5 Reasons To Use Digit


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This article originally appeared on GenTwenty as part of the GenSocial column.

On the Internet there’s been a lot of discussion about what twenty-somethings should do with their money. Some argue that it should be spent on travel and leisure for the purpose of enjoying youth. Others say twenty-somethings should begin saving immediately, especially since the retirement benefits are better if we start doing it in our 20s. Hello earlier retirement!

Regardless of where we stand on the retirement issue, many twenty-somethings might find value in a social app called Digit. Their tagline is “Save money, without thinking about it.” But how does that work? And is it really beneficial to sign up? The app is seriously as easy as it sounds.

Here we list the top five benefits of joining Digit and why saving doesn’t have to be so hard, even when it’s done on a micro scale.

  • It links directly to our checking accounts. Digit has a secure system that connects with the provided checking account. It then looks at our spending habits and removes a few dollars here and there. All we have to do is sign up and provide our information.
  • We can withdraw our money at any time. Digit takes away money and essentially puts it into a rainy day account. Whenever we want Digit to stop saving, we can remove the funds and use it for what we’d like.
  • It’s an absolutely free service. Honestly, we lose nothing by signing up for Digit. The automated app does the work for us. It helps if we have trouble saving and want to use the money towards something. There are more reasons to use it than to not use it.
  • It takes into account our incomes and spending habits. Using its specialized technology, Digit conservatively takes our money and saves it for us. That means they won’t take out too much from our checking accounts. Instead, it takes a little bit over time based on our previous decisions. Normally people have savings of $30 or so they find after a short period of time. The number increases depending on our income and spending habits.
  • Digit sends us regular updates about how much we saved. While Digit does its magic, we get regular texts from them about our saving progress. It’s an effortless and smart way to save money, especially if we tend to struggle with that.

What’s best about Digit is that it’s tailored to the individual. Most people want to have some kind of savings. It’s a part of life that we have to plan for the unknown. But sometimes we don’t make enough to save effectively or we can’t stop ourselves from making certain purchases. With Digit, we can have the help of an automated app that does it for us. It takes away money we won’t notice and puts it into an FDIC account. Best of all, we can access if we end up needing it sooner than we thought.

What money-savings app do you use? We want to know in the comments!

Interview with Amy Flurry of Recipe for Press


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amyFor Amy Flurry, a local public relations and communications professional in Athens, her career has always been about storytelling.

A journalism graduate of the University of Georgia, Flurry wrote for regional and national magazines for almost 20 years before turning to PR.

Now working in communications, Flurry wears three different hats: Founder of Recipe for Press, Creative Director of Parlore and Co-founder of the Paper-Cut-Project. All three roles allow Flurry to tell stories and communicate using visuals.

Flurry said she made her transition from journalism to communications when the print industry was changing in the late 2000s. The jump was natural since Flurry had always done both editing and communications in her career.

“In 2009 and 2010, when the industry was turning upside down and everything was going digital, no one knew where that was going,” she said. “It seemed like the right time to change. I could not see my future in print anymore.”

It was during that time that she decided to author a book. She also opened a consultancy to share the knowledge she had gleaned in her 20 years as an editor.

“It was a big moment and a market decision to leave behind something I was comfortable with,” she said. “I was a features writer and interviewing top designers like Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang. At some point I thought, I’ve been so busy telling other stories. I need to figure out what my own story is.”


Flurry began telling her own story by writing Recipe for Press, a guide to DIY PR for entrepreneurs. Flurry also opened a consultancy that evaluates brand strategies and helps prepare small businesses to pitch and to get press coverage, on their own. In addition she gives workshops and speaks on DIY PR across the country.

Flurry says she is able to help with these pitches since she was on the other end of the pitch email for years.

“I’ve been on the other side and in a position where I could share wildly with big audiences,” she said. “In my experience, I’ve found that a good publicist is an editor’s best friend.”

Flurry says that she enjoys the communications industry for the connection that it provides.

“I really like public relations and when people get clear communication, it can connect you with like-minded people and those curious about what you do,” she said. “When you communicate effectively, you open up your world a good bit. More than you can do on your own.”

Flurry genuinely enjoys her work and keeps a busy schedule to prove it.  In addition to Recipe for Press, Flurry heads the creative team of Parlore, an interior design app, and runs the Paper-Cut-Project, which transforms sheets of paper into dramatic silhouettes.

