Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Archive for the tag “public relations”

Tomorrow

A year ago tomorrow – June 11 – I graduated from college with my degree in journalism, concentration in public relations and minor in Spanish.

I wish I’d known then that, in exactly 366 days – gotta remember Leap Year! – I would be starting a real job at a real public relations agency with real coworkers and real clients and all that cool big-kid-real-life stuff I’ve been prepping for my entire life.

That’s right, you read me correctly, I got hired on a week ago at a PR agency called Horn. Starting tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. I will be at Horn’s San Francisco office for my first day as an Assistant Account Executive. I can’t wait to meet all my coworkers, find out about the clients I will be working with and get into the type of PR I’ve been longing for since starting my education in the industry.

I’m so excited!

This is one of the biggest steps of my entire life. It’s kind of the equivalent of moving away to college and starting out on my own – only with benefits and a 401(k) plan. Eek!

I found out that I got the position a week and a half ago, but I didn’t want to share my big news before signing the contract and all that good stuff.

Wish me luck!!

A little bit about Horn (from the company website):

HORN is a digital communications agency that combines PR, social media and interactive services to help companies build their brand and move their business forward. 

Named “2011 Technology Agency of the Year,” HORN works with Fortune 500 global brands and hot emerging growth companies in technology, media and consumer markets. Established in 1991, the agency is independent, with offices in San Francisco and New York, and is co-founder of the Oriella International Network.

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On Managing Social Media

The other day I had the opportunity to speak with a few other people about managing social media, both personally and professionally.

There was a lot of good information that came out of the conversation so I thought I would open up the conversation here to see what you all think. See below for some questions that I’ve had or heard from other people.

Image via FinancialSocialMedia.com

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What are the best social media sites for my clients?

Social media is not one size fits all. In order to figure out which platforms are best for your clients you first must understand what the company hopes to accomplish through those channels. What is the end goal? What would the company like to achieve? Whether the purpose is to open up communication between business and consumers, share relevant stories and information about the company or stay involved in industry conversations, there is a social media site to help your client do just that. Research the demographics and purpose of each social media site and utilize the ones that fit into the consumer demographic of your company.

How often should I be posting?

That really depends on which platform you are using. For example, I wouldn’t post more than two times a day on Facebook; this site is normally used for more personal communication and longer interactions. People don’t like their Facebook news feeds to be cluttered; chances are, if you are posting too often, people will unsubscribe from your updates which means that your message won’t be reaching them at all. Twitter is a different story; it serves as a constant news feed and chances are your Tweets get buried in the pile-up. The more you Tweet, the more likely your viewers are to receive and respond to your message. I’d say that the length of the message and level of interaction you desire by your targets should have an inverse effect on how often you post: the longer the post (Blogs, Facebook, etc.) the less often you should post on that platform.

What is the best way to build a fan base on Twitter or Facebook?

The best way to build a fan base is to be open, facilitate conversation, ask questions, respond to others and be proactive about your outreach. If the company can afford it, buy ads on whichever social network you are using. You can generally add filters to your advertisements to target specific demographics based on age, sex, interests and location. Sites like Twitter and Instagram use hash tags in order to aggregate posts about the same topic, this is a good way to reach people who are interested in the same things you are. Also, live Tweeting from events like concerts and conferences are a great way to start discussions.

Hash tags don’t work on Facebook. Don’t use them there, it’s just obnoxious.

What is the best way to control multiple social media accounts?

There are tools such as TweetDeck and HootSuite which allow you to schedule Tweets, analyze traffic and manage multiple accounts. There are also tools like BufferApp which is like a queue for your Tweets letting you put a bunch of Tweets in a line and schedule when they go out. (Note: I personally use BufferApp, but I know others who use TweetDeck or HootSuite and like those platforms a lot.)

A word to the wise: don’t put your personal account and a client account on the same management app (especially on your phone or tablet) – if you aren’t paying attention you can end up inadvertently posting something to the wrong account causing problems for everyone involved.

How should I control responses on my social media accounts?

It is always important that your company or the company you’re representing has an ironclad social media policy. Make sure this policy states the company’s stance on bullying (and what this means whether it is based on race, religion, sexual preference, age, etc.) and profanity. You can set filters on many social media sites so that comments and posts that contain specific words (think offensive four letter words) won’t show up on your account, even if just for a second. Make sure you cover all your bases, and then make sure that you have the policy published somewhere available to the public in case you hit any retaliation from users whose comments get deleted.

What should I post about on my/the company’s blog?

