The Washington Business Journal recently ran a Business Pulse item asking readers “How useful have you found social networking sites?” Comments from the skeptics included: “risky,” “really it’s a waste of time – maybe it’s the age” and “too many unanswered questions.” Overall, 43 percent have joined but “it hasn’t really helped,” 20 percent said it helped with employment, 12 percent were curious but have not joined a social network and 26 percent checked “I have no interest in online social networking.”
Okaaaaay. Since the PR Buzzsaw focuses on issues relating to public relations, let me offer just two comments on why it’s a good idea to get involved in social networks – at least from a media relations perspective.
Qualify pitches: If you find yourself getting daily pitches from the “hottest new [insert industry buzzword] company,” try searching for the company on LinkedIn. Take a look to see if you are connected to any of the employees, check out their profiles, their backgrounds, and their relationships. If they’re really hot, then they’re probably connected to key industry movers and shakers.
So, if your company (or client) is trying to make a claim about credibility, realize that some journalists will be heading straight to LinkedIn to check you out first. Penelope’s post lists nine other ways journalists can use LinkedIn.
Another observation comes from the National Press Club, which later this week offers a class for journalists called “Reporting from Facebook.” We’ve already seen how the media is grabbing photos and comments from Facebook pages to include with stories, and the next wave will no doubt include business news coverage, so it makes sense to establish a presence and be ready. If the National Press Club is offering a class on Facebook reporting what does that say about your need to be aware of what’s going on?
We’ll share other ways journalists are using social networking sites in future posts. In the meantime, if you come across an idea worth sharing let us know.