For the Non-Techie PR Pro: How to Better Understand Social Media and SEO

“Experience is life’s best teacher.”

Never have words been so true, but when it comes to technology, what you lack in experience, you can gain through simple self-teachings. This, like anything of value, takes loads of time and energy. Luckily, I’ve taken the first step for you. Here’s what I’ve found:

You may think you know social media … but you don’t.

When asked ton he first day of my internship on a scale of 1 to 10 how social-savvy I was, I confidently replied with an “eight,” come to find a few weeks later that I may have swiftly inserted my foot directly into my own mouth.

Each day following I learned, the hard way, that the complex world of social media and monitoring is one that is seriously overlooked at a university level. To avoid the foot-in-mouth scenario I fell right into, here are some quick tips to improve your social-savvy score:

  • Follow social media trends VERY CLOSELY! Track social media and public relations-focused blogs using Google Reader (your new best friend!) such as social media explorer and the Buzz Bin.
  • Read up on and experiment with free monitoring tools like Twiangulate, Icerocket, Quantcast and Compete. Social media metrics are constantly changing and improving, so to be on top of this will be invaluable.
  • Familiarize yourself with tweet-scheduling platforms. Though initially (naively and adamantly) against any form of automated response, I’ve come to find Co-Tweet to be an effective stress-reducer and schedule simplifier. The content is still all you, but now your tweets are guaranteed to be on time, regardless of how busy your day turns out to be.

Search Engine Opti-what?

Have an understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Though as an intern, you may not have direct exposure to this right off the bat, your ability to have an educated conversation on link flow and keyword co-occurrence will knock the socks off your supervisor. The SEO Blog will be a great resource to get you started.

Mobile-Moguls in Training 

Though tempting to use as a crutch, not having a smartphone is no longer an excuse for not knowing how mobile technologies work. The mobile apps, QR codes and text message campaigns being rolled out today are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s to come.

One common theme that can be drawn from each of these tech teachings is this: reading. I’m no expert, but I’ve learned the importance of constantly learning. The ability to consistently grow and the passion to do so will be an enviable skill at any stage of your career in public relations and beyond.

About the Author
Nikki Parrotte is an assistant account executive at public relations and marketing firm CRT/tanaka. Connect with her on LinkedIn or via @nikki_parrotte.



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12 comments on “For the Non-Techie PR Pro: How to Better Understand Social Media and SEO

  1. Hi Nikki! I found your post very interesting. In 2011 when technology moves so fast, even 20 year-olds can sometimes feel completely helpless when dealing with social media techniques. The tips you provided are very helpful and simple. As part of my course, we are taught how to use social media as a PR tool but I have always felt like I was not speaking the right language to understand it! Thank you for your help! Me and some of my fellow students have had a go at social media and blogs in particular, dealing with PR and ethical issues:

  2. This is so true! I recently completed an internship with the Charlotte Bobcats for graphic design and I went in knowing I had a lot to learn but I didn’t realize how little I actually knew. School is a great way to learn how to be creative and learn from other people’s “mistakes” or experiences but are no words to explain how valuable experience is. That is where I truly learned everything. Schooling is just part of the hoops we have to go through. If you really want to learn… intern, intern, intern.

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  4. Great piece, and wonderful suggestions. I prefer HootSuite for my Twitter tweet scheduling. Not only do they offer a snazzy platform, there is so much functionality for engaging with my contacts. I agree with your point that scheduling tweets really saves time.

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