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The social media sites you must use if you work in PR by Pagoda Porter Novelli’s Angela Casey

As social media is now central to any PR campaign, it is more important than ever to use it yourself. Even more important is to ensure you understand how the sites actually work. Here are my top sites and online tools you should be using if you want to develop your PR career.

This is the mothership of online activity that will advance your career. Having a good, completed profile and being super-active at updating it, is a really valuable way to showcase your skills. We all recognise its value in creating networks, but not everyone is so good at keeping the content live or understanding how a profile can really work for you. With options to blog and chat on LinkedIn, as well as join groups, it is worth putting the effort in. LinkedIn is changing fast, so you might want to find someone like the CIPR or PRCA who run specific training courses on using it – particularly thinking about how to use it for PR.

Twitter is easy and quick to use and there really is no excuse for not using it to connect with people. The jury is out on the value of Twitter for SEO, but it is definitely confirmed as a good way of knowing what is going on and using it to create dialogue with valuable people.

We all know that when you apply for a job, it is likely your interviewer will do a quick scan of your social media activity, so make it work for you and think twice before posting compromising photos or using bad language. If you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see your pictures from the weekend, keep them out of the public domain and off Twitter.

You do not need to be on Facebook to further your career, but you might need to use it for your clients or work. Facebook is another site that is constantly changing and with the recent 1bn users milestone having been reached, you know you need to understand how good Facebook is for marketing and SEO. Add to that the launch of the search and embedding tool for journalists – Signal, and it is clear you really need to be ahead of the curve on Facebook posting. Have you signed up to BranchOut yet? It is being billed as THE rival to LinkedIn ...

Keeping up to speed with Facebook may be even more important with the news that dislike buttons will be appearing soon. Whilst they will be great for expressing empathy for our friends, they may not be such good news for consumer brands.

There are people out there running businesses on Instagram and making money from it! It is one of the fastest growing social media sites right now and knowing how to use it to best effect is essential. While your interviewer might not be following you, they will be pleased if you can demonstrate your Instagram skills as many people have not quite grasped its genius yet. Instagram is also part of the Facebook Signal search tool, so using it publicly as well as privately is vital.

So get your phone out and get snappy!

While thinking about pictures on Instagram, do not ignore Pinterest for your PR. While it may not advance your career, it is fast becoming the most effective for both SEO and engagement.

While Reddit is popular with younger people, for professionals and PR people it could be useful for knowing what is current. If you want to create the best and most relevant PR campaigns, having a good handle on what is making the news can only be a benefit.

You do not have to be active on Reddit yourself, but keeping a toe in the water is a good idea to keep up to speed.

I have written before about the benefits of blogging. Creating your own blog is of considerable value for a number of reasons. First off, it is a showcase of your ability to write and to work with a range of social and online media. Second, it is a very good way to hone your writing, photography and communications skills – all of which will help you in your career. And finally, there can be no greater way to understand online media than to immerse yourself right in it.

So find a topic that interests you, log into Blogspot or WordPress and create your own, simple pages. Once that is up and running you can use your social media sites in conjunction with the blog. You will learn so much from this process that you will immediately put yourself ahead of the pack in PR terms – and you might even get sent the odd freebie to review!

WARNING: we all know the perils of social media and the fact that what you say is out there for everyone to read. So if your current activity is a bit cringeworthy, you might think about creating sites and personas that work better in the professional environment. It is worth thinking of yourself as a brand, and creating a consistent and communicative persona that confirms you as the skilled PR professional you really are.

Article written by Angela Casey, managing director of Pagoda Porter Novelli

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