– BY BRENDA MELLER
Here are 12 tips on social media use for public relations professionals, or for anyone in the field of marketing.
- Be “professionally social” at all times. This means you cannot have one social media account where you are professional and another where you let your guard down completely. You are always a representative for your company, regardless if you identify your employer on your social media profile or not.
- When in doubt, don’t post it. If there is a chance your post may reflect negatively upon your or your organization, don’t post it. If you’re not sure, it probably isn’t appropriate to post.
- Trust your employees on social media. I’m a big believer in empowering your employees with social media training and guidelines, rather than restricting their activities. If you have someone who is in clear violation of your employee policy, act quickly.
- Be on LinkedIn and be active. If you have a LinkedIn account and aren’t visiting it at least once a week, you aren’t fully utilizing its features. Look at LinkedIn as a professional activity and spend 15 minutes a day on the site.
- Invite people to connect. As a marketer and as a student, I regularly look up people I come into contact with and invite them to connect on LinkedIn using a personalized invitation. Here is a blog with instructions on how to personalize invitation: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/want-more-accepted-invitations-do-brenda-meller-zawacki-. As a student, I regularly send invites to classmates and high level professionals who are covered in our readings, videos, and textbooks. I mention where I read about them and sometimes they accept the invitation.
- Follow people on Twitter. Similar to LinkedIn, I look up people on Twitter who are covered in our classes. I tweet what I’m reading about and mention them. Sometimes they “favorite” or reply back.
- Pay it forward. I try to spend more time on social media talking about other people and organizations than I do about me or my organization. This pays off in the form of “social media karma.” When I ask for a favor, people I have promoted are more likely to want to help.
- Start somewhere and spend time each day. If you’re not yet active on social media, you should make the time to do so. Start with LinkedIn. Then, consider Twitter. Facebook and Instagram would be 3rd and 4th order of importance, in my opinion, for marketers and PR professionals.
- Remember that people are always forming opinions of you based on your social media activity. If you don’t like their opinions, change your social media behavior. This might mean unfriending / disconnecting / unfollowing, or it might mean shifting your posts from personal rants to professionally focused topics. Related to this — Ladies: don’t show too much skin / cleavage in your LinkedIn photos. The goal of your LinkedIn photo is to illustrate who you are as a working professional. If you’re wearing a sleeveless top, a revealing shirt, or otherwise distracting attire, it is taking away from your professionalism.
- Blog. I blog when inspiration strikes. I use blogging as a way to share my expertise, my thoughts, and and to expand my personal brand. If you google the phrase “have you hugged your employees today” you will see that my LinkedIn blog with this title is #1 in search results. I still have a long way to go to becoming a super blogger, but I like to test out different blog topics on different networks. I have found blogs to be a great way to expand your personal and professional brand. In addition, if you’re in charge of public relations for an organization like me, continually be on the lookout for company leaders and faculty who could be bloggers.
- And remember that anything posted on the internet can be shared on the internet. Forever. And ever. And ever.
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