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The Top Social Media Sites of October 2015 That Can Benefit PR Professionals

Although Facebook has been around for more than a decade, the social networking site still graces the top of the charts. The site is constantly updated and revamped to meet the latest technology updates, social shifts, or business needs. Because of Facebook’s inventive improvements, PR professionals can dabble in various tools on Facebook to closely connect with their audience and effectively promote a product or event. For example, an in-house public relations department can create a “Page” for their business or organization. Using the page, the PR department can create posts and “promote” them if they want to reach a wider audience, choosing between locations and age ranges. The PR department can pay for advertisements to pop up on various feeds along the edge of the website. If the PR department has an event coming up, the team can “Create an event” outlining the location, time, and other important details, and invite their friends to the page.

Linkedin-LogoLinkedIn: LinkedIn provides opportunities for professional individuals to network across a channel strictly for career purposes. Public relations professionals can use it to connect with other communication specialists and compare experiences within their fields. There is a plethora of groups for various professional areas where individuals can post and read articles about significant topics pertaining to their occupation. Additionally, individuals can join groups to read information on professions that may interest them. Public relations groups on LinkedIn cover topics from crisis management to effective social media sites. Public relations teams can use this site to scope out future clients and as a tool to meet other specific professional needs.

new_bird_0Twitter: The strictly 140-character streaming site has grown from being an outlet to share quick, nonchalant thoughts with friends to a media outlet used to communicate with publics around the world. PR professionals can use Twitter to gain perspective on clients and their current audiences, and it can help PR professionals determine audiences clients may be able to attract in the future. Public relations personnel can also use the site to provide quick information about an event or product to an audience that mainly uses Twitter. Another way that PR professionals can benefit from Twitter is by networking. There are millions of users that have diverse interests and occupations. Public relations teams can use twitter to “tweet” at other PR firms to learn new communication techniques or to connect with new clients to reveal that the team has an interest in them.

myspace_2012_logowhiteMySpace: Haven’t heard of this one in a while, huh?  MySpace was previously known as the “it” social networking site, and for many it seemed to have disappeared off the face of the Earth; however, it has transformed into a popular networking tool for the entertainment industry. Hosting comedians, bands, and musicians, the site offers customizable pages and a bypass of tough streaming laws. If focusing on public relations in the entertainment industry, PR professionals can use the social media platform to promote their client through an interactive page or search for potential clients on the easily-accessible website. Public relations teams can also use MySpace to run a campaign for a product or client by accessing those interested in their focus area.

Screen-Shot-2013-05-02-at-2.27.45-PM-730x300Instagram: Instagram is the social media application most used by individuals under the age of 35. Throughout the past five or so years, Instagram has grown into a super social media site forcing Facebook to put up its boxing gloves. No need to worry, though, the two are here to stay comfortably living side-by-side in the social media world. Compared to Facebook, Instagram is an entirely different form of communication. It uses pictures and captions as the sole sharing method. PR professionals can use Instagram accounts to post pictures of their company’s work in the office or the community, of an upcoming product or campaign, or of a client’s work or product. If a PR team is having trouble reaching a younger audience, they can use an ad promotion that shows up on users’ feeds or they can interact directly with potential audience’s posts to grab their attention.


Media Relations: A Journalist’s Perspective

boston_sports_teamsLast semester, I interviewed Boston Globe sports reporter Amalie Benjamin. As an avid sports fan, I was eager to hear about the ins and outs of sports writing and media relations. Amalie spent many years covering baseball and the Red Sox. This season she traded in her sunny days at Fenway Park for chilly plastic seats at TD Garden.  While Amalie welcomed the opportunity to cover the Boston Bruins, she dreaded the team’s heavy travel schedule to Canada and cities across the country.  This change took a bit of adjusting, not only to the long distance traveling, but also to the media policies. The National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) enforce different media policies that players, coaches and journalists must follow. For instance, the NHL does not permit any media access to players and coaches before games. This rules changes Amalie’s routine and forces her to develop a story based off of less information. Yet, Amalie looks past the inconvenience and focuses on “doing it right” so she can “say I really did my job well today.”  Plus, the less interviews, the less she has to transcribe, something she notes as “the worst thing [she] ha[s] to do, but it’s a necessary evil.”

The team of public relations professionals from the sports teams she covers always made sure she has every statistic, interview and resource she needs to write her story. Occasionally, during a breaking news story or crisis, the sports organization’s PR department tries to protect the team or certain players at all costs. This makes Amalie’s job a lot harder. Fortunately, Amalie understands the hesitation from an internal point of view and still appreciates the assistance of media relations professionals.

First and foremost, Amalie became a journalist because writing has always been her passion. She loves laying out all of the puzzle pieces and putting them together to form a complete picture for people to admire and discuss. “I got into the business to tell stories…that’s important to me,” says Benjamin. All she wants to do is write about the truth and “interesting things that [she] hope[s] people will respond to.” And although public relations practitioners can steer her in the wrong direction at times, everyday she relies on their coordinated interviews for vital information during training camp and the season. In the end, the struggle pays off because “the best thing in the world is finding a story and feeling like you go it right” says Benjamin. “It’s pitch perfect.”