SXSW, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a huge film, interactive media and music festival and a series of conferences that takes place in downtown Austin, TX.
Not only did I get to attend this, but I got to network with lots of PR professionals from Pierpont Communications, Edelman, Muck Rack, Texas Medical Association, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s Austin chapter, and HomeAway. They all had such amazing advice for us, especially since we are about to be thrown into the professional world.
Here are some of the most important things I learned during my trip:
Find common ground with people you disagree with:
This tip actually came from a member of Texas Medical Association’s marketing team. In order to have a conversation rather than an argument, it is best to find something you can both agree on. If your opposition can see that y’all have similarities and are working towards some common goal, they will be more willing to listen to you.
When you don’t know what to post, about think of the three H’s:
Holidays, Hashtags and History. Alissa Lippman had some excellent tips on social media content. Followers really like to see and will typically respond well to a brand or company using these three topics when there isn’t much else going on. Another insight she gave, was that followers care more about moments and emotions than they do about the perfect picture or caption from a company. They like to feel a personal connection and it makes an online presence feel like a two-way conversation.
You can’t ignore anything anymore:
We live a viral and trending world. Any mistake, minor or major, will depend on how you handle it. If you are dismissive or rude, that will most likely explode in your face but if you handle it professionally, you or your company will recover. We can’t be afraid to make mistakes but we have to know how to manage them. This idea came from Nancy Elder and Linda Boff’s talk on reputation management.
This seems obvious but hear me out. Consistency is a virtue of mediocrity. If we just repeat what has worked in the past, then we aren’t growing and chaning with the rest of the world. Carmen Medina challenged all of us to seek disagreements, evaluate priorities instead of the costs and to let people do what they are good at. She also said that calendars and schedules are the most important weapons and I absolutely loved that! She said that they should reflect individual priorities not simply what we are expected to do or have to do.
I cannot express how thankful I am for the opportunity to go to SXSW! I had such a blast and will be posting soon on my own blog about my personal experience!