Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

See it! —– Believe it! —– Deal with it!   

August 19, 2014

Managing your personal brand on social media: Tips and best practices shared on #HSUChat

I had a fellow professional and IMC graduate student Colin who reminded me to be part of the Hootsuite University #HSUChat session. The topic for today’s session was focusing on personal branding – and it was lead by Barbara Nixon. I’ve participated in a lot of different Twitter chat sessions, but this was probably one of the most engaged and dynamic ones I’ve ever been a part of! Wow – this was quite the experience soaking in all of knowledge and information pertaining to personal branding.

Check out what was covered today here and make sure to check out Barbara’s slideshare deck on her presentation today.

All of the conversations during this one hour chat session really brought forth an interesting question – how do you manage your personal brand? What are some elements to consider and what are some steps that need to be taken to be most proactive in this for yourself? I think all of the points highlighted in the chat session were not only relevant for professors, students, and fellow professionals to be aware of, but also consider how this could be applied to your own brand.

There are two questions, which Colin brought up that really hit this point home for me, that all social media professionals have to ask themselves when it comes to their personal brand. What are you passionate about and what is the one thing that people ask you for your advice on a regular basis? This is very important to consider and realize that this may be different from one person and another, so the way we have to approach this as a professor in the classroom is not to transform our students to be a single branded professional. Rather, we need to be explorers to determine what makes them unique and interesting and how to give them the best tools to help them establish themselves online with their personal brand.

If I were to add a third question to the mix for personal brand – I would have added this: What characteristics, experiences, and perspectives do you have that make you different from others in the field? Identifying this gap – this opportunity essentially – for students, professionals, and even professors is key. We want to see different perspectives and unique voices we have not heard about before. We want to see different voices shared, experiences and stories that have not been told yet, and personality along with it. If we are able to embrace what makes us who we are and combine this with our passion in the professional field of social media – well, look out world!

As a professor, this is what I have tried to do in each of my classes for my students. Yes, it is hard to determine what is unique about us and how to strategically position ourselves online, but this does not happen over night. Think of it as a training workout you have engage in on a regular basis. Not just once a week – this is a full time investment and commitment you have to make for your personal brand. It takes time, energy, and there are of course some ups and downs along the way. Look at how an Olympic athlete competes – they don’t decide one day they will be compete at the Olympic Games. Rather, they have to hone in on their skills and work hard to better themselves each and every day.

Doing a little bit each day pays off so much in the long run. This was one lesson I did learn while I was a shot putter both in high school and college, and this has served me well as I have started on this new chapter of my career as a professor, researcher, and consultant.

2004 Olympic Trials

I’d like to thank the team at Hootsuite University and everyone who participated in the #HSUChat session today on personal branding – especially Barbara Nixon. Thank you for sharing your insights with all of us on personal branding and extending the conversation for all of us on social media. I will make sure to check back in for another great chat next week. Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,




August 15, 2014

Sharing insights on social media research and teaching from a PR professor’s perspective

If I had to describe how this past week has been, it’s been busy! However, it has been very rewarding and exciting especially in the area of social media education. I had a chance this week to talk to two great professionals this week about my thoughts and research in the area, which resulted in a podcast feature with Kevin Anselmo and a blog article on Hootsuite.

I had a chance to speak with Kevin Anselmo on his podcast a few weeks ago, but the episode came out yesterday and we had a lot to chat about! I first met Kevin virtually a few months ago when he wrote a blog post about how I was using Instagram for my social media classes at the University of Louisville. We had a lot to talk about when it comes higher education and social media in the classroom and in research.

Kevin and I talked also about a study I did a few years ago on social media influencers that really sparked a lot of discussion not only for professors, but practitioners as well. Make sure to check out Kevin’s blog and podcast if you are teaching or working in higher education and are interested in social media. It’s a great resource and Kevin is a wonderful host! I had a marvelous time being part of the show – thanks again Kevin for the invitation!

I’ve mentioned this before, but I have been a huge fan of Hootsuite for years. I have been actively engaged using the program as well as implementing Hootsuite University into my classes at the University of Louisville. Not only is the program and product great, but the team of professionals who work behind the scenes are amazing as well. They are all professional, energetic, and extremely helpful for educators and students to be engaged with on social media. I was asked a few weeks ago as well about what students can do better in terms of becoming more effective digital professionals.

