Social media heralded as future of advertising

The Seton Hill University (SHU) chapter of Lambda Pi Eta sponsored what chapter president Brook Sharpnak called “an evening of scholarship” featuring guest speaker Kelley Skoloda.

By Cody Naylor

Staff Writer

The Seton Hill University (SHU) chapter of Lambda Pi Eta sponsored what chapter president Brook Sharpnak called “an evening of scholarship” featuring guest speaker Kelley Skoloda.

Skoloda addressed a modest crowd comprised of SHU students, faculty and local business owners about different ways in which businesses both big and small are investing in social media now more than ever.

“Social media will probably dominate how public relations [PR] are handled in the future,” said Skoloda.

Social media includes online tools such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and blog sites. These tools can be used not only to advertise a company’s product, but also as a way “to listen to the consumer,” said Skoloda.

“Public Relations is seen as enabling a conversation with the consumer,” she said.

Skoloda emphasized that these digital resources are invaluable to smaller businesses with low budgets for PR and advertising. Because of this social media, “small businesses have tremendous advantages and can be very targeted in what they do,” said Skoloda.

As a result of poor choices some people make in the content they post online, Skoloda also said that there is “a whole new appreciation for a degree of good judgment.” A company will not hire someone to operate their Facebook page if there are photos of that person getting drunk on his or her own Facebook page.

The second half of the evening featured a question and answer session in which SHU’s assistant professor of communication Jack Ciak posed audience-submitted questions to Skoloda.

When asked about foreseeable changes in the communications job market, Skoloda said that she predicts a “musical chairs” phenomenon in the industry that will open up new doors for fresh young talent.

Once the economy starts improving “which it already has quite a bit from last December to this March,” said Skoloda, people will start seeing others getting raises and wonder where their raise is.

“People will think that the grass is greener at some other company or PR firm and start looking for new jobs,” said Skoloda. For this reason, “big agencies as well as small shops” in the PR industry are areas Skoloda believes will expand in the near future.
Skoloda added that “PR has benefitted from the misfortunes of our brothers in advertising” because of a shift in spending. More companies are investing in social media which lends itself to the conversational nature of PR more so than other media.

When asked whether she thought print media stood a chance against digital media in the long run, Skoloda said, “I love print media and I hope it won’t go away.”

Other questions were more personal, prompting responses that emphasized Skoloda’s success and challenges she has faced as a businesswoman.

“One of the biggest challenges any woman faces in the work world is facing the wonderful opportunity to become a mom,” Skoloda said as she smiled down at her husband and two children who were present in the audience.

“Digital tools and social media have made it easier.”

Skoloda works for Ketchum, a global top 10 PR firm. Ketchum was responsible for the “Doritos Crashes the Superbowl” campaign that was named PR Campaign of the Decade by the Holmes Report in 2009.

Skoloda possesses a “vast amount of knowledge and experience” that was “beneficial to everyone here tonight,” said senior Emily Heinicka in response to the Lambda Pi Eta event.