Along with having three different titles, she described many of the day-to-day tasks she does regularly.

“I write physical letters on a regular basis, I email and I Instagram. I am also probably part of more meetings than I’d like to be,” she said. “Then there’s Slack. It’s an app that tries to get you off of email. It maintains the stream of conversation in one place. For every project I do, I use Slack and that’s been great.”

Slack is just one of the many examples of how Flurry has embraced technology and social media and used them to better her communications practices.

“There’s so much more information out there,” she shared. “Now you can target pitches so specifically. You can look at where people write for and what they post on social media. You can get a sense of who they are as people. Technology helps in the DIY process so the publicist does homework before pitching.”

In terms of the strategies she uses, Flurry says she has her own “common sense” theory when it comes to pitching. When budgets were decreasing in newsrooms, she thought of what editors might need given the cuts of staff and money.

“My theory is that there were fewer people with more content to produce and less means to produce it,” she said. “If an editor’s in a bind, who am I going to go to? Who will pick up the phone? My approach was more giving people, from my perspective as a former editor, what I’m looking for.”

Flurry says some of her proudest moments in public relations have been when business owners take her tips and apply them to getting publicity. Her book Recipe for Press offers both tips and interviews with business owners about how people can create effective and targeted pitches.

“I really love when people who come to my workshops briefly get their own PR and see it work,” she said. “I love when what I taught makes sense and they see it work and share it. That’s pretty delightful.”

In the future, Flurry sees PR as moving away from hired agencies to more in-house communications. Business owners are becoming more savvy to the fact that they need to do active communications and PR internally.

“I see PR moving in house. Rather than having 20 clients you can focus on one,” she said. “A lot of people love that agency experience and the amounts of money going towards campaigns. What you learn in agency PR can be brought to corporate/in house PR.”

Using the tips from her Recipe for Press business, business owners can communicate smaller stories and pitch to local editors. One of the tools Flurry offers is the pitch wheel, which is an interactive calendar-based wheel that helps publicists determine when to pitch to regional and national publications.

Along with DIY publicity, Flurry recommends that small to mid sized businesses hire a communications director for their team.

“It’s not their sales position who does this on the side. It’s a position that you take seriously that will grow the business,” she said. “Many big companies have strong in-house communications. Now I see that filtering down to mid to small companies. Doing this does take time and it takes relationship building.”

For current students of PR, Flurry recommends pursuing this kind of in-house PR, as well as being gracious and hardworking in the field.

“I feel like working in communications is about relationships and follow through,” she said. “Also about being lovely, easy to work with and being prepared.”

She also stresses that communications is really about storytelling, and being able to share that story consistently over time.

Flurry gave the example of Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, who skillfully shares the story the hosiery company based in Atlanta.

Blakely is able is be herself, but at the same time share her story and share the right parts. In television and print interviews, Blakely consistently shares what Spanx is and what they hope to accomplish.

“This is part of what grows a company. You all share the same story,” Flurry said. “If you control your story and stay on message, your communications and your company will grow.”

She says that communications is a great industry to go into because of the current opportunities for students.

“Communication is power. I love when I see great people representing great companies,” she said. “PR contributes clarity and connection to society.”

To learn more about Flurry and her work, visit amyflurry.com, recipeforpress.com, paper-cut-project.com or http://www.parlore.com.

Images courtesy of recipeforpress.com and ohmyhandmade.com.

Best Times To Post on Social Media


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One thing I’ve learned on social media is that what time you post something makes a big difference. While it’s not an exact science, picking when to post on social media is a good strategy. Depending on the time, more people may be at home or the office. Sometimes Monday morning at 9 a.m. is the best time, while no one may see a tweet at 11:30 on a Thursday night.

I’ve curated a few infographics below with social media tips. They are helpful to social media managers, as well as users who want friends and family to see more of their posts. While these are nice tips, the best way to find out ideal posting times is to do research. It really depends on the audience base of the account. Monitor the engagement of your account for a month and you’ll be able to see what posts at what times were most successful.

best-times-post-social-media social-time-feat



How To Use Social Media For Small Businesses


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This article originally appeared on Sprout Social’s blog.


