On Monday Digital Media Marketer Theda Sandiford came to Hofstra to discuss with Public Relations majors the importance of social networks, PR, and Marketing. Sandiford gave tips on Twitter and advice to graduating seniors.
Theda Sandiford has had her share in the PR and marketing field. She has worked in radio broadcasting at WBLS and print media at Billboard Magazine before working in the media department at Def Jam Recordings. She has used multimedia marketing and content development to create unique campaigns and marketing strategies for clients like Phat Fashions, Asylum Records, Rush Communications, Community Connect, Capitol Records, Koch, and Kevin Liles Enterprises and many more.
Nicole Wright, Hofstra Junior & PR Major, gives us her view on Theda’s presentation:
Theda Saniford, digital marketing consultant, mentioned that BondGyrl , her twitter name, is her alter-ego and after seeing her speak, I can see why. While she may not be the traditional secret agent, she definitely has the savvy, suave persona of James Bond plus the right amount of sass and vibrancy to make her stand out.
Being a 21-year-old PR practitioner in training, I see Miss Theda as just the professional I hope to be someday. She’s launched her own firm, co-hosts wine tastings, promotes big celebrities, and is still up-to-date with everything that’s going on today, especially when it comes to the online world and social media. She has worked in all types of media: radio, print, and now almost solely online and has created a big name for herself within each one. She’s worked with big artists such as Ja Rule and Ginuwine and gives off the vibe that she can make anyone or anything popular by utilizing her knowledge of the Internet and social media.
Dubbed a “social media guru” by Hofstra’s PRSSA, Theda lived up to her title by discussing all different aspects of social media. She spoke about conversation platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and effective ways to use them from a marketing and public relations viewpoint. Most importantly, she gave us real-life examples of how to utilize these outlets and how to get audiences talking.
“Get people talking,” was the focus Theda kept coming back to as she discussed the changing definition of Public Relations. She explained how social media has made our job easier. Now we can go directly to the public and interact with the right audiences for our clients instead of only talking to a small group of media professionals, keeping our fingers crossed that our clients will get covered. She even went as far to say that there really is no need for magazines and she never, ever sends press releases anymore – E-Blasts are the new thing. E-blasts are essentially blog releases and while other speakers and professors have expressed different views on this ongoing argument about the press release and whether or not it’s “dead”, Theda made it clear that in her mind it was. It makes perfect sense that her clients in the entertainment world have a much bigger audience online. I think she could have explained that it also depends on what you are promoting and who you are trying to reach. I would imagine all the blogging in the world won’t do a thing if you are trying to promote, for example, a new arthritis drug to senior citizens.
That being said, Theda had no lack of evidence to show how people talking online can lead to people acting in “real life”. While twittering as the voice of her cat, Theda began to be offered free cat food. She explained how she promotes her clients by involving herself in conversations with the right people via twitter and blogs. She gave us some great ideas on how to utilize clients’ personalities in different ways to create a presence online. Tweeting is not for everyone, so Theda created an online video presence for rap artist, Mike Jones, by streaming videos of him doing crazy things with his friends. It opens up a way for current and potential fans of his to feel more connected.
The last piece of advice most of us benefited from was to start working on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I mean, we all know that the first few links that show up in a Google search become our first impression of whatever we were searching, but I never thought of how much that can affect the branding of a client. I also never knew that the order results pop up in is directly related to the number of times a site has been linked to. We’ve already been told that our job is to try to control what the public perceives about our client ,but not many know that SEOis actually one of the best ways to control the message being sent; if the first listing that comes up in a search was strategized by the client and their PR people, then we are already making huge strides in our struggle for control. All that linking from blogs to twitter to Facebook and back to blogs all makes sense to me now!
So now I know, as Theda Saniford said to “practice what you preach,” I’m going to have to up my daily dose of social media , update my status more frequently, and comment on posts a lot more than I used to if I want to have a good image when people Google my name.
Marise Montrose, Hofstra Sophomore & PR major, had this to say about her Theda experience:
“Theda is not afraid to be transparent and put her heart on her sleeve. She discussed with us her love for Star Wars, wine tasting, and her battle with Multiple Sclerosis. She’s been stalked on MySpace and Twitter. A young man was able to find out where she worked, her gym, and the bars she went to through her tweets. It is key, especially if you are a young woman, to be careful how personal your tweets are. It is difficult to determine on the internet what people’s motives are.”
Theda gave some of the graduate seniors in the audience some advice in getting a job in such a competitive field like Public Relations, Social Media, and Marketing:
· Start a personal blog
· Delete bad Facebook and MySpace pictures
· Don’t express strong political and religious views that might not mesh with the company or firm
· Get a LinkedIn page
· Incorporate social media into your resume
· Use your personality traits to go above and beyond your competitors.