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How to Grow Your Twitter Network

September 28, 2010

This week’s tips come from Julie Wright, president of (W)right On Communications, a San Diego public relations agency. She frequently speaks and consults on social media best practices. (Find her on Twitter at @juliewright):

“The social networking site Twitter has allowed me to make new connections at a pace that I could not possibly have achieved in person or, as they say on Twitter, IRL (in real life).

This ability to connect with others so easily is a seductive feature of online social networks, but they are not simply about collecting followers. It’s the quality of your connections that makes your social network valuable.

So how can your business grow its network on a site like Twitter while making connections that are more likely to become brand advocates, generate good word-of-mouth or, ultimately, purchase from you? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

STEP 1: Complete your Twitter bio. Be sure to include information that will prompt people to follow you, including keywords that appeal to their interests. Don’t forget to display a link to your business’s website, and make the most of your Twitter avatar. It’s a small square shape, so pick a simple, bold image to identify your tweets.

STEP 2: Use Twitter’s search capabilities

( to find, follow and reach out to people already tweeting on your subject. Twitter’s search function is “real time” so you can find people talking right this instant about where to eat, stay, party, or shop in San Diego and join the conversation.

STEP 3: On Fridays, watch for tweets containing #FollowFriday (sometimes #FF) for follower recommendations. Check out these recommendations and acknowledge them. Then give some #FollowFriday love to your favorite followers, too.

STEP 4: Search through and list your Twitter handle in directories that organize people’s Twitter accounts by subject area such as beer, clean tech, or running. Examples include, and Take care to avoid spammy tools that automate the following process as that’s exactly how not to acquire the right kind of followers.

STEP 5: Visit the Twitter profiles of your favorite tweeps to see if they’ve created any ‘lists’ of their followers that you can poach. Begin building lists of your own.

STEP 6: Re-tweet things that you think will be of interest to your followers. Re-tweeting is ‘paying it forward’ and the more you give, the more you get in social networks.

STEP 7: Attend a TweetUp or similar event where you can mix with your followers in person to solidify relationships as well as find new connections.

STEP 8: Share your Twitter handle everywhere — in your e-mail signatures, business cards, LinkedIn profiles, website, signage, and advertising.

STEP 9: Generate great content.”

These tips are the first installment of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Social Media Mondays:


Something Old, Something New

September 22, 2010

As public relations students, we are drilled in AP style and taught to write for print media. We are also expected to know the ins and outs of social media, ready to sell ourselves to employers based on our Internet readiness. As interns, we must write concisely and effectively, but quickly answer the social media inquiries of the PR veterans in the office.

Our generation of public relations professionals must find a way to successfully bridge the gap between traditional print and online media. Our news releases must be a valuable resource for old school journalists and new age bloggers.

Seldom are we offered tips on how to tailor our releases so that they will effectively reach writers at both the Tallahassee Democrat and One successful way is through the social media release.

A social media release does not abandon the original elements of a news release. It still contains contact information, an attention grabbing headline, facts and quotes. A social media release simply incorporates links into a traditional news release, making it easy to navigate for social media savvy and technologically illiterate alike.

Here are a few guidelines on how to create a powerful social media release:

  1. Include links to more information on the topic of your release.
  2. Provide journalists with links to recent publicity on the subject.
  3. Choose links that lead to site where an article is posted or where one of your executives was quoted.
  4. Offer tags (, digg).
  5. Include photos (preferably embedded, but may provide link to photo library).
  6. Incorporate a link to download your brand’s logo.
  7. Offer journalists key words to other associated and interesting information to search on the Web.

The social media release acts as a powerful resource to journalists seeking additional information and an easy way to access your company or brand’s social media and online pages.

I encourage you to present this format at your internships. How do you think your supervisors and the executives in the office would react? What are some other ways to tailor news distributions to simultaneously reach traditional print and online media?

Wednesday’s speakers: Cecka Green and Amanda Doumanian

September 14, 2010

Before the meeting tomorrow, check out these bios on the excellent speakers we will be having and think of any questions you may want to ask them.

During the past 19 years, Cecka Rose Green has established a notable career in the public and private sectors, on a local, statewide and national level. Currently, Cecka is Communications Director for the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, where she oversees media and public relations efforts, and  communications strategies.

In 2004, she founded MarChae Enterprises, LLC, where she served as president. The company offered consultation services in the areas of executive management, media and public relations, conference and event planning, and strategic communications training. Clients have included: the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program; Knowles & Randolph, P.A., Attorneys at Law; KMR Consultants, LLC; Florida Children’s Campaign; First Coast Child Advocates (Jacksonville, FL); Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc. (Graceville, FL); Sunshine Youth Services, Inc. (Tampa, FL); and People For the American Way Foundation (Washington, DC).

Prior to that, Cecka served as Director of Communications for Voices for Florida’s Children, a non-profit children’s advocacy organization, and as Vice-President/Director of Communications for P&P Communications, Inc., a Tallahassee-based public affairs group specializing in public and community relations, communications, political strategies and event management.

