last week. I do not know if I am going to take it, and make do some negotiating with salary and such, but that is the glory of being an intern first. I proved myself so I have the ability to ask for a little more if I take that full-time position.

So intern at as many places as you can during college, and if you are not sure what you what to do, where you want to live, or want to gain some more experience in a different topic than you are used too.

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