Ann is a co-founder of PR Academy, a leading provider of public relations and communication education. Her special areas of interest are internal communication and project communication.
Ann leads PR Academy’s CIPR internal comms certificate.
At our recent course awards, the accolade for the best PR Academy Digital Communication Certificate student went to Andrew George, Communications Officer at South Wales Police. With our next course about to start in April we thought that we would catch up with Andrew and find out how the course helped him.
For Andrew the course gave him more confidence in giving advice to his organisation around social media.
"You are in the boardroom. That moment when all heads turn in your direction, expectant of your expertise, knowledge and know how… We’ve all been there. There’s no greater stage if you want to prove your worth.
But it works both ways. 'Why aren’t we on Twitter?' 'My children say we should be on Facebook.' 'I want to blog, but I want you to do it for me…'
It’s easy for communicators to get railroaded and to end up going down a futile path of social media sacrilege. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Social media is where the conversations are happening and we need to be there, but let’s just think before we leap.
I knew that social media was, of course, going to be ever more important to us here at South Wales Police and to make a success of it I felt that I needed some additional credibility to advise and influence effectively within the organisation. I needed to be able to think on my feet, advise and ultimately influence others.
"It’s the reason I embarked on the PR Academy Digital Communication Certificate. What I liked about it was that I became part of an online community and was able to debate key issues with like minded learners. We were all pretty much in the same boat and it was a nice, safe and supportive environment in which to ask questions and try out ideas.
In Tracy Playle we had a course leader who is a thought leader in this area and that was a huge bonus. It might be easy to assume that because Tracy is so immersed in the world of digital communication this course is going to be all about the channels themselves, but in fact what I learnt was that it’s about your audience first and foremost: where they are online; what they are saying; and how you can add value to the conversation.
As part of the course, we had to assess the digital presence of our own, or a chosen organisation, and this process really helped me and others to map out a blueprint for successful digital media use.
Social media isn’t and should never be a must-have fashion accessory for everyone, but apply learned theory to establish what will suit you and your organisation best, and the real likelihood is that it will be.
Most importantly, in that boardroom you’ll be able to provide people with the right answers, rather than just supporting what they think they need or want to hear."