Social Media sites such as Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have changed the way we communicate with others and the way businesses communicate with us. Nowadays, any business large or small can create a profile on a social media site to connect with consumers. These profiles allow businesses to give their followers access to special offers, updates and benefits that are generally unable to be placed within a traditional ad. Companies ranging from large to local, such as Apple and Insomnia Cookies, are all owners of Facebook, Twitter & Myspace profiles. These social media networks allow companies to build a loyal fan base, generate buzz and relate to their customers. As the number one web industry, social media shows no signs of slowing down.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010, TAC (Temple’s Advertising Club) set up a panel of advertisement experts to educate and inform the attendees of the advertising power that social media sites hold. Among these experts were:

Kelly Lange, Sr. Account Executive from Brownstein Group

Heather Foster, Temple Professor and Buyer/Planner from Harmelin Media

Tim Keefe, VP/Director Delivery Management from Digitas Health

The panel topics varied from Linkedin to one’s self-projected images on the web to how to stand out using social media.

  • LinkedIn:  LinkedIn is a business oriented social networking site. Many students and professionals use it as a way to keep in touch with other professionals as a means to have having someone to write a recommendation.  According to the panel, one of the most common uses for LinkedIn in the business world is to scan applicants to see if their experience matches up with their resume. What you post on your LinkedIn account can make the difference in rather or not you get an interview with that company you’ve been sizing up for some time. According to Heather Foster of Harmelin Media, LinkedIn can be a very useful and powerful tool for students. The services not only provides a way to keep in touch with professionals that students may have met in previous internships but it also allows for them to meet other professionals and ask them questions about the field without actually having to meet face-to-face.
  • Your Image: We’ve all been told repeatedly to watch what we post on social networking sites. Tim Keefe of Digitas Health offered some very wise words on this subject; “Don’t put stuff up there that you wouldn’t want your mom to see.” To follow up on his quote, Kelly Lange of Brownstein Group suggested that it is fine if there are a few innocent photos of you enjoying yourself at a party (i.e. holding a beer) but no prospective employer wants to see multiple photos of you lifting up your shirt or doing keg stands. As students we must be conscious that when we apply for jobs or internships that we will be representing the company and not just ourselves.  Take it from the pros; your friends won’t disown you because you untagged yourself in a few risky photos.
  • Posting Content on the Web: What we post on the web is a representation of ourselves. Essentially we are advertising ourselves to friends, employers and the entire world. Both Heather Foster and Kelly Lange made it very clear that social networking sites are public domains, and that’s something that we all need to remember when posting items on the web. Tim Keefe recommends that you never post information that can be turned against you in some way. Instead sell yourself in the right way and post samples of your work.
  • Twitter: Twitter is a great way to update your friends on what you’re doing and to keep up with companies that you’re interested in, but like most social networking sites, be very careful about what you post. Tim Keefe says to keep your tweet generic; never tweet about clients or products that you’re are working with.
  • Ways to Standout: When you’re competing with every other advertising major in the tri-state area it can be a challenge to standout. Simple things such as starting a blog to store your writing samples or a Flickr account to store sample ads that you’ve created is one of many ways to standout using social media. LinkedIn is an appropriate route to network and gather recommendations. Kelly Lange makes it clear that a recommendation from a professional equals credibility. Heather Foster suggested interning somewhere that you can get experience working with social media in advertising. As many of us are aware businesses are beginning to use social media to reach out to us.
  • Closing Advice: Heather Foster: start a blog and get an internship. Gain as much experience as possible in Social Media. Kelly Lange: Be prepared for social media questions in interviews. Tim Keefe: Be prepared for some crappy entry-level jobs. Be a sponge. Learn as much as you possible can. Understand how things work and be sure to ask questions. Challenge things. When you go in for an interview, be sure to do your research! Know your resume & know the company. Ask smart questions and present yourself as smart and eager for the job.

From one student to another, I personally recommend sitting in on any panel that TAC organizes. They’re put together for our  benefit and you can never learn enough about advertising…

image via: Mandarich