Make an impression in social media

You have just a few seconds to capture someone's attention in the social media world. So make those seconds count.

You have just a few seconds to capture someone's attention in the social media world. So make those seconds count.

Although amusing and engaging posts work best, sadly, not enough PR professionals actually strive to entertain their followers when posting. And those folks miss out on opportunities to promote their clients while marketing their own news and capabilities.

Think of postings as if they were highway billboards. Each billboard has barely any time to make an impression on a person. Some billboards we notice. Some we disregard entirely. The same holds true with social networking. Some postings we read, some we don't even spot.

I've spent a lot of time on social networking sites in researching and writing my new book, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media, but were afraid to ask.” And as I poured over which sites best enable people to communicate messages, I also observed some definite social media Do's and Don'ts for PR professionals.

  1. If you haven't already, Do friend people in the media as well as influencers and industry leaders within your community. How else will they know about the great work that you do?
  2. Do keep your postings breezy and upbeat. I take a cue from PR professional Steve Haweeli, whose company, WordHampton, runs Long Island Restaurant Week. “Just signed up Maxwell's in Islip” his fan site posted recently. Sure, this publicity is good for the event and good for each participating restaurant. But it's also good for the reader who likes to dine out, and, yes, save a couple of bucks. Readers will stay tuned for more news.
  3. Don't post anything along the lines of: “I spent another busy day adding value to my clients.” This kind of snoozer status update says nothing about how you really added value. Did you get your client new exposure? Help it win an award? If so, congratulate your client in your posting – the rest of us can figure out that you were behind the scenes, making things happen.
  4. Don't post a stuffy, buttoned-up photo of yourself, unless that is your true persona. Remember, you can choose a creative, even playful, photo and still look professional.
  5. Engage your audience, and soon enough, you will take those social media chats into offline conversations that will both boost your bottom line, and benefit your clients.

Hilary JM Topper is the president and CEO of HJMT Communications. She recently authored Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media But Were Afraid to Ask.

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