Q&A with Puneet Sandhu: SHIFTing to Social Media

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The COMmunicator welcomes back its founding editor-in-chief and now Account Executive at the New York PR agency, SHIFT Communications, Puneet Sandhu. See how COM has shaped her career and get first-hand advice from a young media professional as she discusses the importance of getting a “handle” on Twitter and how businesses can benefit from the blogosphere.

 What do you miss most about COM?

“I miss running to the Starbucks between class and work [at The Commnicator and COM Writing Center], having class outside on the COM lawn, oh and the BU Pub!”

 Have you been knighted?

“Oh no, one drink was enough for me, thank you very much.”

 Did you have any favorite professors?

“I really miss all of my professors, just sitting down and having conversations with many of them like Steve Quigley, Eddie Downes and Professor Dotty Clark.”

What does the COMmunicator mean to you?

“This is my baby! It took a lot of work to get it going but I am happy with its progress.”

What are your future aspirations, if any for The COMmunicator? 

“I’d love to see it be something more alumni take a deeper interest in, to stay in touch with the goings-on at COM.”

Are there any other changes you would like to see from the site?

“Apart from being of more interest to alumni, I’d love to see it as a mobile-friendly site and maybe someday, even as an app! I know you guys are already working on the mobile site, and I’m excited to see where you get with it!”

I understand you helped take the COMmunicator from a paper newsletter to an online platform. How has working on the COMmunicator helped you in your career?

“Working on the COMmunicator helped me prove to prospective employers that I was on the forefront of digital communication.”

 How did you learn about SHIFT?

“I had Professor Quigley for Media Relations and he suggested that I look into the company. He set up an informational interview and… here I am now!”

 What is your role as an Account Executive at SHIFT?

“Much of my job is strictly media relations and having conversations with clients to bounce ideas around on that front. I also am responsible for overseeing client blogs: what kind of content is on it, who should be writing it and where it should appear.”

What are some major accounts and clients you have worked with at SHIFT?

“My bigger accounts are Canadian Club Whisky, H&R Block, Salesforce and AOL. I work in content marketing on these accounts which means getting similar sources to repost pieces like an blog post from H&R Block.”

 In your opinion, is having a blog worth it to a company?

“Blogs are effective if you have a goal in writing one. For example, if your goal is to be a thought leader in a specific field then your posts should be innovative and informational. If your focus is to sell a product, the blog can be used as an accessory to help users interact with that product. Goals have to be very clear. Half-hearted blogs look worse and are a waste of time and resources.”

What direction can you see yourself going into professionally? Perhaps more blogging yourself?

“I do blog right now – well, I try to keep up with it at least! I’d like to get more into social/digital communications as part of my job, balancing it with traditional PR, which is the majority of what I do right now.”

What advice do you have for students looking to break into social media careers?

“Many young professionals want to do social media for a company but are not active users themselves. My advice is to try everything [social media platforms] out yourself so that all of your knowledge can be first-hand. It will make you a much better social media marketer.”

Check out Puneet’s personal blog at puneetsandhu.com

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