During COM Week on Tuesday, Sean Wheeler, an account director for Barkley in Kansas City, spoke to me and my fellow classmates. I had never been interested in working in the firm world of public relations because I imagined an always hectic workplace and distant relationships with clients; however, Wheeler’s excitement towards his job and company enlightened me to forget these thoughts and I became truly interested in what he had to say.
Wheeler began by describing that he liked Barkley because it was more than just public relations. From departments dealing with the creative aspects to to social media, Barkley had it all. While Wheeler works directly in the public relations department, he spoke to us Tuesday about social media and the steps involved in auditing a client’s situation to determine the best strategy to achieve their objective.
Wheeler and Deltina Hay, author of “A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization,” explained that before submersing an organization deep into the endless opportunities of social media, it is important to analyze the landscape and do an audit before choosing a particular website on which to publicize an organization, event or product. Both Hay and Wheeler suggested observing different sites and learning proper etiquette before releasing your marketing plan across the Web.
A specific client of Wheeler’s was a human resource consultant company that enlisted Barkley to help launch their recent re-brand. Wheeler and his team vigorously researched the types of conversations that were occurring in human resource firms and where these conversations were taking place online. They determined that the best approach was to create an aggravator on their own website to create “the best of the best.”
In case you are like me and have no idea what an aggravator is, it is defined by “The Social Media Bible,” by Lon Safko, as “a program or website that will check and continuously search all of the blogs, news sites, or other websites to which you have subscribed for new content.” Barkley’s design pulls any postings from around the Web regarding human resources and places them on their client’s website to drive traffic and therefore increasing their credibility.
I had never thought so much preparation and thought was needed to utilize social networking as a public relations and marketing tool. I log onto Facebook everyday, but to really maximize usage and see a return on investment takes more thought than simply logging on. I think it is really interesting how much time Wheeler and his team at Barkley invested in research before determining how to create their client’s online presence.
Wheeler’s enthusiasm for his job and excitement for the future of social media really made me want to learn more about the different options that are out there for both careers and social media. I have realized I have a lot of catching up to do in the social media world!