The need for a content calendar

Managing messages through strategic planning

Juggling one brand’s social media presence across multiple platforms can seem daunting. Trying to manage three to four may seem impossible.

So how do PR firms do it? Content calendars.

These allow social media managers to prepare their posts before hand and view it across a larger time span.

Why they are a must

Content calendars help social media planners plan out their messaging over weeks, months and even the full year. This is important because to be strategic in messaging, there has to be a game plan.

According to CoSchedule, “Certainly, you aren’t going to plan every single piece of social media content you’ll produce right away. However, you can plan out your campaigns and seasonal messaging ahead of time. This will help you create content strategically and with a purpose by thinking things through in advance instead of just winging it as you go along.”

social mediaAnother important aspect of content calendars is that it frees up managers time to create engaging content. Many social media managers are also expected to blog, gather photographs or plan videos.

The free time found when content is pre-schedule results in better quality messaging and higher quantity of creative messages.

Things to consider when planning

Once you decide to use a content calendar, it is important to know how to use it effectively.

Social media audits allow managers to gain insight into their following and engagement on all social platforms. This research is the base for how managers craft messages and plan their campaign.

Sprout Social lays out four steps to creating a social media calendar.

  1. Figure out what content resonates -“Before you start searching for content to share on social you need to figure out what your audience actually likes.”
  2. Decide on how often to post -“Always keep your audience in mind and ensure you’re not bombarding them with posts that are irrelevant or inappropriate.”
  3. Create or source create content to share – “Once you have an idea of what kind of content your audience enjoys and how much you’ll need to satiate the quantity of posts you need to create, it’s time to find links to share.”
  4. Fill up your social media editorial calendar -“You’ve got the process in place, now it is time to start filling up your editorial calendar. You’ll want to use a tool that allows you to schedule or social messages and visual your entire content calendar.”

Content Calendar Resources

Great resources for content calendars includes Hootsuite and Sprout Social.

5 Reasons PR is the major for YOU

Choosing a major in college can be stressful. Having to make that one decision that will define your next four years and your career is overwhelming.

However, if you’re interested in entering into the business world but want to contribute in a creative way, consider majoring in public relations.

Here are five reasons PR may just be your perfect fit.

You love building relationships

Public relations is defined as, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics” (PRSA 2017).

The most common example of these relationships is between a company and its customers. However, public ‘relationships’ stretch to journalists, stakeholders, shareholders and even employees.

If you’re the type of person that likes to foster relationships and values open communication, then public relations is the right pick for you.

Writing is second nature

What most people don’t realize is that public relations is centered on writing. PR practitioners write press releases, media advisories and pitches daily to journalists.

These pieces have a journalistic tone so that newspapers will pick up stories. However, the challenge in this writing is making it newsworthy without sounding like a promotion.

PR writing also includes blogging, which allows for more creativity, and social media posts, which requires strategic writing and messaging.

If typing up stories all day doesn’t sound like your bread and butter, PR may not be the major for you. However, if the idea of creating messages excites you, then brush up on your AP style and join the world of media writing.

Interactive coursework

As PR majors get further along with their schooling and into higher level classes, the coursework becomes interactive.

Very rarely do teachers simply lecture and test students. Instead, they assign projects with real clients which allows students to apply what they learn in class while also adding to their portfolio.

Examples of these classes include Multimedia Writing for PR, PR Case Studies, Survey Research, Style and Design and PR Campaigns.

Internships prepare you

Nervous about getting work experience? No worries!

Christy interning at CMT, summer 2016.

All public relations majors are required to have an internship before graduating. This allows them to gain real-life experience while also starting to create a web of contacts before graduation.

The best part about these internships is that to qualify for course credit, the program has to prove it actively strengthens students’ PR skills.

Therefore, the day to day intern work won’t be the typical coffee runs and office cleaning. Instead, PR students can learn and contribute to the workings of the firm or company.

Multiple career possibilities

Once PR majors graduate and enter into the workforce, they is no limit to career options. The two main avenues that most PR practitioners enter into include firms and corporate.

Firms are high pace and allow PR practitioners to grow quickly because they get exposed to a large number of clients. Corporate jobs are more steady and allow communicators to invest in one client while growing the brand over time.

While these are the most common, PR practitioners can become event planners, media relations experts, marketers or social media managers. Any job that requires strong writing skills and great relationship building matches perfectly with PR majors.