A couple of years ago, small business owners were questioning whether social media was a worthwhile investment. Now, it’s no longer a question of should you be using social media, but rather how you can use it efficiently and effectively to drive your business forward.

Jump to the Social Media for Small Business Infographic.

According to research from LinkedIn, 81% of small businesses use social media. An impressive stat no doubt, but it also means there’s still a significant number of SMBs not taking advantage of social media for their marketing campaigns. That’s mind blowing when you consider the following:

With all of that potential for success, there’s no reason to be watching from the sidelines. Our guide focuses on using social media for small business. We’ll cover everything you need to get up and running, and how to sustain your online presence once it has been established. First, we need to review some marketing basics.

Define Your Goals

Using social media for small business is obviously a great idea, but you may wonder what’s the the real benefits for doing so? You won’t know if your efforts are truly paying off unless you have something to measure against. We’ll take a closer look at measurement a bit later when we talk analytics, so for now, let’s focus on objectives.

Not all social media strategies are created equal. Some are designed to drive awareness while others are built around engagement and specific calls-to-action. There are a lot of elements to social media. For instance, Facebook is a single platform that has many moving parts. You don’t want to approach it haphazardly. It’s inefficient and only creates more work for yourself.

By forming and actually writing down thoughtful and achievable goals, you’ll have a solid understanding of whether or not your social media efforts paid off. A study found 76% of participants achieved their goals through specific goal-setting strategies. There are numerous approaches to goal-setting.

SMART goals are one of the most popular goal-setting frameworks for businesses.

  • Specific. The more specific you can be with your objective, the easier it’ll be to see what it is you need to do.
  • Measurable. Can your goal be measured? How will you track your progress and know if your goal has been achieved?
  • Attainable. Think realistically. Is the goal you’ve set for yourself possible to achieve?
  • Relevant. Does your goal drive your business forward? Is it the right time?
  • Time. Goals are meaningless without deadlines. Give yourself one.

Define Your Audience

When it comes to marketing effectively, you wouldn’t walk into the center of a crowded room and start yelling at people, so why do the same thing online? Social media is one of the best ways to reach your target audience, but first you have to figure out who they are. Those details will help you figure out which social platforms are best for you and the type of content you’ll share.

When identifying your target audience, consider factors such as:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Income
  • Education
  • Career
  • Interests/hobbies

Remember, the more specific you can be, the better. This will enable you to create a strong social media marketing strategy around these individuals and take a more targeted approach to each the right people at the appropriate time.

Research the Platforms

Now that you know who you want to reach, you’ll need to figure out where they are. Social networks have varied user bases—some cater to niche groups while others are digital melting pots. As a small business, your time and energy is very valuable. It doesn’t make sense to invest it on one social network if your primary target audience is more active on another.

B2B & B2C Considerations

In a broad sense, the industry you’re in will help you decide which platform to use. B2B and B2C businesses use social media differently. Consider this when you’re trying to decide which platform to use. In Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, B2B respondents listed LinkedIn as their number one choice for social networking. while B2C businesses go to Facebook, and in larger numbers.

If you’re B2C, you’ll need to become very familiar with the key social media players and their demographics. It’s a time consuming endeavor, but not to worry because we’ve put together a complete guide to Social Media Demographics for you. Read through it for detailed insights across seven social media platforms.

Platform Strengths & Weaknesses

Going beyond just demographics, you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. If you specialize in video content, for example, then you’ll want to choose the platform that best supports that type of media.

Specifically on YouTube, 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute, but 67% of Facebook users in the US said they discovered the videos they watch on the social network.
Do you want to work within a six- or 15-second time constraint, or would you like your content to disappear after it’s viewed?

How often do you plan to publish content? Is Facebook or Twitter better for engagement? If you’re going to update multiple times a day, then Twitter’s fast-moving stream might be the right fit. But if you only plan to post a couple of times a week, you don’t want that content to become buried minutes after it’s been published. Facebook has a longer lifespan than Twitter, making it easier to stay relevant without burning out on content.

Customer Service

Using social media for small business isn’t only good for driving awareness and engagement; it’s great for relationship building as well. When customers try to reach you with a question or complaint, many do so on social media. So which platforms are best equipped to help you handle customer service queries?

Consumers complain about brands 879 million times a year on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. What’s worse is brands aren’t responding. Seven in eight messages to brands go unanswered within 72 hours.

