• ILD

How To Use “Social Media” As Your PR Toolkit



Social media is a powerful tool that can increase the scope of your network greatly. Understanding the various types of social media outlets will help you formulate a strategy that can employ one or more of these tools-

  • Blogs

  • Wikis

  • Podcasts

  • Social bookmarks

  • RSS feeds

Each tool brings its own unique advantages. We will begin with a common tool called a blog.

Blogs

A blog is short for a weblog, which is a journal made available on the Internet. Blogging is the activity of updating the blog. The journal is in chronological order and the blog could contain pictures and other media for sharing. A blog is a powerful tool for networking. You can easily share your blog Website address with others and they can view your ideas in detail from the comfort of their computer.

The blog authoring is a relatively easy system to use. You can design the blog to take comments from your readers. You can also provide an email for your readers so they can contact you. Unlike a traditional Website, a blog uses very few pages. Instead, the author adds posts and the page becomes longer as the posts increase. Blogs can archive past posts into month categories or topics.

Blogs provide a way for a person with little technical skills to create a webpage and share information with little training and expense.

Wikis

A wiki is a database that contains pages that a visitor can edit. The comments on a wiki build the page. It is a system of sharing an adapting the page as the comments are entered. Usually there is a moderator to a wiki. They approve the comments before they are added to the page.

For networking, wikis make it easy to exchange ideas and data on any topic, projects, etc. Wikis also provide a venue for those who are intimidated by speaking with others face-to-face. The drawback to wikis is the validity of some information. Since wikis are built on comments from virtually anyone, the information going into one may not be accurate.

Overtime, the more comments added to a wiki page, the more accurate a picture you get. Wikis are great for connecting with someone in your line of work or industry. There are large wiki communities out on the Web and they are mostly free to use. This is a great way to expand your network.

Podcasts

Podcasts are audio or video files that are to be viewed on your computer or downloaded onto a portable device. If you are able to create videos or audio files and make them downloadable files, then you can create podcasts.

Podcasts are usually series oriented, meaning they usually have several podcasts discussing one topic. The files are usually on a server or Webpage. The viewer or listener goes to the page, accesses the media, and downloads them to their computer for viewing or listening.

Podcasts are useful if you are comfortable talking into a microphone or a camera. Some communication experience is helpful in making your podcast look professional. In addition, you will need to plan the flow of you content before you record.

Social Bookmarks

Many times, you may want to share great information found on Websites you encounter throughout your life. Social bookmarking is a way for you to organize these links onto a Webpage and share it with others.

The social bookmarking system allows you to save links to web pages for sharing with others. These bookmarking pages can be public or private. The latest version of bookmarking Website allows your visitors to rate your links and leave comments, giving you the ability to engage in virtual conversations with others. Sharing great information helps to build your network.

RSS Feeds

A Really Simple Syndication or RSS is a feed that transmits updates from subscribed Websites. This is a useful tool when a Website is constantly updated. Websites that offer this feature usually has the RSS symbol that when clicked adds it to your web browser as a feed.

For networking, you should add this feature to your web pages and blogs. This way your contacts will receive the latest updates on their computer and they do not have to navigate back to your page. Adding this feature usually involves a click of a button to add and it runs itself once installed.

This is a very powerful way of staying connected without having to push information out to others. Adding this feature will saves time, leaving you more time for other networking activities.

Always Show Respect

When deciding to post something online, sometimes the last thing on our minds is what others will think about it, or how it will affect us later. But when sharing our information, we must be respectful of our audience and refrain from using foul language or offensive material. Don’t use the material to argue or pick a fight with another user or member. While a little controversy or a friendly debate can attract a larger audience, if pushed too far it can have the opposite effect. You can end up alienating your viewers and driving them away. So before you post something online, whether a photo or an article, show respect to other users by considering how it would make them feel.

Remember:

· Be polite

· Be aware of how your content makes others feel

· Don’t try to argue or fight on a social media site

· Anything you post can come back to you or the company

Stop and Think Before You Post

One of the best tools to prevent negative consequences to the company is to stop and think about something before you decide to post it. Before posting a photo or new article, think about how it will affect you and your employer. Will it appear negative or offensive? Is it something you should be sharing online? If there is any doubt in your mind, don’t post it.

When replying to a post, or making a follow-up remark, think twice before making angry comments or criticising others. Take a moment to think about what you want to say, and repeat it to yourself over and over again. Does it still sound like a good idea? Again, if you have any doubt or second-thought in your mind, refrain from posting it.

Things to ask yourself before posting:

· How will this make me look?

· How will this look on the company?

· Will the breach company policy?

· Will this share any unnecessary information?

Always Be Honest