How PR practitioners should engage with social networking

Someone has just asked me offline for my tips for PR practitioners to engage with social networking sites.  Here is what I recommended:

  • Don’t just be a lurker – social networking is about engaging in conversations, so be prepared to leave comments (only 10% of online users do, though)
  • Monitor what is being said about you or the brand you represent using Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts)
  • Make full use of RSS feeds to bring the latest information to you rather than having to regularly visit your favourite sites for updates (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/3223484.stm)
  • Pro-actively manage your own, and your organisation’s online footprint – be aware of what is being said, and ensure there is accurate, reliable information available – and don’t ever post embarrassing photos.
  • Look and learn online – there are some great resources that explain various technology, such as the videos from Common Craft at http://www.commoncraft.com/ which are plain English guides to online tools such as social networking, book marking and RSS
  • Connect with others online – the point of networking is to make connections with colleagues, contacts and information resources
  • Add value to your presence – what information can you share or offer that will be of use to others and help build your online reputation?
  • Build your Google juice – this is what powers the search engines used by most people online. Blogging and participation in social networking can optimise your presence online and make what you have to say more prominent
  • Manage your time – social networking is a great sucker of time so be purposeful in your use of online tools rather than aimlessly engaging with trivia, and look for smart opportunities to engage with the media, such as via mobile technologies
  • Think multimedia – professional communicators use video and audio as well as the written word, so look out for useful podcasts and vcasts which you can download to an iPod or mobile phone to keep up with the latest online happenings.

What would you add to this list?

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

7 thoughts on “How PR practitioners should engage with social networking”

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