Category Archives: Social Media

PRSA Student Summit

Tuesday February 12 students from all across the southeast converged on Birmingham, Ala. The PRSA Student Summit was held in the Alabama Power Building in Downtown Birmingham. The summit had students from over 12 schools across the southeast from states such as Alabama, Mississippi and others. Topics from the conference included social media, questions for a panel of Public Relations professionals, and a resume review.

After sitting through several hours of lectures and speaking with students from other universities  I would have to say that Samford University has prepared me for the changing field of Public Relations. Many of the topics addressed in the lectures were already covered in detail in class. Also, the Samford department of Journalism and Mass Communication has given me more than just simple skills like writing press releases and researching skills. We are prepared in layout and design and video giving us a leg up on the competition.

The lecture that I felt was most important was the one dedicated to social media. A majority of articles written on social media etiquette and job prospects would suggest to lock down your social media accounts to prevent party pictures and inappropriate posts from being seen. The speakers at the lecture suggested to instead clean up your social media to show that you have social media skills and that you are not simply locking things behind a door. Also, the panelists said that it is best to have a plan when it comes to social media for a business. Have a plan of interaction and how this will lead to growing and sustaining your business not just getting more likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter who might never look at your page again.

The most important thing I learned was to listen broadly and to take in as much information as possible. This meant read news stories, and information not just from your field but others. Learning from others broadens your knowledge base and allows you to be more versatile in any job.

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Meredith Foster Visits

On March 2nd, Meredith Foster, Project Specialist for Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama, spoke to our class. Her job is influenced heavily by social media. Her position also requires her to be a jack-of-all-trades and she does everything from graphic design to writing press releases. In her line of duty, Ms. Foster is often doing a lot of traveling between Birmingham, Bessemer, and Anniston, Alabama. Two of the programs she uses most are Indesign and Photoshop. Ms. Foster advised us to be avid readers. Some of the blogs she reads on a regular basis are Nonprofit tech 2.0, Social Media Examiner, Mashable, Social Media Today, Social Mouths, and Techcrunch. She also informed us on the ideal times to tweet and make Facebook posts (8:30, 12:30, and 4:30). “At 8:30,” she explained ” people are waiting to get on the clock at work so they’re are more than likely just killing time.” During the other ideal social media times, 12:30 and 4:30, people are surfing while they’re eating lunch, and checking their computers as soon as they get home. She the proceed to give us advice on building a portfolio. Two of the biggest things someone can do are getting published and going to professional development seminars whenever possible.

Things Just Got A Little Hotter On Samford’s Campus

On Tuesday April 17th, Samford University presented a screening of the documentary Hot Coffee sponsored by the Cumberland School of Law. The documentary centers around tort reform and the McDonald’s lawsuit of 1994. There were about 90 people in attendance and convocation credit as well as lunch was offered. Dr. Martin’s Public Relations class first learned about the documentary from, guest speaker, Stacy Smith. After a brief viewing of the documentary, we as a class, along with Ms. Smith, brainstormed on ideas to successfully promote the screening around campus. Our class then became responsible for making our peers aware of the screening. Our tactics differed from running ads in The Crimson, to hanging up posters, to informing Samford’s Greek Life about the documentary. As a personality for Samford’s radio station, WVSU, I was put in charge of creating a pubic service announcement to air on the station. The PSA I ended up writing was : The Cumberland school of Law will be hosting a screening ofthe documentary Hot Coffee Tuesday,April 17th from 11-1. Convo credit is available and lunch will beprovided to the first 80 students in attendance. That’s Hot Coffee Tuesday, April 17th from 11-1 in the grandroom of the Cumberland School Law. I then relayed the PSA to Andy Parrish, the general manager of WVSU to air during station identification breaks.

Chris Davis from Fi-Plan Partners

Chris Davis from Fi-Plan Partners spoke to the Principles of PR class about a few interesting and relevant topics.  Similar to many other class speakers, Davis did not know exactly what he wanted in a job right away.  He was able to experience many fields in the job market to gain a better understanding of what he truly enjoyed doing.

