This blog post is in response to a post on Social Media Today titled “Is Social Media A Requirement for PR Pros?” As its title suggests, this blog post discusses the merits of using social media in the PR profession, and whether or not it is necessary for all PR practitioners to know how to use social media.
Considering I am currently enrolled in a course specifically about “Strategic Social Media,” I would say I consider social media-savvy a “must” for both young and aged public relations professionals. This belief is only furthered by a recent report released by the Public Relations Society of America. This report states that in 2010 the top three attributes employers will seek out in new hires are: 1) Authenticity 2) Return on Investment 3) Social Media Mastery.
Since I will be entering the public relations field in just shy of six weeks, fulfilling each of these requirements is of high importance to me, especially the “Social Media Mastery” requirement. I am already a community manager for a client on Facebook and Twitter. Through this experience, I have quickly learned how to best engage followers, how to best encourage feedback and how to best expand my client’s social media network and thus social media reach. I know that the vast majority of the Account Supervisors (like myself) at the student-run public relations agency I work for, named Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR), are responsible for their client’s social media. Many of AHPR’s clients hire us solely to implement a social media plan.
Aside from using social media for the benefit of clients, I also believe that social media is incredibly important for personal branding purposes. How you represent yourself online via your various social media accounts correlates directly to how employers will expect you to represent yourself in person. More and more, employers research applicants’ social media presence prior to hiring. This makes having and using social media all the more important if one hopes to gain employment in the public relations sector.
If my experience is any indicator of where the public relations industry is headed, I most definitely agree with Rachel Kay on this subject and conclude that social media prowess is a must-have for all public relations professionals.