Being responsive and engaging has never been more critical, especially for a small business where the loss of a customer could be substantial. You have to think about which social media platforms are best equipped to help you handle customer service queries. Although Instagram is great for engagement, it might not be the best place to direct customers with questions about your product or service.

Twitter and Facebook tend to be a customer’s first support resource because of their accessibility and private messaging capabilities. While you should monitor every platform you’re on for mentions of your brand, pay extra attention to Facebook and Twitter.


User-Generated Content

Without a dedicated social media team, many small business owners are stuck juggling responsibilities. Creating and distributing content is one of the most important things you can do, but coming up with unique, quality content each week can be time–consuming and expensive.

One way to keep up with the demand for new content is to look to your audience. User-generated content is created by your customers and can be anything from images to videos to blog posts. When you’re looking to be active on new platforms, consider your content strategy and ask yourself what type of UGC you could collect.

For example, if you want customers to submit Vine videos, it’ll help if you’re actively present on the platform to easily gather video submissions. At the very least, you should be active on Twitter because the two services integrate almost seamlessly.

Adopt a Social Media Management Tool

One of the easiest ways for small businesses to fail at social media is by trying to take on too much at a time. In the beginning, it’s tempting to be on every platform, blasting out as much content as you can to anyone who will listen, but that’s not what social media is about. Essentially, social media is creating value and establishing real relationships.

But as we said, small business owners often juggle many different responsibilities and need to optimize their time. Social media management tools like Sprout Social make it easy to share content across multiple networks, track brand mentions and get detailed reports and other crucial tasks every small business needs.

Automate Where Possible

Let’s say you maintain a company blog and you want to share your posts with customers across different social networks. One way Sprout Social can help is with its RSS Scheduler. This feature lets you set up a feed to automatically publish content.

For example, you can connect your Twitter account to your blog so it will auto-Tweet messages when new posts are live. This can be configured in the Publishing tab underPost via RSS.

That said, a human touch is still important. Don’t let automation consume your social media efforts. You have to authentically participate and engage with people in real-time to get the best results.

Know Your Numbers

We touched on this a bit earlier when talking about objectives. Your goals have been established and you’ve defined parameters around what success looks like. Now, it’s time to focus on measuring that success. How close are you to achieving your goal? What tactics bring you closer or further away from reaching your goal? The only way to answer these questions is by tracking social media metrics.

If you have a Facebook Page you’ll probably want to track:

  • Page Likes
  • Post Reach
  • Impressions
  • Engagement
  • Unlikes

On Twitter, you’ll want to keep a close eye on:

  • Retweets
  • Tweet Impressions
  • @ Mentions
  • Followers
  • Tweets Linking to You

Wash, Rinse & Repeat

Social media is constantly evolving and new platforms or features are popping up frequently. Using social media for small business, or any size business for that matter, is a continuous job. You’ll always be re-evaluating your goals and experimenting with new types of content on different platforms.

As your business grows, so will your online presence. You’ll discover new goals and new ways of using existing social media features to your advantage. At this early stage, the key is to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. But you cannot let a little discouragement stop you from moving forward.

When things start to feel overwhelming, employ a social media management tool or a dedicated social media manager to help take your marketing goals to the next level.

5 Social Media Influencers To Follow


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This article originally appeared on GenTwenty as part of the GenSocial column.

For the last year, GenSocial has explored a wide ranges of topics pertaining to social media. We’ve looked at how to use the big social networking sites like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Reddit. We’ve offered advice on professional networking on LinkedIn and Twitter.

We’ve also offered suggestions on how to deal with things like threats and security online. But one topic we haven’t covered are examples of twenty-somethings achieving success on social media. We’ve been preaching what smart social media is, but haven’t shown you what it looks like.

That’s why we curated a brief list of some of our favorite twenty-somethings online. These young professionals have strong followings and established brands. Each one of these millennials has a unique voice online. Read more to find out how to connect with these entrepreneurs.

1. Chelsea Krost is known for The Chelsea Krost Show and #MillennialTalk. Chelsea has an undeniably strong social media presence. With almost 100,000 followers on Twitter, she’s clearly doing something right. She currently hosts her own radio show and weekly Twitter chat (called #MillennialTalk) that’s open to any participants. Want to know more? Follow Chelsea on Twitter and join in on her weekly chat. As a bonus, she’s super friendly and open to conversation!

