5 ways to use social media to build your personal brand & help your job search

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Spring is just around the corner and now is a perfect time to spring clean your social media. Twitter, Facebook and the like are for sure a treasure trove of cat videos, gifs and other humorous bits to procrastinate your day away, but social media – Twitter in particular – can be a powerhouse career tool if done correctly.  Here are five things you can do today to harness the magic of social media to build your personal brand and boost your job search.

1. Give your LinkedIn a make-over.

If you’re on the job prowl, the first place you should start with your social media is on LinkedIn. Show your page some love by refreshing as much as necessary. Think your photo, positions, volunteer work, summary, skills – anything and everything. Don’t forget to give yourself a new header image if you haven’t already and a personalize URL for easy sharing.

Spend some time really digging into what you write beneath each position. LinkedIn is a great place to expand a bit more on what’s in your print resume, but don’t get bogged down in the job description and minutia of your day-to-day. Focus on your accomplishments and impact right up front and highlight the key functions of your position if you really feel inclined or they’re a little out-of-the-ordinary.

2. Find & join a Twitter chat (or two).

Twitter chats are the hidden networking gems of social media, especially for PR people. Depending on your interests, joining an industry-focused Twitter chat can be a great way to make new connections, meet and learn from industry thought leaders and establish yourself as someone in-the-know.

New Pros hosts them, PRSA hosts them, some of your favorite PR veterans host them – there’s really no shortage of chats. My favorites are the New Pros #NPPRSA chats (third Wednesday of most months at 9 p.m. EST) and PR Daily’s weekly #RaganChat (Tuesdays at 3 p.m. EST).

3. Make connections.

Social media is all about connecting the world, right? Find and follow some PR pros you admire and reach out to them. Build a relationship by commenting on their posts, resharing them and connecting with them to chat. Most PR pros are more than willing to chat and share their expertise, so building a good repertoire is easy to do.

4. Join a Facebook or LinkedIn group.

Just like there are a number of great Twitter chats, there are some pretty awesome Facebook and LinkedIn groups out there for PR people too. Unlike Twitter chats though, these groups aren’t limited to a specific date and time or even a set topic that everyone will talk about. These groups encourage members to post their own topics or questions as they come up and for everyone to engage at their own pace. Group moderators will often post topics or questions as well to keep the conversation flowing. Two of my favorites are Shonali Burke’s Social PR Posse and PRSA’s New Professionals Group. Both are closed groups, so you’ll have to request to join, but both are very worthwhile.

5. Share your stuff. Share relevant stuff. Share all the things.

Consistency is key and content is king, right? So put them together to build your personal brand on social media by sharing industry pieces you like, news articles you think deserve some attention and your own content. Using a scheduling platform like Hootsuite or Buffer to make sure you have content being shared consistently, not in a giant rush all at once and then not again for weeks. Don’t forget to add your own commentary or insight. Repurposing your own content – whether it’s something on your own personal blog or something you guest wrote and published elsewhere – and scheduling it out for later on is also a great tactic for keeping yourself fresh in your followers’ minds.

Want to talk some more about social? Join PRSA’s New Professionals Section on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. EST for February’s Twitter chat. We’ll be talking about social media and PR trends in 2017. Follow along and join the conversation using #NPPRSA.

robyn-rudish-laningRobyn serves as PRSA’s New Professionals Section’s programming co-chair and is a communications and PR pro currently living and working in Columbia, S.C. In addition to volunteering with PRSA’s New Professionals Section, she also serves as the 2017 VP of Communications for the South Carolina PRSA Chapter and brought together the chapter’s first New Professionals group in 2016. She’s a native of southern New Jersey and currently resides in Columbia, S.C., by way of Pittsburgh, and currently works as the communications coordinator a statewide non-profit organization. In her spare time, Robyn likes to cook, read, spend time with her tail-less cat Izzy and write for her own blog – and almost always with a cup of tea in hand. Find her on Twitter & talk to her!

Five Keys to Personal Branding

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Brands aren’t just for businesses anymore. As a new pro, it’s important to establish your own personal brand and voice out in the professional world to set yourself apart from the crowd. Here are five steps to creating a personal brand that accurately reflects who you are.

1. Define who you are

First step to creating a strong personal brand is knowing who you are. Take some time to think about how you want people to see you and what you want to be known for. Make a list of what you do and don’t want to be known about you, mark the important things and keep it at the forefront of your entire strategy moving forward.

