New Media …Who Needs it? We do say publicists
West Coast Bureau Chief
Publicists who battled endless, speculative chatter of 24-hour cable — something that publicists of old never had to contend with before are now overwhelmed with social media of which they can’t work without it, according to the chatter at a recent Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) mixer (1-27-10) in Culver City, CA.
When asked a year ago at an EPPS mixer in Hollywood how “new media is impacting the way they do business?,” more than 90 percent said they were not using it as much as they had hope to, because they were either “afraid of it,” or didn’t “understand it, yet.” Today it is a different story. They say “It’s do or die.”
When Asked “Do you use social media today,” the response had changed to a big “yes.”
“Yes, I am using social media, because it brings in new clientele we did not have access to previously, and it’s inexpensive,” said Ann Simley of Communications Interchange, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA., who also won an O’Dwyer Directory of Public Relations door prize.
“Social media is very, very important, because you’re getting the word out, making people more aware of your product and new services,” said Tiffany Young, director of Sales and Marketing, Radisson Hotel in Whittier (Calif.). “It brings additional revenues and awareness for the entire brand of hotels.”
“I was in the convergence department at Rogers & Cowen so I pretty much did all new media, and they had just open a new media department when I arrived to do my internship,” said Stephanie Gonzalez, a Cal-State Northridge graduate, and budding publicist looking for a new job in 2010. She believes her social media training will give her the edge in trying to find a good job in public relations in the near future. “You have to either get in or get out of new media as there is no way around it at this point,” Gonzalez explained.
“Even if you don’t get as many followers as you want on something like Twitter, the fact that you can follow people who you want to follow to make it work for you says it all,” said Dave Malacrida, Buzz Master Public Relations, Westlake Village, CA. “I was selected by Up in the Art Director Jason Reitman to win this $400 dollar piece of luggage that George Clooney used from the movie, because I tweeted one of my travel rules, and he was looking for it. And all of a sudden out of the blue I formed a kind of pseudo relationship with Jason Reitman, so it’s kind of weird, but we’re temporary friends. I gotta be honest I am probably one of a few publicists, who are not on Facebook, because I honestly don’t have time for it. So tweeting is fun, and I think what Apple has come out with such as the Ipad, and images in the media speak a thousand words,” said Malacrida.
“With the changing of the new media in Los Angeles you can’t afford to ignore the latest and greatest in social media trends,” said Camera Operator Jonathan S. Abrahm, SOC, LA. “Stay on top of it and you will be ahead of the game. I use Facebook to network and sometimes LinkedIn, and I can’t afford to go with out the Internet job sites.”
“I use Facebook, but get friended constantly, because there so many other people with same name, like a football player, so I rely on my website,” said Actress Sean Young, who played “Rachael” in the hit 1982 movie Blade Runner.
“I’m always checking blogs, emails, eZine s, social sites, Facebook and Twitter“, said Independent Film Publicist Glen Anderson. “I’m always getting requests ‘to be my friend’ or ‘be my follower,’ it’s a fun way to do movie marketing.”
“Social media is vital, especially for me, because I just finished writing my Memoir, ‘On Butterflies Wings,’ and I have an agent, who is interested in it, so through Facebook I can connect with a lot of people,” said Tonya Anderson, author and publicist. “I went to high school in England and now I can connect with a lot of old friends from Europe, people I haven’t seen in years. When my book comes out it is going to be a great platform to promote the book, website and blog. It expedites everything and very efficient, she said.”
Entertainment Publicist Carol Eisner also can’t live without tweeting and social media. “It’s incredibly important, and it’s almost 90 percent of what I do now, and I’m recommending it to everybody. It’s truly part of getting the word out; it’s 90 percent of it.”
“Publicists can not keep up with it,” said Leslie Stoddard, regional sales director, VMS, a national video monitoring service, Los Angeles. “That’s why PR firms hire us to track their Online reputation with social media, and it could be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or whatever, we have to find and monitor those conversations. It’s critical today for clients.”
“A lot of people spend tens of thousands of dollars on a website that goes no where fast,” said Aida Mayo, president MAYO Communications, Los Angeles, which specializes in new media and social networking for entertainment and nonprofit clients. “Often we will suggest to startup companies to develop a blog and start new media groups and a website later if they are behind the eightball.
Social media fast forwards everything from relationships to media campaigns. We take small newspaper articles that quote our clients and expose them to millions of eyeballs in less time it took to get the article placed,” she said. “If you do not have some platform in the social media circles your competition will swallow you whole and steal your business.”