Chris Davis is now the Director of Integrated Communications at Fi-Plan Partners, an investment company in Birmingham, Alabama.  Davis is the head of video work, photography, website design, and networking for Fi-Plan Partners.  Davis expressed how vital creativity is to his job.  He is constantly coming up with new ideas and new ways of communicating.    

Davis stressed the importance of the use of search engine optimization (SEO). He said that this was a key factor in the success of his job today.   He is always looking to enhance the SEO website to bring his particular company to the top of Google searches. Top five words in SEO includes:

  1. Keywords
  2. Links
  3. New content
  4. Video
  5. Image tagging

The advice that we had the opportunity to receive from Chris Davis is tremendously helpful for any field of journalism.  Themes Davis expressed of design, creativity, and communication are all key factors in the world of journalism and will help each one of us further our own careers.

SEO Tips From Chris Davis

Chris Davis is the Director of Integrated Communications at Fi-Plan Partners, an investment company in Birmingham, Alabama. He is in charge of photography, creating websites, and graphic design for the company. He made it very clear that search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the main keys to making his job successful and gave us a few helpful hints.

1. Keywords are very important and should be used often and correctly.

2. There are two types of links, outbound and inbound. Outbound links lead people away from your website and inbound links are links that lead to your website. The more inbound links that you have on other websites, the more traffic flow your company’s website will have.

3. The information on your website should always been new and fresh.

4. Video is an important component to a website because it engages the viewer. Videos are easier to make than most people think!

5. When posting pictures, be sure to name the JPEG file in a way that it describes the image. Google will pick this up in a search more easily.

6. The times you post on your website are critical. Research when most people are visiting your website so you can make sure the maximum amount of people are viewing your content.

Chris Davis breaks down SEO

fi-plan partners logoChris Davis is the Director of Integrated Communication at Fi-Plan Partners. Fi-Plan Partners is a financial investment company, and Davis is in charge of everything that goes into video, photography, website design, and networking. He has even designed a smart phone app for the company. If a financial planning and investing company has a need for an employee to connect them technically, then every company does.


 Davis highlighted several aspects of his job. In the hour that he visited our class, he gave us several tips on how to effectively promote information online and reach the target market.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial. If you design a website, but no one knows about it, it will never be significant.
  • Top five considerations for SEO:
  1. Keywords. Adding website keywords will trigger SEO.
  2. Links. Google likes it when there are links to other websites.
  3. Changing/Adding Content. Search engines recognize when you have updated your website. They are more fond of the websites that contain current information.
  4. Video.
  5. Image tagging. Tagging and image and connecting it with something else will increase SEO for your website.
  • Davis developed a financial blog through Fi-Plan Partners and spends hours weekly updating it. “The more knowledge you are able to give to your customers,” Davis said, “the less anxiety they will have.”

“Hot Coffee” Heats Up Samford University

Hot Coffee, a documentary about Stella Liebeck’s law suit against McDonalds, made it’s way to the campus of Samford University on Tuesday, April 17. With detailed information on the law suit, the final verdict, tort reform, and McDonald’s history of burns, the showing of “Hot Coffee” interested many students and faculty at Samford. Around 90 students showed up to the viewing of the documentary followed by a question and answer session.

Our public relations class was the first to hear about “Hot Coffee” coming to campus. Unfamiliar with the majority  of the details of the case, Stacy Smith, informed the class on the infamous law suit. After seeing a brief 10 minutes of the documentary, we were hooked.

As a class, we worked together along side of Stacy Smith to come up with ways as to how we could get the word out on our campus. Splitting up into different teams, every student in our class played a role in the PR of the documentary showing. From The Crimson to table tents on every cafeteria and food court table, the word was spread.

As students, we knew how to advertise best to our demographic. Posting a lot of information on social media was predicted to be our most effective PR tactic and our hypothesis proved to be right. Putting signs around campus and making announcements at greek life organization meetings also proved to be extremely effective.

With some minor mistakes, lessons on PR were learned by all. Being able to actually implement what we learn in class into the real world of PR was very exciting. It was honor to work along side of Stacy Smith and the rest of the “Hot Coffee” group to spread the word about a documentary that represents a great cause!