2. Kayla Hollatz is known for #CreateLounge. Kayla’s a jack of all trades. She works in public relations, writes poetry and has her own #CreateLounge Twitter chat on Wednesdays. Kayla is a multitalented creative, open to talking about inspiration and ideas with others. Along with her Twitter chat, Kayla also gives branding suggestions as well as helpful ideas for other creative professionals. Follow Kayla on Twitter  and be inspired!

3. Lindsay Shoemake is known for That Working Girl. A PR powerhouse, Lindsay works in media and digital marketing in Denver. She has ample experience using social media, which makes her website and social accounts fun to follow. One of her biggest projects is That Working Girl, a website dedicated to helping women in the workforce. It has interviews with successful women, as well as general how-to articles. Follow Lindsay on her personal account or That Working Girl to learn more.

4. Aaron Lee of Ask Aaron Lee. Think only women dominate social media? Think again. Aaron runs his own lifestyle blog called Ask Aaron Lee and he’s been named one of Forbes’ Top 50 Influencers. Aaron also offers his social media expertise to businesses and individuals looking to grow their networks. With nearly half a million Twitter follows, he clearly knows his social media. Follow him on Twitter  and see how he’s making a splash online.

5. Maya Elious is known for #MEBrandClass. Maya’s a brand expert and here to help millennials discover their voice online. She also offers a Free 5-Day “Personal Branding Jumpstart” email course to help anyone get started. Along with her course, Maya also has a blog that’s full of useful articles. Maya is a one-woman show, able to help entrepreneurs put their ideas into actions. Follow Maya on Twitter and get to know her work!

This is just a brief list of some of the profiles we love. There are plenty more good examples of twenty-somethings thriving on social media. Share your favorites with us and post them in the comments!


4 Ways to Improve the Visibility of Your LinkedIn Profile

This article originally appeared on GenTwenty as part of the GenSocial column.


When it comes to social media and career advancement, LinkedIn is the go-to place. LinkedIn serves as an online resume that’s easy to view and update. LinkedIn also offers the chance to connect with other people from our field. With a simple request to connect, we can add up contacts in our industry and potentially get endorsements and recommendations on our own profiles. If we’re trying to strengthen our careers and reputations, there’s no excuse not to be on LinkedIn.

However, our work isn’t done just by signing up for the site. Plenty of people have LinkedIns, but don’t properly utilize them. Profiles should be highly accessible and easy to read. A good profile picture, aka headshot, is also essential. However, there’s something else that most users don’t consider: visibility.

In order to maintain a highly visible profile, there are a few steps we can take. Doing all of these will only take a few minutes, but their effects could have career-long implications. By having visible profiles, we can ensure that other people quickly find and connect with us. We’ll also be able to share our LinkedIn profile more easily with others, like on business cards or other social media sites. These steps will help us make the most of the site, simply by changing some of our profile settings.

Here are 4 ways to improve the visibility of your LinkedIn profile:

1. Change our public profile URL to our name. LinkedIn automatically gives us a URL when we sign up. Normally it’s linkedin.com/aseriesofnumbershere. But what we can do is make it so that our name comes right after the forward slash.

How: To change it, log in and click Edit Profile, then click Edit Public Profile URL. LinkedIn has a more detailed article here.  It takes seconds, but the act helps optimize search results when someone looks us up online.

2. Edit public profile settings. When people browse LinkedIn profiles, they see public profiles of others. This means that they’re not yet connected with the individuals. Typically people reserve more detailed information for their approved connections.

However, for people new to their industries, it’s beneficial to have most of our information up to those looking. We’ll want to make sure that people can see our past jobs, internships, and skills without being part of our connections.

How: To do this, log in and click on Privacy and Settings. Then click Edit Your Public Profile. Once we click on that, we can choose to make specific sections public or our entire profile public. Most of the time though, it pays off to include as much information publicly on LinkedIn.

3. Consider LinkedIn Premium. Joining LinkedIn is free, although there are a number of paid plans for interested individuals. LinkedIn Premium allows users to message people who aren’t their connections. It also gives them advanced search options and ways to increase the visibility of their networks. In short, LinkedIn Premium is a helpful investment for those who are looking for a job and may not have a lot of contacts.

