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Social Media as a Tool for Professional and Business Development

I first dipped my toes into the social media waters a few years ago, with the idea that I needed to stay abreast of how they affected public relations. If clients were to ask about incorporating social networking into their marketing efforts, I wanted to have a foundation of information and insight so I could answer any basic questions.   There’s a balance between being a know-it-all and answering questions like Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes,  whose famous phrase was “I Know Nothing.”  I didn’t want to transform into a social media consultant, but I do want to be viewed as a PR professional with a solid understanding of the tools, the technology and the trends that impact my clients.   Just like with other aspects of my consulting business, I knew I could outsource to a specialist if necessary.

I wanted to understand the dynamics of the social environment to avoid any pitfalls and novice mistakes. I subscribed to newsletters, read books, listened to teleseminars and attended workshops. I started tweeting to learn, to listen, to share, to connect. I began participating in chats and commenting on blogs.  My primary goal related to social media remains professional development versus business development, but the results include new clients, a greater range of projects, speaking engagements and interviews with national media.

The IPA’s third annual virtual conference will focus on how independent practitioners can increase their business and enhance client value with social media.  I’m looking forward to hearing from Pete Codella and Jason Falls and sharing my own experience on the topic too.  But we don’t have to wait until July 28 to begin the conversation. I’d love to read your comments about social media’s impact on PR consultants and some ways you’ve integrated social media into your business.

4 Responses to “Social Media as a Tool for Professional and Business Development”

  1. Samantha Says:

    Great post Kristie!

    While I am not a solo practitioner, my path with social media is a mirror image of yours!

    I began my journey with social media by diving into all I could find in order to teach myself about the world of Social Media. Having these skills have proven to be one of the greater assets in my PR Tool Box.

    The greatest aspect of social media is the ability to connect with others, learn and grow. I did not learn about social media in a traditional classroom, but I did learn and cultivate my skills by interacting with my online peers. Just like you, other opportunities have landed in my lap via this method!

    I may never try to be a Social Media Consultant, but as you stated – I do believe it’s widely important for us (as a PR Professional) to know and understand the tricks and tools of the trade in order to serve as a bridge to our co-workers, clients, and business partners.

  2. Kellye Crane Says:

    For solo PR pros, social media is no longer a “nice to know” – it’s a must have. I’ve heard of PR colleagues losing business because they couldn’t answer probing social media-related questions during a new business presentation.

    Kristie, you were smart to start educating yourself when you did, but for those uninitiated the good news is it’s never too late to learn something new. It takes a time investment to ramp up on social media, but anything worth having is worth working for. Have a great session!

  3. Lori Scribner Says:

    Social media is so new that, like Kristie, we’re all still learning the ropes. That said, as PR/solo practitioners we have to make the leap and learn about how SM can support our client’s campaigns and make us more well-rounded PR professionals in the process.

  4. Nicole Candler Says:

    Thanks for background, Kristie. I look forward to learning more during the virtual conference.

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