Do these topics make you want to learn more about the major? If so, visit Auburn’s College of Liberal Art’s website.

How to manage a social media crisis

When a crisis occurs and a company’s reputation is threatened, top executives look to PR practitioners to mitigate the damages by responding quickly and effectively.

However, on social media, crisis communications takes on a new form. Often, getting trending topics under control is nearly impossible.

Here are some important tips for how to manage a PR social media crisis.

Anticipate Crises

Every public relations team, whether it is social media or not, needs to have a crisis plan in place. According to Berstein Crisis Management, there are two main benefits to creating these plans.

“First, you may realize that some of the situations are preventable by simply modifying existing methods of operation. You can also begin to think about possible responses, about best-case/worst-case scenarios, etc. Better now than when under the pressure of an actual crisis,” Berstein said.

All crises are dynamic. Not everything prepared will be used. However, when a team has pre-crafted responses, it is easier to manage and adjust accordingly.

Determine if it is a crisis

It is easy to take a negative post or tweet to heart as a social media manager. It may even seem like these are the begins of a serious threat to a company’s reputation. However, that’s not always the case.

According to Convince and Convert, there are three steps to deciding if you have an actual social media crisis.

  1. A social media crisis has information asymmetry – “When the company does not know any more than the public about what’s going on, it becomes a crisis.”
  2. A social media crisis is a decisive change from the norm. – “Many companies have things they are continually criticized on. When a markedly different line of criticism occurs, that’s the second sign of a social media crisis.”
  3. A social media crisis has a potentially material impact on the company overall. – “Somebody tweeting that Subway left mustard off their sandwich isn’t a crisis. A gunman at a Subway is. Scope and scale are the signs of a social media crisis.”

Quickly address all your publics

While it is important to take time in deciding responses, companies need to address issues quickly. Waiting to see if it will simmer out runs the risk of the internet discussion taking off without getting to voice the company’s response.

With crisis management, it is always best to own your mistakes. Be honest with your publics, take responsibilities for your actions and promise to work harder to earn their trust.

According to Social Media Examiner, “When issuing a statement, show compassion and your full commitment to the issue. Assure customers that they’re your first priority. Don’t be defensive, don’t justify your actions and most importantly, don’t hide from criticism.”

Social Media Job Prep

Must have skills for the social media manager job search

As PR practitioners and marketers enter into the social media management field, they must solidify their digital skillsets.

Many millennials believe that since they grew up in the digital age, employers assume they are social media gurus by nature. While this may have been the case at the start of the online age, today’s employers expect more.

Today’s social media managers must have a strong grasp on the digital landscape and be able to prove it. Here are some tips to make you stand out when interviewing for a social media manager position.

Know your platforms

As far as the social media giants, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, social managers need to know these like the back of their hand. Messaging on these platforms varies from site to site, and being able to write compelling 140 charter Twitter posts is just as vital as well-crafted, longer Facebook posts.

However, knowing your platforms goes beyond mastering the giants. According to Jeff Bullas, “Social media is not a singularity. The social web is made up of intersecting trends as it matures and evolves.”

Being well versed in new and growing platforms makes you competitive in your job search. Here is a list of 20 popular social media sites. Know these well, but keep exploring for new platforms popping up.

Be able to show ROI

Return on investment, or ROI, has spread from the business world into the everyday lives of social media managers. Marketers must be able to show how efforts online contribute to an increase in sales or customer retention.

Knowledge of software such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite Analytics will help you stand out to employers.

These skills prove to future employers that you not only understand the importance of analytics reports, but you are able to provide them with this information without training.

Have portfolio material

It is not enough to say you know how to do something, you have to prove to employers that you’ve had success in digital relations in the past. Therefore, creating a portfolio to give employers is a must.

According to Undercover Recruiter, “A work portfolio not only sets job seekers apart from the competition, it does a better job of relaying why you may be right for the job by providing solid evidence as opposed to beating around the bush about it.”

Make a folder, document or online portfolio of all your work in past internships, jobs and class assignments. These give physical proof to your skillsets.


More Information

For more information, visit The Muse, Social Media Today and Undercover Recruiter.

– Happy Job Search!

Robert Boyd awarded Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching

*This originally appeared in the Auburn University Newsroom.*

The one thing biology Professor Robert Boyd hopes his students gain from their time in his class is a cure for their plant blindness.