This appears to be a topic of conversation a lot of professors are having right now, and I was really excited to share my thoughts with Olsy on the subject in this post. I think the overall strategy professors need to consider here when engaging in social media effective practices is to make sure to lead by example – be engaged on social media, be effectively connecting with fellow professionals, and share examples and tips students can immediately apply into their own work and online presence.

It was a fun post to be a part of for Hootsuite. I would like to thank Kimberly, Olsy, Shawn, Kirsten, Paula, Taylor, Carrie, Michael, Rob, Jordan, Bill Ward and Allie for all of your help and support these past few years. It’s been truly an amazing experience and I was very honored to be part of this blog post. Keep up the amazing work!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,


August 13, 2014

Tips and suggestions for creating a “social media dream team” for academics

As an assistant professor, there are several responsibilities we have in order to get tenure at our respective universities. We have to of course produce research that is published in well respected journals, and we also have to be great teachers and be engaged in our classes with our students. The third part of the equation is service – whether it is for the university, community, or even professional community – it is an important element to what we do as professors.

For the last few years, I have been serving as a co-chair of the social media committee for the AEJMC PRD. I was invited to be part of the committee by its founder, Tiffany Gallicano, who set a fabulous presence and foundation for the committee. Tiffany was incredible to work with and follow her leadership.

The 2014-2015 Social Media PRD Committee. Back Row: Diana Sisson (PhD Student, University of South Carolina), Nicole Lee (PhD Student, Texas Tech), Carolyn Kim (Biola University), Melissa Janoske (University of Memphis), Geah Pressgrove (WVU), Patrick Merle (FSU), and Dave Remund (University of Oregon). Not pictured: Kelly VIbber (University of Dayton)


Since then, the committee has grown from two people to now eight. I am very excited about this upcoming year for the AEJMC PRD. We have six professors and two graduate students helping out this year. This is probably the biggest social media committee I know for an academic professional organization in PR, but the reputation and presence of the PRD increasingly grows each year. With this in mind, we have organized quite the “Social Media Dream Team” for the PRD.

So, what are some steps that are needed to take to create a “social media dream team?” Here are some things to consider:

  • Having a strong digital presence: Making sure your fellow colleagues have a strong engagement factor not only for themselves, but for their research as well. All of the professors and students who are on the committee are actively engaged in digital and social media. This was one thing Tiffany had emphasized strongly when forming and adding more members to the committee.
  • Great work ethic, creative strategic mindset, and being a team player: These professionals are awesome – they come up with creative ideas and are willing to put forth all they can for the committee. Dave came up with a great idea for the conference with shirts and buttons to give away on social media – and we had of course a lot of ideas related to content to post throughout the year from #PRProfChats and interviews with faculty, students, and practitioners (Geah, Melissa, and Dave).
  • Reputation in the field: We have professionals who are well respected for both their professional and academic work. All of these professionals have a nice hybrid approach with PR – they all have published research, but also have experience applying this to the field as well.
  • Have a diversity among members: From PR related interests, experiences, and even locations – we each bring something new and unique to the table. We are also coming in from all aspects in the field as well as locations – we have representation from West Coast, East Coast, South, and Midwest.

Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better team. They are truly the best in the business – no question! It’s been great to see how this committee has grown and evolved and I am really excited to work with each and every one of these professionals. Make sure to check out our Twitter (@AEJMC_PRD), Instagram (@AEJMCPRD), and Facebook for the latest updates.

Have a great day, everyone!

Best Wishes,



August 10, 2014

Meeting the Hootsuite Social Media Pros at AEJMC

It’s not every day where you get to meet key professionals in person at a conference. Well, I was able to do so this week while at the AEJMC Conference in Montreal. I had a chance to meet two professionals associated with Hootsuite. I was very excited to finally meet Dr. William Ward (or otherwise known as Dr4Ward) and Kirsten Bailey.

I first corresponded with Bill a few years ago when I first started teaching social media. If you are not following Bill yet on social media or his blog, you definitely should! He’s pretty much the leading voice and presence for social media education – he was the first to be part of Hootsuite University and is now the Director of Education for Hootsuite. Congratulations on your new role, Bill!

So, after many years corresponding on social media, I had a chance to meet Bill in person. We had a great conversation over coffee in the coffee bar at the conference hotel. We discussed new trends in social media education, our enthusiasm for coffee, and how the AEJMC PRD and Hootsuite could continue working together for future conferences. This was the first time Hootsuite was a sponsor at AEJMC.

The time seemed to just fly by – and Bill is not only a leading expert in the field, but his energy and enthusiasm to help others was awesome to see first hand! He’s the real deal and a wonderful colleague and friend to have in the business.

