Category Archives: Social Media

Marketing to Millennials.. why we’re different.

Yesterday, I came across a (satirical) article on Buzzfeed titled, ‘Things Millennial Girls Love‘. While the article was hilarious and kind of true, the wheels in my head started turning about how reaching my generation of millennials via marketing (especially social media). It’s no secret that we are more plugged in than any generation before us, and that making us engaged brand ambassadors is important. We are on track to be the most educated generation in history, and make up almost 36 percent of the work force.

So then, what should we remember when trying to reach millennials?

1. We are constantly plugged in. We are so plugged in that some of us even use our phones to track our sleep (guilty as charged). We know about new technology and platforms before any other generation because we search for it to simplify our lives. These platforms have to be capitalized on within a timely manner, or it won’t have much effect.

2. We consume media in a new way. Because we are constantly connected, we’re consuming media from multiple platforms, oftentimes simultaneously. 63 percent of millennials stay up-to-date with the brands they love on social media and we are significantly more engaged in activities like reviewing and rating products than previous generations. Timely, concise information in crucial.

3. We don’t just consume content, we create it. More people than ever are blogging, Tweeting and Facebooking. We are sharing with our friends and followers the products we are using, who we are voting for and what we’re eating. This has created a unique way for everyone from brands to politicians to find out what the public is saying about them. This unique dialogue allows the immediate, personal response that millennials crave in order to become engaged advocates.

So, what about millennials in politics? By 2020, we will be 40 percent of the electorate. Over half of us gathered information about the 2012 election from social media. As discussed above, we crave unique, personal engagement from brands. This translates to our politicians. We millennials are looking to what others are saying about brands before they make a purchase, this translates to politics. Politicians and campaigns have a unique opportunity to create brand ambassadors using social networks, and we can definitely do a better job of capitalizing on it.

Job Searching 101: Tips to finding your first job!

As someone who is graduating (round two, but for real this time!) in May, the job search has been in full swing for me for the past month or so. Here’s what I’ve learned: the job search is scary. Especially for us ‘PR people’ who are planners. We don’t like not knowing what we’re having for lunch today, much less where we’ll be in two months.

A couple weeks ago, I attended the OU Alumni Association’s first annual DC Networking Week with fellow MPA Crescent Gallagher (he did a great post about job searching, check it out here!). The trip was highly informative and gave some great perspective on job searching, from where to begin to the questions to ask once you’ve gotten the offer:

1. Decide where you want to be. Your search will be MUCH easier if it’s narrowed down to 2-3 cities. But do your research. Utilize your network and talk to people who work in and out of your field in the cities you are potentially interested in. What’s it like to live there? What’s the job market like? Rent, salary and cost of living expectations are important to know but it’s also important to know what it’s like to live there, especially if you’re young!

2. Utilize your networks. Because of my previous internship and work experiences, when I went to DC I was able to set up informational interviews through previous employers. No, they weren’t formal job interviews, but informational interviews are just as important. Not only are you getting your name out there for when a job may be available in the future, but you’re expanding your network and gaining knowledge about your industry and the job market (utilizing my networks led me to some awesome job listing websites that REALLY helped me). Even if you’re just meeting for a friendly coffee, getting your name out there, and doing it early on, is important.

In addition to utilizing your networks, it’s important to stay in touch with previous employers. Whether it be grabbing coffee or stopping by to visit the office when you’re in the area, or volunteering to do some ‘freelance’ work for free after your internship is over, it’s important to stay on the radar.

3. Get your social media in line. It should be a no-brainer, but make sure your Facebook and Twitter accounts are not only clean (Read: ‘something you would be ok with your grandmother reading’) but also reflect your personality and show your knowledge and insight of the industry(ies) that you’re job-searching in.

So you got an interview… now what?

4. Do your research. I have made the mistake of not doing enough research going into an interview, and when asked questions about the org/company I didn’t feel I knew enough. So, do your research! While you’re not expected to know everything, you should demonstrate that you’ve done your homework.

5. Make sure to ask questions. It looks bad if you don’ ask questions in an interview, even if you’re not sold on the company you’re interviewing with. Asking your interviewers what their day-to-day responsibilities are, favorite aspects of their job, or how you will be able to grow if you work there are all great questions of your potential employer.

Hopefully, if you take these steps, jobs searching won’t be too stressful. What are your job-search tips?

Making a Lasting Impression

Last night I had the pleasure of speaking to OU’s chapter of PRSSA. My friend Dan Klein and I spoke with attendees as part of a “non-PR” panel. I’m not going to lie, it’s still a little weird to be considered someone who isn’t in PR, because I’ll always consider myself a PR junkie and Scripps kid, but it was great sharing my experiences and advice regardless.

The members last night asked some great questions, and since I’ve had some time to mull over some of the things I was asked, I thought I would share some tips for being successful in internships and jobs, and how to stand out:

1. Know how to write. As Scripps kids, we’re used to everyone knowing how to write, and do it well, but you’d be surprised how many people out there don’t have those skills. Knowing how to get your point across effectively and concisely sets you apart from a lot of other candidates.

2. Know how to write professional emails. As I mentioned last night, you’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to do this. Treat email correspondence like a business letter, as it’s better to be too formal than too casual (just like it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed). Make sure you utilize the subject line to inform the person you’re emailing what the content regards. Finally, don’t be a pest with emails. If someone doesn’t respond within a few days, send a follow-up email that explains why you’re following up, or simply pick up the phone and call them.

