5 ways PR pros and marketers can use social media to network

The online world can be a trove of experts and contacts in the communications industry. Here’s how you can take advantage of it.

Networking is paramount for PR and marketing pros—not just for the brands and clients they represent, but for personal brands as well.

“Relationships are a cornerstone of any successful business,” says Ron Young, founder and CEO of Shocase. “If done properly, networking allows communication professionals to build authentic working relationships, grow reputations and cultivate new business opportunities.”

Young knows not only the value of networking, but also the important role of social media in optimizing the time PR and marketing pros spend connecting.

He created Shocase—a social network dedicated to marketers and other comms professionals—in response to the more than 100 million marketing and PR professionals globally who didn’t have a specific social network dedicated to highlighting their efforts, staying informed of comms news and trends, and ultimately furthering their careers.

Here are five ways to use social media to network effectively and enhance your personal brand:

1. Get involved with relevant communities.

Social media branding efforts are not about the individual companies that interact online. Likewise, networking isn’t all about you.

Join LinkedIn and Facebook groups, Google Plus communities and Twitter chats related to your areas of expertise. Listen to the conversations happening within the groups you join, and take part of discussions by posting helpful information or comments that don’t simply link to your website or services.

Shocase offers a news feed to help members stay on top of the latest PR and marketing news, and users can follow communications industry leaders as well. Sometimes just observing the behavior of those who inspire you can embolden your work.

2. Show off your project portfolio.

“One of the biggest values of Shocase is the ability for PR and marketing pros to display their best work,” Young says. “Members can populate their portfolios with press clips, presentations, infographics, videos, pictures, you name it.”

The most successful members are those who regularly upload new projects, “creating robust and visually striking portfolios that demonstrate their skills and experience.” In other words, making sure your online portfolio is updated and full of fresh ideas is just as important as any traditional portfolio.

Creating and sharing portfolios—whether it’s the entire thing or single projects—increases your visibility among PR and marketing professionals, as well as potential employers and clients.

3. Recognize others’ expertise.

If you see fellow PR or marketing pros that you admire, go further than just following them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Share their content and retweet their insights; you can even ask them to collaborate on a blog post or other project.

Recognizing the expertise of those around helps your network and can open the door for future projects. Young says Shocase members who add team members to their projects see greater success as well.

“It allows their work to be seen on more pages on [Shocase], and as their team members add new people and projects, their network grows virally and their visibility greatly increases.”

4. Share your knowledge.

Guest blogging is alive and well. PR and marketing pros who take advantage of the opportunity can access a different (and sometimes larger) audience than their own, build additional relationships and get recognized for what they know.

Writing posts aren’t the only way you can share your expertise. Look for opportunities within your communities and groups to present at events or to guest-host podcasts, Google Hangouts or Twitter chats.

5. Connect the real and online worlds.

PR and marketing pros know the value of attending functions to network, including conferences, cocktail parties and other business events.

However, don’t let the time spent at these functions go to waste. Follow up within a few days with those you’ve spoken with on social media. You can follow the person on Twitter, send an email through LinkedIn or invite her to your social media circle through another platform.

Not only does this reinforce the network connection, interacting with a fellow PR or marketing pro on social media also offers the opportunity to deepen the relationship by sharing additional insights, common beliefs and other similarities.

Learn more about the power of networking—and how to do it effectively—in our #RaganSocial Twitter chat Tuesday, March 10 at 2 p.m. Central. Ron Young will join us to talk about Shocase and other networking tips.

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