2. Carve out your niche

Now that you know what you are, you need to know what you want to talk about. Add to your list the things that you know a lot about, the things that you’re interested in and the things you want to learn more about. Don’t worry if some of these items seem incredibly different. You can be a great PR pro and showcase that expertise while still enjoying and talking about other interests, like baseball or Keeping Up With the Kardashians or indulging in every show the Food Network has to offer. When making your lists, pick out the most important items at the core of who you are and fill in the rest with the secondary things you’re interested in. Your personal brand should reflect who you are as a whole person.

3. Scrub down your social media

Before you start posting and strategically crafting your personal brand, take a good, hard look at your social media. Check your posts, delete those that you don’t want to be out in the world anymore and keep that in mind as you post in the future. If there are any accounts or photos that you’d like to be kept private, change your settings or take them down entirely. You may think that some of those tweets and posts may never see the light of day again because you posted them so long ago, but better safe than sorry.

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4. Fill your tool box

Take a good look at what you want people to know about you and think about how you’re going to present what you know. Social media is a pretty obvious choice, but how and what are you going to present? Will you share posts from your own blog? Examples of work you keep on your website? Guest posts you’ve written elsewhere? Looks like you’ve got some other work to do!

Whichever items you and methods you choose to use, make sure you have all the tools you need to get started before you actually start.

5. Shout it from your mountaintop

You’ve decided on what you want your personal brand to reflect, what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it and where. Now it’s time for you to stand up on your mountaintop and shout it. Join some Twitter chats, share your insight and your posts, and get out there in front of people who are interested in what you have to share.

What methods and tools do you use to maintain your personal brand?

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Robyn Rudish-Laning is a member of South Carolina’s PRSA chapter and is communications coordinator for the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness. Robyn is also a member of the New Professionals executive committee. She is a graduate of Duquesne University and is currently located in Columbia, SC. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter or read her blog here.

The Pieces of Your Online Puzzle

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What results do you find when you Google yourself? Nothing much? While a squeaky clean search result may seem ideal in some industries, it isn’t in Public Relations and most other communication fields. 

Having a solid, consistent but authentic personal brand online puts you ahead of the competition professionally. The perception you give online is the ideas and feelings employers, clients, and other professional connections get before meeting you in person.  

When building your personal brand, think about what you want to be known for? What are you good at? What sets you apart from others? Think about what your “thing” is and build a brand from it. Great personal branding gives you the chance to show the world you practice what you preach; if you’re good at writing, building networks, or organizing events show that skill online through blog posts, pictures, and video. Your interests, who you follow and what you post on social media, also reflect who you are. Be sure that your profiles are curated to reflect what you are passionate about. Even if you aren’t quite sure what it is you are passionate about, the topics you frequently post on can give you some clues.

As a new professional finding your niche, keep in mind that it is okay to have a fluid brand and have many “things” early in your career. We are multifaceted people, with multiple interests. The beauty of having a personal brand is the ability to not be stuck in one line of work; your personal brand can and should grow and develop with you. If you decide to leave your full-time job and freelance, move from Public Relations and focus on Marketing, or publish a book that has nothing to do with Public Relations, you can do so without being tied to your current industry or profession.

The pieces found on your website, social media accounts, articles written by you and about you are creating the puzzle that is your personal brand–make it a beautiful picture.

i-zthGPGn-XL-230x300Jasmine L. Kent, a member of PRSA-LA, is a fan of all things food and beverage, pop culture, and media. Combining all three passions, Jasmine builds community through engaging online marketing and dynamic events as a communications professional in Los Angeles, CA. Keep up with her on Twitter at @JaVerne_xo or visit LoveJasPR.com.

You Can’t Just “Tap” Into Influencers

Influencer marketing seems to be the latest buzzword over the last few years and platforms like Klout, Get Little Bird and Traackr have dominated this space when it comes to identifying influencers within specific markets.

At W2O Group, we have proprietary methodology that combines quantitative scoring and human intelligence to identify the top 1% of influencers (in a specific category, topic, geography, language) that actually move the market when they speak.

Before diving into influencers you must first understand the market and how it’s shaped. (Click to Tweet!)

