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.

Picking your battles: brand engagement

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Everyone loves brand involvement, but there are times and places for it. A brand should know when to pick a fight or to just let it go. Let me show you three examples of good, bad and the okay in brand engagement. When mentioning a celebrity or brand you are picking your battle and it is best to evaluate all outcomes before name dropping. Social media allows ways to build loyalty or look awful.

Examples

Bad Example: Watch for someone known for rants

Since 2009 when Kanye infamously stole Taylor Swift’s moment at the VMA awards, we should know that he is outspoken. He later wrote a song about making her famous for his latest album, but Pizza Hut UK did not get the point. Kanye went on a Twitter rant about how he was in debt, but could still afford designer clothes and furs. Carter’s clothing and Baby Gap was smart enough not tweet to Kanye that they might be a cost-effective alternative. However, Pizza Hut UK didn’t consider that. It was hilarious at first because they tweeted for him to fill out a job application. The laughter ended when Kanye replied, “He needed more money in order to bring more beautiful ideas to the world.” Pizza Hut UK made matters worse by tweeting a fake resume with multiple spelling errors and a reference of Taylor Swift that was crossed out. It ended up poorly reflecting on Pizza Hunt in the end.

Okay Example: Beyoncé and Red Lobster

In the lyrics to “Formation,” it stated when they would frequent Red Lobster. Beyoncé is a hard person to say something about and she has her fan base the Bey Hive, which can sting you if you say something particularly negative about Beyoncé. Although Red Lobster saw a 33% increase in sales the week of the release of Beyoncé, they faced criticism because it had too much of a pun. In addition to a lack of response time, they also stated they had “Cheddar Bey Biscuits.” The tweet received over 14,552 retweets. However, the tweet garnered positive and negative reactions from people.

Great Example: An Internet star is born and a Chewbacca Mask

When Candace Payne broke the record for Facebook Live views, Kohl’s ran to support her. They surprised her kids with their own Chewbacca masks as well as a monetary credit to Kohls’. Candace could be viewed as an ad for Kohl’s because she mentioned them and their product. Needless to say, that mask sold out on Internet sites. Kohl’s won by thanking her for her loyalty. Not to mention that Payne seems like a grateful person because she reminded her children to give thanks. Unlike a celebrity, Candace Payne is a normal person who happened to stumble upon a brush with fame, which makes Kohl’s seem like a relatable brand that is appreciative of their loyal customers. This will be interesting to see if over the next few weeks Kohl’s stocks increase for a company that has been experiencing a drop in stocks.

emma-hawesEmma Hawes is currently working as a freelance social media content creator, while attending graduate school online at Purdue University. Hawes has a bachelor’s degree in communication, with concentrations in journalism, public relations and broadcasting from Mississippi State University. In college, Hawes was a freelance broadcasting technician, working behind the scenes for games with ESPN. When she is not behind her MacBook, iPhone or camera, she enjoys watching comedy, reading and cooking. Her fictional idol is Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation.

Five Ways to Keep Integrated PR Consistent

Five Ways to Keep Integrated PR ConsistentWith integrated marketing communications, the focus is usually on which platform you’re using or how you’re adapting to industry changes. But despite all the integrated PR news and happenings, one traditional, important staple remains true:

All messages should be consistent and relevant at all times. (Click to tweet!)

Messages should be reinforced consistently across all communications function – be it a post on Facebook or a press release about a new hire.

In addition to messages being consistent, you should also make sure they’re understandable. The best integrated communications messaging is concise enough that all stakeholders understand the brand.

As a new pro, you’ll impress supervisors if you can understand the fundamentals behind this new PR world. Here are some integrated marketing tips to help you get in the know on this important subject.

Messaging

Everyone in an organization, be it a CEO or intern, must be on the same page on the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. This will ensure the outgoing messages are concise and understandable.

If you’re starting a new job but want to comprehend your company’s five Ws, answer each question specifically about your company, ask your supervisor to review your answers, then post them on your wall. The more you integrate yourself into the company – and test your knowledge – the more likely you are to be called on for important tasks.

Photo Filters

Taylor Swift may win at social media by using each platform differently, but this doesn’t always work for everyone. For nearly every business, brand uniformity on all channels is important.

The content doesn’t always have to be the same, but little things like using the same filters for each platform ensure consistency.

Some see the world in Valencia and others view it in Lo-Fi. The brand should have a noticeable aesthetic. For example, Conscious Magazine is a winner in my opinion for having beautifully curated social media accounts. They can be found @cmagazine on Twitter and Instagram.

Hashtags

As an organization, there should be a hashtag that links your conversations together across all social media channels. Hashtags help us discover content curated internally and from members of target audiences.

Color Schemes

A company should choose theme colors to be used across all platforms that are on-brand and consistent. Colors have meaning and subconsciously communicate with the audience, so it’s no coincidence that the leading fast food restaurants all use red, yellow, and green in their color schemes.

Why? Red triggers stimulation, appetite, hunger, and garners attention. Yellow communicates feelings of happiness and friendliness. Green sends a message of nature and relaxation.

When creating assets like images and logos, organizations should use that chosen color scheme across all communications functions.

Planning

As a PR pro, I know nothing can come to proper fruition without planning. The most successful pros – and companies they work for – are always two steps ahead and have a plan for every situation. There should be a planning around National Holidays, potential crises, upcoming company and client announcements, editorial calendars, etc.

Public relations is constantly evolving because of new technology and convergence. Transparency is integral to combating negative stereotypes people have of the industry. And, in order to be transparent, all the functions of communications (public relations, marketing, and advertising) need to correctly reinforce a company’s open, cohesive and honest message clearly across all channels.

Tiffany WooTiffany Woo is an Account Coordinator at NRPR Group, which is a public relations and social media marketing agency in Beverly Hills, CA. She has a goal of becoming one of the public relations industry’s top practitioners. Find her on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.