Author Archives: Jeniffer Sumner

How to Gain Qualified Leads with LinkedIn and Twitter

LinkedIn and Twitter are two very powerful tools to utilize when trying to attract qualified leads.  Here are a few tips to start attracting customers on both social networks:

LinkedIn

  • Set up your LinkedIn account to its fullest capacity.   This includes contact information, previously worked jobs, honors or mentionable certifications, charity work, interests, education, skills, work samples, projects, etc.   Adding a photo (headshot) is also very important because you will automatically gain a little more trust if you have a photo linked to your profile.  Gaining trust is ultimately very important when attracting new leads.
  • Gain quality endorsements from past or present co-workers, clients you’ve worked with in the past, friends who know your skills are superb, etc.  This will increase credibility when new prospects are browsing your profile.
  • Connect to as many people in your industry as possible.  As the saying goes, you can tell what kind of person someone is by looking at their friends – this same logic can be applied to your connections.  The more connected you are to industry professionals and potential customers of similar interests, the wider your network will grow which will ultimately put you in front of more potential clients.  Prospects can view your connections and gain confidence in you by examining your connections.
  • Make sure to personalize connections as much as possible.  Try not to send the default connect sentence that LinkedIn provides, but add a personal touch when trying to connect to new people so you can begin to build a relationship with new connections.
  • Make sure that you utilize LinkedIn for its purpose and do not use it like Facebook or another social network.  LinkedIn is a professional social network so all posts should reflect professional development, available jobs, industry related articles, company updates, etc. and should not be used for anything else.
  • Comment on industry related discussions and create your own.  This will increase credibility and assist you in establishing yourself as an expert in the field.
  • Share client and prospect news – especially if it’s good news.  Has one of your clients recently been promoted?  Congratulating them publicly on LinkedIn is a noteworthy post and may be reciprocated for you in the future.
  • Join relevant groups to expand your knowledge in your industry.  Joining relevant groups will open many doors to connect with like-minded individuals who can become potential leads.  You can also receive emails when someone creates a new discussion or comments on a discussion you previously commented on.
  • Acquire recommendations and recommend others.  Recommendations will increase credibility and help you gain trust with new prospects. 

Twitter

  • Proper set up of your twitter account includes developing an appropriate twitter handle, updating personalized settings, photo, and bio.  If you have a website you can link that as well.
  • Twitter allows posts of 140 characters or less – there is a counter in the corner that is highlighted in red when you go beyond that limit.  Make your posts short and quick to the point when posting to Twitter.
  • If possible, add photos to your posts so that you can increase engagement.  Typically, the more visually appealing images are, the more engaged your followers will be.
  • Adding images will decrease your character count so make sure to keep tweet text limited when posting images.
  • Try to increase followers – especially prospects and industry professionals.  Increasing followers will increase your credibility and prove that more than a few people care about what you have to say.
  • Follow industry professionals and prospects that you would like to see in your news feed.  Note: This does not mean that they will see what you post (unless they follow you back).  However, following others with similar interests will show that you care about what others have to say.
  • Check your spelling before tweeting anything at all times.  Errors are frowned upon and may result in unfollows if frequent.
  • Since Twitter has a 140-character limit, sometimes it is necessary to abbreviate words to get your point across (which is widely accepted on Twitter).
  • Use hashtags (#) when appropriate – this will expand your reach beyond your followers and allow anyone searching for your hashtag to find you and see what you have to say.
  • Do not over use hashtags – research shows that a proper tweet should have 1-2 hashtags.  People tend to get annoyed with anything more than that and may unfollow as a result.
  • Retweet people you follow is like endorsing what someone is saying and usually means that you agree or like their tweet (such as a link to an article).  Retweeting others shows that you care about what other people are saying.
  • Replying to a tweet builds conversation.  When you tweet a reply to someone, your reply will be shown on your twitter page as well as theirs.
  • When asking more personal questions, Direct Message (DM) the person you are speaking with.  Never ask for contact information in a tweet and expect a public reply.
  • When you DM someone, it is a private conversation between you and that person.  Currently, Twitter only allows you to DM someone who is following you.
  • Participate in industry related Twitter parties, chats, etc. to meet new people interested in similar topics.  This may help you gain new followers.
  • Use twitter’s search engine to search for hashtags that peak your interest.  For example, people tweeting with the hashtag “#scheduling” or “#employeescheduling” are currently talking about scheduling.  You can reach out to prospects you think may be interested in your product or service.

