From the expert

To fully delve into the online world I thought the best place to start was getting some advice on how to negate my way around and more importantly why should I jump on this bandwagon, so I’ve turned to Gemma Crowley, PR extraordinaire from DRPR and social media guru for some words of wisdom. Here’s what she had to say:

Why is it so important in your work to have an online presence? How has this added to the success of your company?

The internet has completely revolutionised communication as we previously knew it. The extent of this became apparent the other day as we sat down as a team to decide whether or not we it was worth while renewing our Yellow Pages business entry. The decision after much deliberation was that – it wasn’t. We came to the conclusion that people today are more likely to use the Yellow Pages as a door stop or to reach the top shelf.

Move over Yellow Pages. Google has taken over. When it comes to sourcing information, for the majority of people, Google has become their first pit stop.

This got the team at DRPR thinking. If people are more likely to come across our company by searching for public relations in Google, it seems more worthwhile to put our energies into enhancing our online presence rather than renewing our primitive phone book entry.

So enhancing our online presence it is! At DRPR we do this in many ways, firstly through our website. It is important for any company to remember that a website is often a person’s first impression of the company. Cliché yes, but first impressions are everything. For example, if you are a design company advocating cutting edge creativity and your website comprises of a blank screen and text – the visitor to the site will be likely to leave unsatisfied, confused by the blatant hypocrisy. Your website content and design are crucial in communicating to the viewer what your company is all about. This is the first port of call when looking to enhance your online presence.

Second port of call – social media. Social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, have exploded in popularity around the world, expanding their empire daily and conquering the communication sphere with sheer force.

The communications industry, or anyone in that matter, can no longer ignore the fact that people around the world are communicating online. This is the future of communications and companies have to get on board – or risk being left behind. Without entering into the world of social media, there is a good chance a company’s online presence will fade into oblivion. 

It would be hypocritical of DRPR to be advocating online communications without practicing what we preach. Therefore we have implemented our own online strategy to effectively raise our own online presence while also staying on top of the game when it comes to online developments.

The core of any social media strategy is integration. At DRPR, we have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and the DRPR ‘PR insights’ blog. These three social media tools integrate with one another to enhance DRPR’s online presence and drive people back to the DRPR website.

Use of the netHere is an example of how these three social media tools work together – yesterday I posted a blog post on the DRPR ‘PR Insights’ blog about networking. I then went to the DRPR Facebook page and posted a link to my blog post. I then went into the DRPR Twitter account and tweeted that my blog post was now up, inviting people to comment and share their thoughts on the issue. The three work together, complimenting each other while building a strong online presence.

What do you like about social media? What have I found to be the benefits?

–          Ability to interact with people within the industry who I would have never probably been in contact with if it weren’t for social media.

–          Opportunity to meet people and then follow this initial contact up with face-to-face meetings. For example, twitter is a great first step when networking in the industry.

–          People around the world sharing interesting content / articles / statistics

–          Speaking to PRs / journos from across the country / world – learning what they are doing, sharing ideas etc.

–          Hear about industry events

–          Hear about news as it breaks

–          Opportunities it has opened up for developing creative online campaigns.  Favourite one – ispylevis – Levis tweets where the person wearing Levis will be that day and if you can find them and go up to them and say “I spy Levis”, the person will drop there jeans and give them to you (and then send you a new pair in your size of course!)

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