This is a guest post by Kristina Allen (@allenkristina)

In the short time since I graduated with my BA in public communication, I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in three very different social media environments.

Local, Niche Market

My first position, post-graduation in May of 2009, was with Comcast Cable, Inc., heading up the south Florida Local On Demand online promotions.  We were a test market for “Get Local” programming, and my job was to build awareness from the ground-up in the Broward and Miami-Dade counties. (I left Comcast in January of this year).

Challenges:

  • Building awareness out of nothing
  • Having a hyper-targeted market to work with (only people in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and only those who have a Comcast digital package)
  • Getting the producers to understand the importance of keeping me in the loop so I could keep our fans in the loop

Fun Successes:

  • Seeing immediate results
  • Running ticket giveaways for promotional events and meeting fans in person
  • Working on a project with no precedence for a large corporation

Start-up, Online Market

In August of 2009 I was lucky enough to join the Come Recommended team as a post-graduate, public affairs intern. After the completion of my internship, I assumed my new role in external affairs for GoodieRecruit (a brand new service of Come Recommended).

Although I don’t engage in the day-to-day social media initiatives of GoodieRecruit (credit there goes to @GregBarrette), I have overseen the growth of our online networks from bottom-up.

Challenges:

  • Building awareness out of nothing
  • Positioning the start-up brand as an expert source
  • Making sure our branding is always cohesive with our parent company, Come Recommended

Fun Successes

  • Watching the GoodieRecruit twitter account quickly amass a following well over 700
  • Speaking with entry-level job candidates excited about the project
  • Speaking with non-profits and businesses who found us through our online networks, and are excited to work with us

Established Corporate Brand

In January 2010, I left Comcast to pursue new opportunities with ion interactive. At ion I work with our online marketing manager to maintain and grow ion’s already established presence in the social media sphere.

Challenges:

  • Learning the dynamics of already established online relationships
  • Finding ways to grow the already successful online presence
  • Finding time to keep up with the many interactions along with my other PR duties

Fun Successes:

  • Always having people to engage in conversations with
  • Starting a Twitter chat (#CROchat – Thursdays, 1-2pm EST – focused on Conversion Rate Optimization and online marketing measurement. First chat is scheduled for March 4th.)
  • Being an important contributor to the online marketing discussion
    • On a personal note:  observing what marketers find important to measure versus what PR people find important

I’m sure I could come up with 10 more challenges and successes for each of the above environments, but hope what I’ve offered will help other young PR pros know what to expect when entering the digital workforce.

Every company, no matter the size or level of awareness, will run their social media efforts differently.  The important thing is to jump in and positively engage users as fast as possible. You know what they say: whether you join the conversation or not, people will be talking.

About the author: Kristina Allen is 23 years old, and a new public relations professional. She blogs at http://www.kristinaallenpr.com about the relationship between Gen Y journalists and PR pros, and tweets all day long at @allenkristina.

2 Comments »

  1. Kristina, this is great you pointed it out. A lot of our fellow students think working in digital media means playing on Facebook and Twitter. As you pointed out, there are many different objectives, tactics and strategies in different environments. It’s cool you’ve had a couple different experiences in this area, so thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Nick, before I started at Comcast I was grouped in with the crowd who thought working in digital media meant playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Luckily I had the sense to realize that no PR tactic could ever mean just sitting around collecting sheep (or whatever it is those legions of farmers do in Farmville), and I started reading tons of blogs on social media best practices.

    Now, with quite a bit of social media experience under my belt, I would have to say that I truly learned all the best stuff I know about social media through social media (real world practice, and connecting with seasoned pros), and I am so grateful to be part of such an intelligent professional community!

Post Comment

About

Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.