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Exploits of a PR Girl

BLURRED LINES: Social Media and Your Career

Having a social media profile can be likened to being on the reality show, Big Brother where every action or inaction is scrutinized by viewers but in this case, contacts (friends), friends of friends and other connections.
Let’s face it, we all have people in our friends’ list on Facebook that we have never met and never will in this lifetime. However, just by virtue of being on our friends’ list, are privy to a lot of what we are thinking, have been up to, and our position on various issues, unless our privacy settings are configured otherwise.
It is however becoming harder and harder for people to have complete control over their privacy on Facebook. Once you tag a friend, or a friend ‘likes’ or comments on your posts, that particular post becomes visible to the friend’s contacts through the news feeds.
Aside the unpleasant aspect of your life being laid to bare to people you may never even meet, is it just my opinion or there is a fact that the line between people’s social media and their professional lives is beginning to look very thin?
The first ever UK Youth Police Commissioner in Kent, 17 year old Paris Brown (ITV News, April 9, 2013. Time: 7:52) had to resign barely a week into her appointment following dissent over comments she had made on her social media profiles about two years before.
Should a teenager’s comments or posts on her page be used to define her character after several years?

social media pix

(Photo credit: http://www.jeffbullas.com)

With employers and potential employers scrutinizing posts and comments made by employees, people seem to be growing jittery over intrusion into an area they consider their private lives. Private lives they believe should not have anything to do with their professional lives. People have certain friends with whom they speak certain ‘languages’ which may not be seen as necessarily appropriate in the world of work but once they are doing this on their private social media space, must it be dragged into their working life?
According to Harris Interactive, 37% of employers research potential employer’s using social media.
To ‘outsmart’ them, a number of people are turning to use nick names or different email addresses for their social media profiles so they do not come up in search by employers. Others are also creating separate social media profiles, with one for their ‘professional’ lives while the other is for their ‘personal’ lives.
Why employers choose to look at social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook to draw conclusion about a potential employee may seem unfair when there are other platforms such as LinkedIn where a person’s professional profile is available for checks.
The line has been so blurred that especially in advanced countries, people are now overly cautious of what they post, comment on or like and this I will certainly say, is not sociable.
However, if an employer who has built a brand over the years is taking the risk of employing a complete stranger, wouldn’t s/he be justified in ensuring that not only can this person fit in with the organizations culture, but that he is not into anything that will bring the organization’s name into disrepute?
Employees make the organization and are essentially an extension of the organization and should see themselves as brand ambassadors.
Forward thinking organizations make sure that their communication and social media policies are incorporated into the orientation programme for new recruits. It is critical for organizations to keep employees informed of such policies that essentially have connections to their lives outside of work.
Some organizations may not have a social media policy but from current trends, it is in the employee’s interest to guard their conduct on social media. As things stand, with or without your permission, a potential employer may snoop around on your profile so it’s up to you to tighten your privacy settings but with settings constantly changing on social media platforms such as Facebook, that will certainly give you lots to do because you will not want ‘Big Brother’ to keep watching. #prgirl233


NOTE: I wrote this piece in April, 2013 and posted it on my other blog. I believe it is still useful to in this digital age so why not share it here with you? Let’s live and learn.

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#SundayInspiration: Be a role model

role model1

To the memory of the man who was the best role model any daughter could wish for. I took notes. Thank God for you!
Happy birthday, Dad.

Inspire or drain1

INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS: Make Employees Your Brand Ambassadors

One of the greatest assets organizations have is their internal audience (employees, board members, etc).
The successes the organization chalks are largely due to them and their continuous support is critical to the future of the organization.
Unfortunately, this category of an organization’s stakeholders is often overlooked in its communications plan. As George Bernard Shaw puts it, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Many organizations assume that once the person is within the organization, there is the possibility that s/he will hear or may have heard of everything going on within. When I worked in an agency, there were quite a number of times I spoke to staff of our corporate clients about ongoing projects and some seemed quite ignorant about them. On occasions, some didn’t seem particularly interested.
It is in an organization’s interest to communicate effectively with their internal audiences to make them champions of their brand within and on the outside.
Employees as brand ambassadors:
Keep your employees informed, engaged and show how much you value them.
No matter how hard you try to convince your customers to see your brand in a positive light, one negative word from your employee could override your efforts. Employees interact with your brand on a daily basis and could be your best brand ambassadors if you keep them happy so while drawing up your reputation building strategy, don’t forget about the internal audience who can influence public perception of your brand on social media and in real life.
The benefits of your employees connecting and engaging with your brand online could be priceless. Remember, employees are encouraged to draw people to a brand through social media when steps are taken to engage them on the organization’s social media pages.
Retain Valuable Talent:
If your employees feel uninformed and unappreciated, they are most likely to leave for where they would be appreciated. The days of unhappy employees grumbling over issues when they meet their colleagues for lunch are long gone. Employees are now going online to rant and rave over issues they are unhappy with. Social media has given employees uncountable number of channels to air their grievances and with the kind of social connections available, you never know where a head-hunter from your competitor could be lurking.
Also, there is almost always that person in their network who may recommend another organization to your employee.
That aside, bad news travel fast and you would not want bad news about your company to be shared by people who may never have interacted with your brand but are likely to form an opinion based on that negative post.
Build and sustain your brand/business:
There is no doubt that an employee that is well engaged internally is highly motivated to speak well of the organization on all available platforms, bring in new business leads and see themselves as stakeholders in achieving overall organizational goals.
You think your front desk manager does not need to know about your impending market activation or training programme? Wrong! They are often the first point of call for external audiences and must be as well informed as the client service manager.
Internal audiences do not necessarily need detailed information about every programme or activity, just enough to keep them informed and engaged.

