Building your International Social Media Presence: Essential skill for professionals in new technology
Make me…. INTERNATIONAL! This is one of my favorite lines from the movie “Last Holiday,” and it does make the point that public relations professionals have to address presently. With the increase speed of technology that is rapidly changing and evolving, it has really broken down some of the international barriers we had to deal with previously. Now, our global community is bigger, but smaller in many ways since we are able to connect with more people quickly and effectively. So, the question is – how important is it to have a strong international social media presence? Well, I have to say that it is more important than ever before!
Mashable had a very interesting and timely article on how business professionals can establish themselves not only in their own countries, but how they need to think outside of the box and look at how they are perceived in other countries. Some of the suggestions that were made in the post was to make sure to connect and interact with other professionals on the traditional and main social networking sites (ex. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) while also making sure to join other ones specifically tailored to international business professionals. The need to have a strong international social media presence will separate the innovative and cutting edge professionals from everyone else.
This was indeed one important lesson I have learned both during my time at Tennessee, but also at USC during my Master’s degree. I have always enjoyed traveling and seeing the world – which started with my first international experience with my family in 1993 to Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Tahiti, Fiji, and Raratonga. It was absolutely fabulous and got me interested in traveling and experiencing new things. In Junior High and High School, I got to go to Montreal and Mexico City – both very interesting and fun trips. Next, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people in Cape Town, South Africa back in 2007 (amazing that it has been three years since I have been there!) and that really made a huge impact on me. This was such an educational and life-changing experience for me not only professionally, but personally as well. I still to this day stay in contact with my friends in South Africa via Facebook – which has really been wonderful. This trip really got me motivated to see more of the world – from Beijing and Hong Kong in 2008, Athens and Amsterdam in 2009, and Brazil this past May. Each trip made a huge impact on me personally and professionally. I got a chance to see first hand the beauty, cuisine, culture, and environment of each country.
Here are some of my tips on helping to establish your international social media presence:
Write topics that interest you related to the particular country you are visiting on your blog: Whether it is writing about how public relations is practiced or what we got to see and experience during our trip, this allows you to share with everyone in the online community your stories and memories of the trip. It also allows you to present yourself as a key storyteller in this digital format and show others what you saw and experienced.
Visuals are key in telling your story: Whether it is a video of yourself talking about what you are doing in another country or showing pictures of yourself at various locations around the city or country you are visiting – it shows your personality and what you did in the country. Pictures that I always try to have is the business function I am at (ex. conference), dining activities, food (of course, I am a foodie!), pictures of major landmarks, and pictures from unique perspectives. These all frame how you see the world and presents others with what it was like for you in experiencing the culture and environment during your trip.
Embrace the culture, language, and environment on your various social media sites and profiles: Whether it is discussing learning the language or sharing something interesting that you found about the country you are visiting, or something unique about how they practice public relations – this is important to highlight and share with your friends and the rest of the online community. By doing your research and taking the time and invest in learning more about another country – you are showing that you are adaptive and open to learning new things and growing as a person and business professional.
Connect with other professionals – and maintain those contacts: Relationships are the key for professionals with social media – it is important to make sure to stay in contact with these professionals and share knowledge on what you are doing. Networking is definitely important for establishing a proactive international social media presence.
Anyway, these are just a few of my suggestions. In summary, it is important to not only establish a presence in your industry and social media communities in your country, but also expand your horizons and establish yourself as an influential force internationally in social media. This has helped me tremendously not only personally, but professionally as well. It is something that all public relations professionals dealing with social media presently have to consider today. Hope you all are having a wonderful day!