Organizations and Stakeholders


People say I’m well-linked

It’s easy to jump into a social media discussion when talking about networking technology. And that’s exactly what I’m about to do… however, keep in mind that any communication technology can be a networking tool if it helps you maintain relationships.

I have used social media to network with professionals numerous times, mostly using LinkedIn. As you can see from my LinkedIn profile, I have over 80 connections. Some may yawn at my 80 connections, but l am only three internships deep into my field—cut me some slack!

I digress. Establishing my online presence meant having at least four profiles floating around in the web clouds. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. WordPress… It can be exhausting using all these social media.

The 2008 Bell Labs Technical Journal published an article, “Social Networking: Communication Revolution or Evolution?” This study conducted by Cheryl L. Coyle and Heather Vaughn studied how college students use networking sites. They found that the most influential reason undergraduates use social networking sites was “keeping in touch with friends.

I imagine Facebook, clearly a social site, is mostly used to catch up with friends. But what about using “professional” social media, such as LinkedIn?

According to Linkedin.com, “LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories. More than half of LinkedIn members are currently located outside of the United States.”

In 2009, Business Communication Quarterly included Sam DeKay’s research,Are business-oriented social networking web sites useful resources for locating passive jobseekers?” The article discusses “passive job seekers” as people who already have jobs, but are open to new job offers.  DeKay’s research suggests that the nature of the website, with detailed resumes and recommendations, attracts people who would like to advance their careers.  The research did not prove that LinkedIn is used to search for employees, however, it was helpful to recruiters because it was a hub of professional information about a candidate.

A Forbes blog posted last Tuesday by, Ali Brown, cited Lewis Howes who specializes in LinedIn “Master Strategies” and even wrote a book on it. She gave the following 5 tips from Howes on how businesses use LinkedIn:

1.  Answer Questions when businesses post questions about specialties.

2.  Join Targeted Groups and connect with others in similar fields

3.  Create a Company Page and give your business a presence on the site.

4.  Sync Your WordPress and Twitter.

5.  Make Recommendations to others.

Here’s my list of LinkedIn best practices for the recent graduate job seekers.

1. Build upon an established contact. Only connect to people you have met with in person or with whom you have had direct contact. *Tip: include a personal note with the “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

2. Get Recommended. The best way to receive a recommendation is to provide one for someone else. *Tip: Make sure it is a genuine recommendation.

3. Include a professional headshot. A picture of you at the beach will probably decrease your professional credibility.

4. Target organizations. Use LinkedIn to search for connections of connections in an organization you want to work for.

5. Join groups. Numerous groups like Hiring for Hope and JobAngels provide tips for the job seeker like you and me. Be an interactive group member and join the conversations.

6. Stay in touch. LinkedIn is a hub of your professional connections—use it to keep contact with past supervisors and recent connections.

Remember, face-to-face interaction is the most basic and influential way to maintain relationships, but social media can be used to network professionally.  LinkedIn’s platform is “Relationships Matter.” My platform is to build genuine relationships and not network for the sake of networking.

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Tips to build relationships using social media

This post includes tips for your organization to use when creating its social media communications platform.


Using social media to build relationships with journalists

At my internship at Frederick County Government in Maryland, one of the valuable lessons my supervisor stressed to me was about media relations. She introduced me to the local reporter that covers the county government news whom she had been working with for some time.

As corporate communicators, journalists are key stakeholders. Though some people argue newspapers and other traditional news media are becoming a thing of the past, reporting news itself is in absolutely no danger. Journalists are not going away, they are just writing different media.

We corporate communicators are still counting on pitching journalists to share information about our company. Now, we can use online resources, such as social media, to build a relationship with journalists.  We have the opportunity to give them valuable material to make it more likely that they will talk about our organization in their stories, online or otherwise.

In a previous post, News organizations using social media, I discussed how news organizations are using social media to report the news. If they’re using social media, we can make it easier for them by giving them material that is easier to work with.

What do journalists want?

Part of building relationships with journalists is consistently giving them credible information they can use. Online journalists want rich content and multimedia to post on their news and social media sites. Here is a list of things we can pass along for a journalist to use:

Social Media Release Template.

Social Media Release Template. Shift Communications.

  • Photos
  • Graphics
  • Quotes
  • Video
  • RSS feed
  • Links
  • E-mails of experts in the company

Remember, we want to make the journalist’s job of compiling information as easy as possible to make it more likely that they will talk about our organization.

How can we send this information to the journalist?

We can use our own company’s website and social media sites to post valuable content and make it easily searchable for journalists to access. Our sites can include online news rooms where we link to past releases and multimedia about our company. For individual story ideas, we can send the media a social media news release that is almost exactly like traditional news releases but includes multimedia such as b-roll, audio, and images pertaining to the story. We can use to post the social media releases such as online wire services pitchengine. We can also use our organization’s social media to pitch bloggers. Journalists can scan our Twitter page with links to our news and easily pick up story ideas.

Building a relationship with a journalist is key

In PR and corporate communication, the most valuable element of our work is being human. Our communication is still based on personal contact. Being conversational, though still professional, will aid our credibility. Journalist will know they can come to you for quality, relevant information.

For more tips on pitching to journalists online and building relationships, check out Christine Kent’s blog post “Eight Ways to befriend Journalists Via E-mail.”