Influencer MarketingWe look at the market through the lens of the 1:9:90 audience framework. We didn’t create this model but we have perfected it over the last 7 years in activating programs and the model has proven to be true regardless of what vertical or industry you work in.

The “1%” drive the market based on their actions – what they write/tweet about or what they say at events and interviews. They are influencers and are seen as subject matter experts for a specific topic.  Our algorithms show that there are never more than 50 people who drive the majority of share of conversation for a brand or a topic in a given country or language.

The “9%” are highly active online. They recommend, share, sign up, download, comment and other actions that let their community of peers know what they think about certain topics. In many respects, this group serves as the “trust filter” for the rest of the market.

The “90%” are the great majority of any market. They lurk and learn. This group is satisfied with using search for discovering new products or consuming the content of their peers. They decide how compelling the 1% and the 9% really are in telling your brand’s story based on their purchase behavior.

In the upcoming PRSA webinar, I will go deep in explaining how we arrive at identifying the 1% of influencers; and then provide very actionable examples of how you can activate those influencers across paid, earned, shared and owned media channels.

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Michael Brito Michael Brito leads social strategy for the W2O Group – an analytics driven marketing and communications firm. He is also an Adjunct Professor at San Jose State University and author of “Your Brand, The Next Media Company”.  You can connect with him directly on Twitter and LinkedIn

Three Alternative Methods for Identifying the Right Media Contact

As new PR pros, you’ve likely sat through a webinar or listened to some sort of training for PR software and services such as Cision or Vocus.

Three Alternative Methods for Identifying the Right Media Contact While an extremely useful tool for building media lists and identifying media contacts to reach out to with the awesome story you have to tell, don’t fall into the trap of letting these portals be the be-all and end-all of how you determine who you’re going to pitch or share your news release with.

As an entry-level PR pro at my first job right out of college, I was asked to build a list of media contacts that might be interested in sharing details of the large-scale art installations at an upcoming music festival. Of course, my list included the likes of the local weekly alternative publications and those already who had shown an interest in the music festival.

But it also included Rolling Stone, and Forbes.

My supervisor – and mentor to this day – immediately questioned me on this. Why would Rolling Stone, let alone Forbes, write about a collection of art installations? That doesn’t exactly fall into their realm of the publications’ typical coverage topics.

But I stood my ground because I knew I had done my research. Sure enough, Rolling Stone was the first-ever national placement of my career on the art installations of an electronic dance music festival.

What’s the lesson here? I didn’t use Cision to find these contacts.

Here are three alternative methods for identifying the right media contact for your pitch or news release:

Use the outlet’s search function.

Admittedly, this is easier when you know what outlet you’re hoping to see your client’s story featured. For example, you know you have an excellent finance story.

Head to Fortune.com (or whatever outlet you’ve identified) and search for topics similar to your client. Is the pitch on the state of the economy? On an innovative payment system? Search using these terms to identify who has covered this type of story for the outlet in the past and go from there.

Take to Twitter.

More times than not, you will find a reporter using the method above and find that their email address is as elusive as the golden snitch. This is where social media can be an excellent tool to identify a media contact’s info.

A simple tweet to the journalist giving them a quick synopsis that you want to reach out to them with a story idea and a request to have them DM you their email address can work magical wonders.

Additionally, consider using Twitter to cross-check that the journalist is the right fit. Often times, you’ll find that their designated beat / what they cover is referenced in their Twitter bio.

Ask another reporter. 

Read: this is not to say email or call a random reporter and ask them who you should pitch.

Rather, this is a recommendation to never take no for an answer. As part of pitching or sending a news release, there’s the follow-up phone call. If a reporter turns you down, don’t let that be the final word. Ask them, “Do you think this might a better fit for someone else at the outlet?”

Remember that the person on the other end of the phone is in fact a person. They are likely willing to help you and point you in the right direction.

And if not, the worst they can tell you is no.

These are just a few tried and true methods I’ve found to be helpful when Cision or Vocus just doesn’t have the answers you’re looking for. Do you have another tool or route you’ve taken to find a media contact? I’d love to hear it! Share with me on Twitter at @shandihuber.

Shandi HuberShandi Huber is a senior account executive at Wordsworth Communications, a public relations agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. An enthusiast for all social media platforms, you can often find her pinning her dream closet on Pinterest or posting photos of her new puppy on Instagram. Connect with Shandi on LinkedIn and Twitter(@shandihuber).