Fourteen weeks have come and gone in my Social Media for Pubic Relations course. I have one more week to go, as I’ll be presenting a social media plan for a magazine alongside my teammates, Kyle and Vince, this week. You know, putting everything we’ve learned all semester into one proposal and presentation. Considering Dr. Hether’s class was my first public relations and social media course, I’ve learned a lot for a decent PR foundation.
When I began graduate school this past fall, I only had a relative idea of what PR was. Prior to this class, I thought it was all about crisis management, but it’s so much more. PR is about continually overseeing and maintaining a good relationship between a business and its public. It is a meticulous job, as a PR practitioner must be careful of what is being said and how it is said. It is being ready to mediate relationships when things go awry, as well as to energize relationships when they go well. PR also overlaps with marketing, but instead of “shouting” at one’s publics, it involves two-way communication. With the rise in social media use, two-way communication is easier than ever (if done right) for PR practitioners.
One of the most useful things I can say I learned in this course was everything I read in the Groundswell. I’d recommend it to anyone or any business beginning to learn the nuts and bolts of utilizing social media from a public relations or marketing standpoint. I will forever have the concepts of the social technographics profile and POST ingrained in my head as well as the ideas of talking, listening, embracing, supporting, and energizing. My favorite is “energizing” because it makes PR so exciting. Furthermore, seeing these concepts applied onto case studies, papers, and projects we’ve done served as great hands-on work.
In addition to the Groundswell, I enjoyed the weekly themed lessons on a particular social media platform or how to leverage social media. For instance, my main social media has been Twitter and Facebook, along with some form of blogging. This class gave me a little taste of content curation (Pinterest, Storify), social photography (Flickr), location-based social media (Foursquare), and social media metrics/analytics (Klout, Tweetreach). That is, social media and tools I otherwise would have never tried or heard of. Seriously, I’ve never heard of Storify before this class. I don’t have much of an opinion on Storify, but at least I tried it.
Overall, it was a very beneficial and thought-provoking class and I can’t wait to dive deeper into public relations theory and application in my future courses.