Public Relations and social media professionals around the D.C. area assembled at the Navy Memorial to participate in PRSA-NCC’s most attended workshop yet: Social Media Trends in Communications for Social Media Event Panelists2013. The event was held on February 20, and had two panelists speaking and answering audience questions about social media strategies, efficiency and platforms.

Denise Graveline of don’t get caught, and Anthony Shop, managing director at Social Driver, integrated audience participation with their own social media reflections and theories. Both Denise and Anthony shared their top social media trends for the year as well as advice to those new to social media platforms and tactics.

Denise helps make sure clients clients don’t get caught behind the curve, without a message or speechless with social media strategies, media relations strategies and speaker and media training. She explained that the most important trend of social media is visuals. “We need to focus on why we aren’t doing something just as much as why we are doing something,” she said. Pinterest is the third largest social network behind Facebook and Twitter. Companies easily overlook the site because of its DIY décor and fashion stigma. Denise clarifies that it is a fast, eye pleasing, and fun site, three aspects to keep up with the growing trend of visual content.

Another trend Denise explored was the quality versus quantity of social media platforms.  She advised that it is better to maintain one or two platforms well, rather than maintain ten poorly. “We don’t need wall to wall stuff,” Denise said, “It is okay to re-think and take down a social media page.” The term mass markets is slowly becoming outdated as it’s not about the numbers anymore, it’s about the relevance of the followers.

Anthony’s digital agency connects companies and nonprofits with their audiences online. He illustrated tactics to convince hesitant executives to be open and receptive to social media. There are three types of media in what Anthony called the New Media Mix: paid media, earned media and owned media. The trend is moving more towards owned media, which includes social media platforms. The key is to promote social media as part of a daily work routine instead of dreaded add-on projects.

Anthony also laid out the framework for another significant trend: engaging your followers. There are four quadrants in the framework which includes talking, listening, sharing and engaging. “Social media Social Media Workshop Speakersisn’t like a bulletin board, it’s like a cocktail party,” he explained. Social media is moving towards more interaction with users and administrators. Instead of posting statuses and tweets into the feed like you would post a flyer up on a bulletin board, tailor your messages to those who you would like to engage, the same way you would at a cocktail party.

Other trends and advice from the panelists included:

  • Cater towards mobile devices. Phones are purposed to reach everyone, and they do;
  • Make social media personable by using humor or a unique perspective;
  • By segmenting an audience into a pyramid of importance, it can help target niche groups;
  • Social media is a fast faced, ever-changing world. Educating and relearning sites is part of the package;
  • Start with goals if you would like to see return on investment such as new Twitter followers or “Likes” on Facebook. It isn’t always about the money; and
  • Negative comments will happen, but you don’t always have to respond or agree with them all the time. People like to say what they want, so let them do so.

To find out what people are saying about the event and more tips on social media, visit @PRSA_NCC .