Running Headlong Into Social Media

Ashley Westgate, PR Assistant, Clarion Communications

A few months ago I took voluntary redundancy in order to kick start a new career for myself – and not having worked in PR before I didn’t really know what to expect when I first walked into the Clarion offices.  One thing’s for sure, I didn’t expect to be launching my own social media platform…but here we are, six weeks later, and I have a little community in the making.

As part of becoming more in-tune with social media and how beneficial it is to PR and the digital world, my new employers have challenged us to a three-month in-house competition, to see who can launch the most successful social media community. The premise is to create a topic of interest and develop a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a YouTube Channel, all connected to your community. Using these platforms we need to engage the public and generate interest in our idea.  For example, my idea is JogOnLondon, a community all about running in London (twitter account: @JogOn_London)

On the whole I would describe myself as pretty handy with social media; I use it daily and regularly update, post photos, tweet and share info with friends and family. But it’s a very different thing when you’re trying to sell an idea to people you don’t know and trying to get them to invest their time in following/supporting you. When you’re engaging with a faceless audience it takes more than an ‘off the cuff’ comment to make them relate to you. Getting a stranger to take enough interest to make them reach for the ‘like’ button or make the conscience decision to ‘follow’ you is an art form all of its own, and one I am eagerly trying to learn.

I must admit though that my own personal social networking is taking a bit of a hit, as telling the world my own thoughts or mumblings is not as engaging for me as trying to generate interest in an idea/topic.

Social media is the future for success so it’s vital that we can engage and understand the opportunities it can provide. This competition is designed to teach us techniques, and avoid those pitfalls, while maintaining and building a relationship with your customer.

Already I’m finding this ‘social experiment’ a challenge but also an addiction. I’m taking small footsteps into a world where 140 characters can launch a career, sway a news story or co-ordinate inner city riots.  I am only one person with a few thoughts in my head but with the beauty of social media I have the capability of reaching an unlimited audience.  Well, 53 to date, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Welcome to PR.  Welcome to Clarion.

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