Monday, May 21, 2012

#163 - Combining the Ingredients of a Perfect Social Media Plan

           As with all effective marketing planning, the best use of social media must start with a solid plan. Ask yourself exactly why you want to harness the power of social media for your particular business, client or organization. That's always your first step. 
    A social media campaign requires a set of broad goals, several specific and measurable objectives (that will allow you to reach the goals) and at least one specific strategy for achieving each objective. To be truly worthwhile, the plan also needs an analysis of the marketplace and a clear picture of where the company/brand started from - its strengths, weaknesses, current threats and opportunities - and where it’s going.

Put it all on paper
      Once the plan begins taking shape, choose the right tool for the right job.  For generating leads, you may find Twitter is a good tool for you.  For engaging with your current and prospective customers, Facebook has proven itself effective for a broad range of businesses.  If you're a business-to-business marketer, LinkedIn is likely to offer you some solutions. 

Think of your blog or website
as the central hub of the business
      See all the other social media networks - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, InstaGram, Flickr, SlideShare (the list goes on) as conduits, each one in combination leading to your success. 

         Facebook is like the conversation you used to have with a customer across a counter.  It's personal.  Twitter is the newspaper delivery boy riding his bike all through your neighborhood disseminating details, links and pertinent news.  LinkedIn is like the local Chamber of Commerce (only online) and it's a great place for professional networking or seeking/finding talent.

          Obviously, I could go on here but suffice to say that first you plan, then you choose the right tools/networks, and then you implement your plan. That's strategy and it works when you use the right tools of social networking wisely and as they are intended to be used.

© 5-14-12

Friday, February 10, 2012

#162 - Guest Post: How I’m Using Social Media to (Hopefully) Land my Dream Job

By Leah Freeman

After three and a half years at a respected university slaving over my first press releases and news features, I feel that I have finally arrived.  As a PR major preparing to graduate and enter a society in which unemployment seemingly rises every week, it has hit me hard - finally.  My parental money tree is about to be uprooted.  My comfortable college lifestyle is nearing its end.  
The thought of searching for my first job in this economy, quite frankly, terrifies me.
As I research via the Internet sites and search engines, attend various career fairs and Google what feels like every PR firm on the planet, I have reached one conclusion.  Social media provides the best information on how to go about landing your first job, and it offers a never-ending source of job postings.  Here are three ways that I am using social media to land my dream job.
There’s no denying that I am addicted to Twitter, and I have recently discovered a way to put my obsession to good use.  By following various PR sites on Twitter, I am seeing entry-level openings appear right on my daily timeline.  Follow various PRSA accounts, in particular. If you know the state and/or city that you would like to work in upon graduation, I suggest following a local PRSA chapter. I have found that almost every state and major city has one.  Also, follow @PRSAjobcenter, which posts around 10 PR job openings all over the country every day.
LinkedIn is perhaps the most valuable resource for college students looking for career and internship opportunities of our digital time. By creating a profile, uploading a resume and accomplishments, and making connections, you can have access to thousands of professionals in any industry.  But simply creating your profile will not suffice.  Be sure to join various groups and discussions and reply to others’ comments.  For the PR industry, #PRIntern  and #EntryPR are  great groups to join and each contains valuable information and offers free webinars.
Although Facebook is more likely to be used by college students for party invites, I have recently found ways that Facebook can assist in my job search.   By liking the companies you may be interested in, you can not only find out more about the mission and values of those companies, but you may also stumble upon job openings and internship opportunities.  Be sure to “like” various job engine websites and career services groups to find tips for effective interviewing, resume writing, etc. I recommend every job seeker “like” the PRSA official Facebook page, which posts articles and blogs that may just lead you to a future career.
I am confident that these simple steps will improve my chance of landing that dream public relations job.  I vow to always maintain a clean, professional image online and to never be afraid to showcase my skills.  Employers are hiring younger people today, specifically for our expertise in social media.  Use this knowledge to your advantage; I sure am!  
About the Author:  Leah Freeman is a Senior Public Relations major in the Journalism & Mass Communications Department at Murray State University. Freeman is pursuing her dream to work for a  major Public Relations firm.  She plans to graduate in May of 2012 and pursue her master’s degree in Mass Communications. For more information contact:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

#161 - Guest Post: Is Social Media Interfering with Your Lifestyle?

