Social Media: When, how and why?

By: Nikki Mikolon

Nikki's Blog Pic 1

Source: tintup.com

More and more companies are turning to social media to bridge the gap between business and consumer, allowing for open communication through a two-way medium.

Companies should be on social media with a purpose. For the most part, a company needs to choose the social media platforms that are most suitable for its needs. It’s bad enough when companies use the wrong channels, but creating content that lacks diversity for multiple channels is a big no-no.

Once the company has decided which platform or platforms to use, it’s time to create the content. As previously stated, it’s necessary to create diverse content for each channel, but it must be cohesive and suitable for the channel and target audience. For example, it’s OK to say that an older audience for a company is present on Facebook rather than a younger generation that is present on Twitter or Instagram. Needless to say, Facebook posts can be long and drawn out. Try posting on Twitter with over 140 characters—I dare you! With a link or visual, it’s much less.

My point is that creating content for multiple channels is difficult.

On top of the difference in social media channels, there is the battle of constantly creating content to keep the social channels up to date or at least active. There is nothing more unappealing than when a consumer visits an account of one of their favorite companies to see they haven’t posted in four months.

Yes, this can be annoying and inconvenient at times, but it is so important to be consistently posting on each channel, while keeping the messages consistent throughout.

Now, if you haven’t heard of Hootsuite, you’re a lost cause —no, not really, but in the social media world, Hootsuite is essential in managing multiple networks at once. It also helps you keep track of the content you have on each channel. It may seem like more work, but it’s so much easier to create a ton of posts and decide how and when to share them. It gives the writer more time to perfect these posts and leaves less room for error. Let’s face it, we’re only human. We make mistakes, but scheduling tweets and posts ahead of time makes everyone’s lives easier.

The hardest part is staying organized. Content calendars sound great, but they can be tricky to put together. Ideally, a calendar with content written for each day, organized by date, time and social channel is the way to go, but unless there’s an awesome program out there that does this for you, then you’re on your own. After you’ve brainstormed and written down all of your content ideas and when to post them, find a way to keep them organized, whether it’s on a calendar or on a Word document. Find what works best for you. Whatever it may be, writing them down before posting is helpful.

Now let’s recap:

  • Know where to be present—Decide which platforms will be the most suitable for you and your target audience.
  • Be present—It’s important to keep platforms up to date and active.
  • Use your resources—Take advantage of scheduling sites, such as Hootsuite or TweetDeck because it will only make life easier.
  • Stay organized—With all of the different social networks and content ideas floating around, find a way to stay organized. Write it, draw it, type it— whatever works, just as long as it’s organized.

With that being said, Tweet on!

Nikki Mikolon is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. As a Detroit native, she hopes to spend her beginning years in the work place working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.

 

The guide to successful newsjacking

By: Hope Salyer

Newsjacking can be a great way to gain your client’s public attention, but if done the wrong way, it can do more harm than good. If you are planning to newsjack a story for your client, keep these things in mind.

1. Be timely. (OREO)

Oreo

Source: Forbes

It doesn’t matter how amazing your newsjacking idea is if you’re not timely about it. The reason why Oreo’s ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet worked so well is because it was posted while the power was still out during the Super Bowl. If the Oreo team had tweeted this the next day, it wouldn’t have had the same effect.

2. Get creative. (Samsung)

Oscars

Source: Indra PR

Social media is becoming more popular every day. With new apps and platforms constantly being created, users are overloaded with information from companies. That is why it’s so important for a newsjacking idea to be creative. Samsung did a great job of newsjacking the Oscars by having television host Ellen DeGeneres initiate a selfie with a group of celebrities using a Samsung phone. People were talking about the picture for days, and it became the most retweeted photo on Twitter, raking in over one million retweets within an hour.

3. Avoid natural disasters. (Sears)

Sears

Source: The Wire

As a general rule, avoid newsjacking a natural disaster. Sears tweeted a link for people to shop for supplies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, but received heavy backlash for it. It seemed as though Sears was just trying to be helpful and show those who were affected that they could get everything they needed at Sears, but it came off like they were just trying to make a sale off of the disaster. It would’ve been much better if Sears had provided generators, air mattresses and more for those affected, rather than telling people to buy them.

4. Never when people died. (AT&T)

AT&T

Source: The Huffington Post

If people died, don’t try to newsjack it. AT&T tweeted this photo on the anniversary of the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks to promote a phone. The official AT&T Twitter account was forced to pull the photo within an hour of tweeting it. Many people were outraged, and AT&T tweeted an apology shortly after pulling the photo.

Use your own judgement when thinking about newsjacking something. If you think people would be offended or outraged by it, don’t post it.

Newsjacking, when done correctly, can be a great way to promote your client. However, it can also cause a lot of backlash to your client if done wrong. Always think before you post something, or it may cause more harm than good.

Hope Salyer is a junior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Chief Financial Officer of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s first semester serving for the PRSSA E-Board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency in the Detroit area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.

 

Looking for and starting an unpaid internship

By: Nicole Raymond

Nicole's Blog Pic 2

Source: culpwrit.com

Finding an internship is one of the most important things a student can do, no matter what they are studying in school. While some internships are paid, typically communications, journalism, and public relations internships are unpaid. This can pose a problem for some college students who are paying tuition among other essentials, such as food and rent.

At first, working for free may seem daunting, especially if you have another paid job to support yourself. Working long hours to make some cash, working for no pay at your internship, juggling a social life and keeping up with your grades can be exhausting, but internships are so much more if you allow them to be.

It’s important for students to find the right internship. There are plenty of organizations who select interns from nonprofits to agencies to corporations. If you find an internship with an organization that you love, it will be a little easier to work for little to no pay. Although it is an unpaid internship, consider what perks you will receive outside of monetary compensation.  When you think of all the perks you receive during an internship, it can relieve some of the stress of not being paid. For example, does the organization provide coffee or lunch? Do you get to attend special events or experience things you otherwise wouldn’t get to experience?

Internships can offer so much more than a paycheck. If you find the right internship it can lead to countless opportunities to learn and grow in the field you love. Internships can also lead to future employment or at least more networking opportunities. In the right internship, you will be learning something new everyday and it very well may be more valuable than a paycheck.

Just because the internship is unpaid doesn’t mean students should slack off when searching and applying. Sarah E. Needleman of Careercast.com writes that you should put in the same amount of effort into finding an internship as you would when applying for a job. Students should still research the company extensively to show you are serious about the position. Needleman also states that just because the organization is not paying you, doesn’t mean they aren’t investing in you and your future.

Once you’ve found the organization you want to intern for, sent your resume, had an interview and finally received the call that you’ve gotten the internship, what do you do? After you’ve scored your internship, there is plenty still to do to make sure you get the most out of it.

Do more research and familiarize yourself with the organization as much as you can.  Familiarizing will not only show your boss your dedication, but will also ensure an easier transition for you as you enter the workplace. The more you know about the company and their ways, the easier it will be for you to start work there and fall into place.

Listen and try your best to take charge. Listen and pay close attention during your training period and be prepared. If you’re not sure how to do something, try to figure it out yourself before asking your boss. They will notice your ability to problem solve and appreciate that you don’t ask them a million questions each day. This isn’t to say that asking questions is bad. If you’re not sure of something, do your best to figure it out, and if you’ve tried and can’t seem to figure it out, then of course it is OK to ask. An internship is meant to help you grow in your field, so when you just aren’t getting something, ask for some guidance and try again.

Be a good intern—don’t be lazy. Just because you are unpaid doesn’t mean you have to slack off. Make the most of your internship by always working hard and you will gain more knowledge and skills. Make a good name for yourself by asking your boss if there is anything else you can do when you have down time.  Don’t be afraid to share ideas. Bosses can sometimes be narrow minded, so gaining fresh perspective from interns is exactly what they could use. Speak up if you think you have a good idea that could help the organization.

With these tips, you will be on your way to a successful internship!

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-Board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.

 

5 things to get in the habit of doing now

By: Josie Bobeck

Josie's Blog Pic 2

Source: flickr.com

As public relations majors, an important part of our college careers and eventually our professions, will require us to have good habits in order to stay sane and to do our jobs efficiently. And it’s not just about staying organized—it’s about punctuality, maturity, and taking care of you. Research states that it takes 21 days to form a habit. So why not start now? Here are a few habits future PR professionals should possess in the workplace.

 

  1. Create a vibrant – but appropriate – online persona. Social media is a wonderful tool that everyone uses, especially PR practitioners who use it both in the workplace and in their personal lives. Being considerate online is something most people don’t think about when tweeting, writing Facebook statuses, or even blog posts. What we post online will be there forever, so we need to get in the habit of being aware of what we’re posting.

 

  1. Keep up with the connections. At every agency tour I’ve been to this year, I’ve received business cards from the practitioners who spent time with us and a message along the lines of “Email me if you ever have any questions or want to know more about our firm.” Those cards are not to be tossed in the nearest trash can or recycling bin. These are the people we could potentially be working alongside one day, or the ones who give us internships. Having a special place in your purse or wallet for these can be beneficial when you least expect it.

 

  1. Be up front, but be polite. In the PR industry, we are representing our client. It’s in the nature of our career to be biased and to do our absolute best to protect our client and make sure they have the best reputation they could possibly have. As a result of this, we may butt heads with others at times or we may have to portray a certain image during a crisis. Although it can be hard, it’s in our best interest to be as kind as we can be so that our attitudes do not affect our client or our personal brand.