Build a community and they will come

So many corporate communicators use social media to post the latest advertisements or talk about the new bells and whistles for their product. While this is contributing to corporate image, it is not building relationships or starting conversations. Building relationships is key to getting customers to return to your website, blog, or social media site.

Pete Cashmore, CEO of successful social media blog, Mashable, also says using social media is about building a community because it is more important to start conversations among readers than to just be the site that they go to for answers.

Magazine Industry using communities

Parents magazine uses a community. google images

Ripple6, a marketing consulting agency helped Parents Magazine implement their social media strategy, which included a highly interactive Parents community page. This page offers a place for moms to meet other moms or contribute their own story to moms who are going through the same things.

Cosmopolitan, another women’s magazine, also uses a Cosmopolitan community page on their social web site. I can follow conversations that are happening right now. One post on the message board is “Should I keep flirting with my coworker?” People have been sporadically posting answers to this question and to each other since a year ago.

Communities is where the people are, and where you should want to be

Freelance marketing consultant, Helen Leggatt, describes “digital villages” where you can attract your consumers. These villages are where your customers are spending their online time. It is useful to know where these communities are because customers are not going to go out of their way to type “find me a new brand to follow” in Google search.

Are you building a community where your customers would want to be?


News Organizations using social media

msnbc social media sign-ups

msnbc.com

I woke up this morning and as I ate breakfast, I updated myself with the happenings of the world by checking CNN. Another massive earthquake strikes — this time Chile is the victim.

The first item I clicked on was a video about an American Idol star who was in a hotel about 100 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. He had been sending Tweets about he earthquake since it hit. CNN kept an eye on his Tweets and shared them with its online audience. My personal Twitter page is full of Tweets about the earthquake’s rising death toll, tsunami waves in Hawaii and the like.

How are news organizations using social media?

It’s not news (pun intended), that consumers are a rising influence on any organization, and the news companies are not excluded in this trend. Traditional media sources have turned to online and mobile social media to build trust, develop relationships, and interact with audiences. For example, ABC News has its own Youtube channel where people can watch clips and comment on past news shows. On the MSNBC Web site , people can get MSNBC news sent to their mobile phone, follow it on Twitter or subscribe to its podcasts, RSS feeds or e-mail alerts.  The San Francisco Chronicle Web site links to its staff blogs on its homepage.

Who’s helping whom?

I can’t help but wonder if the news organizations or audiences are benefitting more from the adoption of social media. Personally, I usually find the updates on Twitter from news organizations to be much more helpful than even scanning through headlines on news websites. I also find that every news organizations allows people to subscribe to any kind of feed to get more people soaking in more information from the network.

Do news organizations and social media have the same core values?

On the surface, American journalism and social media have the same core value of democratization of information. Both serve as fast resources of information for the world. Where they might differ is that a core value of journalism is to give accurate, fair information to the publics. Since social media content is generated from individuals looking at their computer or mobile screen, the information is going to be perhaps less accurate and more biased. Journalists can still use social media as more resources to obtain news or just hear what their audience has to say.

News organizations have a new code of ethics for social media

In 2009, many media corporations like The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post adopted ethical guidelines for using social media like Twitter. The rules seemed to generally encompass issues such as:

  • Don’t talk about a story before it’s been published
  • Don’t talk about how a story was obtained or written
  • Don’t mix your personal life with work that will damage the organization’s reputation

To me, the list seems extremely similar to the classic Journalism code of ethics.

Long-time journalist, editor, and journalism professor in New York, Jeff Jarvis, disagrees with some of the adopted ethics policies in his blog post. He says the journalists would miss an opportunity to interact and work with the public to get news, which is the point of using social media like Twitter.

For more information on how news organizations use social media visit…

The Niemen Foundation of Journalism at Harvard blog, Let’s Talk: Journalism and Social Media.”


Small businesses use social media to reach customers

social media

Social Media. google images

The Main Cup is a small, yet popular restaurant in my small hometown, Middletown, Maryland. It’s where college students go to catch up with old friends, where all the high school kids want to work, and where you’re guaranteed to recognize the people at the table next to you.

This small-town restaurant has almost 900 fans on its Facebook page. On the Facebook page the business owner, everyone knows as Bob, updates the status of the restaurant’s openings, menus, and entertainment. Fans often post on the page and respond to each other’s comments.

I’m guessing small businesses love social media.

Social media is a cheap way to get rich information to customers and help build relationships. Here are some of the ways small businesses benefit from using social media:

  • It will direct people to your website.
  • You can find out what people are saying about your organization.
  • It’s so cheap!
  • Many of the social media sites don’t require you to be tech-genius to use them.
  • It gets you involved in what so many people are using.
  • You can use the social media to build upon the face-to-face contacts you have.

Just to name a few!

Small Business owner, Jo Dodds, gives advice to help business owners fulfill the need to network with locals and find out what people are saying about their company.

Like jumping in a lake, it might not be such a good idea to jump into social media head-first.

It’s important for business owners to know the drawbacks of using social media as well.

In his blog, Small Business Search Marketing, marketing consultant Matt McGee discusses some worries of small business owners who use social media.

It’s up to you to do the research.
Only you can weigh the advantages/disadvantages of using social media for your small business. As long as you use social media to fulfill the needs of your customers and you’re willing to respond to what they have to say, you can reap the many benefits of new communication technologies to get your small business’ name on the map.