We’re all eager to help our clients grasp the online frontier, helping them set up Twitter profiles, Facebook fan pages, blogs, locate conversations and respond to steer accurate and positive conversations, create campaigns that engage the consumer online and so on and so on. But when it comes to an agency or practitioner’s own online presence, it’s a little harder for some to walk the walk.
Why it’s Important
- Your clients need to see that when you tell them they can leverage relationships online to build their businesses, you truly believe that’s the case. I’m able to tell my clients how we’ve secured new clients as well as press coverage for RKPR through our blog, Twitter and Linkedin. And it’s true – we just landed a client from Twitter last week.
- Monitoring your own analytics and watching what drives people to your site or blog, what gets people talking and sharing, what you say that people are inclined to share with their peers etc… can give you a great sense of what drives engagement online for your clients, and what tools mesh to drive the greatest interaction.
- There is a great benefit to networking with peers as well as social media’s movers and shakers online. As PR people we stress the importance of building awareness – social media enables us to do that in an extremely powerful way. If you aren’t online, try Googling your agency or company, and then see what happens when you search someone very active, like Sarah Evans of Sevans Strategy.
Where do you start? Some ideas to choose from
- Right now Twitter is one of the most buzzed about social media tools, but with good reason. The PR community is incredibly active as are both new and established brands. Chats like #journchat and #pr20chat enable us to share and compare tricks of the trade. It’s painless to build a community that you can share your own content with, as well as learn from others. While there is no steadfast rule on how to kick off your Twitter presence, I believe there is great value in letting everyone from your firm or company show off their own personalities. San Diego-based PR and Advertising agency Bailey Gardiner’s staff is loud and proud on Twitter starting from the top (@jonjonbailey and @bgindra) to the rest of the savvy staff (including @Callan_Paola and @carriejs).
- Creating your own blog to comment on industry trends is a great way to showcase your expertise and position yourself as a go-to resource for all things industry-related. It’s easy to get started – services like Wordpress are a snap to get up and running for free, and for a small fee you can grab a URL or add more customization. Write about trends, provide job tips or give your two-cents on current events.
- Not ready to commit to a full-scale blog? Try one of the lifestreaming tools like Posterous, which make it easier than ever to post your every whim and find your online voice. Dr. Mark Drapeau, who among many other things is a prolific government 2.0 strategist who writes for numerous press outlets as well as his own blog, tells me he uses Posterous for many reasons, including ease of use. He explains that his Posterous account enables him to blog from his PDA if he wants to, and that it’s operated solely from email, so there’s no account to maintain or formatting to be done – Posterous figures it out for you. In addition, he explains there is a lot of control to be had in terms of pushing content out through your other social networking tools like Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and more, and multimedia tools are easy to embed.
- Guest post on industry blogs. Now that I’m responsible for content on this blog as well as http://www.communikaytrix.com/, it impossible to keep a steady stream of content coming in addition to running a business. Many bloggers love to turn their platforms over to pros with a different area of expertise or a different take on a topical subject. Offer yourself up to your favorite blog (like SoCalPRBlog ) and let the blogger know what you can offer his or her readers.
- Fan pages aren’t just for brands. Bi-Coastal, social media savvy SHIFT Communications took to Facebook to create a fan page, and within a couple of months had more than 500 fans and growing. The agency populates the page with everything from a round-up of blogs they like to a personalized glimpse into employee antics. It’s a great way to humanize the staff while keeping their community up to speed on company milestones and achievements.
What are some other ways PR practitioners can dip their toes in the social Web? What’s helped you build a community and why do you thing having a Web presence is important?
Photo Credit: 7son75