Social media do’s and don’ts

As a PR and Communications student I have been constantly encouraged by lecturers, and whilst on placements, to be active on social media.

Social channels provide a great platform for organisations to promote themselves online, and the same applies to PR professionals. After all, the public relations industry is all about building and nurturing relationships, and social media is the perfect arena in which to do so.

Do

  • Post interesting content. If you want to build your reputation as a PR professional, make sure you post relevant and topical content. Don’t make it too formal and boring, tweet things about the PR industry that inspire you or make you think ‘great idea’. Post engaging content, such as an interesting blog post or an article on a new campaign, and slowly but surely you will build a following. Chances are, if you find it interesting, so will other PR people.
  • Show your personality. You want to stand out from the crowd and there is little worse than a social media account lacking some character. No one will want to engage in a conversation about what sandwich you ate for lunch.
  • Interact with other practitioners and professionals. PR is all about communicating messages to networks of people. So get involved in conversations with other professionals, this will help you build your social network and following. Remember – sometimes who you know in PR is just as important as what you know!
  • Proof read everything you post. In the world of PR grammatical and spelling mistakes are the ultimate sin and the swiftest way to achieve the glamorous title of ‘office clown’.
  • Be careful what you say. It is easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment, but posting about your anger towards a person or organisation can have serious consequences. Once seen this content can never be truly deleted, so think twice before you angry-tweet.

Don’t

  • Don’t delay a response to people or a comment on breaking topics. To stay ahead in the fast-paced world of social media, you need to make sure what you’re saying is relevant and on trend #literally. A late reply in a conversation can come across as lazy or out of touch, so make sure you’re on the ball.
  • Don’t wait for people to follow you. Make sure you engage with lots of PR people and organisations. Relationships take time to form, so keep retweeting or responding to interesting posts and people will start to take notice. When someone new follows you, why not respond with a friendly ‘thank you’ message. Manners can be easily forgotten in the world of social media and this subtle gesture could get you noticed.
  • Don’t say anything inappropriate or offensive to others. What you consider to be humorous or relevant may hurt someone’s feelings, so make sure you consider this when posting online. Look at the Paris Brown debacle; silly comments can massively effect your reputation, so make sure to keep personal opinions to yourself.

What you give is what you get on social media. If you’re friendly, engaging, and keen to hear what others have to say, you’re likely to be treated in the same manner. Social media opens the door to opportunities, especially in the PR industry, so make sure you get involved.

Hi, I’m Kate, a second year PR and Communications student at Leeds Metropolitan University. I love all things girly and have an obsession with green tea. Follow my twitter @KateODonnellPR and blog www.kateodonnellpr.wordpress.com to read more ramblings of a PR student.

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