In this tough economy, where jobs are not always available and the growing need for individuals to hold multiple positions is increasing – we need to do all that we can do to separate ourselves from the rest of the crowd.  This was definitely a lesson that I learned being a track and field athlete for ten years.  Sure, it is important to have high marks and perform well – but what makes you different from the next athlete?  Is it your personality?  Is it how people see you in terms of your personal reputation?  Or is it because of your hard work and effort?  These are all things to consider, and the same rules apply today in the business world.  The key to succeeding in this tough economy is separating yourselves with social media.

There are several things that you can do to help manage your presence online and separate yourself from the rest of the public relations professionals out there.  It is a tough world out there – and it will take time, effort, resources, and persistence to succeed in the profession.  Here are just a few things that I thought that you all might want to consider in managing your presence online and creating the complete package of what the new public relations professional should do to separate themselves from others:

Establish networking relationships:   Be proactive in reaching out to other professionals and making that first step.  People want to see that you are invested in your education and are willing to put in the extra effort to make a difference for the team, agency, or academic institution.

Have a consistent presence online:  Be on multiple networks and provide the same information across all platforms.  People want to get to know you as a person, and want to see if you have a professional side and see if you have a “hidden side.  Rule of thumb – it is best to have a balanced presence and one set of rules and manners.  If you come across as having multiple personas and identities online – this will not make you appear credible or trustworthy as a source.

Be one with social media: This means that you have to be active, engaging, present, and interactive with others online.  Whether it is on Facebook or Twitter or writing on your own blog.  Having a platform to publish your information again will allow people an insight into who you are as a person and public relations professional.  Plus, this gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in a related and specialized field in public relations.  Who knows, you might be considered to be a key social media influencer if you do this. :)

Anyway, these are just a few starting points.  In my classes as well as in my guest lectures, I try to advocate to the students that they need to be engaging and active on social media in a professional manner while maintaining their reputation in a positive way.  I hope that you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

Karen