How: Rates are as low as $30 a month and may pay off when a user gets a job lead based of LinkedIn’s advanced features. Click here for more information.

4. Emphasize buzzwords in our profiles. In order to show focus on our careers, we should try and make our profiles concise and nuanced. We should make sure that our titles and profile descriptions match, as well as our past positions and skills. Ultimately we need to show a well thought out plan on our careers.

How: Let’s say we’re new media journalists. We’d want to reflect that in our profiles to show our experience and expertise in the field. We may want to emphasize words like “digital” and “SEO.” Creating buzzwords helps us distinguish ourselves from competing profiles, as well as show our knowledge in our fields.

These are the starter steps to having a more visible LinkedIn profile. To continue to strengthen it, we should also connect with others, as well as join groups and frequently update our information. Do you have any tips to improve your LinkedIn profile? Let us know about them in the comments!

Here We Go


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Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 9.44.41 PM

 Downtown Athens, GA

Tomorrow starts my final semester of school. It will be my 11th (not counting summers) semester at UGA. 11 semesters, two bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree to show for it. I’m giddy– not just because I like starting new classes, but that come January I’ll be in another stage of my life.

Going to UGA for graduate school has been a real blessing. Many of my undergrad friends were still in town. I knew the community scene of artists and business owners. I also figured out a place to live downtown. However, after a few months, I felt that I was playing it a little too easy. Some of my peers had traveled across the world to attend my graduate program, while I had already done two degrees at UGA. I didn’t think I had done enough.

But come January I’ll be really thrust outside of my comfort zone. I’ll be permanently done with school and looking for a new job. Honestly, I think that’s a good thing. I like being challenged; it’s what I’m constantly seeking. Graduate school has certainly been challenging in its own ways. But in terms of the environment it’s been in, I’ve been very fortunate.

What comes next I don’t know. Hopefully a full time job in my career of choice. I’d love to be lined up with a job by graduation. But life is never as simple as it seems. In January, I may still be job hunting– or have even decided to change cities. I’m not quite sure yet, but the chance of something new really excites me.

So here marks the start of my final semester at UGA. UGA and Athens, you’ve both treated me well. I hope my next job (and city of residence) is just as great.

Best Sources for PR News


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Image via assignmenteditor.com

As a public relations professional, I try to stay in touch with the latest PR and social media news. Sometimes it can be hard with keeping up with national and international news, let alone specific industry updates. Luckily there are a few great sources that aggregate PR news and send it directly to your email inbox. Below I list some of my preferred sources for finding out what’s new in the world of PR.

  • PR Daily is one of the easiest websites to sign up for. Visit prdaily.com and you’ll see a button to subscribe to their News Feed. The site initially will sign you up for a large number of daily emails. If it ends up being too much, you can always adjust your settings to your needs. PR Daily is a consistent and reliable source of PR-relevant topics.
  • PR News Online is also a savvy source of news for communicators. When visiting the homepage, visitors can enter in their email address to get industry alerts. Like PR Daily, PR News Online includes both news articles and tips for professionals.
  • Unlike the other two, The Skimm isn’t exclusive to PR professionals. However, The Skimm acts as a supplementary source of other news. Working in PR often requires practitioners to keep up with current events. The Skimm is one of the easiest ways to do this, given their daily emails that summarize the biggest headlines in the world.
  • PR Week gives readers more traditional headlines like who’s elected to corporate PR positions or the contracts that certain agencies are signing. PR Week is a straight forward source of industry news that helps give a big picture look at the field.

What sources do you use to stay up-to-date? Share your favorite PR blogs and websites in the comments!

Get Certified in Social Media


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(My post originally appeared on gentwenty.com)

Social media is often a hobby for twenty-somethings, but did you know you can get certified in social media? We grew up with it, so it makes sense that most of us continue to use it on a regular basis. For some of us though, social media extends beyond a past time. Some millennials work full time in social media, managing the accounts for businesses or individuals.

Plenty of job opportunities, many of them being in public relations or customer support, exist in social media. Public relations specialists or managers often handle social media as one of their duties. For larger companies, multiple individuals are needed to work primarily on related social media accounts. It depends on the kind of online traffic that organization gets and what budget they’re working with.