 

  1. Be punctual and stay punctual. PR is not a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job. At any given moment, we may get a phone call that our client has a crisis and needs immediate attention. In order to be on top of our game, we need to have it together. Staying on top of emails and phone calls is one way to keep us from losing our minds and show our client that we have our lives together so we can do the best job possible. Creating folders in your email, having an online calendar, and even having a physical planner can do wonders for those who are busy all the time.

 

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is something I started learning in my major classes early on. Everyone in the industry has their niche, whether it be writing an awesome press release or doing a superb job preparing a client for an interview and having it go well. Everybody has their way of doing things that works best for them, and that is something to be proud of. Comparing yourself to other people in this type of work will only start a fire that can’t be put out, so it’s best to do your thing and let others do theirs.

 

Honorable mentionDrink water! Your body will thank you later. Doing this will not only make you feel good, but it will help you get through your long days. If you feel good, you will do better and that will make all the difference.

 

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in public relations with a double minor in electronic media and film studies, and marketing, and serves as VP of Member Relations in PRSSA. She hopes to one day work in the entertainment/pop culture industry. Josie loves her dogs, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has freckles on her arm shaped like the little dipper. You can connect with her on Twitter at @JosieBobeckPR.

 

 

Wanted: Coffee and brainstorming tips

By: Abby Cousineau

Abby's Blog Pic 2

Source: bestwallpapers-hd.com

One of my favorite things about public relations is that you get to transform your ideas into visual representations. Although graphics and video can bring your ideas to life, writing is at the root of PR. This is probably why blogging is now such a huge part of the industry today.

Blogging is great because it allows you to communicate knowledge in a creative way while showcasing your personality. Although blogging is effective and fun, you may run into a few obstacles, and if you’re anything like me, brainstorming is the biggest one. I love to write, but often find myself struggling to come up with topics to write about. You must keep up with blogs and continually update them, but this can be difficult when you’re running low on ideas and motivation. Thankfully, coffee can help you with the lack of motivation, and hopefully, these three tips can help you out.

Have an umbrella topic or niche for your blog.

Your blog posts should be focused on one over-arching idea. For example, you may have a PR blog. Many topics fall under this category, such as social media, crisis management, media training, writing, multimedia, etc. To get started, business blogger Jamie Delaine recommends checking out this video and asking yourself questions like “Who is your blog for?” and “How will it help?” Delaine also says you should write about something you are passionate about, so think about what you love and what you’re good at when brainstorming the theme of your blog. Once you have a theme, you may find it easier to develop branching ideas.

Create a mood board.

Sometimes even after you have a theme for your blog, you run out of ideas. When this happens it can be beneficial to create a mood board. According to Hubspot.com, “A mood board is simply a random collection of images, words, and textures focused on one topic, theme, or idea. Like with mind mapping, the visual components of the mood board can be anything branching off that central topic.” This tactic has been known to work because the visuals evoke specific emotions or feelings that help to spark new ideas. If you’re more of a word person, you could also create a word web to get new ideas.

Change up your environment.

Sometimes the best thing to do when you are running low on creativity is to change up your physical environment. If you’ve been staring at your computer screen for the last hour with no ideas whatsoever, try getting outside for a short walk. The fresh air, a new view and some exercise may be just what your brain needs. If the weather is not the best, you could just take a short walk around the house or office. The point is to get up and look at something new. Also, don’t forget your cell phone or a notebook and pen, just in case inspiration strikes while you’re out and about.

Creative brainstorming is different for everyone. What techniques have helped you?

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-Board as Social Media Director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or at Sweetwaters Café, where she is a shift manager. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Busting PR misconceptions

By: Josie Bobeck

 

Josie's Blog Pic 1

Source: flickr.com

For as long as I’ve been in the public relations program here at Eastern, I’ve had a lot of people make comments and ask questions about my choice in major and what career path I want to travel down. The more the questions are asked, the easier they are to answer—though they do get old quick, and I’m sure anyone going into the field can agree!

At the same time, the more I learn about the field, the more I fall in love with it and the questioning no longer matters. Knowing that PR was what I wanted to do going into college and actually sticking with it solidifies in my mind that this is what I was meant to do. Despite this, the questions still remain. Here are a few.

“So you’re a people person, right?”

I guess you could say that, and more often than not I would agree with you, but that isn’t why I wanted to major in PR. Knowing what I liked and what I was good at, PR just seemed to make sense.

“Isn’t PR the same as marketing?”

Not really. In fact, they are totally different. According to the Public Relations Society of America, the definition of PR is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their public.” It’s about keeping a favorable image for an organization or company.

