Normally, if given the opportunity to attend a networking event, I would pass. I am aware that this mentality is not the best, but I still do not know what I want to do or what I am passionate, which makes networking a stressful task. However, I attended the Ninth Annual Grunig Gala on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center and I am extremely glad I went.
A night of networking
The night began with round table conversations with public relations professionals from esteemed organizations, agencies and corporations. I had a chance to speak with representatives from the Ad Council, Business Wire, the Baltimore Ravens and Edelman Digital. The round table networking made me feel more comfortable because I could gather important information without feeling intimidated.
Measuring what matters
The main event of the night was keynote speaker CEO of Paine Publishing Katie Paine. As a master of social media measurement, Paine addressed the crowd with her speech entitled “What Social Media Can and Cannot Tell You.”
As a future public relations professional, Paine’s speech provided great insights about the importance of social media use for selling a company, service or person. Paine stressed the need to focus on the state of relationships with your followers, fans, and likers. Although the number of impressions may seem like the overall determinant of your social media success, the nature of your relationships is more important. Establishing trust is the key to having favorable social media measurements according to Paine. Trust on social
media is similar to trust in real life. If a person gives you their cell phone number that is almost equivalent to a follow on Twitter. This means that they are interested in hearing from you, but they may not ever actually reach out, this is an example of a weak relationship. Whereas, a person who texts you everyday is like a person who shares your posts, this is an example of a strong relationship. Strong relationships are the foundation for mastering social media. Paine elaborated on this concept by explaining that these relationships are not owned but earned. You do not own social media, it is simply a tool that you can utilize.
However, as Paine noted, technology cannot differentiate between the meanings and feelings behind different words. So, although social media is a cheaper and faster method for measurement, conducting surveys is still the most accurate measure.
Overall, I enjoyed my evening at the Grunig Gala and learned valuable information from Paine. I look forward to attending the Grunig Gala next year to continue expanding my network.