Note: When deleting a tweet, it does not necessarily mean it is deleted forever – it is possible to see deleted tweets.   This is why you should always be careful when tweeting to ensure you do not make any mistakes.

Utilizing these tips will increase your network and ultimately help you generate more leads.

Which Attitude Do You Have? Take the Quiz!

The attitude you have can greatly affect performance during class projects, on the interview, and during the job.  Thinking positively and putting your best foot forward can do nothing but propel you toward a successful future.  Thinking negatively will undoubtedly result in negative experiences and most likely end with low self-esteem.  Do you constantly make excuses when faced with difficult challenges or do you take charge of the assignment even if it may be difficult?  Check out the article below and take the quiz to find out which kind of attitude you have.

Do you have a can or can’t do attitude?.

PR Professionals, Do You Do This?

PR Professionals generally have some day-to-day tasks that are the same.  The great ones can multitask through a million different projects, press releases, presentations, while still monitoring clients social media platforms throughout the day.  Here is a list of 15 ways you can tell if you are a typical PR professional:

15 SURE-FIRE SIGNS THAT YOU WORK IN PR:

  1. Your day starts and ends with a cup of coffee.
  2. You can power walk in 5 inch heels with your laptop bag and checking your BlackBerry.
  3. You are so used to putting the client first that you forget to eat lunch on a regular basis.
  4. You can toggle between a PowerPoint presentation, a press release, Twitter strategy and PSA outlines – all in an hour.
  5. You proudly put “PR pro” in your Twitter bio, knowing it’s the one place you don’t have to explain your job.
  6. You’re probably the only one in your friend’s circle that actually knows what the word ‘embargo’ means.
  7. You know the first and last names (and potentially emails…and voicemail greetings) of reporters from the top 50 publications in your field because you pitch them so often.
  8. You craft a communications plan when you find out you’re pregnant/engaged to be married, etc.
  9. Your phone is within arms reach, on the nightstand, every night, just in case. And chances are it’s checked at least once in the middle of the night.
  10. You can easily go from a high-powered presentation with the CEO to being onsite at an event hanging banners and not think twice about it.
  11. You have a change of clothes in your office, just in case.
  12. You are sworn to secrecy on just about everything under fear of the corporate version of Guantanamo.
  13. It takes you 2 hours to walk from one end of a tradeshow floor to the other, because you have to stop every 5 paces to say ‘Hi’ to yet another journalist/analyst/consultant who’s just caught your eye.
  14. You can’t remember your best friend’s phone number, but you can reel-off ad rates for the top 5 magazines/websites in your industry.
  15. You enter arguments with your spouse/friends/family only with clearly defined (and tested!) key messages.

 

Note:  This list was not created by me and was derived from http://traccs.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/you-know-youre-a-pr-professional-when/.

Staying Motivated

Though the going gets tough and the tough gets going, I am learning that you have to stay motivated in the world of public relations.  If you are not motivated to get the job that you are applying for, someone else will be.

Staying focused on your career goals may be hard, especially if you keep getting turned down, but staying connected to the right people can be a great help to this.  For example, my family members are always pushing me forward and telling me to get back on the horse.  I also have other undergraduate students who aer going through the same situations as me.  Some of my friends are better off, some of my friends ar worse off, but we help each other out and talk to each other about our frustrations.

Finally, motivate yourself.  Being a self-motivated person will help you in the long run.  You will think more positively, apply for more opportunities, and you won’t give up so easily.  Also, you will need to be self-motivated in your future profession as a public relations professional anyway, so if you’re serious about your career, then it won’t be so hard to find things to motivate yourself.  Just keep your goals and your focus in mind, be a go-getter, know your stuff, and you will succeed.

Internship/Job Search

The search may be difficult, stressful, and annoying, but it’s something that has to be done.  the key is to know where to look and to be prepared when an opportunity comes.