By Kelly Sturgeon

            Everyday, people interact with each other via SMS, Facebook messages and tweets to convey their thoughts, feelings, problems and virtually every detail of daily life. The problem with all this non-personal communication is that some of us may be losing the ability to interact well one-on-one. Could it be that we’re using social media to avoid having face-to-face interactions and relationships?
            Technology is simply a tool, but recently, we’ve witnessed it causing damage to friendships and hindering some people’s ability to function without a cellphone or access to Facebook and Twitter. It is becoming an addiction; people have their cellphone glued to their hands, checking every five minutes for that new text message or Facebook notification. To some extent, most of us are guilty of this; we use technology to avoid talking to strangers. Do we really think that text messages are more important than the friend we’re having lunch with?
            A friend of mine always responds to phone calls and text messages during our dinners together. She answers a call, chats for 15 minutes then hangs up without even apologizing for making me sit there awkwardly, waiting. I’ve always been uncomfortable with this. Do I ask her to call the person back after we part or do I simply pretend that I don’t care? Of course, it is impolite and annoying to others. No one enjoys being ignored, yet we all seem to do it these days.
            I’ve heard friends’ comments that they could not imagine life without cellphones and the Internet. Without these tools, they wonder how they would receive information, do assignments or stay current with world events? It is important to recognize that life will go on if we do not text or tweet every day. Social media is great for networking, finding potential employers or chatting with old friends, but if we abuse it, we may find ourselves facing the consequences. My advice is to take a step back now and then, reorganize your priorities. Set a limit to how much time you’re spending on Facebook or Twitter. By setting limits, we can be less dependent on technology. Life may even become less complex or stressful.
Let’s be the generation that encourages everyone to learn to interact with others in person as often as we do online.
Agree? Disagree? Please feel free to share your comments below.
About the Author: Kelly Sturgeon is a Junior Public Relations major in the Journalism & Mass Communications Department at Murray State University. She is intrigued by sports, writing and new communications techniques. She plans to graduate in spring 2013 and pursue a career in public relations. For more information, contact:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

#160: Guest Post - Do you choose Social Media as your primary source of news today? You may be surprised to learn just how many people do!

By Abigail Goss
Eighteen hours a week. That’s how much time I spend in classrooms. I also work 15 hours a week at two part-time jobs. Somewhere in there, I eat, sleep and do college-kid-type things. I wish I had time to lazily read a newspaper everyday or sit at my computer and read any’s article. The reality is that I can’t. Can you?
           It would be easy to simply hide in this collegiate world, but I choose not to. As a student immersed in journalism and mass communications every day, I am driven to keep up with what is going on in the world. I depend on Twitter for my news and follow the Associated Press, CNN, CBS, Fox News and any other news source I can find – reading the headlines – every single day.
            Social media as a news source has been beneficial to me. I get my news the way I need it – which is fast. Twitter is the most efficient source of headlines, and as a very busy student, I prefer it. Where do you get your news these days? 
           The comments section is open!
Abigail Goss is a junior in the journalism and mass communications department at Murray State University. She is pursuing a major in public relations and a minor in advertising. Abigail enjoys working out, writing and a great cup of coffee. When she graduates in May 2012, she hopes to find her dream job in the Nashville area at a dynamic PR firm.

Friday, January 20, 2012

#159 - Guest Post: Are we becoming too dependent on Social Media?

By Lakyn Tankersley

Social media has completely altered the way that we communicate with one another. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, just to name a few, have  changed modern communication.

Social media is rampant these days, and since we live in a technology dependent world, some of us are becoming so reliant upon the amenities at our disposal from the Internet to smart phones, to video games and even our household conveniences (the washer/dryer, microwave, television) that we are lost without our tech tools and toys.

Lately, I find myself wondering if we aren’t too dependent upon social media, in particular. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is check my email, Facebook and Twitter accounts. I know I am not alone in this. And, it’s not only my generation that's affected. LinkedIn is now an absolute must for job seekers. I've noticed that my parent’s and grandparent’s are using social media almost as often as my friends and I do.

Social media has slowly become a primary way we communicate. Is it too easy to skip meeting face-to-face to talk about anything anymore? We are choosing more and more often to send emails and text messages instead of actually calling or getting together. Cell phones may have made our lives more convenient, but it is the ability to access social networks via our phones that has truly changed the nature of relationships, in my opinion.