She has been quoted and published in several national and statewide publications, including being featured on real estate Web site, commenting on community attitudes about affordable housing, in the Miami Herald, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Born in Okinawa, Japan, and raised in Tallahassee, Cecka attended Florida A&M University, majoring in English. She is married to Marvin E. Green, Jr., men’s and women’s golf coach and associate director of Campus Recreation at Florida A&M University, and the couple has three children: Marhee Jenai, 9½ ; Chaela Rose, 7; and Marvin III “Tre,” 4. She is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the FAMU National Alumni Association (FAMU NAA), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Jack & Jill of America, Inc.; and the Capital Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), where she served as co-chair of the Annual Roast & Toast Fundraiser in 2008 and chair for 2010, and currently serves as Co-Student Liaison. In addition, Cecka has served for three years as a volunteer reviewer on the Citizens Human Services Partnership (CHSP) team, last year serving as timekeeper for her group. Recently, she was appointed by Tallahassee Mayor John Marks to serve on the Community Improvement Advisory Council for the City of Tallahassee.

Amanda Doumanian graduated from Florida State University with a bachelors degree in Communication and minor in Spanish, and and a Master’s degree in Communication with an emphasis on digital marketing and project management. Throughout college, Amanda had numerous internships and jobs. As an undergraduate communication student Amanda interned at AARP Florida and VISIT FLORIDA. As a graduate student Amanda worked at the FSU Information Institute as the Communication Coordinator. After college Amanda worked at an advertising agency writing strategic plans for a variety of clients. Today Amanda works at Boys Town North Florida in the development department, where she is responsible for communication and pr efforts, major event planning, and much more. Amanda is a member of FPRA, Access Tallahassee, and ToastMaster’s. When Amanda is not working on her professional career she is working out, traveling, or playing with her dachshund Lola!

Marketing yourself to land that first internship

September 13, 2010

A very common frustration among PR students involves getting that first internship. How to impress an agency that is looking for interns who already have experience has many young PR enthusiasts stumped. PR, however, is a competitive field that thrives off individuals who are proactive, confident and self motivated. The most successful PR professionals are those who are persistent and refuse to take no for an answer, and if you can show your interviewer that this characterizes you, then you’ve already got it. Here are a few ideas on how you can market yourself in order to land your first PR internship:

1. Reach out to a campus organization– There are too many student organizations to count on campus, and you would be hard pressed to find one that couldn’t use help getting noticed. Approach an organization  on campus and ask if you can use your knowledge of PR to help them out. This is a great first step and a good way to get experience.

2. Become an expert– Make it your mission to stay up to date on news involving marketing, PR and social media. Create a blog or a YouTube channel and show the world what you know. Be your own client and market yourself through every social media service you can find. This is an important step in “personal branding” and one that is going to get your foot in the door in the world of PR. If you are interviewed by someone who isn’t as skilled with social media as you are, let them know that you are an expert and that you have something extremely valuable to contribute. If you know what you are talking about, then you have no reason to take no for an answer.

3. Approach a local business- Since you are an expert, approach a local business that you think could use some PR consulting. Ask if you can put together a campaign or simply provide advice or insights. Give social media tutorials and create media lists for businesses to use. If you are able to do a volunteer campaign for a business, employers will see that you are truly passionate about the field and a self-starter.

4. Perfect your writing– The number one thing PR professionals are looking for in their interns is writing skills. Make the effort to reach out to your professors and fellow class mates and practice your writing as much as you can. If you can prove your ability to write to an employer, then you’ve already won half the battle.

5. Stay involved with FPRA and build relationships– FPRA has so much to offer students who are just getting into the field of PR. Learn everything you can from the professionals who speak at meetings and take the opportunity to chat with them afterwards. Attend the Capital Chapter Luncheons and get there early to network with people in Tallahassee. Take advantage of the professional networking event and get to know your peers at the social events. Not only does FPRA provide you with the knowledge and the skills you need to succeed, but it is the the starting point for building valuable relationships.

6. Be confident– You have been proactive, you are smart and you know where you want to be. When you go in for that first interview, take pride in the fact that you are going to be an excellent addition to the team. If you have the confidence to go out there and beat the competition then you are not only going to land that internship, but you are going to be very successful in the world of PR.

7. Carp Diem– Never forget to seize the day. In PR, every day, every relationship and every experience counts. If you have the chance to learn and improve then you have to take it. In life it is absolutely necessary to take personal and professional risks.

Now that you’ve been given these tips, brainstorm some ideas about how you can gain the experience you need. What are you going to do to prepare your resume for your first internship? Do you have any other tips that you think we could all benefit from?  Let us know what you have to say!

5 writing tips for the digital age

September 8, 2010

We live in a world that gets more and more casual by the emoticon. The prevalence of popular shorthand has made professional writing in largely personal spaces murky waters.  Here are five tips inspired by the Edelman Digital teams “Editing and Proofreading Q-tips”.

1. Keep it Brief

Even in spaces where speech is not limited to 140 characters or less, there are benefits to keeping your thoughts concise.  Studies have shown that entries that are 150 words or less are more likely to generate conversation.

