“Frequent email checkers are stressed out and removing the constant email-checking from a worker’s habits meant more focus and productivity, less stress.” This quote was extracted from a LifeHacker article entitled, "Email is like stress in a bottle, study shows."

If you’re constantly checking email, social networks and the like, it’s tough to be productive. If you’re not productive, you probably don’t have time to effectively promote yourself. In fact, the majority of small business owners I talk to tell me they wish they had more time to promote their work and connect with customers. How can they do it with their current work flow?

They can’t.

In mid-July, Jennifer Gosse (@jennifergosse) and I had the privilege to speak with the attendees of Evo: the Evolution of Women in Social Media conference (@evoconf). Our four-hour training session focused on The Evolution of PR: A Culture of Collaboration, Connection and Community.

Evo PR collaboration workshop

Before you can work on finding time to “do better” public relations, you must let go of “busy.” For the majority of us, “I’m busy,” is our default response when someone asks how we are doing or what we’re doing. We say it so much that we no longer remember a time when we weren’t busy and we constantly feel as though we’re in a rush. Once we start the bad habit of “busy,” it takes a conscious effort to stop.

share what you're getting done

Instead of telling others how busy you are, focus on telling them something you’ve accomplished, or, better yet, a passion project you’re working on. Stopping the glorification of busy starts with you.

80% work an extra day per week

I’ll step off my “busy soapbox” now and get to the good stuff. How does social collaboration fit with public relations?

So that we’re all on the same page, it’s important to note that, in this instance, public relations includes:

  • Community relations
  • Customer service
  • Public speaking
  • Media relations
  • Social media

That means there are a heck of a lot of tasks related to each aspect mentioned above. Working better together with customers, peers, media and other stakeholders will determine your long term success.

What do I mean?

Check out Jerry Doyle. He is about to revamp his entire website so that listeners and hosts can collaborate. The new site is powered by community engagement, eliminating one-way comments. He is extending the value of comments to create community. The back end is powered by Tracky and allows him to identify “doers” and curate them into private goal-oriented groups. He’s completely changing the game with social collaboration. Giving his listeners a chance to truly interact and share potential content with others is a huge public relations win. Here’s a sneak peek of an interactive portion of his new site, under development:

Jerry Doyle

It’s not just about websites, though. You should have more efficient processes put in place in order to manage your PR tasks. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite social collaboration tips and tools for you here (feel free to add to the list).

Coopetition is alive and well. Too often people think that they can’t work together mainly out of fear. Fear that someone will steal their idea, fear that the other person’s products will be more successful or other fears. I have a different view, in this case the cooperation and collaboration will ultimately benefit both of us and, more importantly, impact the lives of the most precious resource, our children. I encourage all of you to think and work collaboratively. You never know what you cook up that will change your life and the lives of others.

Social media marketing maven Ted Rubin (@tedrubin) has coined a concept that we love: Return on Relationship (#RoR). It's about building authentic relationships with colleagues, customers and your social circle. His recent Mashable article is about brand advocacy. We love the concept of give-give as the new marketing and by building long-term authentic relationships, we can learn more from each other.

"This give-give cycle is the new marketing. It’s important to allocate resources to building relationships with the people who believe in a brand and want to share it with their networks. Then take that from give-give and evolve it to learn-learn. That makes it sustainable.

...Simply honor your customer relationships, because that’s where it all starts. Build it into your culture and the DNA of your brand. Recognize the value of relationships and invest in them because true advocacy cannot be developed without them.”

Evolution of social collaboration

By developing a culture of collaboration you will find that you continue to do what you do, a little better. You’ll be able to do more with the people who are important to you and make better use of your time.

Want to learn how? Email me at: sarah<at>tracky.com.

Want to keep collaborating with us? You can find our Evo’12 presentation and other resources in Tracky.