PR News Q&A: Social Media as a Way of Professional Life

Michael McManus

Michael McManus, director of public relations for Sodexo Inc., believes the ability to tell an interesting story that engages an audience—on any platform—remains a vital skill for PR professionals. McManus will discuss skill sets, recruitment, team workflow and more at PR News’ Facebook Conference on May 24 in New York. McManus, along with Euro RSCG Worldwide’s Eric Edge and Discovery Communications’ Amber Harris, will speak on the panel “Creating Your Facebook Dream Team.”

PR News: What are the essential components of an effective, successful social media team? 

Michael McManus: I want teammates who live, eat and breathe social media. I want people who check Facebook and Twitter at night, as well as during weekends and holidays. I want responsive, compassionate people but, above all, I still want public relations professionals. Understanding that social media is just one tool in a well-rounded public relations toolbox is important. 

PR News: At Sodexo how many staffers are assigned to social media?

McManus: Sodexo has 120,000 employees in North America alone. I may take the lead on digital and social media, but I have several teammates across the company that assist me in content production, ideas and leads on events and stories perfect for our social media audience.

Facebook has become Sodexo’s social media hub for content dissemination and engagement. I enjoy the power of Facebook’s ability to bring together so many people, combined with the effortless integration of Flickr, YouTube and Twitter. That easily makes it the best place to start conversations, post content and tell the Sodexo story to a broad audience.

PR News: What are the qualities you look for when recruiting new team members? How important is knowledge of Facebook and social media platforms?

McManus: Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all press release. Today's messages are crafted and targeted to diverse audiences via multiple channels and mediums. Knowledge of social media is critical. My goal is to look for individuals who can keep someone’s attention by telling an interesting story in several different ways. For example, if they post a blog, I am going to want them to link it to related pictures via Sodexo’s Flickr site, post related video to our Sodexo Channel on YouTube, encapsulate and push the information via Twitter and post links to all of it on the Sodexo Facebook page.

PR News: What's one key tip you'll give to our audience at PR News' Facebook Conference?

McManus: I believe the importance of micro-engagement cannot go unnoticed. It’s nothing new, but social media is an easy platform for people to communicate with a brand one-on-one. Today, many people just tweet or Facebook about an issue rather than asking to speak with a manager. If they have a problem and you solve it, it sits out there for everyone else to see, first, if you responded and, second, how you responded.  
Attend PR News’ Facebook Conference on May 24 in New York  and learn more from experts like Michael McManus.


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  • Kerry Noone (@Sodexo

    Nice Q&A Michael – especially your comment about being responsive on Facebook. We are using these tools to engage and sweeping issues under the rug is not a solution. Across the company Sodexo is thoughtful about our responsive and we really do want to engage with our clients customers and employees. Wish I could be at your presentation – I know it will be good!

  • Dwight Bachman

    Awesome Stuff, Michael.

    Dwight Bachman
    Public Relations Officer,

    Eastern Connecticut State University

  • Laurie Pehar Borsh

    Excellent! A huge thanks for putting this piece up as it is essential to educate on the importance of a sound “social media PR” team.

  • Dyann Espinosa

    Why is there no link to any social media site on the Sodexo website?

  • Marcy Hayes

    Couldn’t agree with Michael more-plan to share his thoughts with clients & co-workers.