While social media might sound like an appealing job, it requires a number of personal and technical skills. Social media managers must be willing to adapt easily to change. Many of our beloved sites (Twitter and Instagram) are less than 10 years old, and more social media sites will emerge in the coming years. Social media managers must stay on tap of trends and determine what sites are best suited for their audiences.

Along with technical skills, professionals must be creative in their social media engagement. Simply advertising a product or deal on Facebook won’t bring fans in. Social media managers must think of ways to draw new fans, as well as retain their current audience base. This can be through the form of contests or highlighting valued customers.

Interested in a job in social media? Sometimes the easiest way in is through experience. Complete an internship or two in social media and that will help future employment opportunities. Another way to show our commitment is through social media certification. There are a number of places that can help us get certified in the industry.

Four places to get certified in social media:

1. Social Media Course from the University of Georgia. The course, called “Using Social Media to Build Business,” consists of four main topic sections and two big assignments. While the certification is pricier than some other options, it’s worth it given that the certificate comes from UGA and that it’s endorsed by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

2. Certified Social Media Manager from the Management and Strategy Institute. The class, which is a current Groupon deal, costs about $99 for certification. There are no prerequisites to take the course. Participants go through seven modules to eventually take a manager-level exam through the institute.

3. Certification exam from the National Institute for Social Media. The institute has a number of options for people who want to get certified. They can self study and then pay the fee for the exam. They can also take a sponsored course to prepare for the class. If a professional feels they’re prepared regardless of self study or the class, they can go ahead and take it for the cheapest option (around $295).

4. Social Media Certificate Program from Media Bistro. A well known source, Media Bistro prepares professionals with hands-on assignments. Participants learn the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. Unlike the other options, applicants must apply to the program. Media Bistro’s is the most expensive, but comprehensive, program that prepares professionals for social media marketing.

This list covers just a few of the options available for professionals working in social media. What certification we pick ultimately has to do with where we are in the industry, what our budget is and what we want to learn. Have any recommendations for social media certifications? Post them in the comments!

9 Must-Have Apps for Young Professionals


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(My post originally appeared on gentwenty.com)

Social media can be an invaluable tool for young twenty-somethings in the working world.

Users have the opportunity to network and collaborate in ways they could never before. Many of us are already on some of the bigger social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, there are other social media sites we can use to help us. In this case, they are ideal for getting a start in the professional world.

9 Apps for Young Professionals:

1. A free mobile app, Mint allows users to manage their finance and bank accounts. Users can set spending limits on different items, like food or clothes, per month. Mint allows young professionals to use money wisely, especially around the time we often seriously start our savings.

2. Evernote serves as a quick and fast storage space for ideas. It’s a all-in-one virtual workspace where users can make sketches, come up with business places, write articles or schedule events. Evernote can be accessed at any time and is a great place to store working projects.

3. Boomerang helps schedule when emails will be sent and received. Often times we’ll find ourselves sending emails outside of traditional work hours. Boomerang helps schedule those emails for early in the morning. They can also help queue important emails that must go out on specific dates, a tool that’s perfect for most fields.

4. RescueTime shows professionals how much time they spend on certain websites. Available for desktops and Androids, RescueTime breaks down how many hours are spent on things like email or Twitter. The app can help identify which sites are time wasters and help increase productivity.

5. Jobr helps new professionals seek out jobs and career opportunities. It connects to our LinkedIn profiles to help find the right job boards. Users can swipe left or right on jobs they’re interested in. If we select right, our profiles will be sent to a job recruiter. Jobr is one of the easiest ways to look for open positions.

6. Google Docs work well as both a desktop and mobile feature. Available on Google Drive, Google Docs serve as handy, online worksheets. They’re perfect for sharing information almost anywhere, so long as there’s an Internet connection.

7. Wondering where to get lunch near the office? Use Yelp! to track down nearby businesses. Users post personal reviews of products and services. Yelp! can help determine where to bring our business next.

8. Spotify shows that in an office environment, there should be room for fun. Spotify offers make-our-own music playlists for free. Users can also listen to what others have created. It’s an entertaining, collaborative service that is perfect to listen to while typing emails or finishing up reports.

9. My Fitness Pal lets users count calories and manage their health through an electronic device. Before dining out, users can see how many calories are in certain items. My Fitness Pal helps those who work in a sedentary office environment boost their health.


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