I hate to admit that we might be becoming too dependent on social media. If talking in person becomes a thing of the past, what’s next?

Lakyn Tankersley is a senior Organizational Communication major/Journalism minor at Murray State University (a fully accredited university in the beautiful lakes region of West Kentucky). Lakyn is passionate about music and communication. She plans to graduate in December 2011 and pursue a career in Event Planning. For more information contact:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

#158 - Guest Post: Is the Social Media Business Really Booming?

By Mary Parsons

LinkedIn launched in 2003, Facebook in 2004 and Twitter came on board in 2006. These three social networks, although not the only forums in today’s cyber-world, are part of an epidemic change in corporate communications.
Initially created for our public enjoyment, the social networks have generated a new purpose in every work environment. It seems that just about all well-known companies have some social media presence. The good news is that companies are connecting with consumers on a more personal level than ever before.
While I am no expert on social media trends, I do know that they are affecting my personal life. As a graduating senior, all of my college professors have asked me about my LinkedIn profile. I can’t count how many times I have been warned to closely monitoring what I am posting on Facebook.  Some of the positions I am currently applying for list an opening for a “Social Media Specialist.”
The more I hear about social media and business, the more I realize that this is not a science. It's part finesse, part customer service, part style and then, part science. As I approach the close of my college career, I want to encourage future students to study the concepts surrounding social media for business.  This is big and it's only getting bigger.
Businesses are communicating with consumers and employees in very different ways and they continue to change rapidly. In order to succeed, today’s college grads do need to be more well-versed about social media techniques and tools.  If we can actually harness social media’s power for the companies we plan to go to work for, then perhaps we can succeed in ways no one has imagined!
Have an opinion?  Feel free to comment below.

 About the author:
Mary Parsons is a senior at Murray
 State University majoring in Organizational Communication and minoring in Public Relations. She plans to graduate in May 2012 and pursue a career in communications.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#157 - Guest Post: Changing the Music Industry One Click at a Time

By Brittany Jeter

Music is an integral part of society. It’s the one language that transcends all barriers. In the last several years, however, it has become the subject of scandalous publicity. First, we had the Napster fiasco, and then came file-sharing software and musicians complaining about lack of revenue
and poor album sales.

For musicians to make money today, they have to hit the road as often as possible. Ticket sales and merchandise sales…these are what allow musicians to actually succeed financially. Don’t get me wrong. iTunes is a good thing, but it’s been overshadowed by file-sharing through Frostwire and Limewire, among others.

It is predicted that within 3-5 years the CD will be obsolete. That's why so many artists are turning to social media, with their pages on Facebook, profiles on Tumblr and millions of personal websites where they can sell or allow downloads of their art. These sites have become the more cost-effective means of selling music. And, at these sites, you don’t have to worry about paying graphic designers for cover designs or printing and producing CD copies.

 It’s quite simple today to upload music. One click and there you have it. Your fans can download your music from their choice of sites. The money then goes either directly to the artist or to a third party who keeps tracks of it. In fact, more and more managers and artists are choosing to become part of an independent, rather than a major, label. They prefer the financial arrangements because they are much easier to track.

Look at the band, Foreigner, for example. Right now, it’s using this technique for VIP photos. The process uses a small card (about the size of an iTunes card) and on the back each purchaser gets a site address and code for downloading pictures. It’s more cost-effective in the long term.

Most artists today’s world are actually being “discovered” through social media.  Reverb-nation is just one of the social sites for musicians and managers. By simply uploading a biography, contact information and an artist’s music, any manager looking for a potential new act may find gold. Yes, the act has to possess real talent but it’s the representative’s job to check out that live show. My point is that it all started with social media.

Social media has come a long way from just someplace to connect with old friends. It’s growing daily and it’s helping the music industry get back on its feet. I hope it brings it back to the top of its game.

If you’re a consumer of music, then this affects you, too. Do you feel that using social media is helping the music industry regain its once illustrious status? Please let us hear from you in the comments section below.

Brittany Jeter is a Senior Public Relations major in the Journalism & Mass Communications Department at Murray State University. Jeter is passionate about music, film, the arts and how social media affects the entertainment industry. She plans to graduate in spring 2013 and pursue a career in Music Business/Public Relations. For more information contact: