“What are you going to do after you graduate?”

I haven’t written in a long time because I did not think I had anything worth saying. I started this blog as an assignment and it is only now  I believe that I have found my voice.

Graduation for me is only a few months away. When I was graduating High School. I had it all figured out. I knew I was going to attend UT Martin with my high school sweetheart, that I was going to study News Writing to become a journalist, and that me and my boyfriend were going to live happily ever after.

I was wrong.

I did go to UT Martin, but that was the only thing I was right about. My first year of college was awful. My boyfriend broke up within a month of my first semester and my cat died my second semester. So much occurred during that first year I never enjoyed benefits of being a first time college student. However it wasn’t all bad, I discovered amazing friends and my true passion.

I discovered I did not want to become a journalist, but a public relations practitioner. I soon joined the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at my school and traveled to a conference in San Francisco. My whole world began to change and expanded. I am now happy and honor to say that I am the president of that chapter.

Now it is nearly four years since I graduated from high school and I have no idea where I am going to end to up. “What are you going to do after graduate?” Is the question that I am most frequently asked and I do not have an answer. I do not even know what I am going to eat for dinner in a few hours. I just know that I want work in Nashville, Tenn for public relations agency. After that I will go where ever my path leads me.

Real World 2014

I love being a part of PRSSA and and the opportunities it provides. Recently my PRSSA chapter attended the PRSA Real World Conference.  I attend three sessions, a career, and networked several different people. In this blog will discuss the three different sessions I attended and and my overall experience.

The first session I attended was Personal Branding, Social Media, and Work/Life Balance. The speakers were Katrina Blauvelt from The Home Depot, Stephen Brown from Cohn & Wolfe, and Gina Laughlin  from Delta Air Lines.  It is important to have a personal brand and to promote especially as a PR person.  Your voice on social media will influence how people view and will determine how your brand will grow as well influence the decision of potential employees. PR is a demanding job and you must be dedicated to it. In the beginning of your career you should be more dedicated to and eventually you can have more of balance between work and your life. There will be times in which you have to spend more time on your career then your family, but eventually it will all balance out.

The second session I attend was Crisis Management: Navigating a Crisis via Digital & Social Media. The speakers were Patty Gregory from the Childern’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Paul Dusseault from Fleishman-Hillard, and Jon Sullivan from Aflac.  You cannot avoid a crisis forever and once hits as a PR person you must keep the situation from getting worse. The digital has improved communications, nut it has made it it almost impossible to to contain a story let allow control it. In this session many examples were discusses such as the BP Oil Spill, the tsunami the hit Japan, and response to a Childern’s Healthcare of Atlanta campaign. When Gilbert Gottfried tweeted his insensitive tweets on Twitter about the the disaster it immediately caused and uproar and made the crisis Aflac was facing even greater. Jon Sullivan explained how they made the awful situation better by firing Gottfried and having a national open audition for a new voice of the duck which gave them national news coverage. It is all about how you respond.

The third session I attended was Today’s Media Relations 101 (Traditional & Social): Breaking through the Clutter. The speakers were Jacob Hawkins from Georgia Power, Angie Clawson from Atlanta Community Food Bank, John Bachman from WSB-TV, and Valerie Butler Guyton from CNN. When writing anything you must consider your target audience. Journalists get several emails and press releases everyday and in order for yours to be shared you must know your target audience. You need to establish relationships with journalists and understand and now how to get their their interest in your story. Without that those connections and knowledge your press release will just get lost among the hundred of other.

During the conference I learned a lot and was able to speak one on one with several different professionals. My love for public relations and PRSSA was renewed. There are so many different aspects of PR that it is impossible to discuss in one conference.  I really enjoyed this conference and look forward to attending more.

The New Customer Experience

When most hear the phrase customer service, it is followed by thoughts of waiting a long time on the phone just to speak to someone who knows little English and or has to transfer you to someone else. Poor customer service affects how customers view a company. Marketing, advertising, and Public Relations can only take a company so far. Social media is key to customer service. Social media highlights a company’s flaws and strengths. Social media will be a company’s worse nightmare if it has poor customer service. People will share their experiences on social media that will affect the opinions of  their friends and followers.

Every department needs to be educated on likable social media and every in the company needs to be aware of rewards and gifts given on line so that employees will not dismiss customers when they try to claim their reward or discount. The more people educate on likable social media the better social media presence and growth the company will have. It is highly important to have a team dedicated to customer service on social media. Social media is 24/7 and is most active on nights and weekends. In order to be likable the responses must be quick and apologetic.  Although the way customer service is conducted one thing remains the same , the customer is always right. Only now the customer is more influential and has larger platform.

Social TV

Social media is ever changing and always in search of ways to enhance communication between people all over the world. The latest addition to social media is YouToo. It is similar to YouTube, but with the same broadcasting rules of television and the the social aspect of YouTube. Unlike YouTube, every video posted onto YouToo must be approved first. It is allows viewers to participate in television programs using mobile devices  and web cams. This type of television/social media is so new that many companies haven’t heard of it let alone know how to use it in their strategic communication plan.

When creating any strategic communication plan one of the first questions is cost. Currently YouToo is free unlike traditional radio and television  where you have to pay for air time. The only cost is the production. YouToo takes the best of both traditional television and YouTube. It is a great way to learn what your customers and how effective your videos are in order to say more money in the long run.

The world today is interactive. The old communication model has exploded. When a company posts a video of the YouToo they can now get instant feedback and they are more able to see how effective a commercial or promotional video is before it goes on traditional media. In addition, customers and members of an organizations can interact through videos the company becomes personal instead of just another label on a bottle.New companies can create a series of videos introducing the company and how to use use their products. For example, a make-up company can teach people how to use make-up and a restaurant teach viewers to prepare a meal. YouToo is so brand new that the possibilities of what this means and how its going to change media is unknown.

It is time to take a leap and join YouToo. It is time create television content that viewers can interact with.  It is time to change the strategic communication plan and create your own interactive television content.

Social Connection

Social media has changed the world forever. Before the days of Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks, you were limited in social connections and traditional media. Daily communication consisted of phone calls, text messages, and emails. However that doesn’t provide the instant gratification and reach that we desire. Now communication is not only instant but constant.  No longer must you wait to inform your friends and family of your latest experiences.

There are those who love, those who hate, and those who are indifferent to social media. I am one of many that have become a social media addict. I have many social media apps that send me constant notifications. Currently I am part of nine social media networks using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest more than the others. My reasons for using social media  is to connect with other people, organizations and to stay current on the news.  Facebook is my personal page; I use it to connect with friends both new and old and family that live out of state. Facebook reconnected me and my grandma after ten years of lost contact.  I use Twitter for news updates and to follow public relations accounts. Twitter is the best way to get updated news instantly. When the tragedy at Sandy Hooks Elementary School occurred, I first heard the news through social media and not through traditional media. I use Pinterest for fun and relaxation. I can easily spend an hour on Pinterest pinning pictures that interest me.

The best part of social media is the constant connection. I am addicted to the constant social connection; I love getting instant updates. I join the most the popular networks; keeping up where my friends travel in social media. The best way to target an addict like me is constant and consist relevant posts. I hate ads that try to sell or promote something, but I respond well when an organizations or company speaks like relatable person. Social media is a platform to connect with others and stay updated on what is happening in the world around us, not for commercialization. Social media is a place for social connection.