Kirsten and I have been actively corresponding over the years as well. She is the Director of Hootsuite University, which is a program of course I heard about from Bill. Kirsten and I had a chance to talk with fellow PR professor Carolyn Kim (another must follow professor in social media) before our panel session. I was truly amazed and excited to share with Kirsten my thoughts on social media education – she listened and wanted feedback from both Carolyn and I about our experience in HSU and what Hootsuite could do for educators.

Wow – how cool is that? That is what I thought and made me realize – this is what Hootsuite is doing that is separating themselves from other brands. This level of commitment, engagement, and support for education is superb and leading the field.

The team Hootsuite has for the program is unlike any other I have seen over the years from social media companies. I have had the pleasure speaking and working with great professionals at Hootsuite (Taylor Loren, Paula Cusati, and Kimberly Jang) along with Kirsten to incorporate HSU in my social media classes at the University of Louisville.

Kirsten did an AMAZING presentation at AEJMC as part of a teaching mobile panel session. Her presentation was wonderful and insightful for fellow PR professors – here’s a mini clip of her presentation on the panel.We had a chance to not only learn more about Hootsuite University, but also get some ideas for how it can be used in the classroom for various assignments.

I was sitting on the panel myself (did a presentation on Google Glass), and I was able to see the excitement and focus of everyone in the room. The room was standing room only, and the buzz on social media definitely reflected this.

In summary, I would like to thank both Bill and Kirsten for coming to AEJMC and presenting all about Hootsuite to the PRD. We are thrilled with the results and feedback we have gotten – it’s exciting to see everyone getting ready for the fall semester and saying – HSU is going to be a must have for my classes!

I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations as well – I was a huge fan of Hootsuite of course before the conference, but the energy and kindness shared by both Kirsten and Bill at the conference really stood out to me and made me even a bigger fan. Taking the time to talk with professors, asking our feedback on the program, and being willing to share resources and help educators in social media education – I can’t think of any other company in the social media sector that has done this like Hootsuite. In fact, I can’t think of any! :)

Again, it was a pleasure meeting you both at the conference, Bill and Kirsten. This was a true highlight for me and I know many of the PR professors and students in Montreal. Thank you and the rest of the team at Hootsuite for being such a leader in social media education – this is not only making a huge impact and difference for our students, but for all of us who are professors as well. #ThanksAMillion. :)

Thanks and have a great day!

Best Wishes,

August 9, 2014

From Social to Coffee Chats: Meeting the fabulous Melissa Agnes in Montreal

One of the things I have truly taken away from my travels, conferences, and meetings this summer is to make sure to make the effort to meet fabulous social media friends I have made over the years in person. I have had a chance to do that her in Montreal on several occasions, and the first one I want to share is when I had a chance to meet the fabulous Melissa Agnes.

If you don’t know Melissa, she is one of the leading voices and practitioners in the area of social media, crisis communications, and crisis management. She is a professional based in Montreal and has been working with clients and speaking at conferences all around the world. Her blog and podcast are pretty fabulous as well!

For several years, Melissa and I would tweet, chat via FB, and even start having virtual coffee meetings via Skype. Melissa would come on board with The Crisis Show and would also be a popular guest speaker for my classes at the University of Louisville. Melissa has also allowed me to be a guest on her blog, podcast, and even guest blog as well like this latest one on teaching crisis communications.

When I found out that AEJMC was going to be in Montreal – I immediately let Melissa know about it and we had a year to plan accordingly – #OperationFabulousPRPartOne!

Melissa and I at coffee in Montreal! (Photo Credit: Melissa Agnes)

I finally got to meet Melissa the first day I was in Montreal – and it was probably one of the highlights I had not only in Montreal, but my travels this summer. Melissa is exactly how she appears online – kind, energetic, enthusiastic about life and the profession, and absolutely a delight to spend time with.

We had actual coffee together at an amazing local coffee shop and dinner later (was fabulous!) I took away the experience as being so enjoyable because I felt I have known Melissa for years, which we have of course. Melissa also attended the conference as a practitioner and was able to come to my presentations, which was pretty cool!

Overall, based on my experience and meeting Melissa in person, I knew she was super fabulous, but she is beyond super fabulous! One of the best professionals I know and a truly fabulous friend. Along with several other professionals I got a chance to meet in person from our connections on social media, this really sparked my enthusiasm to do more of this.

Thank you so much for meeting up with me here in Montreal Melissa and showing me the beauty of your city! Truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

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