PR professionals rising to the challenge of Social Media by djsgjg0045


									At the start of the year we recorded significant growth in the number of clients
requesting PR professionals with experience of social media channels, such as Twitter,
Facebook, YouTube and blogging, yet only 6% of PR candidates had the relevant
experience / skills to sate such requirements. However, it would appear that
candidates are reacting quickly to market changes and seem to be getting to grips with
this new medium. So what is the catalyst for this sudden surge and how will
traditional PR agencies harness these new communication channels? The numbers
Back in January of this year we took a two year sample of registered PR candidates
and found that just 6% of them referenced social media in their CVs. However,
analysis of registered candidates, from January 2010, shows that this figure has risen
to 17%.This analysis is further bolstered when noting that 21% of candidates had
digital campaign experience. Sister companies The driving force behind this rise in
candidates acquiring social media skills and experience begins with the agencies
themselves. Leading traditional PR agencies are starting up sister companies designed
to specialise solely in digital campaigns, Eulogy!鈥檚 Onlinefire is just one example.
Charley Hayes, social media strategist at Onlinefire says: 鈥淪 ocial media has
changed the way in which we practise PR and has enhanced the discipline in a
plethora of ways. When we started off down this path a few years ago, social media
suddenly provided a number of unique ways to get messages across. Besides
opportunity, it also brought immense challenges for brands that weren 鈥檛 used to
bypassing traditional gatekeepers and having a conversation directly with their
audience.鈥? In-house training The two way dialogue between brands and their
stakeholders has forced businesses to interact and develop relationships with their
customers on a more intimate level. This has also lead to other established houses
investing in training schemes for their current staff as well as requesting that any new
candidates should already have an aptitude for social media. These figures, and
industry developments, are a clear indication that as social media and digital booms so
do candidate skill sets. Paired with agencies capitalising on the two way dialogue
between brands and their stakeholders, it spells a brighter future for PR 鈥檚
sustainability as we leave the downturn.
  New to the industry? If you 鈥檙 e new to the industry and you're looking to land
your first PR role then I 鈥檇 suggest taking part in work experience programs - try
to go to different agencies to gain a broader perspective, getting as much exposure as
possible . Target agencies that have a strong focus to their digital PR strategies to
really develop yourself fully. Onlinefire insists that it 鈥檚 all about keeping your
finger on the pulse and getting actively involved 鈥淵 ou should be reading sites like
Mashable and TechCrunch to get your tech and social media news as well as
traditional channels. But most importantly you need to get involved, try stuff out and
form your own opinion on what works.鈥? Old-school PR pros If you 鈥檝 e been in
the game for a few years then we suggest really investing in your training. Get
yourself skilled up as there are lots of social media training courses available online as
well as forums and events and as we 鈥檝 e mentioned, many companies are
introducing their own social media training programs. With new graduates and fresh
junior account executives making the market even more competitive, it 鈥 檚
imperative that you take action in order to stay ahead and meet the demands of the
agencies. If you 鈥檙 e a PR pro looking to climb the ladder in the world of digital
then get in touch for the latest PR jobs.

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