Three things I learned while in school that I encountered within my first week on the job

By Casey, guest contributor

Casey, author of Three things I learned while in school that I encountered in my first week on the job

I recently graduated with a bachelors degree in public relations. I am a lifelong learner and expect to head back to school as soon as I can. After graduation I took an internship as social media specialist with the United States Army at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, WA where I got to experience the government PR environment.

I currently work with outdoor digital signage. My position has me doing anything from working with our advertising clients to creating advertisements that reflect their brand, developing interactive social media campaigns for our advertisers, to boosting the social media presence for our business.

In the midst of the transition from student to professional, I am planning a wedding set for June of 2014 with my fiance Eric. In my freetime I like to take far too many photos of my dog Zoey, and watch entire series of T.V. shows on Netflix in a weekend.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn!


I am brand new to the professional world. By new, I mean I have been working at my job for approximately one week. I graduated with my bachelors degree in public relations in May and then went on to a summer internship. So, I am just starting my professional career. When I started my position as a digital content coordinator on Monday at a local audio visual company, I was nervous. By the end of my first day, I was overwhelmed and completely exhausted.

As I write this at the end of the week, I am thrilled with the position I have chosen. Throughout the week I have noticed several things that my professors either taught me or warned me would happen in the professional world. I was surprised every time I was asked to do something by my boss that my professors had said would happen when I went out into the “real world.” I guess I just didn’t expect these things to happen to me. I was wrong.

So I am going to share my experience from the perspective of a recent graduate and first time professional:

(These lessons are in no particular order.)

#1 — Public Relations comes in all shapes and sizes

When I was in school, I was told to excessively research all the different types of PR fields. Many times college students think that PR is just one job or can be defined in one quick description. In my classes, I was surrounded by people who wanted to be event planners and only event planners. Events are great for people who want to eat, sleep, and breathe event planning. But, there are jobs out there that involve event planning on a smaller scale, as opposed to planning and executing events everyday.

In my job search I noticed that many communications job openings have event planning, social media, and media relations embedded in them. In just the first week of my job, I have had the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in social media, internal communications, and media relations. So perhaps one of the most important things I learned and implemented after graduation was how I went about searching for my first job. If I didn’t listen to my professors, I would still be searching for the “perfect” PR career.

#2 — Strong writing is the key to success

I am lucky enough to work at a growing business that is excited to take the steps to create a strong social media presence. But if I suggest something, I better have a well written proposal in hand. We are far past the days of just saying “Hey, I think this a good idea” and then making it happen. Just suggesting that my company should create a stronger LinkedIn presence led to me creating a 7 page proposal on the who, what, where, when, and why. If I didn’t have a professor in college who was almost irritatingly obsessed with a red pen, I would have never been able to complete the 3 proposals I have written this week.

#3 — They aren’t going to take it easy on you in the real world

Wow. This is so true. Within the first couple of days at my new job, I had a client set a meeting with me for the same day. I wasn’t prepared, but I had to force myself to be. I ate lunch at my desk and did my research. In college, I spent my time glamorizing what it would be like to have my first professional job, but it turns out its all not sunshine and roses. No one ever asks you if you CAN do something, they just expect that you know how to do it. Now, I obviously suggest you ask questions if you need help, but your boss won’t typically walk around the building asking if they can help anyone or answer questions. This was perhaps the hardest lesson that I have learned, and my professors warned me about it in advance.

Even the most successful college student can have a hard time adjusting to the expectations of a new career.

What lessons did you learn from your first job in the field? Let us know in the comment section below!

Measuring Engagement on Facebook

Two formulas to determine your Facebook engagement rate and virality

By Staci

In my current position, I focus mostly on the digital side of communications. I have searched far and wide to come up with a system of metrics that accurately reflects the efficacy of my organization’s efforts on social media.

The way that I have looked at and measured activities on Facebook has evolved over time, but I have finally landed on an engagement metric that I can get behind…for now. Facebook is an excellent social media platform for most businesses and organizations. However, with the adoption of the EdgeRank algorithm, creating and growing a Facebook page from scratch is a steep uphill battle compared to the good ol’ days of the past.

