Earlier today the PRSSA had their takeover event at the USF Downtown Center in Tampa. The event was from 11:30a.m.-1p.m. and only cost PRSSA members $15. The event had four public relations experts & journalists on the panel. The topic of the seminar was: How Are Journalists and PR Professionals Really Adjusting to Social Media?
Speakers on the panel consisted of:
– Tom Wagner, Public Relations Manager, Florida Aquarium
– Bob Andelman, Host/Producer, “Mr. Media Interviews” podcasts
– Eric Deggans, Television/Media Critic, St. Petersburg Times
– Ellyn Angelotti, Interactivity Editor/Adjunct Faculty, Poynter Online
– Butch Ward, Managing Director/Faculty, The Poynter Institute
Eric Deggans brought up a great sub-topic about the changes in journalism/social media today. He mentioned a positive aspect to social media is journalist now have more control through social media. Journalists are now able to have more avenues of reach and interact in multiple levels of communication. A journalist can have a Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and 12Second.tv account, plus more, to engage their specific target audiences. Each audience one is trying to target is different, depending on which social media site you are informing.
“Mr. Media,” Bob Andelman said “Social media is what you want it to be.” He said sometimes people just starting out on social media think most of it has no purpose, but it does. As a freelance writer, he mentioned he was sort of ahead of the times when it comes to social media. He has been actively engaging in it for years.
Tom Wagner, from the Florida Aquarium was the most compelling panelist. He was able to give us a real example of how social media enhances organizations. He went over his implementation of a “Tweet Up,” in which he invited 200 important bloggers to the Aquarium, for FREE! He allowed them to explore what the Aquarium had to offer and encouraged them to tweet immediately about their feelings and experiences. He also engaged in the two-way communication with the bloggers on Twitter and helped give suggestions to enhance someone if they were having a negative one. He also mentioned after this event took place, sales dramatically increased. Being the only public relations person at the Aquarium, Tom says it is crucial in today’s world. He said customers will post comments or blogs about their experience and engaging in the two-way communication, being positive or negative feedback, Tom feels it is vital to his organization.
When beginning social media tactics, Eric said to always ask yourself a few questions, such as: What is your goal? Who is following you? Why are you having this particular page? He also mentioned that to just sign up for all of these social media sites is pointless. If you are not going to be active, don’t have them.
Overall, as a PRSSA member I found this takeover to be extremely useful and exciting. Making connections and being introduced to active professionals is one of the best opportunities I have as a student right now. Getting the knowledge and tools, I need to succeed in this industry is something I will never turn away!