Social Media (The PR Toolkit)

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Social media is a powerful tool that can increase the scope of your network greatly. Understanding the various types of social media outlets will help you formulate a strategy that can employ one or more of these tools. In this module, you will learn about the following social media tools:

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Podcasts
  • Social bookmarks
  • RSS feeds

Each took brings its own unique advantages. We will begin with a common tool called a blog.

Blogs

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A blog is short for a weblog, which is a journal made available on the Internet. Blogging is the activity of updating the blog. The journal is in chronological order and the blog could contain pictures and other media for sharing. A blog is a powerful tool for networking. You can easily share your blog Website address with others and they can view your ideas in detail from the comfort of their computer. 

The blog authoring is a relatively easy system to use. You can design the blog to take comments from your readers. You can also provide an email for your readers so they can contact you. Unlike a traditional Website, a blog uses very few pages. Instead, the author adds posts and the page becomes longer as the posts increase. Blogs can archive past posts into month categories or topics. 

Blogs provide a way for a person with little technical skills to create a webpage and share information with little training and expense.

Wikis

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A wiki is a database that contains pages that a visitor can edit. The comments on a wiki build the page. It is a system of sharing an adapting the page as the comments are entered. Usually there is a moderator to a wiki. They approve the comments before they are added to the page. 

For networking, wikis make it easy to exchange ideas and data on any topic, projects, etc. Wikis also provide a venue for those who are intimidated by speaking with others face-to-face. The drawback to wikis is the validity of some information. Since wikis are built on comments from virtually anyone, the information going into one may not be accurate.

Overtime, the more comments added to a wiki page, the more accurate a picture you get. Wikis are great for connecting with someone in your line of work or industry. There are large wiki communities out on the Web and they are mostly free to use. This is a great way to expand your network.

Podcasts

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Podcasts are audio or video files that are to be viewed on your computer or downloaded onto a portable device. If you are able to create videos or audio files and make them downloadable files, then you can create podcasts.

Podcasts are usually series oriented, meaning they usually have several podcasts discussing one topic. The files are usually on a server or Webpage. The viewer or listener goes to the page, accesses the media, and downloads them to their computer for viewing or listening.

Podcasts are useful if you are comfortable talking into a microphone or a camera. Some communication experience is helpful in making your podcast look professional. In addition, you will need to plan the flow of you content before you record. 

Social Bookmarks

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Many times, you may want to share great information found on Websites you encounter throughout your life. Social bookmarking is a way for you to organize these links onto a Webpage and share it with others. 

The social bookmarking system allows you to save links to web pages for sharing with others. These bookmarking pages can be public or private. The latest version of bookmarking Website allows your visitors to rate your links and leave comments, giving you the ability to engage in virtual conversations with others. Sharing great information helps to build your network.

RSS Feeds

A Really Simple Syndication or RSS is a feed that transmits updates from subscribed Websites. This is a useful tool when a Website is constantly updated. Websites that offer this feature usually has the RSS symbol that when clicked adds it to your web browser as a feed. 

For networking, you should add this feature to your web pages and blogs. This way your contacts will receive the latest updates on their computer and they do not have to navigate back to your page. Adding this feature usually involves a click of a button to add and it runs itself once installed. 

This is a very powerful way of staying connected without having to push information out to others. Adding this feature will saves time, leaving you more time for other networking activities. 

Case Study 

Travis didn’t know which to go first. He had to build a social media platform. Travis needed help. Craig saw his friend struggling to juggle all of his tasks. Craig stepped in to take over for his friend. Travis leaped out of his seat, thankful for the assistance. Craig taught Travis to navigate the different online platforms. They twisted and turned between the web and blogs and more. Travis felt like his head would explode. With Craig’s help, Travis soon found his way around. Travis learned to navigate the PR world and readied to set sail to build a huge campaign. Craig watched Travis soar high with his new skills. Travis built the best platform either had ever seen. Travis showed off his new toolkit and prepared for the accolades he would receive.