I know I’ve blogged about the concept of Working on your “PR 2.0 Raw” in the past. I remember, as if it was yesterday, when a former journalist (now turned blogger) was asking me a few questions at a tweetup about little while back. After our discussion, he said, “I can tell you’re a PR person… you need to work on your raw.” I didn’t take this as an insult; on the contrary, it was a call to action to “Be Myself.”
Today, when I interviewed with Tatyana Gann (@smokinhotpr), on her SmokinHotPR BlogTalkRadio show, we discussed how you have to “Be Yourself.” The discussion stemmed from something I read on Tatyana’s blog. I noticed that her blog had an About Section that included a Personal Development Manifesto. Three important attributes to development are mentioned:
1. We must be committed. We must have the right mindset and believe in ourselves not someone else.
2. Commitment will bring clarity. We must be clear all disbeliefs. We must clear the path to success by eliminated dirt, mud and weeds growing on the way.
3. We must be consistent. It will teach us to overcome fears. Fear is the biggest doubt people have.
Toward the end of her piece, one of the last statements, which for me, captured the essence of what we all need to learn about social media. She said, “One more thing…do not forget to be yourself.”
Think about it: Be Yourself. No more canned messages. Media training doesn’t work in the blogosphere.
Can we all learn to be ourselves and not revert to our messages after years and years of training in the PR profession? I think we’re able and quite capable, as soon as we realize that social media communications is less about what we want to communicate and more about really helping someone and offering valuable information. When you’re a peer in a community, you interact on a level that allows natural and transparent communication…very open and human.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we don’t abide by the social media guidelines, policies and procedures developed by our companies. Of course we should always have respect and responsibility and yes, there will be those who are “official” representatives of the company designated to discuss specific areas of expertise or to give the company’s official point of view. However, it’s important to keep in mind that as you are participating in social networks that you should be able to develop your own unique voice.
When I think about the way that brands allow their employees to participate in social media outreach, the same holds true. I also believe there is an instant conflict between the true nature of social media communications and how brands want the corporate representative (the media trained or polished representative) speaking on behalf of the organization in social networks, or designating the corporate representative as the only person authorized to post on the company blog. My immediate reaction, “the media trained corporate representative, doesn’t work in the social sphere. That’s a disservice to the brand. If there’s no transparency, then there’s no trust.”
I’ve been through the media training process, and was taught how two bridge back to corporate messages, how to get an elevator pitch across in 30 seconds or less and how to answer rapid fire questions. There’s still a time and a place for our executives to use this training, it’s just not how we should represent ourselves or our brands in the social economy. Media training does not give you a unique social media voice or personality.
When we work on our PR 2.0 raw, the benefits translate into real conversations with people and actions, behaviors and outcomes that have value. The real value is in the relationships that we forge, as we tear down the layers, lift up the veil and let others know what we think and feel. This is PR 2.0 raw and it needs to be a part of our social media best practices approach. Have you worked on your PR 2.0 raw lately?