How To Use Your PR Internship as a Networking Opportunity

By: Lyndsey Isenhower

 

If you’ve ever applied for a job, you’ve probably heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” The more people you connect with in the company or industry that you aim to be in, the higher chance for employment. Networking is one of the most valuable tools available to get where you want to go. And internships are a great way to begin the networking process – after all, you meet and work with people that are already in your chosen industry!

 

As a former intern myself, here are a few tips for doubling your internship as a networking opportunity:

 

Do Your Research.

On the first day of your internship, walk in knowing everything you can about the company and industry. It will be difficult to connect with professionals if you have nothing relevant to say to them, so spend time researching the company history, top executives, past achievements and even client industries if that information is available.

 

The more you know on the first day at your internship, the more reliable, interested and committed you seem to the job. When presented the opportunity to speak with executives, you will already have a basic understanding of what they do and why their work matters. From there, you can dive in and ask questions that go beyond the surface level.

 

Put Yourself in Uncomfortable Situations.

Speaking with employees at your internship may be intimidating at first; however, establishing a relationship with people in the workplace will make your time there more enjoyable and worthwhile in the long run.

 

Don’t be afraid to speak up and share ideas during team meetings because this could lead to further connection and brainstorming between you and your superiors. During downtime or breaks, engage with a variety of peers and supervisors to show your enthusiasm with being a part of the team. Bonding with fellow interns is important, but they aren’t the ones offering you a job after graduation.

 

Diving into the office banter and team lunches can be a way to experience coworkers apart from the business setting, which also helps them familiarize themselves with you. You want these people to be able to speak on your behalf, so keep it office appropriate, but be yourself.

 

Connect on Social Media.

Social media is becoming more and more prevalent in everyday life, but it is also becoming more useful for businesses as well. Millennials and members of Gen Z are in the perfect position to use these platforms professionally, because we’re already so familiar from personal use.

 

Connecting on these platforms – and keeping them up-to-date – also  gives you a chance to keep up with your teammates after your internship ends. Something as simple as liking their pictures can keep you on their mind, but congratulating them on a promotion, direct messaging them to grab coffee with you or just checking in with them will be sure to make a lasting good impression.

 

Another quirk to note about social media involves the timing in which you should add your coworkers as “friends.” Adding people on social media too quick can seem forced and not genuine, so it’s better to have established a relationship first before adding them on social media. While you may connect on LinkedIn early on, you may want to wait until closer to the end of the internship to become Facebook “friends.”

 

Take Initiative.

Hopefully, taking initiative has become second nature to you by this time in your college career. Being proactive in helping your coworkers accomplish day-to-day tasks can alleviate their stress, as well as make showcase your skillset and capabilities. Employers love to see interns going above and beyond what is expected of them because it (a) shows you care and (b) helps you stand out.

 

Small tasks that have nothing to do with the job itself, like unloading the dishwasher or volunteering to grab coffee for a coworker, are great places to start when you are unfamiliar with the day-to-day tasks of the job. As silly as they may seem, these simple tasks show you’re invested in your time at the company and eager to be a part of the team.

 

Getting the most out of your PR internship requires many other steps like working hard, sharing valuable ideas, following instructions and meeting deadlines, but networking could possibly be the most long-lasting and critical takeaway from an internship.

 

Interested in applying for an internship at Dittoe PR? You won’t regret it! Learn more about the program and to apply by checking out the spring internship callout. Applications close Sept. 15!

How to Take Advantage of LinkedIn Groups

With more than 18 million companies currently using LinkedIn, it can be difficult to make yours stand out. Luckily, Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) offers a way to break down the masses by industry, interest, and intent with LinkedIn Groups.

 

LinkedIn Groups are virtual hubs on LinkedIn that provide a “place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.”

 

There are nearly 2.1 million groups on LinkedIn – which is still a LOT – but when broken down by industry, it’s much more manageable.

 

Unsure how to get started? I’ve rounded up the basics below to help you begin to take advantage of LinkedIn Groups.

 

Joining groups is fairly easy – as long as you have a LinkedIn account. Just visit www.linkedin.com/groups and select ‘Discover.’

 

If you’ve already filled out your profile, LinkedIn will automatically suggest a myriad of groups based on your industry, experience, and more. For those of us in public relations, you may see suggestions like: PR Professionals, Social Media Today, or your local PRSA chapter, to name a few.

 

By clicking ‘My Groups’, users can see a full list of the groups they are a member of, sort based on name or industry, and view the groups they’re waiting to be admitted access to. Once inside each group, users can view and connect with other members, solicit feedback on relevant topics or participate in existing conversations, and even view jobs available in the related field.

