Leaping into Social Media

PR is undergoing dramatic changes in large part because of the social media landscape. So what does the future look like? Vocus, which offers on-demand software for public relations management, recently released its “PR Planning 2010 Survey Results.”

When asked what is the single most important thing you, as a PR professional, will do differently in 2010 than you did in 2009, Vocus reported that social media was referenced nearly 600 times of the 1,571 responses.

So what can you do if you are one of the few who hasn’t leapt into social media?

Start by experiencing the applications.

LinkedIn allows you to connect professionally. You develop your network. You post your resume. You comment on professional questions. You write recommendations for others. All of these activities place your skills and experience where it can be viewed by others.

Facebook can be social or professional. For many it’s simply a way to stay in touch with far-flung friends. But even when you’re doing that, you are learning how to monitor the conversation.

Start a blog. It’s free and easy and no experience is necessary. I did some research before I started mine. I thought about who my audience would be. For me it was primarily the NFPW membership, but also potential members. Once I knew that, I knew I wanted to focus on communications and the changing field. And really, my focus is more on integrating traditional and new media. I set a schedule. Then I started. I’m learning as I go.

Twitter is a microblog. In 140 characters you can share a message. It’s not easy to keep up with everything. It can be quite distracting. The younger generation seems fine with it. One thing I’ve learned from microblogging is how to write tight and how to convey my message succinctly – something we could all benefit from.

So as you start 2010 and think about your professional goals, think about where you might leap into social media.