Guest Post: Friendleagues, my term for when you can’t find the word for “My colleague/friend I met through Twitter”

Hey guys! Today I am so honored to have my 2nd guest blogger (this little blog is just rolling, ain’t it?), a good friend of mine, Meilani Kieu, another up and coming PR pro who has taken social networking to the next level, hope you enjoy her post!

Friendleagues, my term for when you can’t find the word for “My colleague/friend I met through Twitter” 
 
Hello Jess asPRing readers! My name is Meilani and I am guest blogging for Jess today. Jess was kind enough to guest blog switch with me, so she will be writing for my blog as well (brandingmeilani.wordpress.com) We wanted to blog about something we are both familiar with, and since we met through social media, what better topic to talk about than relationships formed through the internet? (Not the creepy type, I promise!)
I found Jess because she took the initiative to share her content through whatever means necessary. She started an incredibly popular thread on LinkedIn which lead me to her blog, leading me to her Twitter and finally leading me to our relationship today. I saw Jess’ posts and was blown away by her tenacity and helpfulness on her blog. As a beginner in PR, it was refreshing to see another industry newbie taking the leap and documenting the journey for others to learn from and follow along. After a few tweets back and forth, Jess convinced my to start my own blog, and I discovered a new friend and colleague to share my journey with!
Now, it may seem daunting to reach out to a total stranger via social media, but with a little research, a great relationship can come out of it. Remember, when it comes to these kinds of relationships, just like PR, it is all about mutually beneficial relationships. It is not all about one person doing all the talking or one person doing all the asking. It is a constant exchange. These relationships, while still professional, are different than your typical mentor-apprentice relationships because both people are pouring into each other. Whether it is words of support, retweets or referrals, this person is there for you in a way that even some of your closest friends can’t be. Why? They understand exactly what you are going through. Unless you live in some PR sorority house, your closest pals probably aren’t climbing the Public Relations ladder alongside you. This person, although you may never meet face to face, has your back in a unique way. So what are you waiting for? Make that first move.
Scenario: You have just found a young professional that interns at an agency that you would love to one day work at. This professional has a killer blog and has an active Twitter life. You would love to ask some questions about the internship, but don’t know how to initiate the conversation. What to do?
1. Research. Get to know this person. You obviously admire this person. What else can you get to know about him or her? What does the Twitter bio say? Does he or she have a LinkedIn or any other online portfolio? Get to know the person before you reach out.
2. Say hello. Send a polite, professionally crafted message introducing yourself, how you found the person and what you are hoping to learn from him or her. If you live in the same area and do feel so bold, invite them to meet over coffee. (Informational interview meets friend date.)
3. Engage online. Even if you have already connected privately, don’t be shy about your new relationship. If you tweet an article that you think he or she may find interesting, let them know! If they posted a new article, share it with your own followers. This plays in to the mutual part of the relationship. Even if this person is more experienced than you, you can still be beneficial to him.
4. Follow up. The relationship shouldn’t end with a thank you note and a cordial goodbye. Even if you are engaging online publicly, share with your new online buddy what is going on through email where it isn’t displayed for the whole world to see. If you need to vent about a tough day at work or share about an exciting event coming up, let your relationship become more authentic by opening yourself up. Just because your relationship is virtual doesn’t mean that it is not real. I personally would much rather have a friend that works in PR alongside me than a person I connected with once on LinkedIn because I liked her blog.
Well, that’s all for now folks! Thanks again for reading this. It sure was fun to be a part of Jess asPRing! I wish you the best of luck in finding that special online friendleague (my awkward combo for friend and colleague.) Don’t ever be shy to reach out and connect with me. I was fortunate enough that Jess was kind enough to connect with me, and I am pretty darn sure she would love to connect with you as well. She’s pretty amazing and makes for a great friendleague!
Best of luck guys,
Meilani

Meilani Kieu is a student at Biola University in Los Angeles. She is studying Communications/PR with the hopes of working in the consumer PR industry. She currently works as a PR intern for Konnect Public Relations in LA. When she isn’t studying or working, Meilani finds herself attempting hot yoga or blogging. You can follow her on Twitter  @MeilaniKieu or www.brandmeilani.wordpress.com

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