3. That being said, don’t be afraid of phone calls. In our social media-dominated generation, oftentimes phone calls as a means of communication fall by the wayside. Knowing how to make a professional phone call is still important! If you have a quick question for someone, or even one that requires a lengthier or complicated answer, don’t be afraid to use the telephone: people will be pleasantly surprised.

4. Say yes! Another one I mentioned last night: being a ‘Yes Person’ is important, especially when you’re new in a job or internship. What I mean is don’t be afraid to tackle a task in an area that you don’t have a lot of experience. Be up front about your lack of experience, but still offer to learn and contribute. This will definitely make you stand out as an employee, and will allow you to get as much out of your internship or job experience as you possible can. Remember, the employer is there to help you learn as much as you’re there to help them.

5. Know how to research thoroughly and effectively. This way, when you take on those new tasks or interview for a new job, even if you don’t know everything there is to know about the organization or task, you know how to get that information and can become an expert.

6. Stay involved.Even if you end up having to take a job that may not involve PR (or whatever your passion is) you can stay up on that skill set by volunteering your time and skills outside or inside wherever it is you end up. Making those skills known is the first step, so don’t be afraid to speak up about where your strengths lie.

7. Dress for the job you want. In my GA position, we aren’t required to dress up, but I still like to look nice. You never know who you’re going to meet in a day, so I always try to look nice. I NEVER wear sweatpants to work. While professional environments have a dress code that you’ll learn quickly, just remember that as I mentioned above, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed, so try to look your best every day. Taking the time to do this will put you a step above the rest. You may not think people notice, but they do.

8. Remember, people don’t forget when you do good work for them. So work hard at whatever it is you do, even if you’re not completely in love with everything you’re asked to do. Remember, this is the real world and it’s unlikely that you’ll love every aspect of your job 100 percent of the time. That’s life! But if you make the most of it by doing your best work, you will be remembered.

Hope this is helpful to those looking for jobs or internships and who want to make a lasting impression. Thanks again to Scripps PRSSA for having me last night!

Face-to-face interaction – a lost art?

I’ve been thinking about communication a lot lately, particularly how we communicate with one another in today’s technological advanced society. So it struck a chord today in Dr. Raffle’s Qualitative Research Methods when communication was brought up in class discussion. While talking about a supplemental book we are reading for class and how dating has changed across generations, how we communicate was brought up as part of this discussion.

Our generation often lacks face-to-face communication skills. Even I’ve been guilty of emailing my supervisor from down the hall when I’m at work. What happened to making a phone call instead of sending an email? Or meeting someone for coffee to go over work or to catch up instead of Skype or video conferencing (and even while you’re in the same area!)? When you are able to talk with people face-to-face, it’s much easier to build relationships and establish a rapport with them.

For those of us looking for jobs or internships, or just looking to network with industry professionals, it pays to meet in person. Face-to-face interaction connects to people in ways that phone calls, emails, texts and social media cannot. (Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not bashing social media – after all it’s what I’d like to use as a foundation for my career.)

Growing up, my mother engrained into me that you should always send a hand written thank-you note whether it be after an interview, networking event, holiday, birthday or whatever, you should always show appreciation. It may sound monotonous but trust me the extra time goes a long way and it definitely gets noticed.

Another opportunity for more personal communication that often gets swept under the rug is the phone call. How many times have you text messaged, Tweeted or written on a good friend or family member’s Facebook wall for their birthday or some other event instead of picking up the phone and calling? Trust me when I tell you that a phone call goes a long way and means a lot to people (especially family!).

My last piece of advice goes out to social networking. Stop having conversations via your social networks that should really be done via more personal forms of communication like a text message or phone call. Not only is it annoying to those who follow you, but it also shows employers that you don’t know how to successfully manage social media sites.

I challenge you this week to assess how you communicate with those close to you and your professional networks, and to improve how you communicate with those around you.

Personal Branding

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize, “Oh s**t I’m grown up! I get it now!”?? Ok, maybe you haven’t but hear me out…

As I lay in bed last night thinking about the mountain of stuff I have going on and how I’m going to do it all in a timely manner and aimlessly scrolled through my Twitter timeline, I realized that a lot of the things I see projected onto social networks is really quite silly and not projecting people in the most positive light. Now before you crucify me, I’m not judging anyone for what they choose/choose not to share, you are well within your right to Tweet/Facebook whatever your heart desires.

BUT, I realized that a lot of the stuff that I see, and that I used to talk about myself, I don’t want to share with people anymore. It’s not that I’m not concerned about love, family, friends, etc. it’s just that a lot of those things I don’t care to share with the world anymore. I honestly think it has to do with a certain maturity level (and I’m not claiming to be any more mature or wise or whatever than anyone else, because I am well aware that I’m not).

These days, I really do think before I post something on a social network. Do I really need to share this? Social networks are all about personal branding. What you share contributes to the brand you’re building and how people perceive you.

So, I guess what I’m saying here is before you post next time, think to yourself, “Do I really need to share this?” and “Does this contribute positively to the personal brand I’m trying to build?” If it doesn’t, reconsider your post!