“Many students walk throughout the world filled with plants and they don’t recognize them. They see them as the green stage on which life is played. They are plant blind,” Boyd said. “I try to remove the plant blindness and get them excited or engaged with the idea that there is this whole aspect of the world they may not know.”

Boyd, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, recently received the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in recognition from students and faculty for his lively classroom lectures and his passion for investing in his students.

Currently, his teaching focuses on upper division and graduate courses in conservation biology and plant ecology. However, Boyd has taught a variety of courses ranging from freshman introductory biology to graduate-level classes.
Coined by his students as being “an animated man, bouncing around the classroom at 8 a.m., talking about his friends, the plants,” Boyd has spread his love of education and science to his students for more than 28 years.

“I think you have to have a passion and enthusiasm for what you do. You have to really care about helping the students see why something is important, and get them engaged so they see the excitement in something like plants,” Boyd said.

Although his biology curriculum is extensive, Boyd strives to ensure his students understand the material and do not fall behind throughout the semester.

“I often figure out if they understand what I’m saying when I give them a group exercise or exam,” Boyd said. “One temptation I have is to focus on covering all the material because I want to give everyone their money’s worth. However, sometimes I hit the brakes and go back to a topic to make sure they are learning the material.”

Boyd also puts a strong emphasis on writing skills and requires his students to be both proficient in written and oral communication.

“Everybody communicates in some form of writing,” Boyd said. “The best way to be a strong writer is to be forced to write and get feedback from someone who pays attention to your writing. I look at the big picture of how things are organized, while also looking at the small details of grammar, because being a strong communicator is extremely important in all walks of life.”

Beyond his work in the classroom, he has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters, has been a guest editor for special issues of three scientific journals and has served on the editorial boards of three additional scientific journals.

Boyd credits his family members and colleagues in the Department of Biological Sciences as key mentors who contribute to his ever-growing excitement for knowledge.

“I am very honored, humbled and grateful to all of the people involved in the nomination process,” Boyd said. “Now that I’ve been here for 28 years I can look back upon a lot of people that I’ve interacted with as students as well as faculty and colleagues here, and I am just very excited that they would think enough of me to support my nomination.”

The benefits of social media market research

Analyzing and applying social media statistics

Market research can be time-consuming, expensive and difficult to gather. Classic research practices such as surveys and focus groups can provide great insight. However, marketers often need feedback fast and traditional research methods do not always make the cut.

Social MediaThis is where social media comes in. The communications world has begun to utilize social media as a key source of research information.

Comments, likes and conversations that take place on social platforms provides marketers with real-time measurements.

Here are some of the top benefits of using social media as a research tool.

Customer sentiment

When forming a campaign, it is vital to have a strong understanding of customers feelings about the company and product.

Facebook Feels

According to SocialStrategy1, “Social media monitoring gives real-time access to opinions, data that dates back, and analysis of conversations that lie outside the typical survey participant, larger groups for sampling, agility in experimental proceedings.”

Due to comments and likes on social media, marketers can combine this qualitative and quantitative data into full reports.

For example, Facebook’s newly added “Facebook Reactions” allow users to express opinions beyond just liking a post. Now, users can have reactions including love, ‘haha’, ‘wow’, sadness and anger.

This data, when accumulated together, gives marketers constantly updated statistics on how people are reacting on social media to their company.

The amount of awareness

Social media also allows companies to see how many people are talking about their business or particular campaign.

AwarenessAccording to Brandwatch, many marketers attribute brand awareness to a higher return on investment.

According to the same article, “One of the strongest drivers in making consumers buy is simply the ability to recall that product. ”

Tools such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics can measure the number of comments, mentions, retweets and traffic to certain social sites. These statistics are a strong representation of a customer’s brand awareness.

Evaluate, plan and communicate

Once this research is gathered, researchers can take what they found, apply it to their campaigns and grow their messaging.

An example of this is learning the audience’s language. Listening In On Social

According to Social Media Today, “The words and factors that you use to track the success of your product might not always align with what customers find most important. By analyzing social media exchanges about your product or service, you can learn what factors customers use to determine value as well as the way that they speak about your product, service or brand.”

Social media research helps form a digital plan by giving marketers information when trying to improve communication with key publics.