Make sure you are writing about things that your viewers will want to read. Don’t just regurgitate information already posted on other similar blogs. Keep your posts short and to the point, about 600 words long (unlike this one which is at 774 right now). Include videos of things around the office or of important events in your industry. Conduct interviews of people in different positions throughout the company; ask the same questions of everybody, you will get different answers and readers will be able to see the different aspects of your company. If you do recap posts of concerts or events make sure that they are timely and occur within 24 hours of said event.

As far as number of posts per week, you can decide to post once a day, twice a week or any frequency you like, just make sure you stick to it. People on social media like consistency, they like to know that on Tuesdays they are going to get a blog post from you, or on the third Friday of every month your company is going to give them a drink recipe to try over the weekend. Having a backlog or edcal of posts is always a good idea, that way you can schedule your posts and you are sure that they will go out even if you don’t necessarily have time to write that day.

Is it okay to auto-post between social media platforms?

Cross posting between social media platforms is generally frowned upon. Although it isn’t the worst social media faux pas one could commit, consumers generally feel that auto generation of content is impersonal and redundant. You should have (mostly) different content on all different platforms, and even if it’s similar information, your post should be phrased differently whether it is on Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Google+.

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What do you think of these social media management tips? Are there any you disagree with? Do you have any to add? Let me know in the comments!

Facebook buys Instagram for $1 billion… wait, what?!

The big talk around the office within the past ten minutes has been that Facebook has purchased Instagram for $1 billion.

What?!

Yes, that’s right, Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement this morning… by posting it to his Facebook Timeline.

For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

That in itself is big news – the fact that a $1 billion acquisition was made is news, AND that it was announced on Facebook? That is unreal.

Seriously, when Kris saw that John Swartz posted about it on his Twitter, we were all incredulous.

A $1 billion business deal? That’s crazy, no matter what the companies are!

This announcement comes on the heels of the April 3 announcement that Instagram was now available to Android users.

Now we are all wondering, what does this mean for Instagram? Why is this mobile app worth $1 billion? What plans does Facebook have for it moving forward?

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

And what does the way this news was broken mean for the future of tech company announcements… especially in the social media space?

Check out the post I wrote about SXSW for my company’s blog “Slice: Snackable PR” 🙂

Slice

By @rockegan

Every March for the past 20 years, movie buffs, music connoisseurs and tech nerds have taken over Austin, Texas. To some, the 20,000 extra people swarming the streets would be overwhelming. If you look past the lines, crowds and lack of sleep, however, you begin to realize that you are in a world where being called a “geek” or “nerd” is cool and everybody surrounding speaks the same language as you, and that language is Tech. What you experience for that week is nothing that you have ever experienced before or will ever experience again.

South By Southwest (SXSW) is focused on developing and expanding on innovative ideas for new products and services and because the main focus is technology, no two years are the same. With the rapidity at which the tech world advances, the things that were important this year may be considered archaic by next…

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Nerd-fest 2012: The Waiting Game

AKA South by Southwest Interactive 2012 or Southby or SXSWi from hereon out.

In case you are lame and didn’t read my previous post about this, I recently won a ticket to SXSWi on Twitter. Those tickets go for over $900, are completely sold out, and are the gateway to a wonderful week of networking, start-ups, technology, and mingling with nerds. Nerds just like me!

Looking at me you wouldn’t think I was a nerd – I like to think of myself as a closet nerd and this upcoming SXSWi experience as my Nerd Coming Out Party. (Is that a politically appropriate analogy?)

Anyway, I struggled a lot with whether to go to SXSWi or not. I was nervous for a lot of reasons – money, going out of my comfort zone, being alone, not fitting in, not being nerdy enough (weird fear, right? but totally valid!), etc. but I decided, after 99.9% support from friends, family and strangers, that I would attend. I fretted over the cost of the plane ticket, but thank goodness for Southwest airlines (fitting, isn’t it?) and its low fare calendar, because of that I was able to get tickets to Austin for a fraction of the cost from other airlines. Whew.

I talked to my mom about it a lot – she brought up the cliché “do one thing each day that scares you.” She then told me that, if I went to SXSWi like she thought I should, I would rack up about a month’s worth of “things that scare me” and hopefully get over some of my anxiety and debilitating fears (there are so many that I’m staring down right now that I’m not even going to get into all of them). But okay Mom, you’re right, I should go. I even got an e-mail from her this morning saying:

South by Southwest has been getting HUGE press in the SF Chron business pages – articles yesterday AND today.  You can google that if you are interested and/or have time before you leave today.  It should be an amazing experience.  I am so proud of you for grabbing this opportunity!

