This is the final installment of a weekly four part series that asks four questions about the relationship between PR and social media in 2009. This week I’ve been lucky enough to get the thoughts of Jaz Cummins
Jaz is a specialist in digital/social media PR and SEO and works with start-ups and multinationals, across consumer, B2B and corporate communications. Jaz also acta as a consultant and practitioner to develop strategies and manage effective tactical execution for brands online to create goodwill and traffic.
I would argue that 2008 has been the year of Twitter – what do you think will be the big social media development in 2009?
Well, it’ll probably be something none of us have seen coming – which is what makes it such an exciting time and place to be working! I’m not one for making predictions but as you’re forcing me, I think I’d say the growth of two existing elements which are on my radar on a personal level:
Mobile web will continue to gather momentum with better tariffs and handsets, as people get used to the convenience and entertainment they won’t go back. It’s changing the way we shop, navigate, communicate, socialise, listen, watch and interact with brands all over again. Globally, there are going to be lots of people who mainly access the internet on their phone and don’t have it at home – which is a huge idea for us home-users to bear in mind.
SEO, I’m biased having just moved into a search team at Mindshare! But content continues to be king. There’s no point making great content, having great dialogue if no-one can find it. Couple that with the wisdom most agency’s and brands now have, to let consumers find you – or at least feel like they are, not forcing yourself on them. Savvy SEO combined with social media expertise is going to be a great asset in 2009.
What do you think is the best way for PRs and marketeers to use Twitter to build relationships with journalists?
The same way PR has always been done best – reading and knowing your media. Twitter is a new medium but the principles are the same, make sure you’re following/reading the right people, and you understand what they need, like and want – both professionally and personally. Twitter offers a fantastic opportunity to learn more about your consumers and influencers. So take an interest, then be useful, relevant and friendly when you approach them. The blessing of Twitter is that it forces you to be concise and fluff-free!
What sort of risk do you think there is of PRs being ‘forced’ to use Twitter by their clients to broadcast their messages, and will this lead to companies auto-following each other to see what they’re upto whilst the rest of us ignore them?
Haha, that is already happening I think, both the ‘forcing’ and the ‘ignoring’. No harm done if they do, like you say, it’ll mostly be ignored and people will learn to use it properly.
Last one! PR has managed to get itself into quite a tangle with bloggers this year, such as TechCrunch and Lois Whitman-Hess – what’s your top tip to PRs approaching bloggers?
Be well-read, relevant, useful, real and nice. Being nice and real builds relationships and that’s good PR.
Many thanks to Jaz for taking the time to answer these questions in this last 4QFQ. You can revisit the series by going to the 4 Quick Fire Questions page.