Our content is not guaranteed to show up in the newsfeeds of those who have liked our pages; instead the visibility of our online activity is linked to the relevance of our posts as determined by the involvement and engagement of our fans. This means that each and every post will have to ride on its merit. (There is a certain formula that you can tweak in various ways to optimize your posts for EdgeRank, but that would require an entirely separate blog post.)

So, let’s get down to business. Factoring the number of “Likes” a page has into the metric for engagement no longer makes sense. It is great to have a ton of “Likes,” but what really matters is the actual activity of your community. The metric that I like to use for engagement measures the number of engaged users versus the number of reached users.

The formula looks like this:

(Daily Page Engaged Users / Daily Total Reach) x 100

I like this formula because it takes into account the actual number of people who have seen your content and helps you determine what percentage of the people who saw your content were actually moved enough to interact with it. (Why should we factor in the number of fans of a page to determine the efficacy of a page or a single post? To me, including the fan base of a page is not logical when trying to evaluate your activity.)

So, some basic explanations might be helpful:

Daily Page Engaged Users – This metric consists of the number of unique users who have clicked on your content or created stories about your page. This measures activity regardless of whether or not the activity actually created a story that showed up in newsfeeds.

Daily Total Reach – This metric consists of the number of unique users who have seen any content associated with your page.

There are a couple of other areas of interest that I focus on when making sense of our Facebook analytics. I regularly measure Daily Total Impressions and Daily People Talking About This (PTAT). I like to measure impressions in order to compare the reach of Facebook with the reach of our online advertising. (This is solely used to provide some perspective when looking at online media buying.)  I like looking at PTAT to get a better picture of the virality of our content.

To look at how many engaged users were converted into volunteer viral brand ambassadors, you would follow a formula that looks like this:

(Daily People Talking About This / Daily Page Engaged Users) x 100

This takes into account the ultimate level of involvement that people can have with your page. PTAT measures the actions that have been taken that create “Stories” that show up in the newsfeeds of your friends on Facebook. PTAT stories are created when someone likes or comments on your post, writes on your wall, shares your content, RSVPs to your events, participates in your polls, mentions your page, tags your page or checks-in at your business on Facebook.

With the engagement formula, we are looking at message penetration. With the virality forumula, we are looking at motivated actions.


You can find the data for the insights mentioned in this post by downloading the Facebook Analytics Report accessible through your admin dashboard. I like to track these metrics on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

What Facebook insights do you like to track? What metrics do you like to use? Let us know in the comment section below!

A quick tip for using Pinterest to create a customer profile

Track the content of your customers and competitors

By Staci

Pinterest is an amazing social media platform that brought something new to the social media mix from the get-go. Users pin (the equivalent of “sharing”) content that they either create or find interesting and useful from all over the internet. The platform is image driven, giving businesses large and small ample opportunity to grow their brands and reach by providing image rich, sharable content. (I am talking pictures and videos here, folks!)

The point of this post is not to sell you on the background of Pinterest or to sell you on the idea that it is a great tool to use in your social media portfolio. You probably already know if it makes sense for your company. But, if you want to know more about Pinterest’s user base or just how effective the platform is in driving referral traffic, follow the links provided here or do as I do and just “Google” it.

So let’s get down to business. Taking a look at Pinterest sources can help you create a better profile of your target audiences. You can focus on what users are sharing from your site, what they are saying about your products and even take it a step further and look at the other content they are sharing to better gauge their interests. Talk about a qualitative research data gold mine! Your customer profile just became more detailed and accurate.

Pinterest has made it very easy to get your hands on this information. Just insert the website you are interested in tracking into the “” section in the URL below and you are off and running.

You can just as easily do the same research on your competitors by tracking how users interact with their content on Pinterest. In fact, if you aren’t researching your competitors using this tip, you are missing out on valuable information!

Do you have any tips or tricks for Pinterest that we should explore further on The Communicator’s Quick Tip Guide? Let us know in the comment section below.