Published on August 11th, 2016 | by Jerry Doby0
Special Guest Editor Nicole Rodrigues CEO of NRPR Group continues on today’s uses for social media
By Nicole Rodrigues, Founder & CEO, NRPR Group
You’ve done it before. (We all have.) You open up Instagram, scroll through your newsfeed, like a few photos, then find yourself, hours later, having scoured your roommate’s or ex’s posts for clues into their recent behavior. Social media “stalking” has become a mode of breathing for many curious crushes, jilted ex-lovers, diehard fans and entertainment professionals. If, as an entertainer, journalist or publicist, you haven’t yet utilized the incredible opportunity for insight and exposure that social media platforms offer — get on it. Last time I hopped onto The Hype Magazine spread, we covered what not to do in media relations in order to better understand the newer and better ways PR people should be doing their jobs. This time, I’d love to discuss the most valuable outlet modern media relations professionals have: the expansive, effective, borderless communication tool of social media.
We previously discussed the importance of developing “friendlies” in the media by doing your due diligence to get to know their work, interests and audience ahead of time, to better facilitate meaningful pitches, connections and interactions. In this world where new talent and new representation are popping up and going viral daily, you need to pay close attention to others, do your homework, take your time and make sure you are connecting with the right people. Social media is the most ubiquitous form of self-expression and connection, but many still believe it is not welcome in the workplace. Whether you are representing yourself as an entertainer or you work in the industry to deliver its news, this is no longer true. Not only can you use social media as a free tool to build your brand, gain exposure and create an interactive audience, it’s an invaluable opportunity as a journalist, publicist and/or researcher, to gain insight into those people you are trying to write about (or get written about). That being said, I’d like to offer a few best practices for being socially savvy in those three capacities:
- As a Tool for Publicity Research:
Intimately understanding social media channels can not only help in the research process, but can also offer another means of understanding who those contacts really are. At the end of every Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account, there is a real human being. While that human may have a job as a journalist, he/she also has hobbies, interests, family and many other posts to pay attention to. Again, if you are looking to build a relationship (the very basis of what we do in PR), you must remember that it is never just a one-way street. In order to open up that mutual engagement, you have to pay attention to those small details. Maybe there is a journalist who really has a love for cats or dogs, and you find a relevant way to work that into the conversation. However, these digital communication tools should never be relied on as a crutch or another vessel for uninformed Twitter or email pitching. (Please, don’t do this). You should be developing specialized notes from your social media observations, so you can approach those contacts in an interesting, meaningful and non-spammy way.
- As a Tool for Building a Brand:
When branding yourself on social media, always think about your audience. First, follow the accounts that are relevant to your industry or uniquely interesting to you in relation to your work. Be active on those threads and become a part of their conversations. Then, look through a few of their most active followers, and see if there is an alignment with your brand there. You are much more likely to grow your audience through this targeted approach than by blindly following random accounts or buying an audience from a click-farm. While building that audience, consider the look and tone of your branding. Create posts that are cohesive, interesting to others and involving others. Don’t rely on selfies and snapshots of your lunches, alone. This, too, is not one-way communication, and it’s not advertising. You should also be sharing and reposting other people’s quality content. This is an easy way to build your brand and relationships. By sharing someone’s post with a shout out, 1) they’ll appreciate you, 2) they might follow you, and 3) they’ll know you are paying attention.
- As a Tool for Engaging with Your Audience:
Once you have blossomed your brand and have a strong, built-in audience, social media becomes an even more valuable asset for engaging with those followers. Anybody can build an initial following, but it takes thoughtful interaction to maintain and continue to build that audience organically. You shouldn’t be talking at people, you need to be talking with In order to do so, ask thought-provoking questions. Jump into other people’s threads and comment with your own authentic thoughts. Be active in a way that can spark other conversations, without making people feel like you are throwing your opinions on them and don’t care about theirs. When a fan or a follower provides feedback, respond graciously. This will show your audience that you are authentic, involved and that you care.
The moral of the story here is: This hybrid process of bringing the real human contact of the “old school” into the new digital era of instant communication and all-access social media is the intersection where both public relations professionals and entertainers need to position themselves. It’s not just limited behind the computer screen; it’s informed by human interaction, with the tool and the vessel of the internet and mobile information that wasn’t available when I first started my career working for the Oakland Raiders. If one should choose to do things the boring and automated way (which I call the “lazy way”) in the hopes of getting coverage or building an audience… well, you’re not going to have a long-lived and prosperous career in PR or entertainment. It won’t pan out for you, because that is not how you build relationships. That’s not how you maintain long-term clients who stay with you for years. Infuse all of your work with meaning, purpose and passion, and you will see every effort extend a lot further.
*Nicole Rodrigues is a special brand within the industry, mixing old world service with exciting thoughts on the digital revolution that is social media. ~ JD #SilverandBlack