Tag Archives: PR Executive

Are you doing social media right?

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Many people think that I just get paid to sit on Facebook all day and don’t do anything productive, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Social media has to be done correctly to save yourself from the consequences of bad PR for yourself AND your client. There are certain steps in which you should take in order to ensure that you are getting the most out of the tool that has the potential to connect you to so many more people than tradition PR and Marketing allows you to.

A lot of companies who don’t specialise in a communication vocation think that they have to do social media just to ensure that they are keeping up with competitors. What needs to be understood is that it is a free tool and just takes man-hours to make it right. I’ve been to many interviews for PR and Social Media job roles and when I’ve done research in to the company in question I’ve more often than not been left a little let down by the social media already in place.

If you find yourself with fewer followers than everybody else, you need to look at what YOU are putting out on the social media platform, not wonder why people aren’t falling for your spiel. You need to ensure that you are updating regularly, with relevant information to your business (or just what you want to put out there) so that your followers know when to check back with what you’re saying. If you post on a Monday, and then don’t post for two weeks and post on a Friday, followers won’t know when to check back and gradually fall out of the routine of checking back with what you are saying.

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When you think of Facebook and Twitter, chances are you think of your friends or an organisation just broadcasting what they want you to read and there isn’t much room for engagement. In order to gain followers and boost your reputation, you should post content that will generate conversation, don’t forget that this is SOCIAL media and is very much a two way communication channel, use it to your advantage and don’t let it hinder you.

What most companies need to understand is that their Facebook and Twitter feeds are not meant to be glorified ad streams, and need to have good quality content that generates conversation to ensure that followers don’t lose interest. I often find that the easiest way to make people aware of your brand is to not really advertise it at all on social media (within reason, obviously) and a great example of a brand that has got it right is believe it or not, Tesco Mobile. The fact that their Twitter account is more often than not, dedicated to tweeting everybody who tweets the brand with funny, on the line, witty replies is pure genius in my eyes.

Another sin that many people commit on social media, is just auto-post updates across all of their social media platforms. Facebook is incredibly different to Twitter, which is different to Pinterest, which is different again to Linkedin. Look at it this way, you wouldn’t have the same conversation you have with your best friend with your grandma would you? So don’t do it on social media either. Make sure that you connect effectively with each audience to maximise the success of your social media efforts.

It is important to set a social media plan to ensure that there is structure to your posts. Even though many people think that social media is spur of the moment and shouldn’t be thought about to much, there needs to be some sort of similarity in posts so you don’t veer of the mark too much. In order to make sure that there are guidelines, you should figure out the following:

  • Who is responsible for updating your social profiles

Try not to have too many people writing on social media profiles, if your company has a social media team, leave it to them, as silly as it sounds, tone of voice is very important. Consistency is important for keeping your readers interested.

  • How frequently your social profiles will be updated

Figure out a schedule and keep to it, your readers will appreciate the effort of consistent updating and enjoy the content even more.

  • What type of content you will post

It won’t make sense for your readers if you post something extremely serious or sales related to your brand and then post a picture of a puppy with no accompanying copy.

  • How you will use imagery in your posts

Will you include and image in every post? Will your content be mostly images? Imagery plays a big part in how engaging your post is. If a huge lump of copy is teamed with images to break it up, the more likely your readers will finish reading.

  • What tone of voice you will use when posting

This, to me, is the most important of all. If you are writing on a blog and using the tone of voice you would use when talking to your clients, you’re doing it wrong. Figure out whom you are speaking to and adjust accordingly.

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The worst thing a company can do, and I’ve been subject to it, is to delete negative social mentions. It WILL happen, you cannot please all of the people all of the time. I had a dragged out argument with Boohoo over the terrible customer service I had received regarding a problem on their end, and when I commented on their Facebook wall asking for some help because I didn’t know who else to speak to anymore, they messaged me privately and deleted my comment off their wall in order to save their reputation from taking a knock. I personally think that if you publically handle a negative situation, the better you appear to your consumers.

I am no professional when it comes to social media, and I don’t confess to be. I don’t think anyone should say that they are and if you find a method that works for you and your business, stick to it. There are no ‘rules’ that you should follow, and this post isn’t to say that you are doing your social media wrong, but simple hints and ‘guidelines’ to help improve your social media presence. I’ve done extensive research in to social media for the past year and a half, and always kept up to date since starting university in 2010. I did my dissertation on how to be influential on Twitter so I feel I do have some insight in to making it work!