You cannot look for external brand ambassadors when you have not started or even tried to cultivate and build internal activists for your brand.
A good PR strategy begins with a good internal communications plan. 
#PRGirl233

YOUR CAREER: When You Bow Out

Thinking of a career move?

Have you considered how to bow out? If you have, did you put your reputation into consideration as you drafted your resignation letter to your employer?

As an employee ready to make a move, have you considered how you want your future relationship with the organization to be like?

Employees are valuable assets of every organization. Without them, the organization ceases to exist. Whether you run a one-man (woman) show or work within a big institution, you are a great resource to its survival.
There comes a time when it is required that you move on. It could be for better career opportunities, further studies, relocating, or just retiring. It could also be for quite unpleasant situations such as an abusive environment.
Just as you wrote to the organization informing them of your interest in the job, you need to keep them informed of your decision to leave. Some organizations have employee exit surveys which offer an opportunity to sometimes explain in detail, the employee’s reason for leaving.
No matter the situation, keep things professional! Don’t get emotional over whatever situation may be forcing you to leave. Trust me; this is not the time to bash your mean boss or a colleague who has been giving you hell.
There is a reason your company has a human resource department. Grievances over work issues must always be channelled through your HR officer if you cannot speak to your immediate supervisor.
Whether you will need a recommendation from your soon to be former work place or not, your actions before you leave speaks a lot about you. I once had to leave a good job because of a hostile environment and the fact that my manager strangely felt threatened by my qualification and work output. I didn’t go running to everyone who cared to listen within the organization about my reason for leaving. I kept it professional and once in a while, this former manager gets in touch and we talk like friends. Deep down, he is a nice person and I put down his insecurities to immaturity. He often reaches out to me for advice on various issues and I offer what I can. It doesn’t take anything away from me. Had I let my emotions rule my judgement, I doubt that we would still be in touch with each other.
I have had my former colleagues and supervisors recommend me for certain jobs and projects because I have always maintained a professional attitude.
Guard your reputation jealously. When you bow out, do so with grace.
#PRGirl233

#Friday!!! #TGIF!

What a busy week I’ve had! Sorry I’ve not been able to post my own write-ups for a while. I promise to keep you informed and educated on real world of work communications issues in the coming week.
I’m spending the day in training at the #BritishCouncilGhana office. I’ll fill you in on what the training is all about during the course of the day.
Meanwhile, it’s Friiidaaaayyyyy!!!

#PRGirl233

#MondayMotivation: Live Your Dream

There is nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it and put in the required effort. Fear will only paralyze you and make you doubt yourself. Don’t be pulled back by fear. Focus on your goal and you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

Go out there in confidence and make things happen! You know you can.
Have a beautiful week.
#prgirl233

A PR GIRL’S MORNING CHECKLIST

Clients always expect that communications professionals they have on their payroll are on top of issues at all times. Whether you work in an agency or with an in-house team, there are certain morning rituals that are unavoidable.
Below, I share with you my morning ritual.

1. Morning news: Especially if you work for an organization that also operates on the international market, listening to news from foreign media such as BBC and CNN must be part of your morning routine. (Local news is usually not on radio until mostly 6:00am so I usually keep up with international news while taking my morning shower before work.)
2. Email/Social Media: My email and social media platforms are always at hand to keep me posted on issues that may not be in mainstream media. It’s essential to check your email as clients expect to reach you at all times. Whether your organization or client is on social media or not, you may want to do a quick scan of key competitors’ and supporting agencies or collaborators’ social media pages to see if there’s anything worth knowing or to act upon. (To save time and avoid being caught up in traffic, this can easily be done while on the way to work. That is, if you are not behind the driver’s seat.)
3. Newspapers/Reviews: Before seeing the daily newspapers, the news reviews on radio offer a quick insight to the headlines for the morning. I do the listening on my way to work and then scan through the papers as soon as I get to the office to be sure I’ve not missed anything essential.
4. Touch base with client: If there’s anything from the media the client needs to be aware of, it is essential to quickly alert them and then plan your approach to whatever issue there may be. There are usually guidelines on handling various issues or crisis but each situation is unique and your guideline may need a little tweaking to arrive at a solution.

One thing clients do not want is for them to be the ones alerting you to issues. It means you have taken your eyes off the ball and nobody is a fan of ‘own-goals’. It will do your reputation a lot of good if you are always the one to notice situations that require attention. You gain the client’s trust and they know they are getting their money’s worth.
If you are new to P.R., I hope you will make this part of your morning routine. Trust me; it saves you from a ‘migraine’.

#prgirl233

The Leadership Pursuit that Enhances All Others

Source: The Leadership Pursuit that Enhances All Others

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