Thanks Mom. I really appreciate the support. Really. Now can you pay for the flight? Kidding. Kinda…

I have spent a lot of time this past week talking to just about everybody about what SXSWi is going to be like, what I should do while I’m there, etc. I have been actively posting on Twitter, Facebook, other people’s blogs and just about every other social media site I could think of in order to prepare myself.

I have come to the conclusion that no amount of blog posts, Twitter hash tag chats/follows or conversations about how amazing it’s going to be can prepare me for what I will experience over the next four days.

Although I don’t think all of my research can adequately prepare me for this (what I believe to be) life-changing event, here are the conclusions I’ve come to out of all of my anxious energy/excitement:

  • In going to SXSWi I am reaching so ridiculously far out of my comfort zone it isn’t even funny. I only won one ticket to the conference, which means I will be attending things, gasp!, alone! On the plus side, according to every single person I’ve talked to who has been, that’s the best way to do it! It forces you to get to know people and network. Apparently, going out of your comfort zone is what SXSWi is unofficially all about – who woulda thought!
  • I had no idea what to wear – does it matter? I’m such an over-packer and this event is definitely no exception. Also, I’ve never been to Austin, or even Texas, so I don’t know what the culture is like. If I brought my cowboy boots would people think I was a crazy poser? Since I had no idea what to wear and from convos with a good friend of mine, I just decided to pack everything I could think of. Maybe I’m stupid, but Swouthwest allows you to check one bag free of charge, so I’m golden.*
  • I have no idea what panels/presentations/events to go to because all of this happened so fast and I haven’t had time to research everything. But you know what, that is just part of the experience!
  • I’m not nerdy enough for this event. One of my major fears. Which is complete BS because I am a super nerd and technology and startups and electronics and design and HTML and CSS do interest and excite me. Maybe I’m not an expert like a lot of other people will be, but so what!
  • I never do anything spontaneous which means that this better be good. It could probably make or break my spontaneous side. Kidding (and this time I really am). I’m really excited that I’m being so spontaneous! It is a quality that I always see in other people and really admire, so I guess this is my turn to develop that same quality in myself and hopefully I’ll inspire somebody else who is scared of spontaneity and not having a plan.
  • WHERE WILL I STAY?! Okay well lucky for me, my friend Nikol over at Who’s Austin moved to Austin a few months ago (hence the blog title) and has a floor (or couch?) I can sleep on while I’m there. This means that a) I don’t have to pay for a hotel room (much less find a hotel room since they are all sold out) and b) I get to spend some quality time at presentations, networking events and parties with an old friend (Nikol and I lived on the same floor freshman year of college)
  • Similar to the previous thought, when will I sleep? I’m pretty sure those who go to SXSW don’t get very much sleep. At all. Like, maybe 3 hours a night. I barely survive when I only get 6 hours of sleep a night, so I’m basically planning on being exhausted and getting sick for 2.5 weeks after this event. But hey, that’s all part of the adventure, right? Right?!

My motto over the past few months has been “Be Brave” and that’s exactly what I’m going to be over the next few days (and beyond!)

I know I sound ridiculous, but I’m nervous! So cut me some slack.

Now, as per the title of this post, the waiting game starts. I am currently sitting in those uncomfortable airport chairs at the San Francisco airport waiting for my flight to Austin via Las Vegas (yay slot machines!) We were supposed to leave around now, but the flight was delayed. So i’m just sitting here. Hanging out. Researching SXSWi.

Life could be worse.

P.S. Thanks to Brad King (The Bradpocolypse or @TheBradKing) and everybody else who has written articles/blog posts about how to survive SXSWi – you have been the main instruments responsible for maintaining my sanity over the past 48 hours.

P.P.S. Thank you to everybody who commented on my previous post, everybody on Twitter, all my friends and everybody at work for encouraging me to go – and not really leaving me a choice 🙂

P.P.P.S. If you are going to be at SXSW, let’s meet up! Comment on here or find me on Twitter (@rockegan). Let me know what your favorite part of SXSWi has been and share any advice you have! Looking forward to meeting you 🙂

*I read in a few blogs about what I should and shouln’t pack – t-shirts were on the “no pack” list because apparently there are free t-shirts just about everywhere. I didn’t listen to this. I shamefully packed two t-shirts into my suitcase. Two t-shirts that are probably taking up space from all the other t-shirts I will receive while I’m there. Oops.

A Change

I’ve decided to make a change to my blogging strategy.