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Planning – is it important?

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In PR terms, yes, planning is exceptionally important. It is a perfectly good question to ask though, but the answer to ‘why plan?’ has various different answers. My answer would be to apply some order and organisation to the task in hand. I’m a person who likes to know when I’m doing something and how I’m going to do it. Whether that is in work life, or simply organising a night out with friends!

Planning applies to everything, in most, if not all professions. Whether it is to complete campaigns lasting numerous years, or simple activities such as an event or new publication. Overall, planning is important!

So, here are some different answers to the question:

  • Focuses Effort

It allows you to see what is necessary and what is not when planning PR efforts. It allows you to work on the right things apposed to wasting your time on things that won’t have any real beneficial outcomes. There is a distinct difference to working hard and working smart.

  • Improves Effectiveness

Working on the right things will have a much more valuable overall effect on your workload. Time and money will be saved, thus allowing you to allocate more budget and work hours to bigger tasks. Working to planned objectives gives targets to aim for, a sense of achievement when they are reached and effective benchmarks for measurement.

  • Encourages the Long-Term View

All tasks that you carry out tend to be more successful if you look at the long-term view. If you know what is going to happen if you carry out a specific task, it is easier to predict its success. It helps to produce a structured programme to meet future and current needs of the organisation.

  • Demonstrates Value For Money

Budgeting is extremely important in any business, and even more so in Public Relations as some budgets may be quite small, but the outcome needs to be similar to those campaigns of a huge budget. Planning allows you to be realistic with what is necessary and what isn’t.

  • Minimise Mishaps

Planning allows you to consider different scenarios and the outcomes, which in turn allows you to see which is better suited to the task in hand. It also allows you to consider all the possible problems and issues you could potentially face and put contingency plans in to place in case things do go wrong.

  • Reconciles Conflict

Planning allows for conflict to be rectified sooner rather then later. When working in a team of PR practitioners, there are bound to be conflicts of interest and ideas. This stage allows practitioners to confront these issues and come to some resolution that benefits the campaign.

  • Facilitates Proactivity

It allows practitioners to set their own agenda, which is extremely important. PR is known for reacting to media demands or crisis management but it is also about realising what is important and what is not.

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The different roles in Public Relations

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To people who don’t really know much about PR, don’t really understand the depth in the vocation, and how many different roles there are. It’s not just a quick tweet or a press release, it is much much more than that!

Glen Broom and David Dozier identified that there are two dominant job roles in Public Relations:

1. The Communication Technician

The communication technician is not involved in making organisational decisions detrimental to the business but carries out Public Relations programmes such as writing press releases, editing house publications and designing web pages. Known in every day terms as a Public Relations Executive/Practitioner. This role is not heavily involved with the research or evaluating stages, but more concerned with the implementation.

2. The Communication Manager

The communication manager plans and manages Public Relations programmes, counsels management, makes policy decisions and so on. Basically this role is the decision maker, they will delegate jobs to the communication technician to carry out etc.

Within the second category, there are three main types of managerial roles:

1. The Expert Prescriber

The expert prescriber identifies Public Relations problems through research, develops programmes and implements them. This practitioner acts as a specialist on communication issues but to a large extent, independently of senior management.

2. The Communication Facilitator

This, to me, is considered one of the most important roles within PR, as the communication facilitator acts as a go-between ensuring that two-way communication is evident between an organisation and its consumers/customers. This role acts as a liaison, interpreter and a mediator.

3. The Problem-solving Process Facilitator

This is another integral role in PR, this person helps others in the organisation to solve their PR problems, this person acts as an adviser on the planning and implementation of programmes. This role is usually fulfilled by specialist consultancies.

Dozier also identified two middle-level roles that are carried out between the manager and the technician roles in a business:

1. Media Relations Role

This is a two-way function where the person carrying out this role keeps the media informed, and informs the organisation of the needs and concerns of the media. In other words it involves working with the media for the purpose of informing the public of the organisation’s missions, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner. This usually means coordinating directly with journalists who produce features in the mass media. The main goal of this job role is to maximise positive coverage in the mass media without paying for it directly through advertising.

2. Communication and Liaison Role

This role is incredibly important in terms of the organisation’s reputation at events and meetings etc. This is a higher-level public relations role representing the organisation, and positively creating opportunities for management to communicate with internal and external publics. This role is all about building networks and relationships with beneficial people.

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