#PRStudChat social media and strategic communicationsThis month’s #PRStudChat was one of our most informative to date, in our humble opinion.

Not that any of our previous chats were lacking in any way or form, but we think it is fair to say that a discussion about social media and strategic communications is one we can all learn something from, and contribute to.

And that’s exactly what happened. #winning

Again, we don’t want to suggest that our past #PRStudChat sessions weren’t amazing. Last month’s focus on communicating research (with Kevin Anselmo) was fascinating but fairly, and purposefully, specific to a certain field.

Similarly, May’s #PRStudChat featured Edelman’s Mike Schaffer and concentrated on digital corporate reputation. It was an incredible discussion (and Mike is almost as funny as I am). But it, too, was tactically narrow in its focus.

Whereas strategic communication is ubiquitous across disciplines, and social media is, well, everywhere.

So, on July 19th at 12 pm ET, the community assembled with #PRStudChat co-founders Deirdre Breakenridge, and Valerie Simon, along with our very own Laura Petrolino to discuss just that: social media and how it fits into strategic communications.

#PRStudChat: Defining Strategic Communications

Out of the gate, it’s never safe to assume that everyone is on the same page when it comes to definitions and what we mean by “social media and strategic comms,” so our special guest, Dr. Karen Freberg, opened with an excellent overview.

Deirdre also followed up with a great definition:

If you weren’t already aware, Karen (we’re already on a first-name basis) is an associate professor at the University of Louisville (where she teaches strategic communications).

She is also an online instructor for the Integrated Marketing Communications program at West Virginia University.

And, she is a research consultant in social media and crisis communications.

Last, but not least, Karen is an author and her first book, Social Media for Strategic Communication: Creative Strategies and Research-Based Applications, is out next month (August 2018, from Sage Publishing).

Plus, if it wasn’t obvious already, Karen’s video game was strong throughout this #PRStudChat!

#PRStudChat: Challenges

While social media has proven to be an incredible tool for communicators, it also presents a number of challenges.

During the early years of social media adoption, brands and communicators alike had difficulty.

Not only in figuring out how to decipher the various channels, but in how to incorporate them into their own practices.

Today, many of the same issues exist/persist, however, the weight has shifted somewhat.

The challenge is keeping up with advancing technology and evolving media, instead of being generally uncomfortable or unsure about participating on social channels.

#PRStudChat: Statistics!

Like last month’s session, Christopher Penn joined the #PRStudChat community and provided some very telling statistics, effectively illustrating some of our biggest industry challenges:

The biggest, in his opinion? Bias in social data, and establishing best practices in using it.

#PRStudChat: The Content Challenge(s)

That, and there’s seems to be a quantity over quality conundrum when it comes to content:

Although #PRStudChat community member Amanda Weed has a different perspective:

 #PRStudChat: That’s All You Get

We could go on (and on!), but you’ll just have to follow the #PRStudChat feed from July 19th to find out more!

Alternatively, you can check out highlights from the Twitter chat below.

That, and please join us in the free Spin Sucks Community where we discuss #PRStudChat themes at length, along with many other like-minded issues (we may get off track now and then, but that’s part of the fun).

As always, PR Student Chat—co-founded by Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon—partners with trusted industry leaders to help shed light on the ever-changing issues that affect our role as professionals.

It helps students, and practitioners alike, learn from the experience and perspective of other industry professionals.

It’s a community where everyone can learn and grow together.

Please stay tuned for our next session (end of August), topic, and guest host.

Mike Connell

Mike Connell is the director of client services at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. He is also a contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, the leading source for modern PR training, trends, and insights. Find more of Mike's musings on his blog, Communative. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

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