“PR is easy!”

Making assumptions is easy to do as well. Studies show that PR professionals have one of the most stressful jobs, along with military personnel, air traffic controllers, pilots, firefighters and police officers.

“You must not have known what you wanted to do.”

That assumption is definitely false. PR was never a fallback option I had tucked away in my back pocket. I knew what I was getting into when I declared my major, and I will say without hesitancy that the field is absolutely not for the faint-hearted. As I mentioned earlier, PR is stressful, but when you get to do what you love, it’s an OK kind of stress.

“Will you be able to find a job?”

Of course! There is PR in anything and everything. Because of all of the opportunities presented through the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), internships are not few and far between. From the agency life to working for a corporation or a nonprofit organization, there will always be jobs in the field.

“It’s so broad!”

You’re right, it is. That is one of the cool things about it. There are so many components to the field that you have options, but that doesn’t mean PR students don’t know what they want to specialize in. Whether it’s media relations, crisis management, government relations or special events, there is a niche for everyone in the field.

If you aren’t sure if PR is right for you, you can always head to the EMU PRSSA website to learn more about the program here at Eastern and read from PR students about their experiences. Information about joining PRSSA can also be found there.

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in public relations with a double minor in electronic media and film studies, and marketing, and serves as VP of Member Relations in PRSSA. She hopes to one day work in the entertainment/pop culture industry. Josie loves her dogs, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has freckles on her arm shaped like the little dipper. You can connect with her on Twitter at @JosieBobeckPR.

 

Become a better professional this summer

By: Abby Cousineau

Abby's Blog Pic 1

Source: giphy.com

Summer is my favorite time of the year, not just because school is out and the weather is great, but simply because I have more time to relax and focus on myself. The best part of summer is that I actually have the motivation (thanks sunshine) and the time to accomplish my personal goals. This summer, I have my usual goals of getting out to the beach and camping as much as I possibly can, but I also plan on improving myself as a professional. Here are a few of the things I plan on doing before the busy fall semester arrives.

  1. Rewrite my resume.

You and I may not be so different…perhaps you also have an outdated resume, which hasn’t been touched since the prime of your freshman year. With some of my free time this summer I plan on editing the heck out of this piece of paper, and hopefully by the fall, I will have a product that actually resembles a current version of myself. Your resume is most likely the first impression you give to future employers, so it’s important that it is up to date, well written, eye catching and free of errors.

  1. Make personalized collateral.

I went on a lot of agency tours this past school year, and with each visit I gained at least five new business cards. Well, I was doing some spring cleaning and found all of these wonderful pieces of card stock and it got me thinking, what if I had my own business cards to hand back to these professionals I meet? Although I don’t have my own company, PR students are taught to build their own brand, and what better way of doing this than with personalized collateral? With all the extra inspiration the nice weather gives me, I plan on making my own business cards and my own logo. You can read my tips on how to create a logo here.

  1. Read the headlines.

One of the things I absolutely, positively need to start doing this summer is reading the news every morning. I have been waiting for someone to slap me on the wrist for not doing this, and since no one has, I am going to do it myself. I have great shame in not staying up to date on the current world we live in, and instead of feeling guilty about it any longer, I am going to change my ways. In PR you need to stay current and reading the news is necessary when doing this. Aside from the regular news outlets, one could also check out prdaily.com, prweek.com or prnewsonline.com to get your daily PR-related news.

  1. Write more.

I do love to write and I honestly don’t do the best job of writing on a regular basis. Since I recently developed a blog, I want to continue posting something a couple of times a month, if not weekly. I was once given some advice from a PR pro who told me to write and don’t stop writing. To write dumb things, smart things, small things, big things—it doesn’t matter as long as you are writing something. With the free time I have, I want to follow this word of advice and devote more time to writing. In PR, strong writing is a skill you need to have and there is no way to get better at it, unless you do it and you do it often.

  1. Develop social media.

My last goal of the summer is to develop stronger, more visually appealing social media accounts. It is important to let your personality shine through, but I definitely need to do some auditing of my accounts. It is time to leave high school in the past and redefine the more mature person I am today. Your social media account should show who you are, so a good tip is to be you, just the version you would be cool with your grandma seeing.

Although these are my personal goals for the summer, everyone can work on at least one for themselves. Anyone getting a degree in a professional field should have a strong resume and some personalized business cards on hand. It is important to know what is going on in the world we live in no matter what you’re going to school for, and strong writing skills and appropriate social media accounts are always a positive in the eyes of employers.

The summer is a great time to work on yourself both professionally and personally. What are some of your goals this break?

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-Board as Social Media Director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or at Sweetwaters Café, where she is a shift manager. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.