If you are a normal reader and have followed me since I started this blog (only about 2 months ago), you know that I had all these grand blogging goals set up for myself coming into 2012. You also know that I haven’t been doing a very good job at accomplishing those goals. I’m trying to do everything at once, but I think I just put too much on my plate.

Sometimes I feel like this (stock image)

One of the main things I’m struggling with is the fact that I have two blogs running at the same time. I have one for my personal life (this one) and one for my professional thoughts (RachelHelen). I didn’t want to have a combination blog because I wanted to cater to everybody’s interests, speak to my demographic, all that good stuff.

That just didn’t work for me. I didn’t even get my Photo-A-Day post out last week! (It will come soon… hopefully tonight…)

I have tried scheduling certain days to write in one vs the other, I have tried duplicating posts, I have tried just about everything. One of the main reasons this doesn’t work is because I am no longer working from home – I have a real job, in a real office that I go to every morning at a specific time and come home at a specific time (generally exhausted from that day’s work and not wanting to look at the computer anymore). Because of this, I have decided that I will no longer have two blogs.

Instead, I will be keeping this blog and discontinuing the other one. This means, I’m sorry to say, that even if you are not interested in public relations/social media/the internet world, I will be blogging a bit about that here. I don’t want to lose any of my readers, but I also want to be able to update on a regular basis and updating TWO blogs instead of one just seems so daunting. Right now, instead of keeping up with one or two, I’m keeping up with none.

This is just not okay in my overly-dedicated, perfectionist and multitasking-driven mind.

I would absolutely love any input you can give me on my writing, what you would like to hear more about, and what you could do without.

This blog isn’t just for me, it is for you, and for all the other readers out there who haven’t yet discovered my awesomeness (kidding… kinda. But share with your friends! The more the merrier also works in the blogging world.)

Anyway, so those are my thoughts on this subject matter. I will be trying to combine the two blogs (AKA import my posts from my other blog to this blog…) and write more frequently.

I hope to see more of you as I continue to write here.

Have a wonderful Monday!!!

Things I Like About My Job, part 1

I have officially been an intern at SHIFT Communications for a week and a half now and it has been pretty great! The first few days were spent being introduced to everybody in the office and figuring out which accounts everybody was in charge of… That along with trying to keep up with all the acronyms thrown around in emails and everyday speech wore me out.

Luckily, after diligently shadowing a few people on their accounts, I’ve been able to catch up a little bit and have even been handed some of my own responsibility. That’s pretty exciting, but I’m glad that I’ve had a bit of time to get used to the type of work I would be doing and the office environment.

It’s not that I haven’t had jobs with real responsibilities before (hello, I was a nanny for 4 years – if that’s not responsibility, I don’t know what is), but I’ve never really worked in an office like this before. By that I mostly mean that I’ve never had coworkers my own age – one of the things that I was really looking forward to when I entered the “real world.”

Having coworkers my own age isn’t the only thing that makes me happy about where I am right now. Here are some things that make me smile about my job:

  • I work in San Francisco (which is pretty awesome)
  • It’s nice to see so many people are around my age that have accomplished so much – it makes me believe that I can accomplish those things too!
  • Everybody is super nice
  • I get to say things like “I’ll be back soon, just gotta run out and grab something for a client”
  • I actually have clients (or at least am working with teams that have clients)
  • The office is laid back and professional all at the same time
  • Thus far I haven’t been bored (yeah, I know, I’ve only been here for a week and a half… but that’s a good start!)
  • We are all in cubes which means people just stand up over their cubes and talk to each other
  • Sometimes you can hear people talking on the phone… to somebody else in a different cube across the room – this makes me smile
  • I have coworkers my own age (I had to include it)
  • …and a majority of them are women which means I am able to pick up on their impeccable fashion sense
  • I get to spend time reading recent articles about things that I’m interested in – and it’s all part of the job!
  • Everybody is hilarious, which means that people will be in fits of laughter at random times throughout the entire day

There are more, but those are the things that come to my mind right now. Is there anything better than a job that you enjoy doing, makes you smile, and combines so many of your passions? I think not!

What do you like about your job?

And So It Begins

I feel as though everything in my life has been leading up to now. I’ve always had dreams for myself: go to college, live in a big city, have good relationships with my family members, get a great job, be proud of myself, be happy.

As of last week, I can finally say that I have accomplished all of those things thus far:

  • I graduated from college in June.
  • I have wonderful relationships with all four of my parents and all of my siblings, not to mention my extended family.
  • I signed the lease for an apartment in San Francisco.
  • I have an internship at a great company and I couldn’t be happier about it.
  • I am proud of myself and all I have accomplished – especially the apartment and internship, two things that happened last week.
  • I might not be as happy as I could be, but I’m working on it and all the things I just listed sure do help.

