The #Twitchdc event took place in DC on November 11th at the Busboys and Poets Restaurant on 14th Street. It's such a hot spot; part bookstore, part restaurant, part cultural meet up place. As a Web Designer it was eye opening to hear the PR perspective on Social Media.
The event started with about 15 minutes of speed networking which if you haven't done before it's pretty exhilarating! The room was buzzing with pairs of professionals shaking hands, sharing what they do and exchanging business cards at lightning speed it seemed. I met a spectrum of women in the PR field; some worked in the nonprofit sector, some owned there own businesses and some were actually students.
The main event featured a panel of fantastic women in PR from editorial directors to reporters to authors. To read about the panelists click here. There were many great points made about the influence and importance of social media today, but what I found the most interesting is how these PR professionals use social media and how it has changed their jobs. They use it to gauge trends in real time to find out what people are thinking. Search.twitter.com is huge, you can search on any term and find out what people are saying right now. When they are looking for sources or stories they research people's facebook pages, twitter pages, etc. It's so important for these pages to be active and up to date, you don't know who may be researching you for a story. They also had a lot to say about blogs. A lot of journalists go to blogs first for information. The blog should share new information and people should be commenting on it. Being referred by another blog gives your blog authority. They stressed the fact that there are so many blogs out there so you have to establish credibility and present an interesting perspective to stand out.
Overall it was evident that social media has changed PR forever like it has effected all industries today. They are able to gain instant information from their network and readership. They have to listen to critics and communicate with them. They have to push content everywhere, just sending out a traditional press release won't cut it. As business owners it's going to be increasingly important to establish yourself as an expert and specifically promote what you are an expert on within your social networks. Constantly promoting yourself through social media, blogs, podcasts, etc will make it easier for potential clients to find you online.