Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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September 20, 2010

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!

Best Wishes,


Embracing your Social Media Geek Chicness: How women professionals in PR can succeed with new technology

There have been many nicknames that I have been called over the last couple of years when it comes to describing to people how much I really like social media – both for my professional career and personal life.  From “Social Media Butterfly” to recently being referred to as being “Miss Geek” (a very high praise compliment – I not only think that this is true about me, I definitely embrace this!), it does show one aspect of my personality and character to the world. I have told my friends and family while there are some women that can get lost and spend all day in a place like Saks Fifth Avenue or Sephora.  Not to say that these stores are not absolutely fabulous – but I can say that I would be a very happy and content person if I spent all of my time in a technology store like the Apple Store.  It is indeed a happy place! :)

My Dad’s second cousin Shirley Marks wrote a book a few years ago titled “Geek to Chic,” which looks at this particular issue and how some of the stereotypes we had about those that were considered to be “geeks” were supposed to be like.  It is a very cute and fabulous book!  What I have noticed is that there is indeed a wave of women public relations professionals – both academic and professional – shaping social media in public relations. However, there are some people that have commented on how there are few women getting into the new technology fields of communication and public relations.  Women are one of the major stakeholder groups using social media in their professional and personal lives, and some are key social media influencers in the field.  I think that this is true in only certain areas of public relations and social media.  From researchers to practitioners to professors – everyone is coming into social media with a different background and range in experience, as well as a unique perspective with the new technology.  Women use social media to keep up to date with information related to health, entertainment, and cooking to name a few.  It is definitely interesting to see these trends and be aware of them not only to see their impact on social media, but how this influences how these individuals conduct themselves in their social media practices.

With this being said, the thing that I noticed is that there still is a lot of work that we need to do.  I think that it is important that both men and women work together in public relations – there are so many opportunities for everyone and it is a new world ahead of us – let us explore it together!  So, here are a few best practices that I have to embrace your inner geek chicness in social media:

  • Technology is hip and fashionable:  While you can still make sure that you are dressing professionally and representative of your personality, technology gadgets are the next big fashion statement.  Whether it is carrying around your iPad or iPhone, or having the latest new toy – this will provide a very important statement on others in the business and public relations community.
  • Know your technology:  If you say that you are a social media specialist or if you research social media, you better know your stuff!  Make sure that you are up-to-date on the latest trends and put this as a priority to other news outlets (and fun magazines like ESPN and Vogue).  Knowledge and understanding are what creates power and influence for you as a brand.
  • Understand the previous stereotypes, but know they are SO 20th century: Being one with the latest technology is hip and chic, and long gone are the days of pocket protectors or off-fashion statements.  These perceptions are so done and over with – what people are recognizing now is that technology brings opportunity, networks, and many benefits both personally and professionally.

I hope that this helps!  In summary, I think that it is important to understand that geek is indeed chic and absolutely fabulous – and definitely a quality that professionals (both in business and government) are looking for in social media professionals presently.  Hope you all are having a wonderful day!

Best Wishes,



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