If Twitter is the intended medium and the author would like a tweet to be passed on, care should be taken to ensure that enough characters are still available for  his or her user name to be included in the event of a retweet, without any additional editing necessary.

2. Link Love

Just as other writing formats require footnotes, social media attribution takes the form of links much of the time.  It’s very important to link to original source material. In addition to giving credit where credit is due, links provide meaningful back-up and context for the assertions being made in your writing.

3. You Are Here

“Here” could refer to anywhere.  Perhaps that is why it is so often used as the linked word in sentences designed to provide click-through context.  For example: “Click here for a map of the museum”. As Edelman Digital’s Phil Gomes noted, “This draws the eye to the most useless word in the sentence.” A better phrasing might be “Download a map of the museum.” From a search perspective, a linked keyword will mean a lot more to Google visibility than a word like “here” or “this.”

4. Abbrevi8 Only When Necessary

Professionals should avoid overtly casual abbreviations unless absolutely necessary. Shorthand like “b4” or “l8r” looks trite, even when used without absolute necessity. Acceptable abbreviations when necessary include: b/t (between), and w/ (with).

5. Disclose Early and Often

If the subject matter you’re writing about references a client or directly addresses your client’s immediate field or industry, disclose that relationship early in your writing and again as separate comments warrant (i.e. Individual tweets count as separate comments). The word client in parentheses after the company name will typically suffice.

Next steps in social media

August 30, 2010

The social media platform has both emerged and become a marketing staple in the past two years. While it is certainly utilized by many trend-savvy companies, it’s still a black hole to others, and continues to grow and transform underneath our fingertips every day. As public relations professionals, we will always be on the search for “what’s next.” Today, the answer is location-based technology.

While most people still seem to be wary of using location-based social media like Foursquare or Facebook Places (only 3% of internet users currently use), their relevance in the playing field is undeniable. Just last week, Foursquare saw the biggest single-day user increase following the launch of the Facebook Places application, helping them reach 3 million users. So, what’s the point of location-based SM? And what’s the difference between things like Foursquare and Facebook Places?

Uses of top location-based SM:

  • Find friends who are nearby
  • Discover new places
  • Get insider tips
  • Earn real-world deals from some companies (i.e. “Mayor discounts,” etc.)
  • Earn badges and have fun

Companies can provide incentives and discounts for loyal customers who “check-in” often, individuals reap the benefits of discounts and insider tips, and the game-like setting creates a fun engagement for both.

Some differences between Foursquare and Facebook Places

Foursquare provides a separate network as well as rewards and incentives for users, through local-business discounts, badges and mayorships, and insider tips to nearby locations. Facebook Places, while still in early stages, is simply a way to let all of your friends know where you are at any given time. Depending on what you want to do, you can engage and explore, or simply inform, through these new applications. Meanwhile, companies gain tremendous insight to their consumers, helping them better understand how to reach them effectively.

What are your thoughts about location-based social media? Have you ever used it, or would you?

Back to School with FPRA!

August 17, 2010

The summer has come and gone in a whirlwind, and we would like to invite you to welcome in the fall semester with us at Seminole Sensation Week’s Involvement Fair!

Who: FPRA Student Capital Chapter

What: Tabling at SS Week Involvement Fair

When: Sunday, August 22 7-9 p.m.

Where: Oglesby Union Courtyard, FSU Campus

Why: To introduce new students to FPRA and welcome members back to campus!

Also, a few back-to-school tips to help you get-in-the-groove of the fall semester (see: football season):

1. Get Organized. The best way to start a new and productive year is by organizing the things in your life. Get a good calendar to help you manage your time better, and make sure your living environment is nice and organized so you can focus on the things that are important. Having your life in order really helps when school, internships and extracurricular activities get stressful.

2. Make a contact with your old professors. Believe it or not, your professors’ most valuable attribute to you could be outside of the classroom setting. Send a short e-mail to your favorite past professors during the first week of school, or drop by their office to catch up after summer. You never know what opportunities could arise down the line as result of the continued connection, and they will appreciate your efforts to keep in touch! (T.A.’s, Internship Supervisors and mentors, too)

3. Study as you go! Don’t wait until the night before to cram for exams (and Gilmer’s quizzes)! Read and study a little bit each night to make yourself more prepared. Also, make flashcards as you read instead of trying to make them all at one time. That way, when it’s time to study, you’re ready. Another tip for flashcards: use an online flashcard maker….it saves a LOT of time!

4. Get to know your classmates. The people in your classes are likely to be entering the same field or a field similar to you after graduation. Make contacts and be friendly with your fellow students. Not only will you make new friends, but meet people who can help you find internships and connect you with valuable contacts in the future.

5. Make time for FUN! Fall semester can get pretty hectic–between first-semester PR/communication classes, re-uniting with friends, extra-curricular activities, internships and football season, it is definitely a busy time for students. Make sure not to overload yourself, and to make time for things that you will enjoy–not just resume boosters! You only have four years in college–ENJOY IT! 🙂