My advice on this is to look up actual companies, and then go to their respective websites.  Most of these companies should have a careers page, where you can search for jobs or send your resume.

Another tip for you to do is to look at the PRSA or PRSSA websites to search for internships and careers.  Both of these websites always have great advice on finding jobs and presenting job opportunities.

Following companies on their social media websites can also increase your chances in finding work.  More and more companies are utilizing social media to tell the world that they are hiring, so make sure to get on Twitter and Facebook so that you won’t miss out!

Look at public relations blogs, join groups on LinkedIn, and search for opportunities there.  There are so many job postings for entry-level PR and internships available.

Finally, utilize your school’s resources and network with people you already know.  You know so many people, the best thing for you to do is to talk to as many people as you can, because you never know what kinds of doors they can open for you.  As for school, check to see if your school has a career advisement department where you can be helped, and talk to your professors.  They will most likely be glad to help you.

10 PR Hints To Know If You’re Asleep With Your Eyes Open

The term “sleeping” is defined by Dictionary.com as a condition of rest.

You, being the public relations intern, junior entry level worker, or student CAN NOT be “asleep” in the industry.

So how do you know if you are asleep?  If any of the 10 hints below apply to you, you need to wake up!

  1. You don’t know what SEO is or the first steps to effectively use it.
  2. You aren’t familiar or “proficient” with Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and are just beginning to understand the social media obsession and how it affects the industry.
  3.  You don’t know what’s going on in the world around you and don’t regularly check the news.
  4. You aren’t actively reading up on companies and their PR case studies to make sure you don’t make the mistakes they do.
  5. You aren’t utilizing the network of people around you and trying to make new connections for the future.
  6. You aren’t involved in any clubs or activities on your campus that could potentially use your PR skills to get your feet wet and prepare yourself for future client projects.
  7. Your PR professors don’t know you by name because you’re not standing out.
  8. You haven’t been to any conferences or workshops that cater to your specific interests.
  9. You haven’t identified your weaknesses (or strengths) and actively asked for assistance in these areas to improve.
  10. You’re uninterested, even right at this very moment, with all of these tips and most of them apply to you.

Consider this your alarm clock buzzing consistently, and WAKE UP!  If you sleep too long you’ll be late for life!

“Action and reaction, eb…

“Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.”

Love this quote by Bruce Barton!

March Commuter Blues

Being a commuter may be hard to manage depending on how far you have to commute to school, how many days a week, and what your schedule is like before and after school.  You may be a person who has a lot on their plate, juggling a full or part time job, school activities, outside activities, family life, or all of the above.

The fact that it’s winter does not make matters much easier, since there is more opportunity for snow, icy roads, and people who drive more cautiously because of it.

I have a couple of tips on this issue.  I commute an hour and a half away from my school four times a week.  Twice a week I commute during early morning rush hour traffic (on the parkway) and have to make it in time for an 8 a.m. class.

Preparation is the key.  Preparing whatever you can the night before is a huge help for me.  If you have your book bag packed the night before, your breakfast set aside for you in the morning on the go, and your outfit picked out including any accessories you plan to wear, it makes it a million times easier to get dressed on and leave out on time.  Also, cut down your shower time in the morning or take a shower at night.  If you lose track of time in the shower, it does not make life easier to make it to school, work, or anywhere else you have to go on time.  At this point in life, you should know where all your body parts are so it shouldn’t take you three hours to shower.  This DOES NOT mean skip anything, just to be clear!

Preparation again is the next tip.  If you know from watching the news the night before that it is most likely going to snow in the morning, you know that you will have to warm up your car earlier, get the defroster on, and go to work on the piles of snow and ice on your vehicle.  Make sure to allot time for this, because you can be on time walking out the door but run off schedule because it takes you more than two minutes to get your car together.

Prepare for a third time.  Yes, preparation is again the third tip.  After you’re all dressed and your car is in order, you can start on your way.  However, you may not know how long it will take you to get to work or school on this specific day.  Listening to the radio to find out where the accidents are, and giving yourself ample time to make it on time is key.  I usually give myself an extra 45 minutes to get to school on time because of early morning stop and go traffic, accidents, construction, and parking issues when I finally make it to school.  If you know your way around, you can avoid traffic and keep to your schedule.