Most PR consultants have been trained from early in our careers to work behind the scenes. We've typically served clients or company executives as the spokespeople, and it's deeply ingrained that the spotlight should shine on them alone.
Today, it's time to come out from behind the curtain. Chalk this up as yet another way that social media has changed our world.
PR pros have never been accused of being shrinking violets, so it would probably come as a surprise to outsiders that for many of us, speaking out via social media feels just plain weird at first. Some PR consultants experience an attack of stage fright. We're still trying to adjust to giving up control of the message, and now we need to do that while publicly on display?
The key to feeling comfortable is to give a little thought to what your online voice will be, and then just do what comes naturally and be yourself. Be aware that there are some people (one might call them purists) who say that you should be your whole self, all the time. To them, this is what they mean by transparent. But I'm in the camp that believes you can be transparent and authentic without “letting it all hang out.”
For example, a few things you may want to consider include:
- Will you curse or be otherwise salty/bawdy? Think about generational differences in perceptions of this, as well.
- How much (if anything) will you say about your family?
- Is your outlook/personality generally snarky, positive, curmudgeonly, peppy or “just the facts”? Without thinking about it, you can find yourself sounding unlike who you are in “real life.” Giving this a little thought at the onset will help prevent that from happening.
- How much will you reveal about your location at any given time? This is a safety issue, and each person's comfort level differs.
While there are few rules in social media, there are some that are hard and fast:
- Never misrepresent yourself. Honesty is the only policy.
- Give before you get. We'll be talking about this more in future posts, but social media is about sharing. Using it to sell/pitch only, and before you have established yourself, is the fastest way to be labeled a spammer.
- Don't talk negatively about your clients, their location, or anything that might offend them (this seems like a duh, but you might be surprised!)
Whatever your background and level of experience you have a unique point of view – join the conversations in social media and share it with the world!
Have you ever had any qualms about participating in social media? Did you do anything to help overcome the “stage fright”?