International Association of Business Communicators Conference

Read about blogger Hannah Byron’s experience attending a business and communications conference and how it reminded her about her love for the field of communications.

By: Hannah Byron

After spending a semester abroad where I took all non-major courses, being able to attend an event focused on my major was a much needed reminder of why I love communications and am pursuing a career in this field. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to both attend and present at the International Association of Business Communicators Heritage Region Conference with two classmates, Megan and Adrian, and our professor, Yvette.

I have attended one conference before, but solely as a student. This time, I was able to both attend the student conference, professional conference, and present during a panel session of the professional conference. We heard from a variety of public relations and communications professionals, from local to national organizations, and small and large companies.


From left to right: Hannah Byron, Megan Leon, Adrian Baker, Yvette Sterbenk.

There were two apparent themes emphasized throughout the entire conference: trust and storytelling.

Trust with employees, trust with stakeholders, and trust with society. Upon entering a career in corporate communications, I was fearful of the “Corporate America” stigma that comes along with the industry. However, it is experiences such as this conference that reiterate how the communications field is straying further and further away from this image.

Trust goes hand in hand with authenticity.

One of the keynote speakers connected a personal story about his disabled brother to the important role that we as communicators play in terms of authenticity. By using genuine storytelling to create meaningful campaigns and integrating personal stories into corporate storytelling, companies are able to make more personal connections with audiences.

After rummaging through the pages of notes I took during the three day conference, I compiled five key takeaways:

  1. Strategic communication is taking the important and making it interesting.
  2. Do less and do it better.
  3. Trust your employees to tell the most powerful stories.
  4. Today, everything internal is external.
  5. Communications is about overcoming the fear to try new things, so take the road less traveled by.

Our professor, Yvette, presented her research findings on why students decide to enter the communications field. My classmates and I helped with her presentation by sharing our personal stories and insights on why we decided to pursue communications majors.

While engaging in a dialogue about this topic, I was reminded of why I love this field so much. I find it ironic that I went to the conference to present why I joined communications, yet doing this also served as another reason why I love this adaptive and innovative career path.



The Promotional Powers of Social Media

Read about how companies and influencers can make the most of social media for promotional opportunities.

By: John Flynn

When the topic of promotion is thought of in today’s day and age, the first thing that comes to mind is social media. Social media is crucial for any company, brand, or influencer to have, but are they using it to their full potential? A major problem with the social media for many companies is that they have it, but are not using it in the correct way or using it with all of its features and stand out capabilities. I personally have worked as a social media intern at three very different companies with very different targets and products. From a security company to a dog collar company, it was challenging to make these brands stand out on social media. What I have found is the importance of being active with social media as a way to build and promote one’s brand, not just posting pictures and videos.


Just having social media accounts with posts is not enough anymore for an ever-changing and demanding technological generation. It was first used more as advertising with not much strategy behind it. Consumers and users don’t want to just double tap a photo of a product, they want to interact with the product and have a voice. With new features like Instagram Live and virtual Snapchat filter ads, it is more important than ever to think outside the box and have one’s social media stand out.

One industry that is changing the way promotion is partnered with interactive social media is the beauty industry. Many hair and cosmetic companies are turning to their social media pages to allow consumer input on the product and become their own promoters for their brand. By allowing social media followers to give their opinions, it breaks down the barrier of just seeing and buying and instead creates an interaction and connection in a new model for public relations. Social media was intended to connect, and with new features like Instagram Live, it allows a direct connection between brands and followers. CEOs and influencers can talk more personally with their fans through video chats, filters, and interactive posts.

John2A perfect example of using social media interaction promotion to the fullest is celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkins, the CEO of Ouai Haircare, going to her followers for them to pick the names and look of her products. Jen created a successful hair product company by using her social media as the tool to promote her products that are just for hair. She just recently had an Instagram Live where she gave her fans a sneak preview of a new hair fragrance line and asked them if they should be named after streets or cities. This five-minute Livestream made headlines, resulting in extra promotions, and brought in thousands of fans to chat about their ideas and input. This isn’t the first time Jen has asked her own fans to help promote and give their strong opinions. In the past, Jen has asked her followers which packaging option the company should choose, input on what is working and what is not for their products, and hiring her own fans to help with social media take overs. By opening up an interactive space on social media it has leveraged the company to new heights and success, with her own promotion tactics.


In sum, using social media for promotion is important, but the tactics of usage and interaction are key. Public relations and social media should be used for companies and clients to create a connection between the products and brand with their followers. It will be interesting to see what other interactive features will be added to social media and to see the new and innovative ways companies promote their products through social media campaigns.


If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say (or Post), Don’t Say Anything at All

Read about how to learn from celebrity mistakes and the importance of staying professional on social media.

By: Bethany Edwards

Social media sites have become increasingly popular in recent years and play a large role in the public relations industry. Sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat allow its users to stay connected and share important events and news. In addition, many celebrities use their accounts as a way to appear more personable and relatable, as well as keep in touch with their fans. While most celebrity social media accounts are run by publicists or managers, some celebrities such as Kim Kardashian or even Donald Trump take pride in managing their own accounts and controlling their posts. As a result, there are many instances in which celebrities have been called out for inappropriate or offensive posts, or they have given their fans a front-row seat to some of the greatest celebrity drama to ever occur. Here are a few tips for practicing professional etiquette on your social media accounts- since you never know who is going to see it.

1. Don’t use social media to fight your battles.

Plenty of celebrities use their large amount of social media followers to sway or manipulate how they are viewed by the public. For example, Kanye West and Taylor Swift have had a rocky relationship ever since the time that he interrupted her VMA acceptance speech for “Video of the Year” by arguing to a live audience that Beyoncé was the clear winner. The conflict came to a boiling point last summer when Swift used her platform at the Grammy awards to call out Kanye for taking credit for her success. Kanye’s wife Kim Kardashian came to his defense by posting a series of videos on her Snapchat that exposed Taylor for lying to the press about her involvement in Kanye’s latest hit. The incident was then taken to Twitter when Kardashian posted a Tweet that was speculated to be about Swift, and the rest is history. Taylor’s reputation took a big hit as a result of the conflict, and Kim was accused of being overly petty.


2. Don’t use social media as an emotional outlet.

Take a page from Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, who after having a very messy and public breakup, continued to bicker with each other via Instagram. Bieber posted a photo with his new girlfriend, which disappointed many of his fans, and he wasted no time fighting back with them. Gomez used the conflict as an opportunity to point out Bieber’s faults and explain the demise of their relationship, forcing fans to choose a side. Gomez has since revealed that she was embarrassed of her reaction and shouldn’t have gotten involved.


3. Think before you post.

Another example featuring Taylor Swift! Around the time of her feud with Kim and Kanye, Taylor and Calvin Harris had recently broken up, and it was revealed that she was one of the cowriters of his recent single “This is What You Came for.” Harris posted a series of (now deleted) Tweets which questioned Swift’s character and revealed his stance on his ex-girlfriend’s role in the media. He later expressed remorse for the Tweets and admitted that it was an immature and impulsive way to handle the situation.


Social media can be very useful in allowing someone to build their personal brand and begin gaining publicity for their achievements. However, if used incorrectly, it can be damaging to the user and possibly haunt them in both their professional and personal careers. These celebrities learned the hard way that it can be very bad for their image to use social media in a nonprofessional way, even though it may be entertaining for their fans. Don’t do the same on your account!