NewsGen recently hosted a networking luncheon and panel, “Work Smarter, Not Harder: Get Your Message Heard” for our PR colleagues and clients in the D.C. area. Business Wire’s Danny Selnick moderated the panel of Social Driver’s Anthony Shop, Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Michelle Boykins and our own Jeff Gibbons.

Shop started things off by talking about Buffer, a new app that helps him share news stories and updates on multiple social media accounts at once. Gibbons continued the conversation about social media, stressing the importance effectively training one’s staff on social media protocol. Selnick then asked each panelist, “How do you build you network and move into the human sphere?” For Boykins, attending events is a way for her to connect with like-minded people. Gibbons echoed Boykins’ point, saying it’s necessary to be curious about what someone you’re hoping to make a connection with does. Using the example of the advanced search tool on LinkedIn, Shop says that it’s hard to separate social media from networking.

As PR pros, we may work on the same projects for our clients each year and need to strategize new ways to keep a project fresh, and Selnick asked each panelist to offer tips on how to not reinvent the wheel. Boykins started by saying her team would try and find a different angle on a topic, and also suggested finding new ways to repurpose content for different mediums. Shop continued by saying he looks at the conversations other people are having about the topic, for example using Twitter as a starting point to search for how many people are talking about a certain topic. Gibbons said he would have a different team of people work on a project and focus on pitching outlets who may not have done an interview on the topic in the past.

With technology and social media growing rapidly, it can often be a challenge to keep up with the newest platforms and services. Shop suggests using micro-campaigns to test out a new tool such as Snap Chat before using it on large scale projects. Boykins says it is critical to teach CEOs about new technologies, and telling them the truth: “We don’t know if it’s going to work for us, but we know it’s working for other organizations.”

The panel wrapped up with a discussion on when it is appropriate to connect with someone on LinkedIn and how soon to reach out to a new connection. For Boykins, if she hasn’t met someone in person, she usually won’t connect with them online. Gibbons says he’ll connect on LinkedIn as long as there is a common thread or interest. When it comes to reaching out, Shop says he likes to follow up relatively quickly to prevent the other person from forgetting they’ve met.

It was a lively and engaging discussion, where people walked away with tangible takeaways to bring back to the office. Do you have any tips to work smarter? Tweet us at @newsgeneration and share.

Stay tuned…

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