 

So now you know how to join, but maybe you’re still not convinced. Here are just four of the major benefits you’ll see after using the LinkedIn Groups feature:

 

Engage.

Joining LinkedIn Groups allows users to engage with other members through topical and industry-related conversations. Whether it’s liking a recently shared article or sharing your two cents on an ongoing discussion, LinkedIn Groups facilitate additional networking opportunities with fellow industry pros. They also give you a chance to show ‘em what you’re working with!

 

Share.

Another benefit to LinkedIn Groups is the ability to share relevant content and solicit feedback. Working on a new proposal or just trying to get some advice on your recent blog post? Share it in various groups to get constructive criticism. LinkedIn Groups are also a great place to find sharable content for curation!

 

Connect.

Not only do LinkedIn Groups allow you to engage with other industry pros, but they can help connect you with potential clients, employees/employers, and more. This networking platform offers a deeper dive into each industry, allowing users to familiarize themselves by reviewing expert opinions, content, and more.

 

Influence.

By regularly sharing content and participating in group discussions, users will begin to make a name for themselves as industry leaders. Other group members may privately message you for advice, and leaders in other industries might look to you for expert advice in your field. Either way, you’ll be getting your name out there in the best possible way.

 

As you can see, there’s no shortage of advantages when it comes to using LinkedIn Groups to expand and showcase your industry knowledge. Interested in getting help? Set up a consultation with us today!

How to Choose the Right Social Networks For Your Brand

Even though many companies use social media to promote their brand, there is still some doubt surrounding its viability. Am I seeing results from social media? Are we actually engaging with prospects? Why are we spending so much time on these networks?

These concerns are common, and some people will always be wary of social media. However, Forbes recently reported that the rising fad is here to stay and “the longer you wait, the more you have to lose.” Here’s a list of potential benefits your business could realize by using social media marketing:

  • Social MediaIncreased brand recognition
  • Improved brand loyalty
  • More opportunities to convert
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Higher brand authority
  • Increased inbound traffic
  • Decreased marketing costs
  • Better search engine rankings
  • Richer customer experiences
  • Improved customer insights

However, to use social media successfully, your brand must first understand how to use it, when to use it, and what platforms to use.

Companies should first align with their target market and choose networks accordingly. According to Buffer, a social media sharing software, it’s okay to be picky about which social networks your brand monitors. Some companies benefit from sharing more visuals while others may be better off sharing more textual or auditory updates. It all depends on the brand and its viewership.

Following are the most popular social networks and some tips for how to choose which ones will benefit your brand.

 

Facebook

With the highest amount of users and engagement, Facebook can be used to reach a very large network. However, Facebook is often used for socializing which could make it difficult to reach the desired audience. In order to target potential prospects, business pages need to be regularly updated with informational and interesting content for their target audience. If your company wants to advertise and reach a larger and more social crowd, create a Facebook page.

 

Twitter

Twitter has become a place to give and receive timely information. This network also allows businesses to carefully listen to their audience and respond when needed. For example, if a customer isn’t satisfied and they tweet the issue, it gives the business an opportunity to publicly respond and fix the problem, which provides a sense of trust and accountability. If your company likes to keep your audience educated and engaged, you should be active on Twitter.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social network for business professionals and is known for being a bit more serious. A LinkedIn account is ideal if your business is looking to provide industry-specific information, build relationships, and find new connections. It’s also a great place to find useful resources. To connect with other businesses or individuals, set up a LinkedIn company page.

 

Instagram

Instagram is a photo-sharing network, primarily used on mobile devices. This network currently has a much younger crowd, but it’s continuing to gain popularity in business world. If your business would benefit from sharing photos and images, Instagram is an easy and entertaining way to communicate to your target audience.

 

Google+

On Google+, you can upload and share pictures, videos, links, and even host video conferences. It also provides some search engine benefits. Your business can engage niche groups on this platform, providing unique, specialized value to your target market.

 

Bonus option: Blogging

While blogging isn’t exactly a social network, it is still a social platform. A social network is where people strictly go to socialize, like the options listed above. However, conversations are started on blogs and can create social benefits for your business as well. Consider encouraging comments on your blog posts or integrating Disqus so your blog can become a social hub as well.

 

Here at Dittoe Public Relations, we believe it’s not enough to just have a presence on social media—it’s about making that presence count. Contact us if you have any further questions or need assistance with managing  your company’s social sites.

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