Aliza Licht’s new book, “Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill it in Your Career. Rock Social Media.” (Photo: Grand Central Publishing)
In 2009, DKNY publicist Aliza Licht launched the Twitter handle for Donna Karan’s offshoot fashion brand. Inspired by the anonymous, fly-on-the-wall narrator of TV’s Gossip Girl, she began tweeting as @DKNY PR Girl. It was a smart move that instantly turned just another brand feed into one that felt personal and engaging. “People started following because it was one of the first examples of humanizing a brand,” explains Licht. “It was an insider peek into all the fun things we do here, from celebrity dressing to Fashion Week.”
The @DKNY Twitter handle is now one of the most successful in the fashion world, boasting over half-a-million followers. Readers flock to read Licht’s lively and warm voice, and her mix of insider fashion scoop, career advice, and social media tips. Licht has now expanded beyond her 140-character limit to pen her new book, Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job, Kill it in Your Career, and Rock Social Media. Licht’s tips will be helpful for anyone who wants to navigate the minefield of social media, PR, and career. You can also watch her TED talk here.
Aliza Licht, also known as @DKNY PR GIRL. (Photo: Grand Central Publishing)
Engage with people: Licht describes Twitter as “the biggest cocktail party in the world.” And like any cocktail party, you don’t want to be the wallflower in the corner. “Engaging with people is the most important thing you can do on Twitter,” she states. That means sharing content, retweeting a great post, or getting in on a conversation. “Put out tweets that serve some sort of purpose, whether they are engaging, entertaining, or teaching people something. I think you should look at your timeline and make sure that you have a nice mix between all of those things.“
Don’t be afraid to network: One of the amazing things about Twitter is how easy it is to connect with different brands, or people in your industry. “I think that Twitter allows you to network in a way that’s not as intimidating as sending an email would be,” says Licht. “Liking and sharing posts just makes people feel closer. So when the time comes for you to actually reach out, they may already be familiar with you.” Licht actually met, and later hired, a former assistant on Twitter. The PR maven suggests following people and companies you admire. The goal is to try to engage, in a positive, professional way, with people that you want to work with.
Stop pretending to be perfect: “I think that what you post should be a very positive reflection of who you are,” says Licht. However, by positive, she doesn’t mean projecting a ridiculously perfect image. “I take pride in the fact that I am quite real,” Licht explains. “For example, I did this video with Mashable, and all I could focus on when I saw it, was that I had the worst pimple. I couldn’t even focus on what I was saying! So I called it out on Twitter because you can’t always be like ‘Look how amazing I am!’ No, you are not always amazing, and I think that that is authentic.” Licht explains that is why, in addition to gorgeous fashion shots, she will also Instagram pics of her daughter’s toys all over her room. “That’s real life, you know,” she explains, before adding a caveat. “It’s not about airing your dirty laundry either, there is a fine line. But a pinch of real, a pinch of messing up, is a nice thing to counter-balance all the times that you are really proud of what you are doing.’
Don’t trash work on your personal account: While you might have your own personal Twitter account, which is separate from your work one, that doesn’t protect you. Insulting coworkers, your company, or revealing anything that’s not positive about your work can have serious consequences, including losing your job. “I will see people complaining about work, bosses, or colleagues, and even anonymously, it is just not a good look.”
Don’t overshare: While Twitter often feels like a place where you are just sharing fun observations with your friends, you’re sharing them with the world. Mean tweets, insulting other people, or insensitive comments can land you in hot water. “It’s frustrating for people to hear, because they want that freedom to express whatever they want,” says Licht. “ But they should really think about the goals they have for themselves and their reputation. They need to mind their personal brand in the online space.”
Keep posting what works, not what doesn’t: There is no sense in repeating posts that no one pays attention to. It can often feel like you are posting into a void, so paying attention to what works is the key to success on social media. “I think if you are doing it for a brand or you are doing it for your own business, it is very important to pay attention to what posts perform and what your audience reacts to. Give your audience what they want.”
Don’t be a kiss-a** spammer: “I see people tweeting really complimentary things to people, because they want to connect. While that is noble, when you click on their timeline, they are sending that same exact message to like 50 other people,” laughs Licht. While it’s great to connect on Twitter, Licht has words of advice: “You want to appear genuine.”
Have a point of view and stick to it: Licht advises having a filter with which you navigate the social media sphere, with a strong point of view about particular topics. For example, whether you want to focus on politics, comedy, fashion, or celebrity, post about topics that are organic to you. Your profile will be that much stronger. “You have to be strategic in what you are putting out there,” Licht explains.
Don’t flood your feed: Especially with Instagram, Licht advises only posting images you are passionate about and recommends not overposting. She also thinks people should keep an eye on how their profile looks beyond individual posts. “ Instagram is best critiqued based on how the tiles look as a whole, and I think it should offer an eclectic view into your world — from a nine-tile perspective.”