Social Media 101

March 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

WRITTEN BY CASEY SCHAAK

Hello Vollrath Associates Blog followers! Kicking off my first blog post, I want to give you a little background about myself. I graduated from Marquette University with a major in public relations last May and recently joined the VA team as assistant account executive. Outside of working hard at the office, I coach the Marquette Women’s Club Lacrosse team, enjoy traveling and love going to the beach. I’m also from Indianapolis, Indiana, and am a huge fan of the Colts!

As a relative new-comer to the public relations world and not too far from my days as a communications student, I’m constantly aware of the ever-developing importance of social media.  Since activating my Facebook page as a senior in high school, I’ve gone from using social media as a means to keep up a stream of witty banter with my close friends, share pictures or “friend” the cute boy from my history class to using it as a tool for networking, engaging with news stories and products and sharing my own ideas with followers and friends.

Making my own transformation in the social media world, I’ve become familiar with communicating through social media channels. Here are a few important pointers I’ve learned as I’ve become more familiar with social media:

Establish an Objective

From keeping in contact with friends, engaging with consumers, products and places to staying up-to-date on news and events, begin your social media experience with an objective in mind. Whether it is your own personal purpose or the mission of your organization, you should join the conversation with a firm grasp of what you hope to gain from using social media,  as well as what you want to contribute. Also keep in mind that the topics you post, the people or organizations you follow and the groups you are a part of define you or your organization in the social media world.

Understand the Channel of Communication

There are both benefits and detriments to social media as a form of communication. Social media provides an instant, constant two-way flow of information, but lacks the content and context that traditional media allows. When you are posting on Facebook or Twitter, understand these opportunities and limitations and keep your posts timely, to the point and engaging.

Engage Through Your Messages

Combining your objective with the knowledge of the social media platform, you next have to find a way to effectively reach your audience. There are hundreds of other posts popping up in newsfeeds and with busy schedules, time constraints and short attention spans, you have to find a way to stand out. Use shorter words and maintain a unique voice. Also avoid falling into passive tense or using unnecessary language and clichés. Find a way to engage with your followers by being personable and conversational in your dialogue and including a mix of interesting links, photos, videos and hashtags.

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