Of course, I haven’t officially moved in to my apartment (that happens this weekend) and I haven’t actually started my internship (I begin tomorrow), but man, I just feel like my life is really taking off!

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that I still want to accomplish in my life, but I am just now starting to feel like a real adult. All of my goals until now have been for my younger self. They were for the me that existed before 2012. The me that was focused on my profession, friends, and dreams. The 22-and-younger me only knew a life that consisted of classes, homework, papers, to and from campus, etc. etc. This new me, the 23-and-older me, has moved on from school, is entering the corporate world, and is ready for new challenges and experiences.

Now, even though it is only 8:20pm, I think I am going to go pick out my outfit for tomorrow, crawl in to bed, read a book, and get a good night’s sleep before my big day tomorrow.

San Francisco, I’m ready for you!

I Would Make a Damn Good City Girl

AKA Save Me San Francisco

You’ve been sitting there with bated breath, waiting for me to write about the big things that have been happening over the past few weeks. I’ve been so secretive, keeping you in suspense, driving you crazy with all the mind games. (Just go with it…)

Bay Bridge

The past few weeks I have been spending a lot of time in San Francisco. I have been driving out there (and BARTing out there) at least 3 times a week for many different reasons – coffee with friends, doctor’s appointments, apartment showings, meetings, interviews.  I have been applying for jobs, talking to companies, scheduling informational interviews, and a whole lot more. It has been getting exhausting, not to mention expensive.

Baby, whatcha doing today
What are you doing later?
I don’t know my way through a maze
Of gray skyscrapers
But I’m willing to learn

-“Manhattan from the Sky” by Kate Voegele

But as of last week, all of my hard work paid off. In a matter of 24 hours I not only got a call that the apartment we saw on Sunday was ours if we wanted it, but I also got a job offer! On Thursday I signed a lease to an apartment in Russian Hill and then, on my drive home, I got a call that SHIFT Communications wanted to hire me for their three month internship position. It was the best day of my life. (My dad argues that the best day of my life was the day I was born, my counter argument was that Thursday was the best day of my memorable life.) By Friday I had signed a lease, signed my offer letter, and started packing for my new apartment on the fourth floor of a 1920’s style building with no elevator.

Yesterday we got the keys to the apartment, showed Christine’s parents and my mom and step dad, and moved some boxes in. We will get all of our furniture into the apartment next weekend. I can’t wait!

Every day’s so caffeinated
I wish they were Golden Gated
Fillmore couldn’t feel more miles away
So, wrap me up return to sender
Let’s forget this 5 year bender
Take me to my city by the Bay

-“Save Me, San Francisco” by Train

I can’t wait to move to The City! My mom saw my apartment on Saturday and a) didn’t have anything bad to say about it (which was  a HUGE deal) and b) she almost cried because she was so nostalgic about the nine months she lived in San Francisco. She said that she absolutely loved living in San Francisco and she was so happy that I was going to live there now. I was shocked.

If I could wish upon a star, I would hitch a cable car to the place that I can always call my own. - Train

Since I’ve been in San Francisco so much lately (and permanently starting this upcoming weekend!) I have been able to take a lot of pictures on my iPhone. Some are of pretty views, some are from Christine and my accidental trip into the Marina, some are from walking around, and others are just random. Here are some that I’ve been saving up to share with you, they all make me so happy.

I sent this picture to my friend Kara telling her that our apartment is right over this club.. she believed me. Nope, it's definitely not.

BART on my way to my interview!

Take me to my city by the bay - Train

I can’t believe I will be a City Girl in less than a week! I have never lived in a big city like San Francisco, and I just can’t wait to move in and figure out what the city life is all about.

Now the big question: to match or not to match my bedside tables. (I know, I know, really? That’s my big issue now? Life is pretty great!!)

But in all seriousness, should I match my bedside tables or not? Different colors and different styles? Same color but different styles? Same style but different colors? What do you think? Seriously.

Friday Links 2012: Week 5

This week was so crazy. I hardly had time to check email and read my morning websites. In fact, I don’t think I read my normal allotment of sites a single day this week, so I apologize for the lame links.

As I said in my other blog, I’m not quite ready to share everything with Cyber Land yet, but I promise it will happen within the next few days.

Anyway, here you go:

And a picture from today just because I thought this tea was pretty.

(**Squeals!!**)

I hope your week was productive and that your February started out wonderfully!

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